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America's Best High Schools?

The U.S. News & World Report is best known for its ever-popular college rankings list, but for the past three years, it has also ranked the top public high schools in the country.

winners


To determine the winners, a three-step process was used. In Step 1, a statewide comparison was made to determine which schools were above  average statistically.

According to the report: “We started by looking at reading and math results for all students on each state's high school test.” The scores were adjusted by factoring the percentage of each school’s student body that could be classified as “economically disadvantaged (who tend to score lower)” to determine which schools were performing “better than statistical expectations.”

These measures leave me cold.  Instead of all of the standardized scores and indices, how about measuring the effectiveness of high schools by the quality of graduates they produce.  How many go on to pursue higher education?  How many volunteer in the community?  How many become contributing members of society?

It seems like we are so focused on numbers that we lose sight of the purpose of education - growing good citizens and an educated populous.  And because "that which gets measured gets done," we are in danger of producing a sterile, passionless workforce that can perform mathematics on command but can't compete in an increasingly complex and relational world.

Besides, we all know the BEST high schools are homeschools, right?

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Comments 2

Guest - Jason (website) on Tuesday, 04 May 2010 18:20

Well, from a critical perspective, it benefits those at the very top of the economic/social pyramid/caste system to have a "sterile, passionless workforce" that can be easily manipulated.

Good observations.

Well, from a critical perspective, it benefits those at the very top of the economic/social pyramid/caste system to have a "sterile, passionless workforce" that can be easily manipulated. Good observations.
Guest - Cathy Hilde on Tuesday, 04 May 2010 17:57

Hi Matt,
I couldn't agree more. Schools keep all kinds of meaningful data on their high schools. They use them in marketing pieces and publications to toot their horns and woo new families into their cities and towns. For our local high school I have seen data on numbers of seniors graduating enrolled in 4 year or 2 year colleges, numbers of students in AP classes and what AP classes are offered. They list all kinds of academic highlights like winning State competitions in We The People, number of winning years in State or national robotics competitions. They showcase exceptional senior projects that include community service activities, awards won for extracurricular activities like DECA and FBLA. ON and on. These are the things that point to the character of a school and a community for that matter.
AND...you are right. The BEST high schools ARE homeschools.

Hi Matt, I couldn't agree more. Schools keep all kinds of meaningful data on their high schools. They use them in marketing pieces and publications to toot their horns and woo new families into their cities and towns. For our local high school I have seen data on numbers of seniors graduating enrolled in 4 year or 2 year colleges, numbers of students in AP classes and what AP classes are offered. They list all kinds of academic highlights like winning State competitions in We The People, number of winning years in State or national robotics competitions. They showcase exceptional senior projects that include community service activities, awards won for extracurricular activities like DECA and FBLA. ON and on. These are the things that point to the character of a school and a community for that matter. AND...you are right. The BEST high schools ARE homeschools.
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