Newsweek released that latest list of 1,200 top high school rankings. It is precisely the kind of list that makes people many parts crazy, because their schools aren't listed at all or because their schools are listed and it'll drive up property prices. The NY Sun says that the list snubs the city, as none of the city's prestigious schools are listed in the top 100: "The top-ranked city school, the High School for Arts and Business in Queens, placed at no. 351. Forest Hills High School, also in Queens, squeezed in at no. 1,159." Three other high schools in Queens were listed, as were a school in Staten Island and one in Brooklyn.
How were schools ranked?
Public schools are ranked according to a ratio devised by Jay Mathews: the number of Advanced Placement, Intl. Baccalaureate and/or Cambridge tests taken by all students at a school in 2006 divided by the number of graduating seniors. All of the schools on the list have an index of at least 1.000; they are in the top 5 percent of public schools measured this way. If you have 2006 data showing that your school should be on this list, please contact Mathews at email@example.com.
Matthews told the Sun that the lack of NYC schools on the list was a shame: "It means that they're letting the American assumption that poor kids can't do high-level work control their schools." Right, because AP classes are the standard that all schools should be rated on, versus graduation rates. And Education Sector released a report back in 2005 about why Newsweek's list "doesn't make the grade."
And where's Stuyvesant or Bronx Science on the list? Well, there's a special list of "Public Elites": "NEWSWEEK excluded these high performers from the list of America’s Best High Schools because so many of their students score well above the average on the SAT and ACT." Which means Newsweek just didn't want to include them in the list because they are that good? Huh?
Yesterday, the Mayor announced that 60% of NYC public high school students graduated after 4 years, an increase of 18% since 2002 when he took office. And does Newsweek release this list because it moves copies? Well, US News & World Report's college and post-college school rankings are apparently a noble mission from the perspective of USNWR publisher Mort Zuckerman.
Photograph of seniors at that outlier school, Stuyvesant, by ryan muir on Flickr