The Million Best High Schools in the US (High School Hooplah)

The brouhaha over Jay Mathews and Barbara Kantrowitz's ranking (in Newsweek) of the top 100 high schools (1,000 online) continued largely unabated this week, with a smorgasbord of tasty analysis and arguments: A top-100 list roils high schools Christian Science Monitor, What the Challenge Index Leaves Out The Achievement Alliance, Top dogs The Gadfly, How Newsweek chose "the best" Number 2 Pencil, and A "D" from the state, but on magazine's honor roll St. Petersburg Times.

Highlighting the underlying conflict over whether AP and IB classes are right for "everyone" are a pair of stories about efforts in Chicago to bring more AP classes to low income kids while at the same time some schools in LA are dumping AP courses: Poor kids to gain AP class Chicago Tribune, and Too good for AP LA Times (via Joanne Jacobs). Somewhere in the middle is this Washington Post story: Same Class, Different Levels of Success.

My take? There are lots of ways to measure a schoo's success, and this one highlights an important aspect of a school's curriculum and assignment policies. It's provocative and remarkably influential. It includes district and charter schools though not apparently private ones. But it's not like the Mathews Index is going to be used as a replacement for state or federal rating systems anytime soon...or is it? Now that I think of it, I did see Mathews and Spellings at Starbucks the other day.

Here are the actual stories, in case you missed them: The 100 best high schools in America, How to build a better high school, Other winning equations. Plus lots more online.

Best of the Rest

State will make big schools feel cozier Inquirer
Expert Takes A New Look at KIPP Schools WashPost
Getting Smaller to Improve the Big Picture NYT
Public schools: Do they outperform private ones? CSM
High schools fail to engage students USAT


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