I Know There’s Gonna Be Some Serious Attaboys Comin’

…about this list in Newsweek

The Complete List: 1,000 Top U.S. Schools

…and old number 38.

38 Pensacola** Pensacola Fla.
**Gave both IB and AP tests. AP and IB participation are indicators of a school’s efforts to get students to excel and prepare for college.

Sounds great, huh? Pensacola has a world class high school smack in the middle of a county of functional illiterates. I mean, that’s what you’d think, right? Not so fast. That’s not really Pensacola High School on that page. That’s the International Baccalaureate program tucked into a corner of big, sprawling, inner city Pensacola High School. The one with these statistics:

School grade “D”: This school was given a grade of “D” by the Florida Department of Education in 2004-2005. In 2003-2004, this school received a “D”.

The one where 32% of the sophomores read at or above grade level. THIRTY TWO PERCENT.
Am I worried about someone finding this disclaimer and being pissed off? No, not at all. Chances are they couldn’t read it. (Unless they came from the affluent schools in the next county. You can tell which ones they are…by the scores.)

7 Responses to “I Know There’s Gonna Be Some Serious Attaboys Comin’”

  1. Mike Rentner says:

    What’s really scary is that “reading at grade level” is defined as what most people would expect to be a reading level far below what should be required of that grade level.
    Public schools need to be abolished. There is no room in a free society for public schools.

  2. Ken Summers says:

    Wow. My high school is on the list. Pretty amazing, considering it’s 45% subsidized lunch students and the ones that aren’t are, to a great extent, from working class neighborhoods.

  3. NJ Sue says:

    This Newsweek survey equates quality with having a large percentage of the students taking several types of AP tests. While that might be one part of the picture, it’s pretty limited evidence on which to base a comparative ranking of high schools as “best.”

  4. Ken Summers says:

    I don’t know what the best answer is, Sue, but I understand why they chose that method.

  5. Nightfly says:

    One of my younger cousins attends school #94 (Briarcliff Manor, NY).

  6. Cindermutha says:

    I think all the high schools in our county are on the list. At least all the ones surrounding us are.

  7. NJ Sue says:

    The method Newsweek used ranks students, not schools. I took several AP tests, some in subjects that my high school did not even offer. I got a 5 on the AP history test, for example, without having taken the class. Any student anywhere can sign up to take AP exams without taking AP classes. So, are we measuring quality of high schools, or quality of students?
    It’s really true that when we talk about “good schools,” we’re really talking about schools with good students. The students make the school. Affluent suburban schools with competitive parents and nervous, high-achieving children will always be “best” by these measures. The curriculum, facilities, and teachers are secondary.

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