NYT debunks ‘best high schools’ list

The New York Times reports that Blind Brook High of Westchester, NY, jumped from number 200 on Newsweek’s “America’s Best High Schools” list in 2005 to number 88 this year. However, the response to the news was skeptical. Monroe Haas, a longtime school board member, called the ratings “meaningless,” among other things. Newsweek claims that it can assess all 25,000 U.S. high schools using a numerical formula that takes into account the number of students who take AP exams. The magazine believes that schools should be rewarded for pushing students to take AP courses. However, the rankings do not take into account the actual scores the students receive on said tests. Mr. Hass points out: “every student can fail every test, but as long as your students take lots of tests, you can still be on of Newsweek’s best high schools.” The system, which rewards quantity over quality, has produced some confusing results. Fishay Learning Center in Los Angeles is ranked 414 on the list, while Lexington High in suburban Boston is 441 despite the fact that Fishay students failed 83 percent of their AP tests, while 91 percent of Lexington scored 3-5 on their tests–qualifying those students for college credits… (Note: This site requires free registration.)

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