How ‘Exam Schools’ fared in the best high schools rankings

In the new book, Exam Schools: Inside America’s Most Selective Public High Schools, the authors examine institutions with selective admissions processes, U.S. News reports. Many of these public schools did very well in the 2012 U.S. News Best High Schools rankings, accounting for 7 of the top 10 schools in the national rankings; 11 of the top 25; and 24 of the top 50. In an article entitled “Exam Schools from the Inside” in Education Next, authors Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Jessica A. Hockett discussed how exam schools have evolved in the United States:

“[T]hese academically selective institutions have long been a part of the American secondary-education landscape. The schools are diverse in origin and purpose … Some arose from a desire (among parents, superintendents, school boards, governors, legislators) to provide a self-contained, high-powered college-prep education for able youngsters in a community, region, or state. Others started through philanthropic ventures or as university initiatives. A number of them were products of the country’s efforts to desegregate–and integrate–its public-education system, prompted by court orders, civil rights enforcers and activists, or federal ‘magnet school’ dollars.”

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