Good news: despite shrunken state coffers, the quality of public schools is by many measures improving. In the decade-plus since Newsweek began ranking the top public high schools, the national graduation rate has increased 4 percent, federal expenditure per student has risen an adjusted $1,400, and the number of Advanced Placement (AP) tests given per school has more than doubled. The gold standard, of course, is college readiness, and the numbers are bright there too: between 1999 and 2009, the proportion of 18-to-24-year-olds enrolled in college rose by 14 percent…
The schools that made our top 1,000 tend to be relatively small and concentrated in metropolitan areas. Seventy-four percent have fewer than 2,000 students, and more than one quarter are located in or near New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles. The collective student body at these schools is better off financially than the national average: only 17.5 percent receive free-or reduced-price lunch, compared with about 40 percent nationally.
Nearly 77 percent of the 1,000 admit students through open enrollment, with no admissions restrictions. But many of the highest spots were claimed by selective schools—where students are let in by academic achievement, admissions testing, or lottery—which makes sense given the growth of magnet, charter, and other specialty schools around the country: seven out of the top 10 schools on our list are either charter or magnet…
To reach these rankings, we factored in six criteria. Three of those—the four-year graduation rate, college-acceptance rate, and number of AP and other high-level exams given per student—make up 75 percent of the overall score. Average SAT/ACT and AP/college-level test scores count for another 10 percent each, and the number of AP courses offered per student is weighted as the final 5 percent. Because most of this data isn’t centrally available, we collected it from high-school administrators directly—about 15,000 of them—and received 2,300 responses.
Few topics spark more conversation among friends and family than the state of education in America. In general, I think we’d be pleased if we could say our local public schools are offering “education that doesn’t entirely suck!” Living in a 3rd-world state like New Mexico doesn’t aid that experience. There are no schools from New Mexico on this list.
I could pull age rank on everyone. I attended high school in a small New England town transitioning from rural to suburb not very gracefully. Still the school had over 1000 students tucked inside 4 years – and a graduation rate of 99.6%. I have no accurate idea of how many applied to/went on to college. That was mostly a function of family income for us – back then.
I feel that we learned to think as well as acquired some knowledge back then. This was before the Freudian ethos overwhelmed American colleges of education and we began to adhere to systems where the students decided if they felt like learning anything, their parents demanded an automatic pass at the end of each year – regardless of capabilities.
Read through the list. Systems for searching are contained within the page listing the 1000 schools.