I am really steamed up about the utter absurdity of the U.S. News & World Report’s listing of the “best” high schools in the nation. The more selective the school is, the higher its ranking. The “best” school is the one that enrolls the “best” students.

But what about the schools that take all students and help them become the best they can be? Are they inferior to the school that excludes those kids?

The U.S. News ranking is offensive to the fundamental values of American education, which is equality of educational opportunity. Not for a few, but for all.

From a reader:

City Honors High School in Buffalo, NY is always on the list since it is highly selective and really pushes the students with both their IB program AND AP curriculum. While it looks like a great school (and it is) an average or below average or even an unmotivated advanced student would flounder in this environment. Luckily there are some other excellent high schools in the city which aren’t so “pushy” or “unforgiving”, but ultimately it is up to the student to take advantage of the situation. While students can select which high school to attend, those ending up in the neighborhood schools get the leftovers. Even though they score on the bottom, that doesn’t mean they aren’t worthwhile institutes of learning. For example, The International School services refugees and immigrants who speak over fifty different languages. Needless to say, they don’t score highly on the assessments. The suggestion was to intersperse these children amongst the other schools, but then they wouldn’t get the special services specifically designed to help their transition into this country. (Some of them do go to other high schools when their English improves).

US News and World Reports has a narrow focus on what constitutes a quality education, but in reality which is the better school? The one that prepares exceptional students for college or the one that prepares children from war torn countries to lead a fruitful life in their new homeland?