Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Several Valley Schools Named Among Nation's Best

The Phoenix Business Journal reports that fifteen of the Valley’s high schools were recently named among the nation’s best by Newsweek magazine.

Newsweek ranked schools by calculating the number of students per school who take either an Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and/or Cambridge tests, divided by the total number of students at the school.

It’s an enduring urban legend that metro Phoenix’s school systems stink. Some years ago the state department of education insituted a grading system and now grades schools as "excelling" (the best), "performing", "underperforming" and so on.

Personally, I don't have kids so I can’t comment on the myth and I'm unfamiliar with the criterion used at the state level to determine who's Excelling. I'd bet that if you ask people "Are Arizona's schools sub-par?" you'd get a lot of Yes answers. But if you ask parents "Do you have confidence in YOUR child's school?" you'd also get a lot of Yes's. In other words, people are prone to think "the system" stinks but "my kids' schools are OK."  That's just human nature.

Regardless, it is nice to have a national newsmagazine name a handful of Arizona’s high schools “best”. Arizona schools on the list were:

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