The Newsweek High School Rankings Boycott

Several school districts say they will no longer participate.

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A group of school superintendents recently sent a letter to the editor of Newsweek ( U.S. News and Time magazine were copied) asking the magazine to omit high schools in their districts from its upcoming rankings. They have also said they will no longer submit the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate test data that make it possible for Newsweek to rank their districts' schools.

According to their letter, they:

"believe that all schools, communities—and your readers—are poorly served by Newsweek's persistent efforts to use a single statistic, the number of students who sit for A.P. or I.B. exams, to rank schools. The inventor of this flawed methodology, Jay Mathews has insisted that it is meaningful because A.P. or I.B. participation is the sole available nationwide measure of whether students take a rigorous program of study. He is right that there are few consistent measures of school quality, state-to-state, but that does not justify inappropriate use of the data that is available."

Mathews has responded to the superintendents in his Class Struggle blog.

The letter does not mention the U.S. News Best High Schools rankings, which were published for the first time in November 2007. Our multivariable ranking methodology—developed by School Evaluation Services, a K-12 education data research business run by Standard & Poor's—differs sharply from the single variable index used by Newsweek. U.S. News continues to work on improving our methodology for our next high school rankings. One goal is to add International Baccalaureate results to our ranking model.