U.S.News & World Report should be commended for the intricate methodology it used to identify the most successful high schools in the United States ["America's Best High Schools," December 10].
However, I believe the last step of your ranking formula, college readiness, missed a key variable that could lead to confusion among students and parents. For almost 40 years, the International Baccalaureate's Diploma Programme has consistently proven to be a rigorous curriculum that admissions officers view as a key indicator of college and university preparedness. In fact, more than 800 universities in the United States recognize the ib diploma. While no ranking will satisfy all parties, it is our hope that the next ranking formula will reflect the positive impact of ib programs on students and schools, thus providing an even more in-depth look at the state of high school education in America.
International Baccalaureate North America
Editor's Note: IB data were not available this year. They are being considered for the next assessment of America's Best High Schools.
It is not fair to judge schools that are selective in accepting students against public schools that are required to accept all students who live within their district. Almost any public school in the United States has some shining academic stars along with the good, the fair, and the poor students, all of whom should receive guidance and teaching in hopes that they will become good, productive, and law-abiding adults.
As an educator and former business executive, I commend your methodology for assessing high schools. One key element seems to be missing, however, and that is funding. How much money per student does each gold medal school receive, and which ones are doing the best job of educating for that amount of money?
Gregory L. Johns
The prestige that comes with a gold medal ranking is enough to convince school boards and administrators that test scores are the goal of education. If so, high school graduates will not know how to write or think independently but will be skilled at spitting out memorized information. My generation deserves better.
Alexander G. Tievsky
University of Chicago
As a 1937 graduate of Brooklyn Tech, I was amazed to see my alma mater listed as No. 39 out of the more than 18,000 competing high schools. If the competition had been held in the 1930s, the results would have been different. But I think I know why Brooklyn Tech ranks among the top 100 today. Now the school is coeducational. Back in the 1930s, it was all boys. It's the girls who made it what it is today.