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Thanks to one and all who responded.  For those who may not have seen
the list originally, check out the March 30, 1998 issue of Newsweek for
the article and list. I've combined the responses below:
        When I saw the list posted, I recalled a children's book (sadly,
do not remember the name; I read it when I was a kid!), which involved
numerous cats.  One such cat was rather ordinary, but came out on top
(survived, literally, I think) after some event occurred which put all
the hundreds of other cats at odds with each other and they slaughtered
each other.
        To answer your question, then, no such list can fairly
(hah--what a
concept!) and accurately reflect what is happening in education.  No
list can be beneficial, but only divisive, instead.  As if we need that,
        Oh, well.  Thanks for raising the question.  It does help.

(That's: Millions of Cats by W. Gag- Nancy)
The Texas schools listed are all from very wealth areas also. The money
in Texas has been more equally divided, but you still have these schools
with kids all from college educated parents who expect their kids to go
to VERY good colleges. This is not a best list, but a wealthiest parents
Same is true of Texas schools I saw on the list, though
I didn't stick with it too long - only the first 100 or so.
... it is true for most of the schools listed
from Long Island, NY as well. I lived there most of my life and was not
surprised to see the school listed as number one is in a very wealthy
area of Long Island.
I work at school #134.  I know that it does not necessarily reflect
school populations, only a ratio of successful AP kids to everyone else,
believe.  We do indeed have somewhat of a wealthy population in this
part of
east San Diego County, but we also have a lot of middle-class and lower
income folks as well.  We are the high school for some kids that live in
border towns to Mexico.  I'm certainly not an experienced individual in
education field, but I would think support for the Advanced Placement
programs comes from the district level, does it not?  Isn't it a set of
exams that kids can pay for and take for college credit?  I keep study
guides in the library that the kids borrow to xerox.  I can't say that I
could really classify those kids as being from wealthy homes or not.
feel free to educate me on this issue so I'll know...
 I question the value of such a list.  What difference does it make?  We
all try to make our own schools as good as we possibly can. Does it
make a difference if another school has more money or more/better
Such comparisons must be very limited and restricted to only a few
anyway. What does it really reveal about such schools?
  I know there are better and worse schools than mine, wealthier and
newer and older, larger and smaller. I also know my school can do a
job educating our students than it does, or it can do worse. I don't
another school to compare to. I need information as to what works and
doesn't. I need to know how I can improve my school and my library
the real guidelines and restrictions I face daily.
  Dream schools are just that (dreams) to most of us.
I am familiar with the schools in CT and they are good schools but their
student body is VERY small, more like private education.  Senior classes
of maybe 100-200 depending on location.  I know the statistic are based
on percentages BUT isn't it easier to work with a class of 150 vs 450 or
more.  Our high schools have 450-700 seniors.
We Americans love such lists and comparisons--
never mind that they're probably (totally) invalid--
some of the Michigan schools are ones who have opted out
of Schools of Choice programs--not wanting to share their
good fortune with anyone less fortunate (or less wealthy--
or perhaps a different color!).
Still, we love to be able to boast or denigrate--
Well, I can tell you the schools from Westchester, NY and Long Island,
are mostly from wealthy communities. As soon as I saw which schools had
been picked from this area, I pretty much discounted the whole thing. It
doesn't tell us anything we didn't know already. Money is usually a
factor in a high achieving school district.

Southside High in Greenville SC is the in the poorest part of town,
and has difficulty keeping students there who are assigned.  It meets
the 50%, but is the IB program school (about 20%, I'd guess, of the
students are IB or PreIB).  As there is little emphasis in AP, it is
only the fact that IB and AP classes are combined, and the state
"requires" and pays for AP testing for all students who are in AP

The other in Greenville (Riverside), while not in the top 100, was
on the list at (I think) 136, and is in a wealthier area of the
district, but the private schools, none of them included, get the
ones with real money.

I'm not an expert on high schools, but I do know (by reputation) a
lot of high schools in the New York metropolitan area, and yes, all
of the ones listed are from wealthier areas.  Some of the wealthiest
towns in this area are Scarsdale, Manhassat, Great Neck and Chappaqua
(NY), and Ridgewood and Tenafly (NJ)--they all made the list.  New
York State schools are funded in large part by property taxes.  Ergo,
wealthy districts, lots of money for schools.  Also, lots of interest
on the part of parents in top-flight schools and having their
children take AP courses.
I, too, am concerned about the message of the top 100 schools; so the
only measure is the # taking AP exams.  How about measures that show
kids say in school, graduate, develop a love of learning and respect for
themselves, a faith and belief in their own success???

The schools listed in NYS are mostly affluent and/or have incredible
parental/community support.  Isn't it always the parent support that
values education which correlates to kids success?
I am sure that many would agree with you but I have always argued that
money is not the solution. Of the schools in my area Brighton Central
and West Irondequoit are middle-to above average income schools.
However, the Wilson Magnet School is part of the City of Rochester
School District, a magnet schools basically for computer education. You
could not say that the City School District is flush with money.
I live in New Haven, home of Yale University.  Our schools are not in
top of any list, except maybe a negative one, though we do have some
teachers, students, programs, (and parents).  Guess the University/town
relationship doesn't always mean great schools.  We also have a state
university and a small private liberal arts college.  Many of the
and staff live outside of New Haven.
...Money is not as important as family values.  However, you will find
that children from more wealthy school districts are experiencing more
quality family living.  Not because of the money per se, but because the
money allows them to live in a school district with less crime and fewer
"unfortunate" family situations.  Only the extraordinary child can rise
above their less than perfect surroundings to achieve in school.
only the truly learning disabled child (for whatever reason) is *not*
to achieve in stable surroundings.
H.B.Woodlawn, Arlington, VA #8 on the list, doesn't not have a
large wealthy student body.  Washington-Lee, Arlington, VA,
also on the list but further down, they are at least 50%
I think that such a list is of questionable value. The criteria that was
used seems somewhat narrow to use to identify such a small number of
schools in a country with thousands of excellent public school.
In our state, the regional magazine, NJ Magazine does a similar ranking
of public high schools and my own town's school (Ocean Twp.) is always
included. Although there are many affluent citizens in our town, we also
have many educated, concerned parents. Such people have bright children
and are willing to challenge any educational trend that they feel is not
in the interest of their children. At a recent Bd. of Ed.meeting a
parent protested the overcrowded conditions in an elementary school
library in the district. That's my kind of protest!
Princeton, NJ's school is listed. That town also has an alternative
charter school because some of the educated parents feel that the public
school is not fulfilling the educational needs of their children. Go
I, too, looked at the Newsweek list with scepticism, seeing
no high schools on the list from Oregon or Washington, both of which
states have equalized school funding on a state-wide basis.

In addition, my kid's high school put their emphasis on the
InternationL Baccalaureate program, cutting the number of
Advanced Placement classes--and Newsweek's ranking in based on AP
My high school is #140 on the list. I was excited to see that we got a
fairly high ranking. My Principal was not too impressed because he
the analysis was flawed. He felt like a better indicator was how many
students took the AP tests and passed them rather than how many schools
students register to take the AP's.  Our school is highly competitive
probably would have done much better on this type of analysis. There are
many criteria that one could use to determine which schools are tops.
high school has 3000 students and is in one of the largest urban
(Houston) in the district.  We have a foreign language magnet which
attracts about 600 students and the IB program.  Most of our students
not urban or inner-city like the rest of the school district.
Palo Alto High is across the street from Stanford.  Gunn and
are within a few miles. Irvine is a college town and Westlake is next to
UCLA.  San Marino and Beverly Hills High are very rich areas, and others
such as Laguna, Los Gatos, Los Altos, and Palos Verde, have very
students.  There are a number of schools, however, such as Arroyo Grande
and Van Nuys that are not in college towns and have plenty of students
lower income families.
My son went to Hillsborough HS (I think number 43) it is definately not
school in a high income area, but is a magnet school.  125 students in
each of
the 4 grades are a part of the magnet program...International
program.  So these 500 kids in a school of 1800 do play an important
part and
allow for many AP classes to be offered as early as their sophomore
Most of the grants received for the IB program went to items that
the total school population.  A great program that works.
But what makes a school be considered the best because it can offer AP
classes?  I guess it could be considered the best school for AP but how
this considered better than a tech school that offers trade classes and
is not
geared for the college bound?
...  Without doing an exact statistical analysis, it
appears to me that most of these schools come from the East Coast, in
particular N.Y., some from the Midwest, and some from California.  It
makes me wonder if there is a regional or other bias to the test.  I
have seen some test questions that could have various answers depending
upon the part of the country in which one lives; but, of course, there
is "only one right answer."
 I know that Highland Park is one of the wealthiest sections of Dallas,
as is
Memorial in Houston.  Austin, of course is home to the University of
Texas.  LBJ High School, Westwood and Westlake are located there.  Round
Rock is a small city just outside of Austin, where many affluent folks
live who actually work in Austin.
 For the 4 schools I recognized, 1 is VERY affulent school
district.  The other 3 are upper middle class suburban schools.
That's all folks!
Nancy Palmquist, Librarian
South Oldham HS
Crestwood, KY

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