Two charter schools in Arizona and California and one non-charter school in Washington make top ten in the nation
Yesterday, US News and World Report released their national rankings of 22,000 public high schools to identify the best high schools in the nation. Their rankings are based on student performance on state exit exams and on exams measuring college-level work (Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams).
Ten high schools scored the best of the best in the nation. Two of the top ten performing high schools, Basis Tucson and Pacific Collegiate are charter high schools that ranked number 6 and 8, respectively. Washington state’s own International High School in Bellevue ranked number 9.
US News and World Report hired American Institutes for Research (AIR) to first examine whether each school's students were performing better than statistically expected for the average student in the state, then whether the school's least-advantaged students (black, Hispanic, and low-income) were performing better than average for similar students in the state. Finally, schools that made it through the first two steps became eligible to be judged nationally on the final step—college-readiness performance—using Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate test data as the benchmarks for success. Read more about their methodology here.
- School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas, Texas.
- Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia.
- School of Science and Engineering Magnet in Dallas, Texas.
- University High School in Tucson, Arizona.
- International Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
- Basis Tucson, in Tucson Arizona. This is a charter high school.
- Oxford Academy in Cypress, California.
- Pacific Collegiate School in Santa Cruz, California. This is a charter high school.
- International School in Bellevue, Washington.
- High Technology High School, in Lincroft, New Jersey.
All of these schools have cause to celebrate their achievements.
That two of the top ten are charter high schools gives strong support to the movement in Washington to lift the state ban on charter public schools. Last week, the Washington State PTSA, by a nearly 2 to 1 vote, 170-92, made lifting this ban a part of their permanent legislative platform.
The new effort to pass a charter school bill, in contrast to past efforts, should place no limit on the number of charter schools allowed. It is only fair and equitable to give every child in Washington, not just a few, an opportunity to attend a top-ten high school like Basis Tucson or Pacific Collegiate.
Washington state has more than enough talent to develop more high schools like the International School in Bellevue. Passing a charter school law is the best vehicle to enable more schools like the International School emerge in Seattle, Tacoma, Pasco, and Spokane, and all over the state.
Policymakers must hold firm and refuse to place artificial caps on the number of charter schools allowed, as caps are divisive and unfair, and pit one group against the other for access to the limited number.