I guess that no 8th graders are reading my blog, so this post is aimed at parents selecting a school for their children.
What are reasonable criteria for judging the best high schools? We can’t judge them based on the high paying jobs offered to the graduates, because anyone starting their career right out of high school is most likely destined to live the life of a blue collar prole. Nearly all high paying career tracks (besides baseball player) require a college degree. So judging high schools based on results, there can’t be a better criterion than how the high school helps its students get into top colleges. The list from yesterday’s post is therefore a really good starting point.
Some commenters made the very valid point that merely looking at the percentage of a high school’s graduates who enroll at top colleges doesn’t necessarily tell us if the high school really helped get the students into such colleges. The SAT mostly measures g, and g is mostly an innate trait, so the same kid would probably get close to the same SAT score even if he went to a crappy public high school.
However, SAT is not the only thing that colleges look at. I previously blogged about the kid with the perfect SAT score who was rejected from Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania. Is it any surprise that the kid went to a public high school in New Jersey? If he went to an elite private school, they would have groomed him such that his CV would have had the leadership activities that top universities are looking for. One of the differences between a top private school, and a regular public high school, is that the private schools see their mission as preparing kids for entrance to top universities, while regular public high schools just care about whether all the kids pass the reading and math test so that they don’t get dinged by NCLB.