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June 24, 2011

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I think you accidentally posted the same link twice.

[HS: It has been corrected, please try again.]

Apples to Oranges comparison
One is a list of Public high schools the other one contains Private schools.

[HS: More like a lemons to oranges comparison. Both citrus fruit, but the Newsweek list is sour.]

//If you want your kids to have a chance at being elite (and with America turning into a South American country, the alternative to being elite is being a poor person cleaning the houses of the elites), you should make sure they attend a high school on the real list. //

Dude, you've got to get out of New York.

That methodology is pretty funny. My high school, which is one of the top public schools in CA, is in the 80's on overall rank, but about tenth on SAT scores. The ones at the top have a retardedly high number of AP/IB/WTF test takers. It doesn't actually note how well they do on them - they don't particularly high SAT scores - but because of the way the scoring system is set up, high numbers of tests taken = huge variance = huge scores. So, yeah, their methodology sucks and seems pretty easy to game.

The Newsweek list is crap, at least judging by the complete omission of the high school nearest me which is the best in the state (I suspect some schools can't be bothered with submitting data that Newsweek needs for their methodology).

Even that WSJ list is odd. Pomona is included but not Stanford? I guess I'm out of touch but I was pretty sure at least out here Stanford's considered an almost-Ivy. Pomona? Generic expensive liberal arts school last I heard. I'm probably old and clueless but some quick Googling suggests that Stanford is still well regarded. Oh well.

"the true list of top high schools contains a lot of high schools that I’ve actually heard of and even one that I personally attended"
-------

What's the point of attending a top high school if you're going to go to law school at Arizona State?

The public high school I attended is on the Newsweek list (so it must be true, I'm so successful and well adjusted)

Newsweek is now run by Tina Brown and her crew. I suspect they know damn well their list is bogus.

Looking at the Newsweek list, those schools seem like pipelines to the cubicle farms. Their lives will be run by the people who attend the schools on the WSJ list (which only partially accurate, btw).

It's kind of weird that the WSJ list only considered 8 "top" colleges. It didn't even include Yale.

[HS: Yeah, Pomona should be replaced by Stanford.]

"Pomona is included but not Stanford? I guess I'm out of touch but I was pretty sure at least out here Stanford's considered an almost-Ivy"

Today Stanford is actually widely considered to be above the Ivies, with the exceptions of Harvard and Wharton for business. Pomona is also a good school with tons of cash but it's not Stanford. They probably went with Pomona because they wanted a west-coast liberal arts college.

In any case, I bet that admissions to "Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Williams, Pomona, Swarthmore, the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins" are pretty well correlated with admissions to all top 15-20ish schools. Adding them in wouldn't change the list too much.

Perhaps they didn't have access to data from Stanford, Yale etc.

[HS: That's EXACTLY the reason. So the substitute list of schools probably works well enough. Better than counting AP exams.]

Yes, Stanford is actually almost on par with the elite Ivies (Harvard, Yale, Princeton) and probably more highly regarded generally than the second tier Ivies (Brown, Dartmouth, Cornell, UPenn, Columbia). The Stanford alumni network is also pretty effective.

This list doesn't say much. Most of the schools are in overall low performing states. Your average suburban school in the Northeast is much better than the schools located in most of these states. Because the schools are not very good in these areas, they are able to pool all of the smart kids in places like the Dallas area, etc. into a few good schools. If you are searching for a nice place to live, you should look at how your county performs overall.

"NEWSWEEK reached out to administrators...at more than 10,000 public high schools across the country. In order to be considered for our list, each school had to complete a survey requesting specific data from the 2009-2010 academic year. In total, more than 1,100 schools were assessed to produce the final list of the top 500 high schools."

You are right that this was a bogus list.

They contacted 10K schools (after excluding those that people pay money to send their kid to). 10% bothered to respond. 50% of those made the list of highest ranked schools. Raise the banner!

My brother went to one of these top 20 high schools before he transferred to mine. And uh, its not even close.

The country does have 310 million people in it. If you are not one of the few thousand kids who attend these schools, it does not mean you are going to be poor.

As usual, there is the specter of missing variables. For example, a selective high school will have a higher percentage of its graduates go to Ivy League colleges than a good public high school where all you need is a warm body and an electric bill.

It reminds me of a story I heard a story of a college admissions advisor who told an Oriental family to move from their fancy school district to a blue collar district so that their children would stand out.

"Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Williams, Pomona, Swarthmore, the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins"

Um, that isn't exactly the list of top schools I'd come up with. Some don't belong, and some are missing.

My HS is in the newsweek top 10 and at least when I was there 50% of the graduating class went to Ivies, with plenty of admissions to the big three.

"Yale or fail."

"If you are not one of the few thousand kids who attend these schools, it does not mean you are going to be poor."

Apparently if your kids wind up in a cubicle farm, they might as well be cleaning the toilets of the elite as far as many people here are concerned.

I typed Exeter, Andover, and Choate in the search box on the bogus list and none appeared, indeed a bogus list! They did, however, appear on the actual top school list.

"As usual, there is the specter of missing variables. For example, a selective high school will have a higher percentage of its graduates go to Ivy League colleges than a good public high school where all you need is a warm body and an electric bill."

In the past a gentleman's C was enough for an Exonian to get into Harvard. Today, however, one must either be within the top 10% of their class, or the parents have the connections to pull some strings to get their children in. Top schools today are trying to diversify where they accept students from, since they noticed much of the students they accepted came from the same schools. Nevertheless, a C at Exeter is far better than being a valedictorian at a poor inner-city or rural high school.

In fairness, Newsweek stipulates that they're talking about public schools, methodology notwithstanding.

I'd also take issue with your list's methodology. My guess is the parents of the kids at a lot of the schools on your list went to top schools themselves. If I'm looking at a private school for my kid and didn't go someplace like Harvard, what I'm interested in is non-legacy success rate.

" a C at Exeter is far better than being a valedictorian at a poor inner-city or rural high school"

it all depends on the IQs. I'll bet Exeter has very little value-add to the high IQ students they get. Most Exeter kids could be taught in a one-room barn or poor inner-city school and end up successful elites.

"I'll bet Exeter has very little value-add to the high IQ students they get. Most Exeter kids could be taught in a one-room barn or poor inner-city school and end up successful elites."

The value-added of Exeter is not from the instruction but from the prestige and connections (duh). The same holds true for attending Ivies. If there are two equally intelligent kids, and one attends Exeter and Harvard while the other attends a public high school and Arizona State, it is not impossible for the latter to end up a "successful elite" but it is much less likely.

To get a true measure, you need to control for other factors like geography and legacies.

Geography: a midwesterner doesn't have access to the hallowed NE private schools. It may be that quality magnet schools in Dallas help a middle-class kid to a greater degree than the private schools help the connected northeasterner.

For example, it's possible that the NYC kid, with wealthy alumni parents, has a 20% chance of Harvard without Exeter on his transcript and a 25% chance with it. A Dallas kid might go from 2% to 10% with the right school. (Just a counterfactual).

Expensive schools like to bring in a certain number of kids who will pay full price and give the school healthy donations later on in life. These tend to come from wealthy and/or legacy families.

What's so grand about being a member of the elite? Better food? Uninterested. Better housing? Not much interested. More interesting work? Only slightly interested. A higher percentage of hot women? Interested but if you look hard enough you can find them in the lower middle class too.

There are niches in the lower middles where one does admittedly have to work a mind-numbing job but I personally only have to work a half a year. I can't think of a compelling reason to leave a half-year mind-numbing job. Admittedly, an elite career is out-of-the-realm of possibilities for me now.

But on the big questions of the day, I am many times more free as a member of the lower middles to examine and argue (with an internet pseudonym) more likely avenues leading to societal improvement (like HBD) than almost any elite who seems to be permitted only to argue technocratic solutions.

"The real purpose of high school is to get its students admitted to top colleges,"

Are the non-HYP and non elite engineering schools worth the tuition anymore, though?

The HYP brand names are still so strong that their undergrads can still secure an awesome IB job with Goldman even if their students majored in some liberal arts course and never took a single finance class.

Being a HYP undergrad is still a way to jump into the elite.

But non-HYP schools like Dartmouth, Cornell, Georgetown and the others may not be.

The lesser Ivys are elite on paper but many of their undergrads don't get into the elite (despite their school's brand name) unless they major in something useful in STEM.

But non-HYP students could earn a STEM major with the exact same course content at a well ranked state school for less tuition and where the sororstitutes are hotter than at any Ivy.

I don't see any particular advantage to sending your kid to an Ivy UNLESS it is HYP.

If you don't think they can get into of the big three, then maybe parents should stop working their kids to death in an ultra-competitive high school and just send them off to a high ranking state school instead of a lesser Ivy.

Posted by: trey
"But on the big questions of the day, I am many times more free as a member of the lower middles to examine and argue..."

I think you're onto something here. Quite often it is the lower class that enjoys the greatest amount of freedom. And it's not just limited to free speech. Look at the typical black man. He gets to have sex without responsibility and eat rich tasting high calorie foods with no sense of self restraint.

Now compare that to a SWPL who frets about making sure his bland tasting soy beans are low calorie, low carb, organic, fair trade, glutton free, halal, kosher, social responsibility produced, ect...

Being a long way from NYC, and working for a large electronics company based in Texas, I see only a weak connection between success inside the company and where you went to college. I'm sure in some places that the opposite is true, like on Wall Street and in Big Law firms. But 99.9% of American work elsewhere.

Companies that stress hiring from top ranked colleges are really just using this as an IQ filter. But there are tons of very bright college grads that didn't go to the top ranked colleges. Most corporations realize it would be silly and impractical to mostly hire graduates of the top colleges. Thus there are still lots of good jobs left for the other 99.9% of us.

I think HS is making a dangerous assumption. That non-White majority America will resemble say, Mexico instead of South Africa. That is IMHO a dangerous assumption. Julius Malemba, head of the ANC Youth League, is making his play. "Kill the Boer" and seize all White property, so he can dole it out. It means economic collapse, but enhanced power for him and his entourage. So naturally he's for it.

With a dramatic drop in income/wealth due to a massive shift from White to Mexican workers, you're far more likely to see "Kill the Boer" replayed in the US than say, the organic, historical aristocracy of the White leadership in Mexico. Which in any case is collapsing under challenge from the Zetas and such. How's that White aristocracy working out in Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil, anyway? "Market Dominant minorities" lacking a big Chinese protector are likely to get everything seized by up and coming demagogues.

It probably won't matter if you went to Yale, or Cal State Fullerton. When crunch time comes, your money/property will be toast. Malemba does not care about a year from now, just tomorrow. And for him, tomorrow looks pretty good. The Golden Goose is nearly always killed.

FWIW I am a member of the elite. I went to a top 5 university and a top 5 law school. I live in a fancy suburb with my wife and children. My family is wealthy as is my wife's family.

I would say that on balance, it's preferable to be a member of the elite. The main advantage being financial. For example my wife inherited a sizeable amount of family money which we put towards the down payment on a house. Also, if I were in financial trouble, I could call my parents for help. Being rich made it possible for me to become a father in my late 20s to send my children to school in a town with good schools, etc.

That said, I think it's possible for a reasonably smart person in America to live a decent life (i.e. to marry and live in a nice house in a decent neighborhood with your wife and 2 or 3 children) even if they don't come from money. The key is (1) don't take on a lot of school debt; and (2) move to a more rural area. I would probably move to Northern New England or the Mountain West if I weren't Jewish.

"I would probably move to Northern New England or the Mountain West if I weren't Jewish"

Just curious why being Jewish would discourage you from doing those things.

"With a dramatic drop in income/wealth due to a massive shift from White to Mexican workers, you're far more likely to see "Kill the Boer" replayed in the US than say, the organic, historical aristocracy of the White leadership in Mexico. Which in any case is collapsing under challenge from the Zetas and such."

You know, Whiskey, even though you're a paranoid schizophrenic you *might* get a little better adjusted if you'd just go out and nail a woman every now and then. Preferably a black or Hispanic woman.

I come from an elite background, and I frequently observe that graduates of HYP (I probably know 20 fairly well) are not doing all that well once college is done. They peak in college (what fun it is to casually say, "I'm at Harvard.") and they can't adjust psychologically afterwards.

I realize if you want to get a job at Goldman, it's an advantage (why would you? but that's another story), but that is only a small percentage of HYP grads. Many others disappointed at how their lives turned out.

There's another dynamic that operates if you don't work for Goldman etc: it is often disadvantageous in business to tell people you went to HYP. I graduated from Stanford, and I very seldom mention it in conversation, becuase unless I am dealing w/ another graduate of a very elite college, it turns people off. And most of the time, in the non-financial business world, I am not dealing w/ people from elite colleges.

Just my two cents worth.

"The lesser Ivys are elite on paper but many of their undergrads don't get into the elite (despite their school's brand name) unless they major in something useful in STEM. "

Nah. A lot of people in the mainstream espouse a top-100 or bust view, which I think is too optimistic. Top-15 (or top 10) or best public school in region is the best approach in my opinion. If you're from California and you can't get into a top 15 school, go to Berkeley or if you can't get in there go to a CC and transfer to Berkeley.

Top-3 (IMO Harvard, Yale, Stanford are the top 3) or bust is too narrow-minded. Penn Wharton definitely has advantages over your state flagship. Also all of the top 15 schools and the best regional schools are all heavily recruited for national and regional positions respectively.

"I graduated from Stanford, and I very seldom mention it in conversation, becuase unless I am dealing w/ another graduate of a very elite college, it turns people off"

I've never seen anything like this.

This partly explains why the East Coat Establishment still exists and holds the power still in the USA. Not to mention, if people wanted to be really technical the real elites go to the UK.

The high school I attended is on the newsweek list, so I think that list is fine. I'll never pay for my kids to go to private school. The whole advantage of having a high IQ is that your kids will do well no matter what school they go to , as long as it's of minimal quality

"Just curious why being Jewish would discourage you from doing those things."

Mainly because I wouldn't want my children to be the only Jews in town.

Posted by: Peter
"You know, Whiskey, even though you're a paranoid schizophrenic you *might* get a little better adjusted if you'd just go out and nail a woman every now and then. Preferably a black or Hispanic woman."

How do you know Whiskey wasn't getting his cock sucked by a Latina while he was typing up his "doomer porn" articles that everybody here by now has become familiar with. Personally for me if it's just having sex, whether a woman's IQ is one standard deviation to the right or left of the mean makes no difference. If she's hot then I will get hard.

"I come from an elite background, and I frequently observe that graduates of HYP (I probably know 20 fairly well) are not doing all that well once college is done. They peak in college (what fun it is to casually say, "I'm at Harvard.") and they can't adjust psychologically afterwards.

I realize if you want to get a job at Goldman, it's an advantage (why would you? but that's another story), but that is only a small percentage of HYP grads. Many others disappointed at how their lives turned out. " - Park Slope Pubby


That's very insightful. I suspected as much but could you expand on this at all? Are these people married to fat women? Are they in mediocre careers?

My guess would be their status obsessed parents made getting into the top schools their life priority. After graduation they lacked direction since their whole lives were managed by their parents and revolved around getting into HYP. On their own many of these people are incapable of pursuing a fulfilling life.

"I'll never pay for my kids to go to private school.The whole advantage of having a high IQ is that your kids will do well no matter what school they go to , as long as it's of minimal quality"

Not High-IQ enough to see all the flaws in that argument?

And how skint are you that you cant pay for your kids to go to a better school?

"There are niches in the lower middles where one does admittedly have to work a mind-numbing job but I personally only have to work a half a year. I can't think of a compelling reason to leave a half-year mind-numbing job. Admittedly, an elite career is out-of-the-realm of possibilities for me now."

That is one of the things I've wondered about; if success is no longer possible, what sorts of avenues are possible if one wanted to pursue leisure instead. (If I can't make it, why work hard?) My main fear would be running out of health insurance in my old age.

"My guess would be their status obsessed parents made getting into the top schools their life priority. After graduation they lacked direction since their whole lives were managed by their parents and revolved around getting into HYP. On their own many of these people are incapable of pursuing a fulfilling life. "

You just keep thinking that.

"it all depends on the IQs. I'll bet Exeter has very little value-add to the high IQ students they get. Most Exeter kids could be taught in a one-room barn or poor inner-city school and end up successful elites."

This comment innocently overestimates America's meritocracy, and it is a common misconception that IQ and g is where everything is. The phrase, "Those who arrived, arrived a long time ago." immediately comes to mind. Granted, IQ does play a factor but past a certain point IQ becomes redundant.

To illustrate an example of redundancy imagine if there were a chess playing supercomputer that could calculate many billions of moves per second, but isn't exactly perfect. Now, imagine this supercomputer playing against God (I personally don't believe in gods/God but is perfect for the example), who is omnipotent. God's omnipotence would be redundant in such a chess match, resulting in a draw for every game. He would have to resort to cheating, such as artificially reducing the computer's playing strength, so we could plug in the condition of God not resorting to such. Certain fields only require only a certain %ile; nothing above it would contribute any meaningful aptitude.

Exeter has a drug problem among some of its students because many cannot handle the more difficult coursework.

I will also mention that there are a few students at Exeter (and other schools) who come from a poor background, and these non-legacies have passed the SSATs, interviews, and essays to earn their spots in addition to having all of their tuition paid for, which is why criticizing a legacy system is short-sighted. Exeter's $1 billion dollar endowment in part goes to help qualified financially disadvantaged students. The legacy students and their families contribute via private donations to its endowment, and legacies also enrich campus life. The school itself also has far more resources in the form of state of the art technology and learning facilities, among these are an actual skeleton of a whale, an art gallery, an observatory, and numerous squash courts, so one doesn't just accrue social capital, but objectified and after graduation institutionalized cultural capital too.

"This partly explains why the East Coat Establishment still exists and holds the power still in the USA. Not to mention, if people wanted to be really technical the real elites go to the UK."

Or Switzerland. Still, one can speculate how much of the American elite want to and do send their children to Eton (or any other Oxbridge feeder) and afterwards Oxbridge.

"You just keep thinking that." - Alex


Remember we're talking about disappointment here not employment opportunities or status. I don't doubt that these people have numerous advantages over others but often it's hard to match the outstanding success in the first half of one's life vs the tedious grind of the second half. I don't think it's crazy to say some people plateau early.

"how skint are you that you cant pay for your kids to go to a better school?"

Tuition at Sidwell Friends is $32K a year (paid, of course, in after-tax income). For two kids, that's totally out of reach for anyone who is not making serious coin, especially because it's not cheap to live in the Washington DC area.

My guess would be that anyone making under $250K couldn't even consider two kids at Sidwell Friends, and there are plenty of people in the DC area who aren't exactly "skint" who couldn't afford this.

"And how skint are you that you cant pay for your kids to go to a better school?"

I think you're assuming that any private school is better than any public school, and that simply isn't true. The private schools HS mentions in this post are outliers. There are a number of private schools in my area, including some very expensive ones. The parents of the children there are no more elite than I am, and graduates of those schools don't get into better universities than graduates of our local public schools and, more importantly, aren't any better "connected". If you can get your kid into someplace on HS' list, or Sidwell or something comparable, yes, private school is worth it. But outside of those examples, if you move to an area with a high median household income populated almost exclusively by college graduates, it's unlikely the private schools in your area are any better than public.

"Mainly because I wouldn't want my children to be the only Jews in town"

I can respect that, though I think you'd be surprised. Also, my experience has been that there's far less prejudice against Jews in the western part of this country than in the east. It's hard to describe the difference, but my take would be that in the west, Jews are considered white people who just go to a different church, whereas in the east, they're considered an ethnic group.

"I can respect that, though I think you'd be surprised. Also, my experience has been that there's far less prejudice against Jews in the western part of this country than in the east"

I'm not that concerned about prejudice, it's more a matter of feeling comfortable with who you are. In the area I live, nobody feels different for not having a Christmas tree in their house. It's the Christian kids who feel left out because they don't get to have bar mitzvahs.

"Also, my experience has been that there's far less prejudice against Jews in the western part of this country than in the east. It's hard to describe the difference, but my take would be that in the west, Jews are considered white people who just go to a different church, whereas in the east, they're considered an ethnic group."

Similar attitudes can apply with different groups too. The Connecticut city where I grew up had (and has) a substantial number of Albanian Muslims, albeit quite secularized. When I was young they were just another European ethnic group. The Puerto Ricans in town were considered *much* more different. Today, with all the Clash of Civilizations and World Conquest paranoia, attitudes are nothing at all like they used to be.

Even the WSJ high school list has some debatables, especially near the bottom. I noted a competitor private school to the one I attended on the list. However, the school I attended in my mid-sized native city was much older, better connected to the blue-blooded elite, and had an endowment at least an order of magnitude larger when I was there.

Obviously not all private schools are better than public, for example Boston Latin, even though that school should be private.

It is the same idiotic argument that public universities are equally or better than private, even though there are exceptions, generally speaking the vast majority of private are better than public schools.

Reasons include better faculty, institutions and social connections. By providing better access these elite institutions will nurture and promote a well rounded education and provide access to skills that are valued more for private school elite admissions. Also private school faculty will be better educated and hence more likely to have legacy connections and ability to write well for recommendations. Many elite universities will start judging the applicant simply by comparing that student to other student from that school, which further benefits and keeps the elite factory like nature of private schools.

"It's the Christian kids who feel left out because they don't get to have bar mitzvahs."

In my day Christian kids felt jealous because they didn't get to sit around the house watching TV like the Jewish kids on the so-called "Jewish holidays". And then the Jewish kids got the Christian holidays off, as well - so unfair!

OT:
You should check out this link Half Sigma. It extends in a half-sarcastic way some of the things you've been talking about recently w/r/t the economy and value transference.

http://www.salon.com/news/us_economy/index.html?story=/news/feature/2010/07/27/american_people_obsolete

"I think you're assuming that any private school is better than any public school, and that simply isn't true."

Its implicit when Ernest Scribbler writes:
"I'll never pay for my kids to go to private school."

he isnt even considering the quality issue.


In any city the best schools are probably private.

Could their be better publics? Sure there could be. And maybe you and your kid have a different idea of what "best" means.

But why the hell are you cheapening out on something that is presumably valuable to your family? Just having your kid in an atmosphere where they will be surrounded by other people who care about their kids' educations will rub off.

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