NEWSWEEK's 'Best High Schools' list is a misnomer.The news out of the Long Beach Unified School District continues to be bleak. Budget shortfalls have resulted in layoffs, furloughs and cutbacks in programs.
Despite all that, the district is still quite capable of generating good news. Seven of the district's high schools have been named among Newsweek's best. Six of them scored higher than prestigious Los Alamitos High School.
NEWSWEEK's Challenge Index uses a ratio formula to determine which high schools make their 'America's Best' list: "We take the total number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Cambridge (AICE) tests given at a school each year and divide by the number of seniors graduating in May or June."
If a school's average SAT or ACT scores are too high, they don't make the NEWSWEEK 'Best High School' list, which is really just a comparison between two different things (number of tests divided by number of seniors). One test-taker can take multiple AP tests including underclassmen. The NEWSWEEK ranking's ratio is skewed by the quantity of test takers and number of tests taken per test taker. The intent of the high school ranking is to get people talking about equity, not measuring quality.
NEWSWEEK's ranking 'Best High School' list includes a measure called E&E (Equity and Excellence)-- The percent of all seniors who passed an AP or IB test. Ranking doesn't necessarily equate to quality. For example, LBUSD's Wilson High ranked #821 (E&E 31.4%) while LAUSD's Los Alamitos High ranked #1332 (E&E 30%)-- there is not much Equity and Excellence difference percentage wise between these two schools.
ABC UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT:
Cerritos High School, Cerritos -- E & E 58.4%(Rank #181)
ANAHEIM UNIFIED HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT:
Cypress High, Cypress -- E&E 26.9 --(Rank #1,102)
Oxford Academy, Cypress -- E&E 100%--(Rank #11)
LONG BEACH UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT:
Avalon High, Avalon -- E&E 25.9%--(Rank #1,266)
CA Academy of Math & Science, Carson -- E&E 93.7%--(Rank #532)
Lakewood High, Lakewood -- E&E 21.5%--(Rank #1,237)
Millikan High, Long Beach -- E&E 15.8%--(Rank #1,392)
Poly High, Long Beach -- E&E 29.7%--(Rank #997)
Renaissance High, Long Beach -- E&E 24.4%--(Rank #1,127)
Wilson High, Long Beach -- E&E -- 31.4%--(Rank #821)
LOS ALAMITOS UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT:
Los Alamitos High, Los Alamitos -- E&E 30%--(Rank #1332)
America's Best High Schools 2010:
America's Best High Schools: The FAQ: