Tis a sad state of affairs when US NEWS writes: U.S. News looked at thousands of public schools to identify the most outstanding and the methodology used to assess the BEST boils down to three things:

  • performance on state tests
  • comparison of economically disadvantaged students at these schools with others in the state
  • AP and IB courses as a measure of college readiness

I’m nauseated by this type of assessment and more so by the claim, “We analyzed 21,786 public high schools in 48 states plus the District of Columbia” — this takes all of 20 minutes perusing the National Center for Education Statistics.

Please, let’s move beyond merely looking at test scores.  What samples of student work are evaluated?  What civic ventures do the students design and run?  Why are they learning what they learn?  How does their academic performance translate into life purpose and post-graduate ability to pursue their passion in the work-place and within their communities?   What is the point of their education?

I’ll refrain from writing too much more at this time because I’m so disgusted with this propaganda that draws superlative attention to a failing system.  There is so much more to be done, and there are scores of truly great schools doing it.  I’m not just thinking about GCE, which is nascent, but certainly on a path toward helping our students develop as global citizens in addition to their growth as scholars.  I’m thinking about the many schools noted on Edutopia’s list of Schools That Work. Or consider reading Daniel Pink’s, DRIVE, which talks about the NECESSITY of rebuilding schools with a focus on purpose, mastery, and autonomy; he lists a number of schools which demonstrate excellence.

I close with a metaphorical question: is it worth being the “best” even if that means playing a game which short-changes the majority of players, coaches, general managers, owners, and fans?