Non-Traditional Schools Get High Marks
Special Report - December 15, 2009
Two North Carolina schools ranked in the top 25 public high schools in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2010 “America’s Best High Schools” report released last week. The Early College at Guilford in Greensboro ranked number 18 and Raleigh Charter High School came in at number 24. Overall, North Carolina ranked number 19 in the country with 44 of the state’s 440 schools earning a bronze, silver, or gold medal.
The rankings are based on how well the 9-12 high schools serve all students, regardless of demographics, and what kind of measurable academic success is seen across the student body. School Evaluation Services analyzed 2007-2008 data from 21,786 public high schools in 48 states and the District of Columbia. State proficiency standards served as benchmarks. Schools were compared on test performance and college readiness. Test performance was determined by reading and math results with consideration given to the percentage and compared test results of black, Hispanic, and low-income students. College readiness scores used Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate test data including the participation rate among seniors and the passage rate of the associated exams. The top 100 school scores were ranked numerically, followed by 461 silver medals, 1,189 bronze medals, and 27 honorable mentions.
The Early College at Guilford, which enrolls 191 students through a merit-based admissions procedure, scored a 95.4 percent on college readiness, due in large part to 100 percent participation among seniors in AP courses, and a 92 percent passage rate. Raleigh Charter High School, which enrolls 528 students through a lottery application process, scored 91.2 percent on college readiness with 99.1 percent of students who take AP courses passing them.
Among the 100 gold medal schools in the country, 16 are Charter schools and 22 are Magnet schools. Forty-eight employ a selective admissions criteria, while 19 admit through lotteries and 33 have open admission. Among the 461 silver medal schools, 41 are Charters and 69 are Magnets. Over 100 have selective admissions, while 80 use a lottery process and 375 are open. Seventy-two of the 1,189 bronze medal schools are Charters and 39 are Magnets. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, VA ranked number one in the country, while Connecticut ranked number one among the states.
“The only two schools from North Carolina to be recognized in the top 1,800 schools in the nation are non-traditional in nature,” said Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “Raleigh Charter consistently receives national recognition for its quality of education. Let’s hope that the example of the Early College at Guilford and Raleigh Charter, in receiving yet another commendable achievement, will spur the education leaders in this state to take the chains off choice in education in North Carolina by removing the decade-old cap on charter schools, and empowering parents to be able to choose the best educational environment for their children.”
Copyright © 2009. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.