Huffpost Education

Jeff Horn, Green Valley High School Principal: Errors Rank Nevada School 13th In U.S.

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LAS VEGAS — A principal says his suburban high school outside Las Vegas is great, but probably shouldn't win the title of 13th best in the nation.

Principal Jeff Horn is questioning the data that landed Henderson's Green Valley High School in the company of elite prep schools and specialized technical academies on U.S. News and World Report's "Best High Schools" rankings, released Tuesday.

"I know we do some great things at our school," Horn told The Associated Press. "It was pretty cool to hear that news, but the information it was based on was incorrect."

As first reported by the Las Vegas Sun, the rankings published online show Green Valley has 477 students and 111 teachers, a 4-to-1 ratio. They also show the school has a 100 percent pass rate on the Advanced Placement exam.

Horn said Green Valley actually has 2,850 students and a student-teacher ratio closer to 24-to-1. The school has a 64 percent pass rate on the exam.

Robert Morse, director of data research with U.S. News and World Report, said the publication is aware of the discrepancy.

"We're looking into it," he said.

Morse said the enrollment numbers come from the National Center for Education Statistics' Common Core of Data database. The federal statistics center, run though the U.S. Department of Education, collects and analyzes school data from state and local officials.

The numbers on the Common Core site – which reflect the 2009-10 school year – are the same as those Horn said are wrong.

Officials with the Education Department didn't provide an explanation for the numbers by the close of business Tuesday.

It's unclear where the mistake came from. Horn said the school did not directly provide the data to the publication, and said he noticed what appeared to be skewed enrollment numbers for other southern Nevada high schools.

Clark County School District spokeswoman Melinda Malone denied the information came from her office, pointing to a district report posted online that listed nearly 2,900 students in the school for 2009-10.

Green Valley, which touts a "One of America's Top Public High Schools" award from Newsweek on its website, has a relatively high graduation rate and an "amazing performing arts program," Horn said.

But the new honor, which rocketed Green Valley above nearly 22,000 other schools in the U.S., struck him as obviously wrong.

"Quite frankly, schools that get them are specialized, magnet schools," Horn said. "We've never been rated that high."

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U.S. News Best High Schools 2012 (Top 15)
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Principal: Errors rank Nev. high school 13th in US

Principal: Errors rank Nev. high school 13th in US