U.S. News & World Reports has released its best high school rankings for 2014, along with the best STEM high schools in a separate list. The rankings were compiled based on nearly 5,000 high schools across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. There are also separate rankings for the best charter and magnet schools.
The top five high schools overall were:
- School for the Talented and Gifted (Dallas, Texas)
- BASIS Scottsdale (Arizona)
- Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology Magnet (Lawrenceville, Georgia)
- Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (Alexandria, Virginia)
- BASIS Tucson North (Arizona)
If you notice, the top-ranked overall schools all involve STEM learning in some way. You don't see any neighborhood or district schools on that list, and no performing arts schools either. Those schools do appear throughout the rest of the list, but just looking at these top 5 is very telling when it comes to the what people perceive to be "good" schools.
It's no secret that STEM learning is an educational priority, and the job market reflects it. These rankings show that not only are educators and policymakers putting more stress on STEM subjects, so are outside unbiased entities like this publication. In other words, STEM learning is valued and seen as the present, and future, of education.
Academics aside, I'd like to see a rankings list for school environments and student services too. What schools have the most to offer for students who may be struggling with subjects or disabilities? Where are the bullying rates the lowest? I suppose these things are harder to measure than academics and graduation rates, but it would still provide a better snapshot of what students will experience at each.