It's tradition by now. Every year, Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews crunches the numbers and comes up with a list of the country's top public schools, and every year Dallas ISD's cohabitating School of Science and Engineering and TAG Magnet are near the top.
This year is no different. Mathews unveiled his 2013 list over the weekend, and there are DISD's flagship magnets once again, with Science/Engineering coming in at No. 2, TAG at No. 3. They are topped only by Oakland's American Indian Public Charter School, which happens to be in danger of shutting down over allegations that its founder misused public funds.
But not everything on this year's list is a repeat. Almost reaching the top this year is the Irma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School, which clocks in at No. 5. Which means that, by the Washington Post's count, DISD has three of the top five high schools in the country.
These lists are of course a bit arbitrary. Mathews' methodology simply involves adding up all the AP, IB, and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year and dividing by the number of graduating seniors. It doesn't matter how well the kids do or how effectively an institution teaches the kids who are less academically advanced, which probably has something to do with why the paper opts for "most challenging" rather than "best" when describing the schools on the list.
Still, it's an impressive showing by DISD and speaks to the success of its magnets. Also making the list from DISD are Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet (95); Booker T. (159); the School of Business and Management (270); W.T. White (307); and Hillcrest (502).
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On the charter school front, Uplift's Peak (24), Williams (28), and Hampton (150) do well, as does Harmony's Science Academy (489).