How about some good news for the Dallas Independent School District? That would come from today's online edition of The Washington Post, where longtime education columnist Jay Mathews ranks more than 1,900 public high schools across the U.S. -- the first time he's done so for the paper, after 13 years of just looking at the best and worst of what D.C. has to offer. This, incidentally, is the same list Newsweek used to publish -- till, that is, the Post's parent company sold Newsweek. Hence the reason the national list has jumped ship.
The School of Science and Engineering, which came in fourth on last year's Newsweek list, now sits at the top of the list, which Mathews assembles using something he calls the Challenge Index. Which is?
The formula is simple: Divide the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or other college-level tests a school gave in 2010 by the number of graduating seniors. While not a measure of the overall quality of the school, the rating can reveal the level of a high school's commitment to preparing average students for college.
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The TAG Magnet at Townview was tops in 2010; it's fallen all the way to No. 2. Other DISD schools making the best-of list: the Judge Barefoot Sanders Magnet Center For Public Service at Townview (No. 64), the School of Business and Management at Townview (No. 67), the School of Health Professions at Townview (No. 68), the Booker T. Washington School for the Performing and Visual Arts (No. 141), W.T. White (No. 271), Woodrow (No. 588) and Hillcrest (No. 598). And the Cosmos Foundation-operated Harmony Science Academy also makes the list -- at No. 159.