Teacher-Turned-Author Questions How Dallas Landed Two Schools at Top of Newsweek List

Newsweek has yet again released its list of the top 1,500 public high schools in the U.S. -- and Dallas, with six on the list, has dropped one from the '08 scorecard: poor ol' Hillcrest High School, which last year came in at No. 547, dang. The School for the Talented and Gifted at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center and the School of Science and Engineering at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center are back in their '07 slots -- at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. Rounding out the list: Highland Park (at No. 23), W.T. White (No. 171), Woodrow Wilson (No. 637) and Lake Highland (No. 707).

But this just-posted Huffington Post piece by The Great Expectations School: A Rookie Year in the New Blackboard Jungle author Dan Brown echoes past comments made by Friends of Unfair Park concerning the validity of the entire list. Brown begins in Dallas:

The formula, devised by Washington Post writer Jay Mathews, is a simple division of the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Cambridge exams taken by students at the school by the number of graduating seniors. Essentially, the more students that take AP tests, the higher the school's score on the "Challenge Index." The top two schools, both located in Dallas, somehow have about 15 or more AP exams taken per graduating senior.
Update: A Friend of Unfair Park reminds that Josh Benton wrote a similar piece for The Dallas Morning News in '07. Alas, says said Friend, "On this criteria, TAG and SEM are No. 1 and  No. 2 respectively. We should all be happy that they are right here in Dallas."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky