Being in one of the top public high schools is a very prestigious honor that all high schools across the country seek to attain. It provides a number of great benefits. First of all an increase in funding across the board and secondly it attracts more of the same audience, intelligent students.
During the current financial crisis, secondary education has become a challenging area. There are many schools that have had severe funding issues from state or federal areas and with the No Child Left Behind mandates, it has become difficult for schools located in more economically struggling areas to have their students graduate successfully passing the exit exam.
The criteria have been updated for a high school to become known as a top public high school. There are six components that comprise of the award, and while they are a bit too long to be included in this article, they can easily be accessed through a quick and simple Google search.
As you can see, the majority of these criteria would be struggled to achieve in poorer areas since being able to take AP courses requires more time at home studying, and also an increase in costs to actually take the course since most of them will require further, usually more expensive books and materials to take it. Many poorer areas will not have their young adult attend college because they simply cannot afford it and they go straight into the work force to help pay for family expenses. In addition to this, the poorer schools may simply not even offer a wide variety of AP courses because of a lack of funding, teaching expenses, or even simply down to a lack of demand.
It is no surprise that the top 20 of the public high schools in the nations subsidized lunch are amount the lowest levels, most of which are averaging only 10% compared to the poorer schools with a much, much higher percentage.
Many are unaware, but some of the top high schools actually have an entrance exam. At the Bronx High school of Science, Brooklyn Technical High School and Stuyvesant High school in New York, named some of the top public high schools, there has been a slow decline in the number of African American and Hispanic admission rates. The schools have not changed the process to which to allow entrants into the program, but they believe that the low-income students have progressively found it more difficult to keep up with middle-class families when it comes to preparation for high school.
When it comes to other categories that have been tracked, the SAT scores are very obviously higher in the higher ranked top public high schools along with the percentage of teachers with 10+ years experience. This does not necessarily always mean that this proves teachers with greater experience provide a better education – you must take into the fact that teachers want to get a job in the best performing school for both their job happiness and more than likely a better annual salary. Therefore, it is twofold when it comes down to it. Graduation rates in the top schools are extremely high – some peaking at 97%.
When it comes down to choosing a school from one listed on the Top Public High Schools, remember that the lists are often quite small and differences between each school may be very small. The main thing you can look to do is find a good quality school that is on the list that is close to you and is convenient. If you have to drive an extra 15mins every day to take your child to school or to attend extra-curricular activities, it may cause distress leading to a worse education than picking a school closer to home.