Dallas ISD Magnets Are Once Again Among the Washington Post's List of Top Public Schools

IrmaRangel.jpg
DISD
Irma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School
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).

On the charter school front, Uplift's Peak (24), Williams (28), and Hampton (150) do well, as does Harmony's Science Academy (489).


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16 comments
pleaseohpls
pleaseohpls

Oh no Woodrow is not in the list. Lakewood is so behind in bragging rights now. Why oh why??

exdallased
exdallased

Townview SEM kids are being robbed of a quality education.  They will take a test in May along with every other APWH student in the nation and they will not have been given any type of instruction other than a daily powerpoint.  No textbooks sent home, no readings, no outside resources.  Nothing.  Oh wait.  The critical essays that all APWH students learn to write to analyze history?  They finally learn them this Saturday along with other magnet schools including Booker T.  The APWH College Board test is in three weeks.  Parents, is this course certified by the College Board?  Your child will take a test to improve the % of students taking the test in order to get a great number in a magazine.  They aren't prepared, they haven't been taught and all have been robbed.

DumbMiles
DumbMiles

Woodrow Wilson is not on the list?? So much for being an IB school. I'm sure the Lakewood community is outrage their beloved school is not honored.

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MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

The Bronx School of Science counts 8 Nobel Prize winners among its grads. If it is not very high on your lest, by definition your list is worthless. Can you imagine going to a High School where being considered for or winning a Nobel Prize is not out of reach for a life goal? Dallas does not have any high schools anywhere near that level of excellence. You cannot get any better if you do not know what great really is.

GetADamnedReporter
GetADamnedReporter

Jay Matthews' list, for the most part, is a crock and every education reporter in the nation knows it, except those here in Dallas, of course.

His list doesn't count the number of courses PASSED. TAG and SEM can hold their own there.

Uplift is gaming this list for all it's worth since their actual college attendance and success rates are mediocre or worse at their Dallas charters. Their senior classes are so small and their students take AP classes and tests, so the tiny senior class is divided into the total number of tests taken, NOT PASSED.

Their pass rates are extremely low, but they wind up at the top of the list based on having kids take many tests, having tiny senior classes of less than 40 students, and low pass rates.

Jay Matthews puts every big comprehensive high school in the nation at an extreme disadvantage through using the method of number of AP tests taken, not taking into account the number of low income students, and no counting the tests passed.

Why don't you ask Peak Prep why 80% of the students they sent to community colleges failed the first year and ask them how that makes them a top school in the nation?

Guess something other than cut and paste would be in order.

djlpjr
djlpjr

Cool now what about the rest of the school district?

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Just goes to show what can happen when you have motivated parents; and, children attending school.

Los_Politico
Los_Politico

It's pretty dumb that DISD magnets get included but NOVA and NYC magnets don't.

craj1031tx
craj1031tx

@GetADamnedReporter As a graduate of a school that is now under the uplift umbrella (they took over admin duties in my senior year so I technically graduated under them, but we didn't really see any of their policies in action before we got out), I can attest that many of these statements are accurate. My school, North Hills Preparatory, was routinely ranked as a top high school in the US. This metric, though, really only counts the number of IB and AP test takers as a proportion of the entire senior/upper class, and the schools with the highest proportion are rated as best. It's an understandable metric to use, but doesn't hold too much water - especially when you can consider that many charter schools coerce or outright force students to take AP/IB tests in many situations. I think USNWR also takes into account those students who actually pass these standardized tests, which definitely helps, but I wouldn't say that our schools are the best by a long shot. I don't think a single person in my graduating class of '08 got into an Ivy League school, for instance. A huge problem with these new start up charter schools is that they don't have a lot of history with admissions committees, so those committees are unfamiliar with what a student with an x gpa from a charter school is capable of achieving.  

Guesty
Guesty

@Los_Politico This complaint rings even more true than complaints about whether the rankings measure anything that actually matters.  At least the rankings are consistent in their ineptitude in measuring test taking rather than test passing.  But the inconsistency in how the rankings select which schools are included is mind boggling.  Just because DISD magnets are not quite as competitive as similar schools on the east coast doesn't make DISD magnets more comparable to comprehensive schools.  It simply means that some selective schools are more selective than others.

To the extent it is wise to rake schools at all (I tend to think it is not), I'd favor a ranking of public comprehensive schools (i.e. schools that must take all comers) and a separate ranking of public exclusionary schools (e.g. magnets, certain types of charters, etc.).  Of course, I'd prefer you simply take the average score on college entrance exams as the measuring stick, with a penalty for the number of students not taking the test at all.    

anon
anon

@Los_Politico This is my real problem with the surveys; either include only schools for which entry is assured, or include all schools that are publicly funded with parents paying no tuition (or a very nominal fee). As it stands, no parent in DISD can know with certainty that their kid will be able to attend TAG or another magnet program. I similarly think charters should be excluded. 

Los_Politico
Los_Politico

@craj1031tx @GetADamnedReporter The admissions committees have a pretty good idea. How many kids in your class scored over 1400 on the SAT? What's that? None? Well then I think the Ivy's have a pretty good idea how those 5.0 GPAs stack up in reality.

Los_Politico
Los_Politico

@_mm_  Writing is generally considered supplemental or weighted less. It "doesn't measure aptitude".

_mm_
_mm_

@Los_Politico    Since the top SAT score is 2400, 1400 isn't really all that stellar.

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