Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Charter School of Wilmington is Delaware's top-ranked high school, according to Newsweek...

... but only rates as number 172 in the nation.

Cab Calloway ranks number 429.

AI DuPont ranks number 641.

Mount Pleasant ranks number 647.

Dover HS ranks number 874.

Concord HS ranks number 1,373.

That's it. Out of the top 1,500 high schools in the nation, Delaware only managed to place six schools: none in the top 100, one charter in the top 200, two in the top 500...

Yet Delaware public school expenditures per pupil are among the highest in the nation (usually ranking around sixth highest in the country), at over $11,600/student.

You have to ask yourself exactly what we are paying for.


Hube said...

Hmm... not arguing the cost/pupil expenditure point as a whole, but let's see ... how many high schools does DE have? Now, how many are in the rest of the nation? We have six in the top 1500. How's that figure out per capita (if that's the right term) when compared to other states (also taking their total pop. into account)?

Anonymous said...

Hube's asking the right question. Those stats are meaningless for making comparisons to other states unless populations and number of high schools in each state are compared.


Steven H. Newton said...

The stats are not conclusive, but they are certainly not meaningless.

The lack of correlation between per pupil spending and student achievement in Delaware is a legitimate question to raise in light of these results.

Anonymous said...

Delaware has 32 public high schools. That means 19% of our public high schools are ranked in the top 1500.

One estimate I found was that there are 7393 public high schools in the US, so the top 1500 represent the top 20% of public high schools.

Therefore, 19% of Delaware public high schools are ranked in the top 20 percent nationwide.


Anonymous said...

Steve wrote:

"The lack of correlation between per pupil spending and student achievement in Delaware is a legitimate question to raise in light of these results."

It is a very legitimate question but it can only be answered if you have benchmarks to use for comparison.

In the analysis above, we have the same number of schools in the top 20% as one would expect to find if the distribution was totally random nationwide.


Hube said...

Therefore, 19% of Delaware public high schools are ranked in the top 20 percent nationwide.

Thanks for doing the math, A1.

19% of our schools so ranked sounds pretty good to me. My statement would mean even more if I knew what the other 49 states could claim.

Anonymous said...

No problem, Hube.

The only thing is that if we were doing better than average, we should probably have more than 6 schools in the top 20%. (That is why I mentioned that a random distribution would give us the same result.)

However, because we are only looking at 20% of the curve, we still can't say how well we are doing relative to the rest of the distribution (the other 80%).

For example, if the rest of our schools were in the top 50%, we could say we were doing better than average. If most were below, we'd have to say we were doing very poorly, in spite of having 19% in the top 20%.

It really comes down to seeing the whole picture (nationally and locally) before we can make definitive conclusions.

Make sense?


Hube said...

Sure does, A1. Thanks again.

Delaware Watch said...

Funny how the same fact can say 2 different things to people.

After cherry picking their students for academic excellence, the charter school of Wilmington's 170-something placement is rather disappointing, I think. Perhaps if they spent more money on educating the students, they would make the top 50 in the nation.

Anonymous said...

You also have to understand the newsweek criteria. it is based on AP, IB, college credit classes. Ask anyone in the Brandywine School District if Mt. Pleasant is the best high school and you will get a resounding NO. But they have the states only high school IB program. They also have some of the states highest drope out, violent crime and drug offenses in the state. They also have one of the highest choice outpercentages in the state. Does that make it a Top 1000 school?

Anonymous said...

Like the poster above me stated this is just one rating/ranking system and as we all know they never portray a whole, complete, and unbiased picture. For example the U.S. News and World Report ranking put the Charter School of Wilmington at #49, the 10th best Charter School in the country. If anything these ratings are here to give recognition to schools with programs where students test well and just as with college rankings, the top ranked schools aren't always better and it does not mean that schools not in the top bracket are bad.