Moving Away From Public School Rankings
Our society is made up of near-constant comparisons. We want to know who’s doing better in the polls. We want to know which car gets the best gas mileage. We want to know what team is superior in football, basketball, soccer, baseball and so on. We want to know which town is the most family-friendly, which one has the highest average income, and we want to know what kind of ice cream has the lowest amount of carbs without losing the taste. We even compare our bodies to those on TV and in the movies. Are we thin enough? Is our hair long enough? Do we drive the fastest car; have the biggest house, the nicest lawn? Even newborns are compared to others at birth to determine how good their color is! And of course, we want to know how great the school is that our kids are going to. After all, we rank everything else; why not have public school rankings as well?
Some schools systems, a handful, at best, are moving away from public school rankings or eliminating them altogether. The reasoning behind this is simple. These districts believe, and can prove, that the schools with their boundaries are ALL excellent. Refusing to put public school rankings into use in their districts, these courageous districts are stepping out of the box and simply requiring ALL their schools and students to be the best. No need for public school rankings. To some, this may seem too “namby-pamby”. After all, isn’t being the best part of the “American Way”? Not using public school rankings to determine which school is the best and which is the worst – eliminating comparisons altogether is maverick, indeed.
School systems that have forgone public school rankings have rigorous standards for all their schools. They have certain expectations and goals for their schools, and make sure they are met, year after year, without fail, without regard for public school rankings.
Teachers: Talented teachers who are committed to their professions – and the students – are a must. Districts are striving for a majority of their teachers to hold certification with the National Boards for Professional Teaching Standards.
Curriculum: Designed to meet and exceed state as well as federal guidelines, districts that decline to measure achievement using public school rankings demand excellent programs of study for their students.
Facilities: Because it’s hard to learn in a school infested with mold, out-of-date technology, or buildings in disrepair, these schools that refuse to put together public school rankings are committed to making sure that all school buildings are state-of-the-art.
Students: Students are required to meet and exceed rigorous academic expectations. In these districts that refuse to participate in public school rankings, individual students as well as groups of students are winning recognition, honors and awards in all areas – academic, extracurricular, and athletic – at multiple levels.
While many school systems still rely on public school rankings to determine the successes and failures of their schools, a brave few know that if they expect excellence from all, they are likely to get it – without public school rankings.