Thursday, June 11, 2009

MCPS Schools Score High in Newsweek Ranking

I would guess that the biggest reason people move to Montgomery County, Maryland -- our home turf -- is the schools. You're starting a family, you want your children to have every advantage, you shop around for a good place to live, and you pick our suburban DC county.

Every year, Newsweek is brave enough to face the daunting challenge of identifying the best schools in the country and ranking them. Our schools came out at the top of the heap.

From an MCPS press release dated June 9:
Newsweek magazine has ranked four Montgomery County public high schools in the top 100 high schools in the nation. All of the county's eligible schools are counted among the top 3.5 percent in the country, according to the Newsweek list released on the Internet today.

The four top high schools and their rankings are:

Richard Montgomery—38
Bethesda-Chevy Chase—55
Thomas S. Wootton—58
Winston Churchill—94

Rounding out the top 110 schools are Walt Whitman—104 and Walter Johnson—109. Newsweek Ranks Four MCPS High Schools in the Top 100 in the Nation

There is the obligatory self-congratulation ... Some stuff about test scores etcetera ... and the rest of MCPS schools in the rankings.
Newsweek uses the "Challenge Index," which has been featured for the past several years in The Washington Post, as a way to measure the rigor of a high school academic program. The index, developed by Jay Mathews, is derived from the number of AP or IB tests taken by all students at a school divided by the number of graduating seniors.

Newsweek's Rankings of Montgomery County Schools Among the Top U.S. High Schools*

High School and 2009 Rank
Richard Montgomery -- 38
Bethesda-Chevy Chase -- 55
Thomas Wootton -- 58
Winston Churchill -- 94
Walt Whitman -- 104
Walter Johnson -- 109
Rockville -- 209
Montgomery Blair -- 287
Quince Orchard -- 294
Albert Einstein -- 295
Poolesville -- 305
Springbrook -- 324
Paint Branch -- 332
James Hubert Blake -- 381
Watkins Mill -- 391
Sherwood -- 393
Col. Zadok Magruder -- 479
Northwest -- 502
Damascus -- 577
John F. Kennedy -- 616
Wheaton -- 657
Seneca Valley -- 674
Gaithersburg -- 847

* The rankings are based on the Challenge Index. This list excludes Northwood High School and Clarksburg High School because they are considered new and developing schools by the Challenge Index author.

You can see the whole list of the Top 1500 schools HERE.

I don't know how many high schools there are in the country, but I see a reasonable-looking web site that says there were 18,435 of them in 2004. The Montgomery County Public Schools web site lists twenty-six high schools. Of these, twenty-three were eligibale for ranking, and all twenty-three were ranked in the top 1,000 in the country.

Two county high schools were not considered for the ranking because they're new. These were Clarksburg and Northwood. The only other one that didn't make the Top 1000 is Thomas Edison. It's full name is "Thomas Edison High School of Technology" and is more of a continuing education school that does not seem to offer IB and AP programs and so would not have met the criteria for ranking.

It is fine to complain about things in the public schools, and of course all of us do, but it is appropriate to take a minute here and realize that we really do have one of the best school districts in the nation.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

the "challenge index" is devised by the mentally challenged

just giving more AP tests doesn't increase quality by itself

AP tests vary in quality from school to school and, even, teacher to teacher

many of the nations schools have stopped giving AP exams all together

one example is Thomas Jefferson School of Technology in Northern Virginia which is widely regarded as the best public school in America

June 11, 2009 6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

word is out that Miss California was fired becuase she gave out medals at the Special Olympics without Donald Trump's permission.

then there's this:

"Chastity Bono, civil rights advocate, journalist, author and musician, is in the early stages of changing his gender -- transitioning from female to male.

Bono, the child of legendary entertainers Sonny and Cher, began the process earlier this year, shortly after his 40th birthday.

"Yes, it's true -- Chaz, after many years of consideration, has made the courageous decision to honor his true identity," confirmed Bono's publicist, Howard Bragman.

"He is proud of his decision and grateful for the support and respect that has already been shown by his loved ones. It is Chaz's hope that his choice to transition will open the hearts and minds of the public regarding this issue"

June 11, 2009 7:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always liked David Letterman's edginess. Letterman's off-beat, cynical humor was always appealing.

But let's be honest; his remarks about Sarah Palin and her daughter were stunningly inappropriate.

Moreover, they represent a sort of misogynistic tendency that media elites have come to embrace -- at least, when it comes to conservative women.

During his Tuesday monologue, Letterman mentioned that last year's GOP vice presidential nominee was in New York, and had attended a Yankees game with her daughter.

"During the seventh inning,'' he said, "her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez."

Palin had taken her 14-year-old daughter Willow to the game.

Letterman's comments were interesting because of the hypocrisy regarding the lack of widespread outrage.

Both sides get beaten up in this business, but over-zealous attackers tend to get a pass when their victims are conservatives.

That's not the case when the victim is a liberal.

For example, back in 2008, when MSNBC's David Shuster made a passing comment about the Clintons "pimping out" Chelsea, you would have thought he had committed an unpardonable sin.

Conversely, Letterman did not merely use a clumsy analogy to spice up a political conversation -- he crudely and intentionally attacked Palin and her daughter.

Yet, while Shuster was under intense pressure to apologize, relatively few outside voices have criticized Letterman.

With a few exceptions, most of the criticism has come from the Palins themselves, or from conservative bloggers.

Shuster apologized; Letterman won't.

The message is simple: Attacking Hillary and Chelsea was off limits, but attacking a conservative woman is just fine.

Let's be intellectually honest: If you think Shuster's line was outrageous, shouldn't you be equally outraged by Letterman's disturbing "comedy" routine?

Or do you think it's okay to mock Palin because she's a conservative?

June 11, 2009 9:28 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Chelsea Clinton managed to graduate from both high school and college without ending up pregnant with an unplanned pregnancy that was paraded on stage at the Republican National Convention. Unlike the Palins, the Clintons asked the media for privacy for Chelsea from Day 1. The Palins embraced publicity for their unwed pregnant daughter, and Sarah even horned in on Bristol's "On the Record" interview with FOX News' Greta Van Susteren.

In contrast to how the Palin's used their daughter as a poster child for abstinence to stoke the GOP base, we should all remember this:

16 Candles for Chelsea
By Roxanne Roberts
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 27, 1996; Page D01

She's sweet, she's 16, and she's the only child of the president of the United States.

But don't hold your breath waiting for Chelsea Clinton to blow out her candles in front of the media, or coyly flash a driver's license, or celebrate her birthday today with any public fanfare. There will be a private party, of course, but no interviews, no pictures and no details about the first teenager.

"It's the request of the president and Mrs. Clinton that Chelsea be allowed to have as normal a childhood as possible while living at the White House," said Neel Lattimore, the first lady's spokesman.

And, remarkably, she has.

For the past three years, Chelsea has gone to school, church, parties and, yes, even on dates without the white-hot spotlight following her every move. The Clintons made Chelsea's life a top priority when they arrived in Washington, and even their loudest detractors concede that they are careful, loving parents.

The president, whose own father died before he was born, tries to have breakfast with her almost every morning; her mother interrupts her schedule to chat when Chelsea arrives home from school; and the family has dinner together most nights. But they have steadfastly refused to allow Chelsea into the public eye as proof of their "family values." The media, in turn, have adopted a protective, hands-off policy toward Chelsea.

As a result, Chelsea has blossomed, by all accounts, into a smart, charming, funny, normal 16-year-old. Which is pretty extraordinary, given the circumstances.

Shortly before last month's State of the Union address, Chelsea asked her parents if she could attend the speech in person. They said yes -- and so she called the president's secretary to see if there were any tickets left. She found a seat -- right next to her mother. (Well, there are some perks to being the president's kid.)

It was a rare appearance before the cameras, one carefully watched by Charles Figley, a psychologist at Florida State University who studies famous families.

"There is very little to know about her, and I think that's a positive: Kids this age are tremendously private," says Figley. "It basically means that her parents are allowing her to be a teenager. She has her own friends and her own world apart from them."...

Unlike the Clintons who worked diligently to shield their daughter from the press, the Palins and the GOP decided to use Bristol's teenage pregnancy to publicly appeal to their base by making her a public figure at their nominating convention. If politicians want to protect their kids from comedians, they should ask for privacy for their kids like the Clintons did for Chelsea, instead of offering them to the media for interviews on FOX News like the Palins did for Bristol.

June 12, 2009 8:04 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Congratulations to MCPS for its stellar standing in the nation among all other public school systems. Thank you to Dr. Weast and every member of the Board of Education for your hard work on behalf of our children.

June 12, 2009 8:06 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

"AP tests vary in quality from school to school and, even, teacher to teacher."

Do you mean scores on the AP tests? Or the rigor of the classes? Because the tests themselves are national standardized tests adminstered and scored by the College Boards.

June 12, 2009 11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm talking about the classes, Robert.

I know a couple of years ago the AP teachers had to start getting their curriculum approved by the College Board but it's not a rigorous process.

If the challenge index was based on number of kids who passed the test, it might be a valid indicator but justing offering a course and calling AP doesn't mean much.

Kind of like Bea's last post.

June 12, 2009 2:26 PM  
Anonymous lightning rod said...

"Chelsea Clinton managed to graduate from both high school and college without ending up pregnant with an unplanned pregnancy"

Chelsea went to an expensive private school and, like Obama, Clinton wouldn't gamble his daugter's future on D.C. area public schools.

Palin took a chance with public school and their valueless sex ed and lowest-common-denominator academics.

Clinton was smart to reject public schooling. Palin made a mistake.

Doesn't excuse Letterman whose conduct in this matter has been rejected by responsible Americans.

Unsurpisingly, Bea supports unfair attacks on the children of conservative women.

June 12, 2009 2:33 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

That's quite a bit of twisted pretzel logic there, Rod. Following your logic we can say that you think attending public school causes unplanned teen pregnancy.

June 12, 2009 2:57 PM  
Anonymous lightning rod said...

your reading of the logic is what's twisted, Anon-Bea

let's take another at your topsy-turvy example

"Chelsea Clinton managed to graduate from both high school and college without ending up pregnant with an unplanned pregnancy"

not to cast aspersions on Chelsea's character but comparing her experience with Bristol's is a little unfair, isn't it?

after all, if a Secret Service agent was following Bristol around everywhere she went, she'd hardly have a chance to do anything that might lead to pregnancy

Amy Carter and George Bush's daughters didn't get pregnant

from Anon-Bea's reaction, we again see the terror Palin strikes in the heart of the lunatic left

the fear leads to think they must every opportunity, no matter how petty, to stop Palin

to the loonie:

all is fair in Palin-bashing

June 12, 2009 8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Controversy arose when MSNBC’s David Shuster said that Chelsea was being “pimped out” by her parents for the campaign. Shuster was later suspended for his remarks."

Let's remember this guy was suspended when he made this remark a 27-year-old woman who was working in a public campaign, not a teen.

And, somehow, Letterman sits there yukking it up.

June 12, 2009 8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's a double standard, right there

June 12, 2009 8:44 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

You've got to be kidding! Do you hold journalists and late night talk show comedians to the same standard? The standards for each profession are very different. Shuster is a news anchor and expected to be impartial. Letterman is a comedian, a late night talk show host who doesn't have to be impartial when he tells a joke.

June 13, 2009 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's not a matter of impartiality, it's a matter of decency

Letterman was engaging in Aunt Bea-ism at its most vile level

June 13, 2009 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mother used to tell me that when you point a finger at someone else, three of your fingers are pointing back to yourself. Your never-ceasing personal vendetta, stupid characterizations, and just plain rudness directed at Aunt Bea are growing EXRTRMELY TIRESOME! Take a look in a mirror sometime - do you think you are going to like the image of hatred staring back at you?

June 13, 2009 11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe you're right, Athena

Anon-Bea is actually not the most obnoxious commenter here

sometimes she almost makes sense, in contrast to Priya and improv

btw, who's your mother, Aphrodite?

June 13, 2009 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes..."Anonymous"...a true Goddess of Love. And who are you? The spawn of the Devil??

June 13, 2009 7:20 PM  
Anonymous lightning rod said...

"Unlike the Clintons who worked diligently to shield their daughter from the press, the Palins and the GOP decided to use Bristol's teenage pregnancy to publicly appeal to their base by making her a public figure at their nominating convention."

The Palin's were not trying to "use Bristol's teenage pregnancy to publicly appeal to their base". Her base is actually opposed to unwed teen pregnancy.

What Palin did was support her daughter in the face of a media onslaught.

All the candidates have their families attend their conventions. Palin also took her kids along on the campaign trail rather than leaving them sitting in Alaska while she travelled the country.

What she demonstrated, as she does every day in the Alaska governor's mansion, is that women needn't have to choose between their families and their careers.

Her base supported her commitment to her family.

In typical Anon-Beaism, the above comment assumes that if a candidate for office allows her family to talk to the press, they should be expected to endure lewd and inappropriate comments from dirty old men.

That's like saying if you allow your daughter to get a summer job, you have no right to object if she's sexually harassed.

I think I speak for all Americans when I say, Anon-Bea is out of her mind.

June 14, 2009 8:52 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Oh yeah, that's me, out of my mind because I hold journalists and comedians to different standards. (eye roll) And you and your incessant personal attacks on me (not my reasoning) shows everybody how perfectly sane and rational you are not. Keep working at being rational, you're bound to get it right sooner or later.

I speak for myself when I point out that Flash might actually believe what he said, which is "I speak for all Americans."

No, Flash, I don't think you speak for anyone but yourself. Maybe you speak for a very small minority of Americans who believe like your "secret santa" alter ego did, that there will be a "President Huckabee" [who might actually] "nominates Bush for the next Supreme Court vacancy." December 20, 2007 11:47 AM

Fact Check:

The number of Americans you speak for, that is the number of Americans who voted for Huckabee for President is zero, absolutely nobody.

June 14, 2009 1:15 PM  
Anonymous lightning rod said...

notice that Anon-Bea, the eye-roller, cited no polls about the Letterman-Palin dispute

Americans are sick and tired of these comedians that show no restraint

oh so terrible are my "incessant personal attacks" and, yet, I'd never, in a million years, say about anyone here what Letterman said about Palin's daughter, much less about any teen girl

and yet Anon-Bea defends Letterman

how can we take Anon-Bea's judgment seriously?

June 14, 2009 3:39 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Oh brother, Sparky. Like you have a leg to stand. You don't.

Letterman said Palin's teenage-mother-daughter got "knocked up." Comparing what you have said for years right here on this blog about LGBT people makes Letterman's bad joke sound like a compliment.

June 14, 2009 4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've got to hand it to you Anon-B

you can shift an argument like a sand dune in the Sahara

we were contrasting your complaint about "incessant personal attacks" on you with your nonchalance toward Letterman's sleazy attacks on a 14-year-old girl

the contrast makes you appear hypocritical

sorry, Charlie

June 14, 2009 10:17 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

I haven't shifted a thing. I've said from the beginning that the Palins crave publicity and are willing use their kids to get it. And I also said that Letterman made a bad joke about A-Rod and the daughter who had a baby in high school, and he apologized for it. You are the one who has spun and shifted this conversation to the wrong daughter and from blaming public vs. private schools, Secret Service protection vs. none, to comparing the consequences of journalists' statements to comedians' statements, and then to pointing out I provided no polls while ignoring the fact you provided no polls either. You even managed to lob a few insults at me as if doing so would strengthen your arguments. You spin just like the GOP does as it circles the drain these days.

You and the Palins want to milk publicity out of Letterman's apologized-for-bad-joke and twist him into some sort of "sleazy attack[er of] 14 year old girls" while attempting to make the Palins, with their teenage mother-daughter, seem like the protectors of teen girls by comparison. Good luck with that.

June 15, 2009 9:01 AM  
Anonymous lightning rod said...

thanks for the good wishes, Anon-B

all politicians crave publicity, however

if we're comparing Palin with the Clintons, as you appear to want to do, I think you're not going to convince many

Palin is like a female Ronald Reagan

she has a dedication to some principles and a mission whereas the Clintons, the most embarassing couple to ever occupy 1600 Pennsylavania, appear to be motivated by sheer narcissism

we know you liberals are terrified by Palin but I think if you'll resist reacting in a Pavlovian way, you'll find you won't get yourself into so much rhetorical trouble

Palin is hammering on the principles that she's always believed in

when things go south for Obama, and they will, Palin will look like a prophet who didn't waver to the whims of popular opinion

do you know how much money we borrrowed, in 2009 dollars, in WWII?

3.6 trillion

do you know how much money, in 2009 dollars, Obama is proposing to spend on his social agenda in the next ten years?

9 trillion

this can't end good

June 15, 2009 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Athena emerged fully armed from Zeus' head when Hephaestus split his forehead with a sword to cure a headache.

AP teachers do have to submit a syllabus for approval, and when we get together and talk, the approval process seems fairly arbitrary and mysterious to us.

But Anonymous is correct (Eugepae!), submitting a syllabus and calling a course Advanced doesn't make it rigorous. Teacher, student and administrator standards do that, but naturally not always. I personally think the challenge index is a poor, if not nonsensical, measure of school achievement.

June 15, 2009 2:11 PM  
Anonymous lightning rod said...

I'm with Robert on this one.

June 15, 2009 2:42 PM  

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