July 16, 2010

Congratulations to the Real Bay Area’s Best High Schools!

Congrats to the world famous Real Bay Area high school! Let’s see where they placed this year in the US News and World report rankings!

Let’s look and celebrate the ones in the Top 20!


Uh… Santa Cruz at 19? Well, that’s sort of Bay Area, but not Real Bay Area.

Let’s look and celebrate the ones in the Top 40!


What the heck? Where are they? Maybe we should filter by state. Let’s look at California only:


There we go. Now, sure, you can say that these are 76th, 134th, and 169th ranked nationally… but they are in the Top 10 in California, which means… drumroll… that they are Top 10 in the world!

Let’s take a quick look at our arch nemesis, New York:


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! These must all be lies!

Ok, let’s take a look at our other arch nemesis, New Jersey.


Hah. So it turns out those famous, good, New Jersey schools were just a lie. (This is pretty strange…)

Comments (25) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:32 am

25 Responses to “Congratulations to the Real Bay Area’s Best High Schools!”

  1. maryjane Says:

    I’d like to know more about their methodology. I typed in Lowell HS in SF which is every city mother’s aspirational dream and it didn’t come up at all. Unless it has a new name something’s fishy here.

  2. maryjane Says:

    What about La Jolla High? I remember reading an article about how they sent about 1/4 of their class on to Ivies. Have things changed so much in the last 10 years?

  3. aa Says:

    The results of these studies need to taken with a grain of salt. Depending on the specific metrics used, the results can vary widely.

    For instance, I once saw a study that was largely based on the average number of AP tests taken by students. In school districts that subsidized the fees for these tests, virtually everybody signed up for multiple AP tests, regardless of whether a student was likely to score 5’s or 1’s on them. In other schools, only those students likely to perform well actually sign up for the tests because it costs money.

  4. Gallileo Says:


    That is this very ranking. The methodology is simple:

    1. Count the number of AP tests passed by all students at a given high school.

    2. Divide that number by the number of graduating seniors

    Boom, you are done. It heavily over-weighs AP tests.

    It is painfully, embarrassingly simplistic, easily gamed, rewards schools teaching to tests and penalized schools that don’t go for volume.

    Anyone who uses these rankings for much beyond, “That’s interesting” is a fool.

  5. maryjane Says:

    The methodology says that they counted the number of AP tests give (regardless of outcome) and divided by the number of students. How is this garbage even published? The only high school I’m personally familiar with doesn’t even offer AP courses because they won’t build their courses around just learning the facts of the test. They think it’s more important to teach their students how to think critically, write clearly, explore subjects deeply and instill a lifelong love of learning. It’s a nationally known school that wouldn’t have even made the list. All of their students go on to college and usually about half go to Ivies. When the kids get to college they jump right into junior level classes. Emphasizing AP for the sake of AP strikes me as being deeply ignorant about how to teach our children.

  6. nomadic Says:

    You got it, maryjane. Just more fodder to feed parents’ neuroses.

  7. nomadic Says:

    The top 20 rankings changed since burbed took his screen cap. The new addition:

    12 Science Academy of South Texas Mercedes TX 8.119 43 60

    Did someone over there have a hissy fit?

  8. nomadic Says:

    Never mind. See FAQ page, number 2:

    maryjane: We do not include any magnet or charter high school that draws such a high concentration of top students that its average SAT or ACT score significantly exceeds the highest average for any normal-enrollment school in the country. This year that meant such schools had to have an average SAT score below 1,975 or an average ACT score below 29 to be included on the list.

  9. ES Says:

    I was, uhh, “asked to leave” Lynbrook high after my sophomore year in 94. I have no high school equivalency. I never took the GED, never completed elsewhere. I just went straight to De Anza, and have since gotten an BSEE, and MSEE, and a JD.

  10. maryjane Says:

    The way they decided to rank the schools is just laughable. The title of the list should be’ Top Mediocre Schools that Emphasize Memorization over Learning’.

  11. maryjane Says:

    The worship of AP classes is one of the biggest problems in education today. If your school offers them you have to take them if you’re planning to go to a decent college. The high school will value a B in an AP course as a 4.0, so if you get an A you get a 5.0. You then have B students who think they’re really 4.0 students and a whole bunch of kids with GPA’s around 4.5.

    I know of one child who went to a school that didn’t offer AP courses but got all A’s. When she applied to the UC’s she got back letters telling her to go to a community college for two years and try to reapply. Instead she went to school near Boston. (Ahem) They were familiar with the high school and it’s reputation. Apparently the UC’s either didn’t know or didn’t care. They were so number driven that a 4.0 from one of the most prestigious high schools in the country wasn’t enough to get their attention.

  12. madhaus Says:

    #11: Too many applicants to UC so they probably use spreadsheets to decide who gets to go. If this school across the river from Boston was established in 1636, then they still have a real human being read every application folder.

    The same problem exists with parents who go by state tests and nothing else, leading to drill-and-kill schools like Faria with their occasional 1000 API scores. Or as my eldest puts it, “Monta Vista isn’t ‘the best,’ they just have the best scores. We beat them in just about every sport. And same for Kennedy, their teams suck.”

    #9, did you go straight to de Anza after being encouraged to seek other educational opportunities? My brother asked to do an accelerated program to graduate a year early, something they had let another kid do, and they told him no, you’re doing your senior year and you can graduate then. he said, I’ve already been admitted to Rutgers, bye-bye. They just asked him to take HS English over the summer. Like you, no HS degree, just BSME and MBA.

  13. madhaus Says:

    Here’s a few schools often mentioned on burbed.

    134 – Gunn HS, Palo Alto

    217 – Lynbrook HS, San Jose (Fremont Union)
    249 – Monta Vista HS, Cupertino
    321 – Saratoga HS, Saratoga
    408 – Mountain View HS, Mountain View
    444 – Palo Alto HS, Palo Alto
    552 – Los Altos HS, Los Altos
    623 – Cupertino HS, Cupertino
    646 – Los Gatos HS, Los Gatos
    771 – Homestead HS, Cupertino
    1076 – Pioneer HS, San Jose
    1475 – Fremont HS, Sunnyvale

    Wow, Paly is just DEATH on Chinese-American families.

  14. Real Estater Says:

    Paly has a more well-rounded program than Gunn. If you want your kid to be a engineer, Gunn is the place. If you want your kid to run a company, Paly is where you want to be.

  15. nomadic Says:

    huh. If I had a kid, I’d want them to decide for his or herself what they want to do with their life. There’s that whole self-actualization thing again.

  16. DreamT Says:

    If I want my kid to run a company, I’ll certainly not leave it up to a high school 🙂

  17. Real Estater Says:


    Try applying to college without high school.

  18. Real Estater Says:


    Why don’t you hold your comment until you have a kid?

  19. DreamT Says:

    #17 – .. I wouldn’t leave it up to a college either. The qualities required to enjoy running a company are not acquired at school, but at home. The school will merely help the kid run the company successfully.

  20. madhaus Says:

    Try applying to college without high school.

    #17, meet #9, and #12’s brother. It can indeed be done without a HS degree. Are you seriously suggesting there are people who don’t go to HS at all because they don’t live in Palo Alto?

  21. SEA Says:

    Real Estater- “Why don’t you hold your comment until you have a kid?”

    And how many kids to you have?

  22. Pralay Says:

    If you want your kid to run a company, Paly is where you want to be.

    How many of them are running companies? Has Paly started making Jobs/Brin/Page/Zuckerberg clones “like sausages”?

  23. Pralay Says:

    And how many kids to you have?

    Don’t question a “high scorer” rabbit.

  24. Alex Says:

    If I want my kid to run a company, I’ll teach him how to abuse dumb-dumbs like Faux Estater and screw people by banging his wife.

    Wait. That’s my lesson plan for becoming a politician.

  25. cardinal2007 Says:

    Those are the Newsweek Rankings, US News is at http://www.usnews.com/articles/education/high-schools/2009/12/09/americas-best-high-schools-gold-medal-list.html

    Newsweek doesn’t list my high school in the rankings because there is an entrance exam, I’m guessing it is the same deal for Lowell.

    I’m kind of critical of both particularly Newsweek since all they do is take the number of AP exams taken and divide it by the number of graduating seniors. It doesn’t matter how well students do on the AP exam, this in part has lead to some school districts to jam AP courses regardless of how appropriate it is.

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