August 20, 2011

Fremont to Palo Alto, Cupertino: We Rulez, You Droolz!

imageIt’s back to school time, and that means it’s time for another completely arbitrary ranking of our educational institutions!  US News and World Report set loose on our high schools, and have come up with the latest, greatest, most up-to-date rankings… using data from two years ago! (You’re probably valuing your house based on old prices too!) 

We also have the Newsweek numbers, which carry much less weight for two reasons: Newsweek is now just a subsidiary of The Daily Beast, and they don’t have the same concern as US News that a school needs to do well by all its students.  The Newsweek stats are skewed beyond belief toward college readiness, and only college readiness.  So let’s ignore them for now.

The top 100 schools that survived US News’ “three part” testing were given the “Gold Medal” and ranked 1 through 100 based on a “College Readiness Index,” showing how many of their students took AP or IB exams.  A few of these top schools actually scored a perfect 100, which meant every single student took at least one college-level exam.  That Quality Adjusted number is the exams actually passed, as opposed to taken.

imageTwo states couldn’t survive this rigorous data-parsing at all, so all high schools in Nebraska and Oklahoma were thrown into the trash-heap of non-Specialness!  The other 48 states plus the District of Columbia had all their high schools thrown into the Mixmaster of Mystery.  But you don’t care which school had the highest score unless you could consider sending your kids there while holding down your high-paying job at the Googleplex!  So here are the Bay Area schools that got the Gold, and the third-highest school may be a surprise.

Schools within 20 miles of Google are conveniently marked in Bay Area Blue.

Bay Area High Schools on US News & World Reports Gold Medal List

Rank School Name Quality Adjusted exams per test-taker College Readiness Index (CRI) Rank in 2009
7 Pacific Collegiate School
Santa Cruz
4.5 100 3
28 Lowell High School
San Francisco
4.8 89.6 39
36 Mission San Jose HS
3.4 85.0 60
67 Henry M. Gunn HS
Palo Alto
4.9 71.5 74
70 Monta Vista HS
3.5 70.6 73
73 Piedmont HS
3.0 70.2 64
83 Palo Alto HS
Palo Alto
3.2 67.0 Silver (54.0)
86 Campolindo HS
3.1 66.4 Silver (51.8)
89 Miramonte HS
3.2 65.4 Silver (58.9)
93 Saratoga HS
3.7 64.4 80
98 Lynbrook HS
San Jose
3.1 63.3 Silver (58.7)

imageUnfortunately, the Silver and Bronze medal schools aren’t conveniently (I mean meaninglessly) ranked.  But here are the Bay Area also-rans, because I’m sure you’re looking for your kids’ or your own school and wondering if you made this “grade” for the bragging rights.  Silver Medal schools met the same criteria as Gold, they just didn’t score as well on the CRI and thus missed the Top 100.  The cut-off for Silver is a CRI of 20.0.

Bay Area Schools Ranked Silver Medal
(no rankings given, but sorted by CRI)

School Name CRI Poverty Adjusted Performance 2009 Silver Results
Acalanes HS
58.4 1.31 54.0
Redwood HS
58.1 1.22 59.5
Tamalpais HS
Mill Valley
57.0 1.02 49.1
Mountain View HS
Mountain View
54.4 1.08 52.4
Homestead HS
47.9 1.03 39.0
Amador Valley
45.1 1.05 43.1
San Ramon Valley HS
43.8 1.04 39.4
Foothill HS
43.2 1.14 42.6
George Washington HS
San Francisco
37.9 1.05 30.8
Monte Vista HS
35.4 1.21 27.7
Galileo Academy of Science & Technology, San Francisco 30.8 1.09 27.5
Lionel Wilson College Prep (Charter), Oakland 30.1 1.72
California HS
San Ramon
26.5 1.04 28.7

imageAnd I’m sure you noticed who’s missing, too.  Where’s Los Altos High?  Where’s Los Gatos?  Where’s Cupertino?  Go away Fremont, nobody expected you to show up. 

Bronze Medal schools did well on state tests (parts 1 and 2 of their filtering) but not college-readiness (taking and passing AP or IB exams). .

Bay Area Schools Ranked Bronze Medal (no rankings given)

School Name CRI Poverty Adjusted Performance 2009 Bronze?
Alameda Community Learning Center, Alameda N/A 1.24 Yes
Alameda Science & Technology Institute, Alameda N/A 1.53 No
Geyserville Educational Park HS
N/A 1.1 No
Middle College HS
San Pablo
N/A 1.21 Yes
Roseland Charter
Santa Rosa
N/A 1.06 No
Technology HS
Rohnert Park
N/A 1.15 Yes

Honorable Mention schools are the reverse of the Bronzes: they have the college readiness scores but fell down on the state test results.  There are only two California schools with Honorable Mention. Here is the Bay Area entry:

Bay Area Schools with Honorable Mention

School Name CRI Poverty Adjusted Performance 2009 HM?
Summit Preparatory Charter High, Redwood City 83.1 0.85 No

imageThis school may seem familiar to you: it’s the Bay Area charter featured in Waiting for Superman.

So getting back to that surprising Fremont showing, here’s one reason why Mission San Jose blew Monta Vista, Lynbrook, Gunn, and Paly out of the water.  Turns out Useless News and World Distort ranked the schools a lot of different ways.  Here’s one of their rankings that MSJ also did well on.

So, home prices in the Fremont Hills should be higher than Palo Alto or Cupertino?  Why or why not?

Oh, yeah, Newsweek’s Top 500 School list, as if anyone cares.  Not one Cupertino school.  Paly isn’t on the list either.  Or Lowell!  The score is made up of the graduation rate (25%), the matriculation to college rate (25%), AP tests per graduate (25%), average SAT scores (10%), average AP/IB test scores (10%), and AP classes offered (5%).  And note that again, AP tests per graduate, not per test taker.  Riiiiiight.  Because we can’t have kids not going to college in our “best” high schools.

The Newsweek Nonsense of Supposed High School Bestness: Bay Area

Rank School City Stu/Tea ratio grad rate AP/IB tests college bound % Average SAT Newsweek score
42 Henry M. Gunn Palo Alto 28 98 4.1 96 1942 1.072
61 Mission San Jose Fremont 27 99 3.5 94 1958 0.949
83 Piedmont Piedmont 12.5 100 2.2 95 1902 0.811
132 Summit Prep Charter Redwood City 26 94 4.7 100 1610 0.63
184 Analy Sebastopol 38 99 1.3 95 1743 0.535
225 Hillsdale San Mateo 27 100 2.2 99 1578 0.482
244 Mills Millbrae 23.6 96 2.1 94 1696 0.451
250 California San Ramon 30 99 0.8 97 1692 0.443
497 George Washington San Francisco 34 95 1.9 91 1441 0.092

imageHey Newsweek, I hear Paly’s lawyers will be calling you real soon, and both Monta Vista and Lynbrook are going to beat you up behind the gym after PE.  With their 16 inch laptops.

No, I can’t walk home with you, I got band practice.

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:19 am

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

August 14, 2009

Follow up: Jericho High School versus Monta Vista, Cupertino

Hey, the 2009 US News and World Report High School rankings came out!

I figured I’d use this opportunity to follow up on this older entry:

Jericho High School – Competitor to Monta Vista, Cupertino, and Lynbrook? | SF Bay Area Home Price and Mortgage Insanity Blog –

Please read it first for background information on how this eww York (pinches nose) school is trying to beat Monta Vista.

Ok, let’s look at this year’s rankings:

38      Jericho      Jericho      N.Y.
140      Monta Vista      Cupertino      Calif.

Oh cool. The gap has narrowed. Now they are down to just 102 schools versus 127! Now, let’s look at the most important aspect: House prices.

According to Redfin, the median sales price for houses in Cupertino was a healthy $975,000. So let’s take a look at a house near that price:

21675 OLIVE Ave, Cupertino, CA 95014 | MLS# 80919151
21675 OLIVE Ave Cupertino, CA 95014
Price: $979,999

Beds: 3
Baths: 3
Sq. Ft.: 1,628
$/Sq. Ft.: $602
Lot Size: 5,335 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Colonial
Stories: 1
View: Neighborhood
Year Built: 1944
Community: Cupertino
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 80919151
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 106 days

Nice nice nice. $602 per square foot is a bit low, but the lack of interior pics really helps make this house more Real Bay Area. I don’t really see how it is in a cul-de-sac, but let’s just go with it anyway.

Now, let’s look at the challenger: – Long Island Real Estate – Find A Home in Nassau, Suffolk & Queens

Taxes: $15,195

List Price: $935,000

SEC/AREA: West Birchwood
Colonial, Detached, # Families: 1
10.0 rooms, 5 Bedrooms , 2 Full Baths , 1 Half Baths

School District: Jericho
Year Built: 1961

Construction: Vinyl/
Lot Size: 82 X 125 (10250)
Appearance: Mint

Mint Condition Center Hall Expanded Colonial In West Birchwood. Updated Kitchen With Beautiful Wood Cabinetry, Granite Counter Tops, Top Quality Appliances (Bosche,Russel). Kitchen Opens To Den With Floor To Ceiling Brick Fireplace Wall.All New Windows,Pella With Interior Shades Or Marvin.Built In Oak Library.Great Home In Interior Location.Jericho School District.

Unfortunately, New York real estate listings don’t show the square footage of the house, but I’m going to guess that with 5 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, it’s going to be a little larger than the house in Cupertino. The fact that the lot is twice as large is also a hint.

But just look at all those photos – can you smell the desperation? It’s practically begging people to buy it – those poor poor houses.

Let’s face it, the house is shockingly cheap. It’s even got a built in oak library! Everyone in California knows that libraries are unnecessary – I get all my information from the wikipedia. Don’t you?

But most importantly, let’s look at the elephant in the room: the property tax. New Yorkers aren’t smart enough to give themselves Prop 13 – so every year that tax is going to soar. 40 years from now, in 2048, when you pay off your mortgage – you will be paying just $21k a year in property tax if you bought the Cupertino house. If you buy the Jericho house? $70k a year.

Will your children still be going to school? Of course not. Will their children? Who cares! You’ll be able to reap the benefits of other people’s eagerness to get into districts with good schools with your sustained housing price, and they can pay for it. After all, you helped to establish the community.

So once again, Monta Vista wins by a landslide.

Congrats Cupertino!

Comments (23) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:44 am

December 12, 2008

Jericho High School – Competitor to Monta Vista, Cupertino, and Lynbrook?

School District Tries to Lure Asian Parents –
For school officials here, the numbers did not add up. Even as enrollment swelled to 3,200, from 2,600 a decade ago, attendance at Parent-Teacher Association meetings shriveled by half. Even as more students got accepted to Ivy League schools, turnout for the guidance department’s information nights was so anemic that counselors cajoled students to come — and bring along their parents.

Then teachers and administrators noticed something else: Jericho High School’s 90-member orchestra had become 70 percent Asian-American (the student body over all is about 30 percent Asian-American), but it still played for a mostly white audience at concerts with many empty seats.

The Chinese and Korean families that flocked to Jericho for its stellar schools shared their Jewish and Italian predecessors’ priorities on excellent education. But the new diversity of the district has revealed a cultural chasm over the meaning of parental involvement. Many of the Asian-Americans whose children now make up a third of the district’s enrollment grew up in places where parents showed up on campus only when their children were in trouble.

Holy moley! Is Jericho High School in New York trying to steal the thunder from Monta Vista, Cupertino, and Lynbrook? This calls for a Burbed investigation!

Where is this Jericho?

Got it. It’s 30 miles from Wall St (heh).

Next, let’s look at the rankings:

The complete list of the 1,300 top U.S. high schools

20      Jericho      Jericho      N.Y.      5.477      0.7      77.3
83      Gunn      Palo Alto      Calif.      3.813      6.1      74.7
147      Monta Vista      Cupertino      Calif.      3.166      1.1      72.6
187      Mission San Jose      Fremont      Calif.      2.877      3      75.1
337      Palo Alto      Palo Alto      Calif.      2.356      5      60.4
362     Lynbrook     San Jose     Calif.     2.297     1     61
650      Homestead      Cupertino      Calif.      1.784      8.5      33.1

(Cupertino High did not appear on the page… nor did any Sunnyvale schools strangely…)

Oh… well… I guess they have good schools after all. But let’s look at the weakness – I’ve found the cheapest 4-5 bedroom house in the Jericho school district:

Taxes: $9,551
List Price:  $595,000

SEC/AREA: Old Jericho
Raised Ranch,  Detached, # Families: 1
10.0 rooms,  5 Bedrooms , 2 Full Baths

School District: Jericho
Year Built: 1953
Construction: Brk/Vinyl
Lot Size: 75 X 96
Appearance: Excellent

Located In Jericho Sd#15 This Is The Perfect Home For Large Or Extended Family. Main Lvl-Gleaming Hardwood Floors, Freshly Painted.2nd Fl-2 Sun Filled Brs, Bth, And 2 Additional Rms.Full Bsmt, Gar, Great Yard, Convienent To Rr, Parkways, & Shopping.Taxes Do Not Include $821.68 Star Exemption.

Did you spot it? Did you see the weakness? Did you see the dirty secret that every Bay Area resident knows about the New York area?

Look at the property tax. It is insane! The percentage is double that of the Bay Area! No wonder everyone is flocking here! Think about it! If you bought that $595,000, 5 br/2ba excellent condition house, with a Top 20 high school, if you stayed for 30 years, you would end up paying $454,392in property tax (assumes 3% growth)

On the other hand, if you bought yesterday’s amazingly cheap Monta Vista house

… after 30 years you would only pay $373,226. That’s savings of $81,166. No wonder smart people buy in The Real Bay Area, and not New York.

All you have to do is spend $325,000 extra for a fixer up – and then you’ll save $81,166 after 30 years. If you stay for 50 years, you’ll save $316,300!

If that math doesn’t make sense to, you aren’t smart enough to live in the Real Bay Area. Sorry.

Comments (11) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:00 am