May 22, 2012 10:19:47 AM
This week Newsweek magazine released its list of America's Best High Schools for 2012 and one of ours made the grade.
Of the 1,000 schools Newsweek ranked as proven most effective in producing college-ready graduates, Mississippi School for Math and Sciences was the only school in the state to be included, ranked 542.
For the rankings, six criteria were considered, including a school's four-year graduation rate, college-acceptance rate, and number of Advanced Placement and other advanced tests given.
Of the schools on the list, at least 91 percent of students were accepted to college.
The collective student body at the ranked schools is wealthier than the national average.
And one would be correct in arguing the schools ranked highest on the list are selective schools, where students are admitted through academic achievement, admissions testing or lottery.
But nearly 77 percent of the 1,000 listed are open-enrollment schools, without admissions restrictions.
We certainly congratulate MSMS on successfully challenging students with college-level academics
But we also would like to see this accolade serve as an impetus for improvement at our other public schools in local districts.
There's no reason not to aim higher.
After all, since Newsweek began ranking the top public high schools more than 10 years ago, the national graduation rate has increased 4 percent, federal expenditures per student have risen and the number of schools giving Advanced Placement tests has more than doubled.
Lowndes, Oktibbeha, Clay, Columbus, Starkville and West Point district officials, let's try to be more representative of this positive trending.