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Posted on Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

2 Ann Arbor high schools ranked in Michigan's top 20

By Danielle Arndt

Two of four Ann Arbor high schools recently were ranked among the top 20 high schools in the state.

The rankings were released this week in the U.S. News and World Report. It's one of several annual evaluations of the nation's high schools that comes out. Newsweek, another news magazine, also publishes a yearly list of America's best high schools. The rankings serve primarily as bragging rights for the schools and can help families moving to a new area find top educational institutions for their children.

Pioneer and Huron high schools in the Ann Arbor Public Schools are no strangers to the best high school lists. In the 2013 U.S. News rankings, Pioneer and Huron were named 12th and 16th in the Michigan, respectively.

Nationally, Pioneer is ranked No. 681 and Huron is 763rd.

Both Ann Arbor high schools made gains in the rankings. Huron and Pioneer were ranked 20th and 19th in the 2012 U.S. News evaluation. But Saline High School, the other Washtenaw County school frequently found among the nation's top schools lists, was not given a nod this year by the U.S. News and World Report.

In 2012, Saline was ranked ninth in Michigan and No. 525 nationally.

Ann Arbor's remaining two high schools, Skyline and Community, fell into the unranked masses of the U.S. News and World Report listing.

Community did receive a bronze medal for being a high-performing school, despite being left off the state and national rankings. The choice high school consistently has the highest graduation rate of all Ann Arbor's high schools and the best Michigan Education Association Program and Michigan Merit Exam test scores.

The U.S. News and World Report gave gold, silver and bronze medal designations based on certain criteria. Gold was given to the top 500 schools in the U.S. with the highest college readiness scores; silver was given to high-performing schools with lower college readiness; and bronze was awarded to high-performing schools based on their state exam performances.

On the fall 2012 MEAP test, Community had a social studies proficiency of 67 percent; Huron and Pioneer had proficiencies of 47.7 and 57.5, respectively.

Huron and Pioneer both earned silver medals from the U.S. News and World Report. Their college readiness scores are 38.0 and 40.0, respectively.

College readiness is computed based on a school's Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate program participation rate (the number of seniors in the 2010-11 academic year who took at least one AP or IB test before graduating, divided by the number of seniors) and how well the students did on those tests, according to the U.S. News website.

Community received a college readiness score of 10.5, which is near the state average. According to the U.S. News report, Community had 12 percent of its senior population take AP tests in 2010-11 and 10 percent passed.

Huron had 42 percent of its seniors that year take AP tests and 37 percent passed. Pioneer had 44 percent of its 12th-grade population take one or more tests and 39 percent passed.

The U.S. News and World Report rankings are based on student-to-teacher ratios, college readiness and students' average proficiencies in math and reading. More than 21,000 public high schools in 49 states were evaluated for the 2013 U.S. News listing. Nebraska was the only state not included, according to the website, because of a lack of reported data.

Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at



Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 9:32 a.m.

Goob....... You are right on the mark about the BOE. They do need to be fired. You have to remember that some are in denial about their actions.

A Voice of Reason

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 1:27 a.m.

Well, CHS kids are taking AP classes at Huron or Pioneer and college classes at WCC. If you look at progress on the MEAP test for social studies, CHS kids the biggest jump between 9th and 11th grade of any school (67% pass in 9th grade to 85% pass the social studies MME in 11th grade). Plus, there is one college admissions counselor for 100 seniors vs. 350 at the other high schools and he is the best in town. So, the custom education and college planning is done for these kids and is top notch.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 11:02 p.m.

@ Resident1, re: "You would also expect... that you would see higher percentages of National Merit Semifinalists and Presidential Scholar candidates at Community, but that's not what you see at all. Pioneer this year had 23 National Merit semifinalists and Community had 7." So CHS wins hands down, given the relative student populations! (You do know, don't you that the word "percentage" comes from the Latin "per cent," i.e per hundred.)


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 8:03 p.m.

It would be interesting to have some comparisons like; class size, teacher tenure, funding per student, ratio of revenue for salaries and benefits, education level of teachers, salary levels and demographics of the communities the other schools are located in. The Ann Arbor School district never seems to have enough money and seems to put a premium on "funding, salaries, benefits, and advanced degrees" as a requisite to properly educating students. I'd like to see a way to actually quantify the cause and affect claims with comparable data from even more successful schools.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 5:58 p.m.

Let's hear it for Community High making a bronze even though they lack a football team


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 1:12 p.m.

Speaking as a parent of kids who now attend Pioneer, and seeing their curriculum compared to their friends at Community, I think the Community parents are living in some glorified past and don't see that Community has created an environment where it is much too easy to coast academically. The kids at Pioneer have about 15 advanced placement classes to select from which for the most part are quite rigorous, and the academic kids are encouraged to enroll in these classes because all of their friends are enrolled. Relatively few kids from Community come to Pioneer to take advantage of these classes. Large numbers of the advanced kids at Pioneer are taking high level math classes at the U of M. While there may be a few doing that at Community they're few and far between. More common are kids taking so-called "Community Resource" classes that they design themselves; and, whatever it is they're reporting to the Community coordinator, in actuality many of them are not doing much rigorous work. The colleges have figured this out; compared to Pioneer and Huron, there are fewer Community graduates getting into the best schools than you would expect. You would also expect, since the Community students are all self-selected and presumably more highly motivated, that you would see higher percentages of National Merit Semifinalists and Presidential Scholar candidates at Community, but that's not what you see at all. Pioneer this year had 23 National Merit semifinalists and Community had 7. Pioneer had six Presidential Scholar candidates (i.e., kids who had perfect scores on math/reading on the SAT or on the ACT), and Community had one. Community does seem to have overall better teachers than Pioneer and Huron judging by the kids' reports. I'm not sure that's enough to make Community the best educational experience for parents to choose at this point.

Wake Up A2

Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 1:53 a.m.

Michael got pihi to number 12.... Cindy will make it 612.... enough is enough. BOE would you please do something.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 12:26 a.m.

Please stop bullying Community High School. I have children going to Community High School and our home high school, and I can see the true difference between these two schools. Community High has committed teachers and a non-matched nurturing learning environment which includes the Dean, Counseling staff, and all administrative staff! While our home high school has too many irresponsible teachers such as a notorious biology teacher and an absent-minded physci teacher, who not only do not educate students but destroying students' learning desires and potentials! The main reason why the two schools can possibly make to the top 20 schools in Michigan is because we Ann Arbor has #1 supportive parents, not because of anything done right at BOE level.


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 9:35 p.m.

The best measure of a school is how well it prepares the ENTIRE student body for their post-high school lives. Its all too easy to focus entirely on the college prep aspect of our schools as the sole measurable outcome. What is the metric for those not headed to a four year degree granting institution? Yes Ann Arbor is generally a highly educated community with corresponding high aspirations for their children but at the same time we will need trades people, auto mechanics, and other honest vocations that are not necessarily dependent on a four-year degree. In that respect, IMO the schools are failing our community.

Fat Bill

Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 4:04 p.m.

It is no surprise that Saline appears to be slipping back. As the school board begins to tilt hard to the right and the concern shifts from maximizing opportunities for students to slashing budgets "back to the basics", the school district will continue to descend into mediocrity.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 12:11 p.m.

In a random group of a 1000 kids some are going to be highly motivated, some are going to have virtually no motivation and the majority will fall in between somewhere. The old bell curve idea. I would suggest a good chunk of the kids at Community are in the higher motivation side for the fact that they bothered to go through the "process" to get in. Couple that with the limited size of the school and they should do good. They should do better than they do. If Community High was filled with a random draw of all the 8th graders in all the middle schools it would perform like the other bigger schools as they would then have their "fair share" of the less motivated kids within their walls. I would further suggest that most of the kids at Community would do just as well in the bigger high schools because they are motivated.


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 6:53 p.m.

@johnnya2 That is a bold statement about my kids when you don't even know me! You are bullying me! See how that goes? I have NO problem with true bullying situations being handled swiftly and sternly, but not all school drama is bullying.


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 5:55 p.m.

@towncryer,' Yeah bullying is overused by butt. I guess you must have the kids who are the bullies or were one yourself. NOBODY should accept that something is kids being kids anymore than accepting something like well he is just old or from the south so his racism is acceptable. Bullying is wrong and should be stopped on EVERY level.


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 12:31 p.m.

I agree with most of what you say but I know of families that apply to Community who's students are NOT very motivated (imo) but they have this idea that their "quirky" child is not going to get teased or "bullied" (word has become overused, again, imo). I am wondering if Community, maybe due to it's size, keeps a check on this more so than the bigger higher schools? Anyway, I'm sure Community is a great program but I'm not convinced that it's "special location" is the DEFINING factor of what makes it so great and if moving it allows more students who WANT/NEED to be in this type of program, then I think it is selfish to keep it in a location that does not allow this and could possibly reap AAPS money and delete a cost of extra physical upkeep. Has anyone actually ever had the building appraised, etc...? DISCLAIMER: I have never or will never have a child apply to Community so this is not just "sour grapes" of not getting in, like some posters believe if someone dares to question anything about Community.


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

I am tired of seeing the AA BOE drive our school system into the ground. Looking at the list of schools that ranked higher than ours, there is no reason we could not nor should not be in the top 10. One commenter recently posted recall steps. But, until the voters get a snoot full of the BOE, finally decide to wake up and replace all of them, a recall might be fruitless. The AA voters are basically apathetic, thus the small turnouts we see in voting. AA board elections are popularity contests. Any good candidate might win, but then is stuck working with the incumbent BOE members who, as stated before, are clueless, inept, cannot work together, etc., etc., etc. Can you imagine being the lone person trying to turn around the current BOE? What needs to happen is the following: 1 – the teachers need to use their strength and appeal to their union and the state that the BOE is inept, ruining their system, etc. – basically, get as many ears as they can in their ranks and at the state level 2 – several, strong community leaders need to collect, communicate and publish a list of BOE failings 3 – the community needs to rise up and be very vocal on their displeasure with the BOE – start the drums beating and demand change Until a large percentage of community leaders and voters 'greatly' voice their displeasure with the current BOE and possibly demand that they all quit, then only a few of us will continue to watch our school system slide downhill. I have many other ideas on how best to turn this ship around, but I am powerless to enact any of them. So sorry! As I typically say – go figure!

Jack Panitch

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 4:15 a.m.

One last point about how Irresponsible it is to even be talking about recalls: several months ago, I attended a tax conference, and the guest speaker was Brian Calley. No matter what you think about his politics, he's a scary bright, energetic and entertaining guy. He told the story of driving to a fair, getting out of his car and walking past a table of grass-roots organizers who were circulating a recall Snyder petition. So, he decides to give these poor folks a reality check, and he asks them what happens if they are successful, and Gov. Snyder gets recalled. And upon receipt of the vague, goofy answers he knew to expect, he tells them that they might want to do a little more research into the issue, because if they don't like Snyder, they really aren't going to like the guy who replaces him. Again, you have made your anger abundantly clear.

Jack Panitch

Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 9:55 p.m.

Sorry. I understand that you are angry. But I can't argue with fiction. Your very premise ignores important details about public finance, K12 funding, MSPERS, revenue conferences and such that folks who follow this stuff on more than an occasional basis understand. There is some control over expenses, but very little control over operating revenue, even beyond June 30th. So I'm going to decline responding to a made up argument. In the meantime, while nobody is perfect, yes, not only would I defend these folks, I would say that they are some of the most dedicated and clueful folks I know, and they will apply their considerable talents to preserve what can be preserved.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 3:08 p.m.

Oh??!! Let's take the situation or issue where it now seems that we are over budget for the current school year and have more head count than budgeted. Select either of the following reasons: 1 – the BOE knew this all along , but tried to hide this until it just now slipped out – or 2 – the BOE did not know this until it just now slipped out I cannot think of any other reason why a school board, knowing that based on prior experience, budgets are tight and head count needs to be managed close, did not discover this until recently. Still wish to defend their actions? I would fire all of them, after apologizing to the community that the BOE did not keep their eyes on the ball or the game, for that matter.

Jack Panitch

Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 8:34 p.m.

Forgive me, but I'm scratching my head here. We are talking about a statistical sampling where two of Ann Arbor's high schools are among the top twenty in the state. Moreover, if I'm reading the commentary correctly, there's very arguably a third that surpasses the other two but doesn't fit the ranking profile, so it can't be ranked. And you are concluding what now? That there are eleven other schools ahead of our first school (that can be ranked), so we should rush out and recall the Board of Education. Has the Board of Education become the Iraqi soccer team? If you are tired, consider drinking some coffee or some six-hour energy, lose the fog, do some homework, and get in the game. In 2014, over half the Board of Education is up for reelection. Four out of seven members just happens to be the majority needed to make any decision. But here's the thing: if you break it, you own it. What you call inept, clueless and incapable of working together, I call amazingly functional and adept at working together as seven individual, coequal voices. No one individual can decide anything: it takes four. And if someone has no sandbox skills, i.e., they haven't learned to discuss issues without rancor, then no one is going to listen to them. Business skills are great, but anyone who can't learn to get behind the majority decision without trying to undermine it at every turn is going to have a rough four years and will have wasted every vote cast in his or her favor. If you truly have great ideas, and you are truly behind the students of the AAPS and not your own ego, why don't you simply approach one of the trustees, and in a noncontroversial way just have a chat. If you see a need, try committing a random act of assistance. Courtesy and a can-do attitude can be so much more infectious than the other stuff.


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 11:41 a.m.

Congratulations to both schools.


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 11:39 a.m.

This article is misleading in its description of how the rankings are made. They only described the last step that uses AP/IB course performance. The first 2 steps reflect performance on state tests and the extent to which low-income and minority students perform better than their counterparts in other schools in the state. I don't think that the scores are "utterly meaningless". It's great that these schools are serving all kids pretty well. Obviously, the scores don't work well for all schools though.


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 11:08 a.m.

Don't count on the AA BOE to make decisions that will improve our schools. Their track record speaks for it self. They are clueless and inept. Go figure!


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 4:29 a.m.

@ Basic Bob, re: "It's easier when you get to pick your students," and, "Too bad about the exclusionary selection methods." A random lottery equals picking your students, and exclusionary selection methods? Better check your facts before making wild statements like that.


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 5:53 p.m.

My son graduated from CHS, getting in by lottery. CHS applicants are self-selected--kids have to want to go there. Not every kid actually wants the kind of self-directed learning program CHS offers. Yes, perhaps CHS has more involved parents. When my son was there, you had to figure out how to get your student to school. There were kids who actually walked several miles to school and home. My son's classmates came from a wide variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. Sure, some went to Kerrytown for lunch but more brought their lunches. And a kid can buy lunch at the other high schools and I'm willing to bet lunch at Kerrytown didn't cost any more. There was a time when Pioneer students were allowed to leave campus for lunch--don't know if that's still the case. Has anyone looked at the huge number of cars in the parking lots of Pioneer and Huron lately? I have no knowledge of Skyline. A large number of the cars in the lots at Huron and Pioneer belong to the students. Just stop by when school is letting out and see who the cars belong to. Then take a look at the size of the parking lot at Community. I simply don't believe there's any "back door entry" to CHS. At the time my son was admitted, the principal was a personal friend and believe me, if I could have used that friendship, I would have. I had four older kids go through Ann Arbor Public Schools, 1 graduated from Pioneer, 3 from Huron. All 4 have gone on to be very successful. My youngest really needed what CHS offered and I will be eternally grateful it was there for him. I continue to wish that instead of building another huge factory school, Skyline, Ann Arbor had considered the enormous success of CHS and all the research proving kids do better in smaller schools and classrooms, and opted instead to create several smaller schools like CHS. There's clearly a demand for the kind of educational experience CHS offers given how many kids apply each year and don't get in.


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 3:56 p.m.

both of my daughters would have loved to get into CHS but they didn't "win" the lottery. I kept looking for that back door, but couldn't find it. And I agree with all of the points here. At the middle school level I saw certain students encouraged to apply to CHS (involved parents, self motivated students, artsy kids) and certain kids discouraged ("trouble makers"). I also knew teens who were kicked out of CHS if they had behavior problems and they ended out at their "home" high schools. The point that Basic Bob makes about representativeness of the community is spot on. All of the research on academic achievement shows that parental involvement makes a huge difference and CHS has that.


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 1:05 p.m.

To be entered into the lottery a student must have involved parents. That is the key to student success and that is the key to Community's success.

Susie Q

Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 12:39 p.m.

There are "back door" ways of getting into Community and the students that don't succeed are often asked to leave. This is not a detraction of the CHS experience, it is a wonderful opportunity for certain, motivated students and it would be great if more were able to experience it. But the fact remains that savvy parents (and staff) know how to game the system and get their kids in and CHS is able to choose to let some students go back to their home school if there are problems.

Basic Bob

Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 12:10 p.m.

The statistics speak for themselves. A truly random selection of students would include all parts of the community in equal proportions. Certain children are discouraged from putting their names in the lottery, and the ones who are left are clearly not representative. Choosing randomly from a selected subset of students is not random. The schools are required by law to publish reports which detail the number of students of different races, receiving free lunches, etc. CHS compares "favorably" to any other high school in the district. Other important factors are not measured - for instance, middle school grades, lack of interest in varsity sports, parents who will buy you a car to go to school and give you lunch money to go to Kerrytown. Of course you know all of these things. That is what truly makes Community so special.


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 2:16 a.m.

After the BOE gets done destroying these two schools? They will be the bottom schools to go to once done. Sorry, but they need to privatize the payroll and the overhead. AAPS is not school of choice and won't be once BOE gets done with them. I am also wondering if they are doing this because of the severance pay Green is going to get on July 9. Oust her now.

David Paris

Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 10:03 a.m.

No, we don't need to profitize anything in the public schools, we just need more help from the state.


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 3:36 a.m.

It's not only the BOE, the state appropriations for education since 2007 are about $1.4B less than they should be, adjusting for inflation. That's a lot of education lost to the mindless tax cut, small government GOP.


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 1:55 a.m.

Skyline didn't have any seniors in the 2010-11 academic year. jus' sayin'.....


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 12:21 p.m.

Nice point. Following is from the US News and World Report. Skyline did not have 12th grade enrollment until 2011-12. "We analyzed 21,035 public high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia. This is the total number of public high schools that had 12th-grade enrollment and sufficient data from the 2010-2011 school year to analyze."


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 12:24 a.m.

Our daughter graduated from Community High in the 90s. In her senior year there, she began taking courses at U of M. She never mentioned to me whether or not she'd taken the college preparedness test but I must assume she did. Not only did U of M accept her (and some of her school friends were not), she got a full tuition scholarship and double majored in the Sciences. Factors not included in these rankings (although I love it that Ann Arbor has among the best high schools): first, what about the "post graduation" factor: isn't the result (meaning the after-graduation) of high school education a priority? Our daughter has excelled in her chosen career: teaching. She got a lot of her interest while at Community high. But - she had to move to California to actually start her career. She's taught for the Headlands Institute, UC Berkeley and other prestigious educational institutions. My point: isn't the career decisions and level of achievement of Community High grads (as an example) important in determining a ranking? Sincere congrats to Huron and Pioneer: no sour grapes on my end. I'm just trying to see whether these rankings are really reflective of quality education.


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 12:33 p.m.

I wouldn't say all...

Elijah Shalis

Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 11:44 a.m.

The stereotype of CH students is that they are all pot smokers.


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 12:17 a.m.

Re my statement: "CHS is second to none in this town." No disrespect meant to either Pioneer or Huron. They are both excellent schools. And I don't mean to claim that CHS is better, whether I personally think that, or not. Skyline? Too early to tell, but I assume the best. The fact remains, though, that CHS does some things that puts it off the charts as far as clumsy US News polls go.


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 8:17 p.m.

"You can not compare a school that can say we are taking X number of students, versus the one that is REQUIRED to take EVERY student." Excellent point!


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 5:48 p.m.

It is exclusionary in that it requires motivated parents to sign their kids up. It gets a SELECT group of students who WANT to excel. There seems to be this emphasis on the top levels, but ignoring those that do not fit in well in traditional learning environments or have other social issues that preclude a traditional education. Pioneer, Huron and Community have studdents who never were involved in the lottery for one reason or another. They are still required to teach them and use their numbers in MEAP scores (teaching to tests is the WORST idea ever in education). They are also added in graduation rates, drop out rates, truancy, discipline and everything else. You can not compare a school that can say we are taking X number of students, versus the one that is REQUIRED to take EVERY student.


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 3:50 p.m.

CHS has "exclusionary" selection methods because we limit it to a fraction of students in our district. There are many more students who want to go than can attend it. Yes, it is a lottery so it is fairer than the previous method (which involved standing in line for a slot for 1-2 weeks and giving priority for siblings) but it is still a very limited resource. Most students in the comprehensive high schools find the process of "dual enrolling" in CHS to be pretty difficult if not impossible to maneuver.


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 3:22 a.m.

Bob, you have said this twice, prove it! By the way, i had a son that went there.

Basic Bob

Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 1:38 a.m.

Too bad about the exclusionary selection methods.


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 12:26 a.m.

it is a shame that the high quality of education offered at CHS is only available for a fraction of the high school students in Ann Arbor.


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 12:26 a.m.

I absolutely agree. (as shown by my own comment) :-)


Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 10:45 p.m.

These rankings are utterly meaningless.


Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 9:08 p.m.

CHS is second to none in town. CHS grads are highly recruited by top schools, and one of the reasons is that those students have already proven themselves in a very college-like environment, and often in actual colleges themselves: My daughter, a CHS grad, took a bus to Ypsi and back in order to take a college-level French class at EMU. That beats the AP experience any day, in several ways, including the training in the day-to-day logistics of getting yourself to varying class sites and campuses. US News's focus on AP classes ignores some of the best schools out there, like MEAP-champ CHS.

Basic Bob

Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 1:37 a.m.

It's easier when you get to pick your students. But even then CHS is fourth-best in town.


Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 9:04 p.m.

Shouldn't the headline be, "One Ann Arbor High School not ranked in Michigan's top 20"?


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

...and everybody gets an award. Isn't that nice. "When everyone is special, no one is special."


Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 11:45 p.m.

"No A2 High Schools Make Top Ten" or "A2 High Schools Ranked No Better Than 680th Nationally"

Jack Gladney

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 11:04 p.m.

The headline should read:One Michigan High School Makes Top 200 National Ranking List; and it ain't yours.

Nancy Shiffler

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 10:26 p.m.

The rankings were based on the 2010-2011 school year, which was the first year Skyline had a graduating class. Do we know whether Skyline was actually included in the study?


Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 9:14 p.m.

There are more than one high school not in the top 20. chose to see the glass half full instead of half empty.


Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 8:58 p.m.

I agree with chapmaja that "Jennifer did a nice job of explaining one of the problems with rankings." So let me copy and paste her reply out here in the main comments section: Jennifer Shikes Haines: "CHS students traditionally take actual college level classes through the CR program, rather than taking AP tests - they still receive credit for having taken those classes. That's been Community's philosophy from the outset. It's easier for them to access those classes due to the block schedule. For that reason, they don't show up on U.S. World and News Reports "college readiness" scores because those scores ONLY reflect AP/IB statistics, which are easier to "test" and standardize. The fact that they score consistently higher on the MEAP tests and have the highest graduation rate is equally, if not more, important in terms of overall effectiveness."


Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 8:36 p.m.

Not for long!

John of Saline

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 8:36 p.m.

Doesn't look like that USNews list includes private schools.


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 11:10 a.m.

It says that it is a ranking of public schools, which is more important to the majority of us.

David Paris

Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 9:56 a.m.

Well, it is a ranking of Public schools, and at 21,000 schools surveyed nation wide, could you imagine what kind of effort it'd take to lump in the privates!


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 12:27 a.m.

i was wondering about that -- we have a number of private high schools here - Steiner, Gabriel Richard, Greenhills, Clonlara. Were Charter schools, such as Central Academy also included?

Elijah Shalis

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 11:32 p.m.

Saline HS is a public school and it failed to make the list


Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 8:21 p.m.

These rankings are honestly bunk. It is nice PR, but it really doesn't mean anything. Jennifer did a nice job of explaining one of the problems with rankings. Ranking the schools in large part only based on the number of AP tests students took is garbage. It doesn't count the number of students who take college classes instead of AP classes. It doesn't take into account the number of students who might want and be able to take the AP exam, but financially are unable to do so. I know several students who are taking AP classes in high school, but financially can't afford to take the AP exams.


Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 8:15 p.m.

We've all said this before and it bears repeating, don't cut anything from our state and national top ranked schools! How crazy is that? Not broken? Don't change it! You should be giving these schools more as rewards for excellence, not taking away from their stellar programs that help foster well-rounded students and citizens. Schools need teachers, support staff, and programs! It's the front line to our future! You want to keep making cuts year after year? Find someplace else! Don't fire anyone at Balas, just work those adults into each of our many school buildings and let them do their jobs there. And help out with their adult presence. And then you can sell Balas to Howard Cooper! Then it's private property and thus taxable for the city. Win-win! And no one loses! We all keep saying the same thing over and over. When are you going to listen to us the public?

Ed Kimball

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 7:35 p.m.

One clarification: Huron (as an example) had 42% of its seniors take AP tests and 37% passed. I assume that means that 37% of ALL seniors passed, not just 37% of those who took the test. Is that correct? BTW, I'm surprised that the number of Community students taking the AP test was so low. Have you checked these numbers with the school administration?

Ed Kimball

Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 2:57 p.m.

@Jennifer: Thanks for the clarification. It sounds like USW&NR's methodology does not account properly for schools like CHS. I one would think that students who can pass a college course while in high school would be "college-ready". @Kris: I attended one of those "prestigious colleges" (a long time ago) and at that time they wouldn't take credits or AP tests nor from UM or most other schools, either. Passing the AP tests allowed me to place out of introductory courses and to take more challenging courses as a freshman. I didn't get college credit for the courses I placed out of, however. With more students transferring now, I suspect the rules for credit for courses from other colleges may have become more flexible. I'm sure you are correct that the AP rules have not.


Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 11:23 p.m.

CHS's approach as explained by Ms. Haines is absolutely the correct one. Colleges are starting to back away from accepting AP credits as they are finding they do not adequately prepare students for college level work, particularly in research and writing. Much better to actually take college level classes while in high school IF that is the goal for ambitious students. Prestigious colleges like Brown, Columbia and Dartmouth already do not accept AP credit and more colleges will likely follow.

Jennifer Shikes Haines

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 8:04 p.m.

CHS students traditionally take actual college level classes through the CR program, rather than taking AP tests - they still receive credit for having taken those classes. That's been Community's philosophy from the outset. It's easier for them to access those classes due to the block schedule. For that reason, they don't show up on U.S. World and News Reports "college readiness" scores because those scores ONLY reflect AP/IB statistics, which are easier to "test" and standardize. The fact that they score consistently higher on the MEAP tests and have the highest graduation rate is equally, if not more, important in terms of overall effectiveness.


Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 7:52 p.m.

Ed, if you go go the website itself, the college readiness score is described as the "percentage of seniors who were tested and passed AP exams." So I think that your interpretation is correct: 37% of all Huron seniors passed their AP exams.

Angry Moderate

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 7:46 p.m.

Community doesn't have AP classes. Most of the students probably don't want to go through the hassle of traveling between schools every day.


Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 7:16 p.m.

I really hope the Board of Education works to reinforce keeping these schools on the list with a high emphasis on the arts they offer, athletics, and solid academics. Trying to justify so many High Schools in Ann Arbor, when 2 are in the top 20, seems to be a focus on watering down the offerings instead of reinforcing the strengths. Plus, it is financially inefficient. Recognize what you have that is working, and work harder to keep it working. Time to quit propping up the excessive number of schools and focus on what outside, independent observers classify as the best of the best.

Usual Suspect

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 9:12 p.m.

It is not the purpose of schools to be on a "Top-n" list. The purpose is to educate.

Ed Kimball

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 7:36 p.m.

I don't think that overcrowding PHS and HHS is likely to improve outcomes.