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Editor’s Note: This is the sixth in a series of articles published by The Apopka Voice in 2016 that were the most noteworthy events of the year. The Apopka Voice will publish them starting today and running until Friday, December 30th. During the New Year’s weekend (Friday, December 30th – Sunday, January 1st) we will publish a poll and let the readers decide on which story is the most impactful of the year. 

Ranked Among Nation’s Most Challenging

Originally Published: April 27th, 2016

The Washington Post announced today its annual list of “the most challenging high schools” in the nation known as the Challenge Index National Rankings, and Apopka High School made the list. AHS is ranked #869 out of 22,000 eligible public schools in the United States.

Orange County had 15 high schools on the list.

Orlando Science Middle/High School led the way in Central Florida with a #77 ranking. The Challenge Index recognizes high schools that offer accelerated/challenging coursework to students. Schools achieve a high ranking if the number of accelerated assessments offered (including Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and Cambridge) is much higher than the number of seniors that graduated that year.

Jay Mathews is an education columnist and blogger for The Washington Post. He is the author of seven books, including three about high schools. He created the annual Challenge Index rankings of high schools, has won several awards for education writing and was given the Upton Sinclair award as “a beacon of light in the realm of education.” He has won the Eugene Meyer Award for distinguished service to The Washington Post.

Those who think it is wrong for schools to require that all, or nearly all, students take Advanced Placement courses, have challenged his rankings, but Mathews pushes back on that assertion.widget_emblem_2016

“My view stems from hundreds of successful teachers I have interviewed who believe lack of progress in U.S. high school achievement is because so little is demanded in most classrooms,” he said in his article defending the rankings. “The list reveals growing numbers of schools that share this opinion and are taking even low-income students much further than before.”

Here is a link to Mathews’ education blog on The Washington Post’s website.

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