US News & World Report for years now has ranked and sorted the nation’s public high schools, based on how students perform on state-required tests, graduation rates, and how well schools prepare students for college.
Now the media company has put out its first-ever rankings of K-8 public schools.
According to US & News Report’s website, “Scoring was almost entirely rooted in students’ performance on mathematics and reading/language arts State assessments.”
The Report sourced its data from numbers put out by the U.S. Department of Education from the 2018-2019 academic year, before COVID impacted education. Here’s a link to the methodology.
Wellesley elementary schools that cracked the top 40 in Massachusetts:
Hunnewell came in at 60; Upham was 129th; and Bates was 99th.
1,104 Massachusetts public elementary schools were included in the rankings.
Ranked 1, 2, 3 in Massachusetts elementary schools
Martha Jones, Westwood,
Horace Mann, Melrose
Woodward Memorial, Southborough
Nearby rankings, elementary schools
Chickory, Dover, 7th
Loker, Wayland, 19th
Josiah Haynes, Sudbury, 26th
Woodland, Weston, 27th
Middle school rankings
Wellesley Middle School came in at 46th. Prince in Princeton, Boston Latin, and Heath in Chestnut Hill got the 1, 2, and 3 slots, respectively, out of the 527 Massachusetts public elementary schools that were included in the rankings.
Nearby, Pollard in Needham was ranked 8th; Charles E. Brown, Newton Centre was 14; and High Rock in Needham was 24.
Including “K” students kind of bothers us
We remember a casual conversation years ago with a kindergarten teacher on the subject of school rankings. “Well, there’s another reason I love teaching this age. They haven’t started ranking kindergarteners. Yet.”
Looks like “yet” has arrived.
We’re not sure where the best kindergarteners in all the land attend school. For now, US News & World keeps the elementary school comparisons on a state-by-state basis.
Neal Glick says
These rankings represent a shock to the system, but are hardly surprising. Test scores in Wellesley have been declining regularly year-over-year for many years now. To see all of our elementary schools getting beat out by Dover and Westwood, and all but one being surpassed by Wayland is telling. To see the Middle School ranking of 46 in the State, beaten badly by many surrounding “peer” communities is a disgrace. Note that these scores are for the 2018-19 academic year, so COVID is NOT an excuse. Note also that they are based on academic standards in math and verbal skills. I recently saw my child’s 2021 MCAS results and the “School” ranking was below “Meets Expectations” in math and just barely into the “Meets Expectations” range in language arts. And that is as measured against the entire State, which of course includes municipalities that lack the resources that Wellesley Public Schools has. Every day we send our precious children off to get educated. We pay one of the highest per-pupil amounts in the Commonwealth. We pay for terrific facilities. And this is the “return on investment”? Where is the accountability? Instead of Wellesley’s once “gold standard” educational excellence, our children are being lectured about pronouns, divisiveness in the form of racial “equity” and history written by the likes of Howard Zinn, an avowed Marxist. This affects not only our childrens’ educational opportunities, but our property values as well. Wake up Wellesley parents and taxpayers. Demand change.
Sick of the Silence says
Excellent letter. “Woke” teachers unions with nefarious agendas are muscling their way into school boards all over the country and Wellesley is no exception. Parents are handing their children over to educational institutions that are now teaching them to hate America, hate their parents and ultimately hate themselves. Race is interwoven into the fabric of every discipline.
Critical Race Theory can be called “Culturally Responsive Teaching” but we all know that it is a method of poisonous indoctrination regardless of its nomenclature. For example how many parents know that Thanksgiving Day is now also being referred to as a “National Day of Mourning” in their child’s classroom?
The decline in academic performance can only be in direct correlation to the uptick in cramming politics and social justice causes that do not belong in the classroom into the minds of young children. Parents in the town of Wellesley and all over America, have the right to question any teaching they find to be against their own morals or principles without being dismissed as racist or clueless. Now that the results are in and the Wellesley Public Schools are in fact in decline maybe parents will wake up and get involved.
A real WPS parent says
Please, “Sick of the Silence”, do tell us more about the nefarious Wellesley teachers union muscling its way into our “school board”. Are you even from here??
Emily Trust says
SickofhteSilence doesn’t have to be from Wellesley to identify an epidemic of neo-lib agendas.I’m not sure if the focus on the woke agendas is to blame for the decline in state-wide ratings, but if it is, then Wellesley parents need to put their wine glasses down for a minute and decide what’s more important here… Going along with the socialist teachers, or having their child receive a “quality” education.
Gary Arthur says
Wha, wha, wha, maybe it’s time to adjust our educational ambitions for our kiddos towards a culture that is kind and compassionate versus winning the #1 ranking. Most of the kiddos I meet in Wellesley want to have good friends and a pleasant day to day. Tomorrow is not promised and I love the young people of Wellesley. The mindset of the 100 year old citizens, well it’s 100 years old. Outdated at best! Your children and grandchildren are building a social oasis. Be smart and let them do it! Your legacy should be one of equity and fairness. The war is over grandpa and it seems like making love beat out making war!
Maxwell Smart says
As if being nice and fair should depend on school preachings at the expense of academic excellence. Such puerile comments (not even counting the 100-year-old baseless gibberish) only provide further support to the need to rescue our schools from like minded folk…
“[A] culture that is kind and compassionate,” you say? Your comment is anything but! It is filled with clear disregard for other people’s opinions and feelings, and your name-calling is infantile and disrespectful. Doesn’t really support your notion of a social oasis, actually. With your type of kindness and compassion, society is in deep trouble. The people in it will surely need a solid education if they are to survive your type of fairness.
And we wonder how children become bullies…
Maxwell Smart says
As if being nice and fair depended on school preachings at the expense of academic excellence. Is calling someone who thinks differently from you and whom you don’t even know a 100-year-old grandpa being nice and fair? Ironically, your comment only further illustrates what is wrong with our leadership and their vision for our schools…
Dario Fauza says
This disturbing, multi-faceted decline in our schools, reflected in different rankings, state-monitored academic scores, political/moral posture, and ambiance should hardly come as a surprise. Not only are they inter-related, they have been forecast by many for a few years now. Yet, despite multiple foretelling warning signs, our leadership has either remained remiss, or actually contributed directly to the deterioration of our system. The consequences to our children and to our town as a whole cannot be overstated and will be long lasting, if not permanent, should this not be properly addressed as swiftly and as systematically possible. Those who share these concerns should visit a very recently created website (I am not a founder): https://wellesleyconcernedparents.org/. They should also consider supporting a Recall Option on town officials, which an ever increasing number of towns in our state are adopting to great effect.
Numerical rankings are awkward and can pit us against each other. People dissatisfied based solely on these rankings (which place our elementary schools in the top ten percent in Massachusetts or close to it) aren’t looking at the fact that every single elementary school in Wellesley is above expectations for math and reading performance. It’s ok to still have concerns, but also important to note that not every school can or needs to be number one, and that standardized tests are not infallible or the only predictors of success. The goal should be to have every school meeting kids’ needs, not just in Wellesley, but everywhere. Seeing how upset parents are that we’re in the top 150 of over 1,000 schools in one of the best ranked states for education when we could be celebrating our success is sad.
When I taught high school, I used to remind my seniors that there are millions of students in the United States – do you really think there’s room for every smart, hardworking, amazing kid with potential at just the top forty schools that serve a small fraction of our population? (The answer is no.)
I find it disturbing that these rankings would be used by a “concerned parents group” to arbitrarily claim that academic performance is linked to teaching history that includes conversations about race. I disagree with fear-mongering statements implying that children who learn about the impacts of racism on shaping our country will start to hate our country instead of knowing how hard we have worked and need to continue to work to make it better and fairer.
If we want to support our schools, then increasing the budget and working on our student to teacher ratio and the competitiveness of teacher salaries and how many resources they have is a better place to start than claiming that including conversations about how racism has impacted our country is deleterious to kids math scores.
Maxwell Smart says
Respectfully, your analysis is incomplete and at least partially inaccurate. First, you did not take into account time. As the data in the MA Dept. of Education (DOE) website show, the ranked performance of Wellesley schools in SAT and MCAS scores in relation to the state has steadily dropped since 2012, which happens to be when Superintendent Lussier was hired. This cannot be ignored. As that data also show, Wellesley is always in the top <0.5% in expenditure per pupil. In fact, if a ratio between that expenditure and performance were to be generated, Wellesley would be one of the very worse towns in the state. Our student to teacher ratio is typically among the best and may well be dropping even further because of the significant drop in enrollment (which in turn is a result of our academic decline and, yes, also the woke agenda) as of late. Our teachers have highly competitive fringe benefits and pension compared with the rest of the state. Finally, our school budget increases almost on a yearly basis and is also among the very highest in the state.
If we don't recognize that the problem is not where you suggest, but rather in the priorities set by our leadership, we will never fix it and it will only get worse, as it has been getting…
I wish I lived in Mondstadt says
Conservatives wish to turn back the clock and re-establish absolute monarchy, aristocracy, and oppose the formation of constitutional and representative government.
This is a historically verified and accurate description of the worldview and policy goals of the very first conservatives in Europe (the term was first coined in 1818.)
Would it be fair to accuse people who call themselves “conservative” today of wishing to reimpose monarchy and serfdom? Of course not– political socio-economic ideologies are historically contingent and change drastically over time and place (as do party labels.)
Those who wield terms such as “marxist” and “socialist” as ideological fear mongering weaponized bombs and make up definitions for these terms on the fly are are not interested in having any meaningful rational discussion.
Perhaps the endgame of these folks is to turn our community into Loudoun Country VA and subject teachers to incessant verbal abuse and physical threats– because I’m sure that is what Edmund Burke would have wanted… right?
Maxwell Smart says
Typical response of someone with nothing to add to the points in discussion. No comment whatsoever on the state of our schools or what to do to improve them (or not, if he/she likes what is happening, which should also have been stated), nothing constructive at all. Only empty, distorted, wanna be smug attacks to whatever is counter to his/her creed. A textbook example of cognitive dissonance. Pretty sad, actually.
Neal Glick says
Since you wish to live somewhere else, perhaps you could share with us the rankings for your preferred place of residence. As for “Marxist” and “socialist” labels, those are not thrown around by the “conservatives” that you invent in your creative imagination. They are taken straight from the published materials of Howard Zinn and BLM, organizations which have been officially embraced by Wellesley Public Schools. I don’t recall anyone on this thread calling themselves “conservatives.” Again, this appears to be a figment of your fearful imagination, as is the misguided notion that parents who question declining test scores and rankings are somehow seeking a return to monarchy. I put my name on this comment. Would you like to debate sometime?