That’ll Learn Ya

Ranking our public high schools reveals some interesting facts. Here’s a brief survey of some of the most compelling.

When editing the chart of information in this month’s public school special, I couldn’t help noticing some interesting facts and trends. Here goes:

Technical schools—wow. They weren’t the places you wanted to attend in my day, and it was assumed that if you did, you weren’t interested in college. That’s no longer the case. There are two listed in the top three high schools. Why? Kids want to be there. Just look at those test scores and graduation rates. Nicely done.

Some schools—mostly charters—aren’t ranked because they couldn’t supply the necessary information or because they’re too new to have a record, so take that NR (not ranked) as you will. In a couple of cases, that’s a shame. Appoquinimink High School is undeniably one of the state’s best, but it couldn’t supply its graduation rate. (Its progenitor, Middletown High School, weighed in at No. 4.) Same goes for Cab Calloway. In almost every respect, it’s up there with No. 1 Wilmington Charter.

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And, yes, Wilmington Charter is an exception because of its admission process. But that doesn’t negate the accomplishments of motivated teachers and students, and it speaks volumes about the effectiveness of local control.

Though cost per student didn’t factor into the ranking, I’d thought there would be some correlation with academic performance. I was mistaken. No. 4 Middletown spends less per student than last-place Christiana. So, everyone, spend that Race to the Top money wisely.

Speaking of Christina District schools like Christiana, Glasgow and Newark, someone, please, help. The superintendent has stated a commitment to improving, but district parents have been waiting too long. Enough already.

If you can’t attend Appoquinimink schools and aren’t interested in a charter or technical school, Brandywine and Red Clay are your districts. Downstate, aim for Cape Henlopen and Indian River. Fifteen years ago they couldn’t pass a tax referendum for much needed facilities if they’d offered to pay for votes. Just look at them now.

The Day Book

  • A special thanks to Kathy Neylan, Chef John Gangloff and his wife, Janice, of Stonegates for one of the best dinners I have ever enjoyed—and for the pleasure of meeting Ellen Borowitz, Jerry Garland, and Sally and Al Graef. It was memorable.
  • It’s always great to share a burger and talk Philly sports with Comcast marketing whiz Maureen Quilter at Ruby’s Diner. We UD fans won’t hold her Villanova alum status against her.
  • It’s an honor to be counted among the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s 15 Men during its Purple Ribbon event. Everyone can play a role in making homes safer and happier, just by being mindful of your behavior and sticking up for others.
  • Two trips to the Air Mobility Command Museum in a week: one for the Kent County Tourism event and one for a media panel. Thanks to Linda Kurtz for the invitation. That museum is one amazing place.


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