My High School Was Ranked #144th Last Year

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My High School Was Ranked #144th Last Year


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May 25, 2016

U.S. News and World Report (source: just came out with its recent ranking of the top high schools in the United States last year. U.S. News evaluated more than 28,000 schools to determine the top public high schools nationally, and in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Five hundred high schools received gold medals, 2,173 schools earned silver and 3,545 took home bronze in the national rankings. Texas and Arizona has the most schools while Maryland had the most number of schools that qualified for silver and gold medals relative to those schools that were eligible.

Just as any good parent would do, I immediately scanned the list to see where my chlidren's school fleshed out on the list because we moved 10 years ago to get into a good school district. It turns out that Milton High School (with over 2,000 kids) place #255th nationally and was also ranked #7 in the state of Georgia. Looking at how many good public high schools were ranked on the list, it continued to have me question whether there was a real data that suggest that those who pay for private high school really give their children a better path in life. For most families, the cost of a private high school will be between $20,000 and $30,000 here 2016.

Now that my high school class is almost 30 years in the distance, I wondered for a moment how my small town high school was ranked and to prove out some empirical data could I show where people are today in their careers? So I did some research, and Hightstown High School (you must try the diner by the way if you are cruising through Hightstown) was ranked 144th out of 398 high schools in New Jersey. In fact, it was even close to being ranked in the national rankings and my guess is that Hightstown High School isn't even in the top 5,000 in the country.

So, does this mean that we turned about a lot of students who turned out to be nothing? Here's a sampling of the graduating class of 1987 from Hightstown High School:

  • Jimmy Barlow - Men's Soccer Coach Princeton University
  • Mitch Shuchman - Owner, Doctors Of Pavilion Chiropractic
  • Adam Zellner - President, Greener By Design
  • Mark Langer - Mechanical Supervisor Engineer, US Navy
  • Susan Hosen - Sales Manager Calvin Klein New York

In fact, the more I looked into what people from high school were doing the more I saw people having pretty good levels of success in the real work force thirty years later. Some people wonder whether children who go to a private high school even a great public high school will have a real leg up in life? This question of private school vs. public school gets thrown up in our faces over and over as our children progress through school and often creates huge amounts of social and financial pressure amongst your peers.

At the end of the day, why will your child be successful in life? Will it be their high school? Their SAT scores? Their GPA? Their after school activities? The one thing I still believe schools will never be able to teach is 'heart'. What happens when you get kicked in the shins? What happens when you suffer a setback? What happens when you get fired from a job? What happens when you make a bad decision that sends you off course?

We must all remember that what all schools will have a hard time teaching is 'heart'. That's our job. It's our job to help our kids figure out how to succeed and have character when adversity faces them and the chips are down. That's what life throws us . . . curve balls. So, of course you want to give your kids the best opportunity to succeed, but remember that no ranking of schools can ever measure up with the school of hard knocks.

Written by:
Ted Jenkin

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Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ or on Twitter @tedjenkin.

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