Matt Di Carlo takes a close look at the Newsweek and US News high school rankings and finds that they don’t tell you much about school quality. The information is self-reported. Only about half the high schools responded. The measures favor schools in affluent districts or schools with selective admissions.

This echoes what I heard from a reporter in Arizona. Two charter high schools are at the top end of the US News ratings. One has a tough selection process, accepting only accomplished students. The other requires that students take the AP courses so beloved by the magazine, so it has a high attrition rate.

Bottom line: a good school, as judged by US News, is a selective school that does not accept or retain average or low-performing students.