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Opinion: Ladue 'Takes Issue' With US News Methodology

The school district is irked that it did not appear in the magazine's rankings of the nation's best schools.

US News and World Report released their "best high schools" in the nation ranking this week. We did not make the list due to the methodology used. Clearly, we take issue with the methodology and have expressed this to US News. However, as you will see from the attached information, we will not "fall victim" to the flaw in the methodology going forward, making any kind of correction unlikely.

The Ladue School District has always considered ACT results to be a fair criteria for judging our success, as the vast majority of our students take the test, and it specifically measures college preparedness in a way that is considered acceptable to a broad number of institutions - specifically colleges and universities.

, Ladue Schools ACT scores have been #1 in the state for four of the last five years.  The only year we weren't first, we were second.

, as well as the challenges of various other rankings provided by publishers -- whether they be online magazine, print publications or websites.  It has taken a few days to gather and confirm this information and we appreciate your patience and understanding.

We deliberately chose to prioritize accuracy ahead of speed as we tried to get to the bottom of this issue.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions.  

Susan Dielmann is the Communications Director for the Ladue School District

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Scott Simon May 12, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Typical whining when someone thinks they get slighted. So what if you didn't make someone's list. You really think not being on the list is going to cause someone to decide, "hey, maybe I shouldn't be in Ladue." DeSmet doesn't make the top of a lot of lists but you don't hear the Jesuits whining in public.
flyoverland May 12, 2012 at 05:17 PM
I am pretty certain this list is only for public schools. The article doesn't mention this, however, all the schools listed are public schools. I don't think any of them top the ACT average scores at JBS or MICDS.
Robin Tidwell May 13, 2012 at 01:34 AM
No, the list did not include all schools, only public. I'm with Scott on this one - really, they need to "get to the bottom of this?" Ha.
CreveCoeurDad May 13, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Actually, that's exactly what people do - they look at lists of top high schools and when you're not on it, they don't move to your district. Those of us in the district know what's going on, but someone relocating from outside the area, all they have to go on is a list. DeSmet doesn't have that problem, people can live anywhere in the area and go there, plus the word is pretty much out in their target audience as to which Catholic high schools are the top notch ones. As for Jesuits whining, just imagine what would happen if Notre Dame got dropped from the top schools list for some bizarre reason. In fact, all one has to do is see what Notre Dame fans do every time they aren't ranked #1 in football. Biggest bunch of babies in collegiate football.
CreveCoeurDad May 13, 2012 at 04:34 AM
Comparing cherry-picking schools like MICDS and JBS to any public school system that has to take all comers is not exactly fair. They are fine schools, but their students would do very well in practically any school. The same is true of the top half of the class at Ladue. ACT scores have way more to do with what the students bring into the school rather than with what they are taught while there. Even JBS couldn't take an average 100 IQ student and get him into Harvard on academics alone.
flyoverland May 13, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Dad, nobody was comparing the schools. We were defining the list and pointing out the article was inaccurate for not pointing out the limited scope of the list. When you say, "Ladue Schools ACT scores have been #1 in the state for four of the last five years. The only year we weren't first, we were second," without qualifying it by pointing out the statement only includes public schools, that is misleading and infers Ladue was number one among all schools which isn't true. Quit being so defensive.
Scott Simon May 13, 2012 at 05:52 PM
CreveCoeurDad, people are not going say, "We're not moving here, the school district didn't make some top 10 list" when driving through Ladue looking for a home to buy. Media opinions and polls are essentially worthless to average readers and viewers. I know. I was involved in it for 30 years.
CreveCoeurDad May 14, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Ummm, since when does the statement "I don't think any of them top the ACT average scores at JBS or MICDS." NOT compare the schools? That is EXACTLY what you are doing. Furthermore, your quote "When you say, "Ladue Schools ACT scores have been #1 in the state...", is completely inaccurate, because I never said that - the original article did.
CreveCoeurDad May 14, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Ladue proper, probably not, but Ladue School District, yes. We've already got reports from realtors in the relocation business about families definitively saying they don't want Ladue Schools because some online websites are ranking the high school as one of the worst in the state due to flawed methodology. Is it vital LSD make some Top 10 list? Not really, the schools are what they are, regardless of ranking, but to think that people don't pay attention to school rankings when choosing schools is just naive, regardless of your personal experience. Everyone who lives in the district should care about that spurious bad ranking, because it will drive away some prospective buyers, and less demand means lower home prices. It's just simple economics.

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