Kansas City Public School officials Thursday denounced the U.S. News and World Report 2017 list of best high schools when its prize school, Lincoln College Preparatory Academy, did not make the cut.
Last year Lincoln was listed as the No. 1 high school in Missouri. This year it wasn’t even given a numerical rank but was instead listed in the bronze category, meaning the magazine had tabbed it as a good school.
Kansas City school officials said the ranking does not tell an accurate story of the school’s rigor and its students’ performance.
Across the state line, Sumner Academy of Arts and Science in Kansas City, Kan., also was left without a ranking. For many years the school, with a 99 percent graduation rate, has been considered a top school in the state, said David Smith, spokesman of the KCK public school district.
Kansas City district officials said in a statement Thursday that “Kansas City Public Schools categorically rejects this year’s results and strongly protests the methodology used by the magazine for these rankings.
“KCPS wants to make sure parents and other community members are aware that the rankings are incomplete, deceptive and do not reflect the reality at Lincoln Prep.”
Here’s how it happened:
“Lincoln Prep ranked significantly lower than it did in the magazine’s 2016 list because the magazine did not include any International Baccalaureate exam results in its analysis,” the KCPS statement said.
Lincoln Prep and Sumner Academy are International Baccalaureate schools, meaning students are taught under a rigorous international curriculum and take internationally reviewed exams.
This year IB exam scores were not factored into the ranking, as they had been in the past.
“This is because the International Baccalaureate Organization informed U.S. News in November 2016 that it was unable to supply U.S. News with IB data for 12th grade students in 2014-2015 as it had in previous years,” said Enxhi Myslymi, a spokesperson for U.S. News.
“The failure to factor in IB exam results is a critical and under-reported change in the way schools were evaluated,” said Natalie Allen, KCPS spokeswoman.
Superintendent Mark Bedell said: “It’s like a basketball league making a major change to the rules of the game between seasons but not telling all the teams or even the fans. It’s ridiculous.”
Not including IB exam scores meant that IB schools failed the last of four measures used to determine rankings. Without credit for the final level, schools could not be considered gold or silver schools and thus weren’t given a rank.
This year’s ranking placed Park Hill High School 749th, and it was the highest-rated school in the Kansas City area. No area schools in Kansas or Missouri ranked in the top 700 schools. Park Hill was followed by three Blue Valley Schools that ranked above 1,000 — Blue Valley North 790, Blue Valley 944 and Blue Valley South West at 960.
“Any ranking that does not include all schools can not be a complete ranking,” Smith said.