The little schools that dominate the top of The Washington Post’s 2012 high school rankings confirm an accelerating trend in American education: We are moving away from the something-for-everyone shopping mall campuses that were once a national model.
Instead of big schools that offer football, auto shop and a wide choice of easy courses, the schools that lead the new list are small magnets and charters that focus on college-level courses and tests.
There are hints of the same change in The Post’s local high school rankings, led by small schools seeking rigor for average students. They include Saint Anselm’s Abbey and Washington International, among the first private schools to appear on The Post’s list. These small, intense schools reflect a movement to apply international standards to American education, using programs like Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and the Advanced International Educational Certificate.
The Post’s full High School Challenge list of more than 1,800 schools, the national top 9 percent, plus local school rankings, can be found online at www.washingtonpost.com/highschoolchallenge.