School House Wonk

"Genius without education is like silver in the mine." Benjamin Franklin

Digital Dominance

U.S. News & World Report has taken its “Best High Schools” survey to the digital level with its new Most Connected Classrooms rankings. The survey aims to measure “the modernity and sophistication of high schools’ online infrastructures, and the access students, faculty, and parents have to them at school and home.”

How did it work? More than 300 public high schools from the U.S. News “Best High School Rankings” were assessed using a Connectivity Index. The Index considered these criteria:

  • Internet speed and wireless access
  • Access to computers
  • Additional technological resources
  • Connected to school from home

Because I live in Washington where computers (and airplanes and coffee and Kindles) are king, I decided to look at results in terms of state representation.  So, I compared the states represented on the Most Connected Classrooms index to “America’s Top States for Technology and Innovation 2011” ranking from CNBC. The CNBC index ranks states based on their degree of innovation in the technology industry.

Some interesting results from this highly unscientific comparison:

  • Of the Top Ten” Most Connected” high schools, only two schools hail from states in CNBC’s Top Ten States for Technology (Michigan and Pennsylvania).
  • The top five states in CNBC’s index (California, New York, Massachusetts, Texas and Washington) placed no schools in the Top Ten.  New York placed three schools in the Top 25.
  • Defying conventional wisdom, Alabama placed two schools in the Top Ten, and three in the Top 25.  Same goes for South Dakota, which placed two schools in the Top 25.  Neither state is ranked in CNBC’s Top Ten. (Alabama is ranked 33rd and South Dakota 49th).
  • California’s highest-ranked school was 26th (Amino Inglewood Charter High School/Inglewood, CA).
  • The highest- ranked school from my state, Washington, placed fifty-seventh (Royal High School/Royal City, WA).

Beth T. Sigall

October 27, 2011

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