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Reader's Letter: St. Mary's County Schools - What Do Our Children Think?

It's almost that back to school time of year again, and the future voices of America are making it known that they have an opinion, and that they don't like what is going on in our school system. At least my kid doesn't anyway.

I decided to live in Lexington Park so my wife would be close to work, my mother, and no shortage of other people, all keep telling my daughter that Great Mills High School is nothing but hoodlums. A few months ago, I sent my kid the MSN school ranking link trying to get her sold on the Great Mills idea, but you can see for yourself how that worked out.

We tolerated her staying at my Mother's last year during the week so she could go to Leonardtown, and now we are facing this battle...

I admit it, we are one those families that has become dysfunctional due to the technologies that are supposed to free us from working hard. Once your child sends you a memo, as mine recently did, you can no longer ignore that reality. Computers and the Internet have transformed us from families into mini corporations.

But back to the memo, this wasn't just any memo; it was an argumentative document demanding action, and I'm going to share it with you, the public, because I don't think I'm the only one getting these memos, or at least having this discussion with my child now that the school year is fixing to start.

What follows is my daughter’s memo to me (denoted in itallics):

I pulled up some stuff on the internet.

First Argument:

Chopticon High School's page

Great Mills High School's page

First of all, if you observe the test scores tab, you'll notice that Chopticon did better than the state average on all categories. Great Mills did not. Secondly, if you notice the parent reviews, you'll see that, while both have positive and negative reviews, if you look at the average ratings (above the first comment), Chopticon had a better rating for each category except one, teacher quality. In that case, the schools tied.

This compared high schools in St. Mary's County.

As you can see, Chopticon basically whooped Great Mills' butt.

Second Argument: Here's that article (from MSNBC) about the "Top 1,200 High Schools", or whatever, in the US.

To make it easier for you: 372 Leonardtown; 694 Great Mills; 1186 Chopticon

Now, you're probably pretty smug with yourself considering CHS barely made the list. But, if you thought they based these results on test scores, you thought wrong. Public schools are ranked according to a ratio - devised by Jay Mathews - that is, the number of Advanced Placement and/or International Baccalaureate tests taken by all students at a school in 2005 divided by the number of graduating seniors.

All of the schools on the list have an index of at least 1.000; they are in the top 5 percent of publ

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