Getting fifth graders to think about college seems a little goofy. But it's key to the prospects of the next generation.
NEWSWEEK's list of America's best high schools, this year with a record 1,258 names, began as a tale of just two schools. They were Garfield High School, full of children of Hispanic immigrants in East Los Angeles, and Mamaroneck High School, a much smaller campus serving very affluent families in Westchester County, N.Y.
For one brief moment, after years of fear and loathing, America seemed ready to make peace with the SAT. When the University of California several years ago threatened to treat the test like a bad batch of cafeteria food and tell applicants not to buy it, the College Board junked the bewildering analogy questions (warthogs are to pigs as politicians are to what?), created a writing section (including producing an essay), added tougher math questions and more reading analysis--and had everybody...
Tests aren't the only way to judge a high school. In the past decade, educators around the country have created dozens of intriguing models for reform. They include virtual high schools where all classes are online and "theme" schools based on environmental issues or the health-care profession.