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Latest MHS Ranking Supports Serious and Immediate Change

It's time for our elected representatives to stop "studying" the issues surrounding the unfairness and quality of MHS and take action to let the voters decide what's best for their children.

 

Citizens for Better Schools (“CBS”) were disappointed this week to read U.S. News & World Report’s just-released rankings of the 22,000 public high schools in the United States. Mendham High School is ranked 632nd nationally, only 33rd in New Jersey.
 
Mendham High School is ranked below nearby Chatham (7th), Ridge (8th), Millburn (12th), Mountain Lakes (22nd), Summit (25th), Madison (29th), New Providence (31st), andLivingston (32nd), among other NJ high schools.
 
U.S. News’ ranking, which factors in Mendham High School’s highly touted International Baccalaureate program, is the latest in a string of disappointing independent assessments of our high school’s performance. U.S. News’ ranking methodology, perhaps the most comprehensive and widely respected is described here:
http://www.usnews.com/education/articles/2012/01/02/about-the-us-news-education-rankings-methodologies
Monmouth University ranks Mendham High School 26th in New Jersey, down from 4th in 2002.  New Jersey Department of Education SAT data shows Mendham High School students score near the bottom, 10th out of 13, of New Jersey high schools located in “J” communities, the state’s socioeconomic designation for the Mendhams and Chesters.
The Washington Township majority on the school board that has controlled the West Morris Regional High School District for the past twenty years has been an exceptionally poor steward of our community asset, Mendham High School.  That poor stewardship compounded by the $6 million+ annual tax subsidy transferred to West Morris Central High School in turn have adversely affected our children's education. 
It's time for the parents and taxpayers of the Mendhams and Chesters to have a say in how their children are educated and their tax dollars are spent.  

CBS calls on our elected representatives to stop dismissing residents’ concerns about Mendham High School’s quality.  Ignoring independent comparative assessments of the facts will not reverse the decline of Mendham High School.  Objective evaluation of Mendham High School’s educational quality and cost leads to one conclusion.  Fundamental structural change of our district is required.  We can do better!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

LVMom May 22, 2012 at 07:57 PM
janet, i'd worry the schools here need a re-vamping...
Anne Clark May 22, 2012 at 09:15 PM
The schools were ranked on the % of kids who graduate, the % of kids accepted to a 2 or 4 year college, the number of AP or IB tests given per students in the school, the average SAT scores, average ACT scores, and average AP or IB score (not sure how they do this given the different grading scales?). So for Mendham HS - at 98% graduation rate, we could certainly look at who those 2% are and get them special attention if they don't already get it - or their parents haven't sought it. At 0.5 AP or IB tests per student taken - we could certainly try to get more kids to take these tests by encouraging them to enroll in Honors/AP/IB classes if their parents haven't done so. Teachers already offer kids a pass on their finals if they take an AP test. Why don't more do it? At 93% accepted to a 2 or 4 year college, we could encourage those 7% who have not been accepted, or do not plan to attend, to make sure they apply to CCM which takes all comers if their parents haven't done so, so we can get a higher score. We could encourage kids to do more studying for their SAT and ACT tests, in case their parents haven't done so - or encourage their parents to pay for prep classes. We could make the IB and AP review sessions offered to students mandatory, in case their parents haven't encouraged them to attend. The district already pays for these sessions - it's up to the kids to show up.
Anne Clark May 22, 2012 at 09:15 PM
If you sense that I think that parents can play the biggest role in getting more kids to take higher level classes at Mendham and raising our ranking, you're right. Parents, any thoughts?
Claire May 22, 2012 at 09:45 PM
la qu. I think you misunderstood what I meant. I am saying there are many great colleges out there that do not require you to take AP classes to get in. Kids are ready for college without AP classes. Some kids choose not to take AP because they are busy with other activities. WM is a good school and the kids come out prepared to succeed at college. If you think AP is the only route, you are mistaken.
I. U. Mayo May 22, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Step number one for the Chester's to fix any problem is to become just Chester Township and the same goes for the Mendham's as well. There are no longer two separate towns in either case. Combine the towns along with everyhing else, e.g. PD's, DPW's, etc...

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