What Do Schools Say About Ranking?

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What Do Schools Say About Ranking?
Ranks really don't matter. I have said that for years. But let's see what the schools have to say about the matter.
Over the years I have steadfastly maintained that ranks are not important. The main reason I cite is that each private school is unique and therefore cannot be compared. But enough of what I have to say on the subject. Let's look at what schools and their trade associations have to say about ranking private schools.

Here's what a state association of private schools has to say about rankings. I quote it verbatim.
ADVIS Position Statement on School Rankings

The Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools (ADVIS) is implacably opposed to the rating or ranking of schools in any shape or form. Therefore, we do not cooperate, and advise our member schools not to cooperate, with any publication that seeks to rate or rank schools.  A school, or an education, is not a consumer product comparable to a toaster. A great education depends on three key factors: the quality of the faculty, the quality of the student body, and the quality of teaching. These qualities are not quantifiable.

Source: ADVIS Statement of School Rankings

ADVIS goes on to reference the Statement on Ranking Schools by The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). Once again I quote this document verbatim.
ADVIS strongly advocates the following statement from the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) as the fundamental position to which we adhere.

NAIS Statement: On Ranking Schools

By: NAIS Board of Directors
Published: June 25, 2004
Updated: June 28, 2007

With this, as with all questions related to elementary and secondary education, we must keep our focus on the children's best interests. The National Association of Independent Schools is and always has been opposed to the ranking of schools. The "best" school — public, parochial, or independent — is the one that uniquely meets the needs of each particular child.

In the independent school sector, each institution, in its mission statement, defines its own objectives: the kind of program and campus culture the school provides, and often, the qualities that will help a student to succeed there. These schools were not created from one mold. They have different missions, offer different grade ranges, curricular emphases, pedagogical approaches, and extracurricular programs. Some schools are highly competitive by design, others intentionally create a nurturing atmosphere in which certain students will thrive; some focus on the arts, some on mathematics and science, others on outdoor education. Different schools offer programs for different types of students — bright students with learning differences, the gifted, students of average ability, children who face particular challenges.

Independent schools are to be judged, through their rigorous accreditation processes, according to what they individually set out to accomplish. Ranking such wonderfully different schools against one another misrepresents the institutions, misleads consumer-minded parents about the factors that should be considered in the complex process of choosing a school, but most importantly, can hurt children. Ranking elementary and secondary schools is a de facto labeling of vulnerable children and adolescents and is inherently wrong.

Ranking of schools encourages a destructive competitiveness, leading institutions away from offering rich alternatives and toward a stultifying sameness. It is a disservice to the schools, concerned parents, and children, and therefore, to our society.

Now What Do You Do?
You really want to find the best school for your child. You thought ranking private schools would help you find that school by identifying schools. So now what?

Start with Choosing a Private School. Follow the steps outlined in this article. When you visit schools, confirm that you are comfortable with both what is being taught and how it is being taught. Confirm that the teachers and staff are caring and concerned. Assure yourself that the school is well run and on a sound financial footing. At the end of this process, you should have a list of 2-3 schools which will meet your requirements. One of those is YOUR school. The best one!

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