In his letter of May 20, Phil Pinkham called for multiple evaluations of Maine schools and challenged naysayers of the recent state report cards to build their own and demonstrate how they are better than the state’s.

I am one of the naysayers, but I see no need to create my own system.

Multiple evaluations of schools already exist, so rather than reinvent the wheel I wish to highlight another recently released school rating system: U.S. News & World Report’s Best High Schools of 2013.

The magazine ranked Waterville Senior High School 11th among the 120 public high schools in Maine (within the top 10 percent), all the more impressive considering the top nine schools serve affluent communities.

Waterville Senior High School was one of 12 Maine schools to receive a silver rating (three received a gold).

Waterville Senior High School, however, received a C on the state report card.

I ask individuals to judge whether the U.S. News & World Report results are better than the LePage administration’s. The state report card is norm-referenced or specifically designed to rank schools in comparison to each other and places schools on a bell curve at random and unequal intervals.

U.S. News & World Report’s methodology is criteria-referenced or specifically designed to rank schools against a set of standards. Details can be found online at ucation/high-schools/articles/.

Pinkham is correct that information regarding school quality is important. I urge consumers of school ratings to be informed. Among other indicators, be sure to look at the accuracy of the information, the validity of the math and/or science behind the methodology and the intent of the system.

Donald J. Reiter, principal

Waterville Senior High School


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.