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Weston High ranked No. 1 by Boston Magazine

Posted by Leslie Anderson  August 25, 2009 03:55 PM

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Weston High is top of the class among Greater Boston's public high schools, according to the latest issue of Boston Magazine, but schools in other western suburbs are not far behind.

Nipping at Weston's heels in the magazine's annual rankings are, in descending order, Dover-Sherborn, Concord-Carlisle, Lexington, Newton South, Newton North, Wellesley, Wayland, Lincoln-Sudbury, and Bedford.

Rounding out the magazine's top 20 are Sharon, Manchester Essex, Brookline, Bromfield in Harvard, Westwood, Westborough, Boston Latin, Acton-Boxborough, Needham, and Cambridge Rindge and Latin.

The 2009 rankings were computed by statistician George Recck, the director of the Math Resource Center at Babson College. Data — such as total enrollment, per-pupil spending, student-to-teacher ratio, MCAS and SAT results and graduation rates — was gathered for area schools by consulting school officials and websites, as well as the Massachusetts Department of Education.

With that information, Recck calculated mean scores for each data category and then ranked schools based on their distance from the averages.

''Obviously statistics aren’t the full picture, but they say a lot,'' said Boston Magazine staff writer Jason Schwartz in an interview.

The rankings considered schools in the eastern part of the state, with a few exceptions towards central Massachusetts, he said.

"We're always please to be recognized." said Anthony Parker, principal of Weston High. But, "We don't aim to be number one. We aim to be the best school we can possibly be given the resources that we have."

"We recognize that not every school has these resources ... To say that these resources don't give us an advantage is silly. You have wealthy, well-educated people who live in this community ... We acknowledge that we are hugely blessed and are thankful for the resources we have, and we then try to use those resources the best we can."

Parker is a Newton resident who sent his children to the Newton public schools.

The magazine’s 2008 top-10 list of public schools academic rankings placed Brookline first, followed by Lincoln-Sudbury, Weston, Boston Latin, Lexington, Newton South, Dover-Sherborn, Weymouth, Wayland and Newton North.

This year, the magazine also ranked private schools, with the Commonwealth School snagging the top spot for 2009. In second is Groton School, followed by Middlesex School, Philips Academy Andover, Newton Country Day School, Winsor School, Boston University Academy, Montrose School, Belmont Hill School, and Noble and Greenough School.

The area's best private high school in terms of value, according to Boston Magazine, is Mount Alvernia, followed by Cathedral, Montrose, Sacred Heart, Bishop Fenwick, Pope John XXIII, Woodward, Marian, Archbishop Williams and Ursuline Academy.

See Boston Magazine's top 150 schools in 2009 here and last year’s list here. See the complete private school rankings here.

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77 comments so far...
  1. Does anyone think it is just a coincidence that the most affluent towns in the state have the best schools? Weston is the wealthiest town and Dover is the second wealthiest town. Their schools are #s 1 and 2.
    These towns have more money to spend and the parents have high expectations of their children in regards to studying, graduating, and attending college. I would like to see a town that is not so wealthy make it to the top ten. That would truly be the sign of a great school system. But of course, that would drive the housing prices up in that town...

    Posted by Nancy Dexter August 25, 09 05:47 PM
  1. Did the list also mention these are some of the most affluent areas...I'm sorry THE most affluent areas in MASS? So education in the public and private spheres is tied to money too?

    Posted by Erin August 25, 09 05:50 PM
  1. #1 and #2 are Obama voters.

    Until you challenge the unions to adopt a state wide system this is what you get. But of course, you'll never want to challenge the "Yes We Can" union zombies.

    Posted by Dear Leader Chairman Maobama August 25, 09 05:58 PM
  1. more affluent = higher paying job = more expensive homes = higher property tax = more municipal revenue, so yes, public education is very much tied to money

    Posted by Paul August 25, 09 06:05 PM
  1. It's a well known fact that property values are determined by a town's school system. The top 20 towns pay more per student. People pay higher real estate taxes and therefore affording the best facilities and educators. I grew up in Dedham, but felt private highschool was a better education. It was. My parents weren't concerned with school systems, choosing Dedham over Westwood when they were buying their first home in the 80's. They should have bought in Westwood when they had the chance. They live in Westwood now, hoping to give their future grandchildren a better education one day should I inherit the house.

    Posted by Joseph August 25, 09 06:17 PM
  1. This list doesn't make much sense. How does Cambridge Ringe & Latin make the top 20 schools with its across the board mediocre scores? Outside of student ratio and per student spending, it performs worse than other schools below the top 20 list. Is this ranking based on spending and student/teacher ratio? How does that measure performance?

    Posted by John August 25, 09 06:20 PM
  1. Did they do a study of the towns with the worst public schools?
    1 Mattapan
    2 Dorchester
    3 Roxbury
    4 Lynn
    5 Brockton
    6 Worcester
    etc, etc, etc.

    Posted by Tom from Norwood August 25, 09 06:20 PM
  1. I wonder what would be cheaper: send your kid to an private school and live in a mediocre town or send your kid to a free public school and live in an affluent town... Does it matter? 90% of the state of MA doesn't have such opportunity to make this choice. Boston Globe why are you citing the competition anyway? Do you like demoralizing the 90% of us who don't get that opportunity? Oh that's right the western affluent suburbs is where they are buying your paper.

    Posted by lolipopp August 25, 09 06:21 PM
  1. People pay a premium to live in affluent towns in belief of advantages for their children. Affluence makes it easier but doesn't guarantee parental involvement with the schools, time with children, additional tutoring and support. I wonder if there are more single working parent homes in affluent towns. Does anyone know if a larger percent of parents in affluent towns are better educated and have a better understanding of the what it takes to prepare kids for college? Do they have higher academic expectations for their kids and does this have a positive influence on their kids academic achievement?

    I’ve witnessed individual cases of less affluent, first generation parents pushing their kids more than privileged “rich kids”. Larger schools have funding for better computer and lab equipment and diversity of curriculum. Smaller towns may be forced to cut out language, music and specific sports where larger schools may only need to cut the size of those programs.

    Posted by Fierte August 25, 09 06:26 PM
  1. Cambridge spends the most per pupil by far, yet the test scores and rankings don't follow. It's not about the municipal money.

    Take away their fancy computer labs and stick them in trailers, and I bet the Weston kids will still do fine on grades/testing. It's about the kids and what they expect from themselves. It's likely their parents went to college and have successful careers, and the kids see this every day and subconsciously set themselves to this standard.

    Posted by chris August 25, 09 06:36 PM
  1. Paul wrote:
    "more affluent = higher paying job = more expensive homes = higher property tax = more municipal revenue, so yes, public education is very much tied to money"

    better education = higher paying job = more expensive homes = higher property tax = more municipal revenue = better education for your children, so yes, public education is very much tied to money

    There, fixed that for ya.

    Posted by Skid August 25, 09 06:41 PM
  1. budget doesnt equate to student success (see washington dc, more spent per pupil than anywhere, yet close to the bottom in "rankings"). if it were that easy, we'd throw a bunch of money at schools, and all would be "perfect". an emphasis on education starts at home. no amount of money will change that

    Posted by cg August 25, 09 06:42 PM
  1. BTW, many private schools who are not into this numbingly sophomoric and transparant story of summer do not supply the lame magazine with their info. So, there are many schools who could be on this list who choose not to feed the has-been magazine. How about digging a bit for things that sometimes do make the poorer area schools great? Oh, that would require some thought and not a stat guy who crunches numbers. Students are not numbers. Shame on the Globe even printing this non-story.

    Posted by Principal August 25, 09 06:44 PM
  1. Here is a sobering note for all you celebrants: Massachusetts schools do not do particularly well in national surveys. For example, schools in suburban Washington, DC fare much better.

    Posted by marzxyz August 25, 09 06:47 PM
  1. "It's a well known fact that property values are determined by a town's school system. The top 20 towns pay more per student. "

    This is not true. For example, Waltham pays more per student than Weston, and Burlington pays more than Wellesley. Also, Boston has high property values, but many poor schools.

    Posted by TheBurbs August 25, 09 06:49 PM
  1. who cares about the affluent homes, wealthy couples, blah blah blah... think about the people who live in these towns... highly educated, highly intelligent people - doesn't it make sense that they may just have smarter children?????

    Posted by gd August 25, 09 06:53 PM
  1. Too bad those rankings don't get to take into consideration the overall sense of entitlement and poor character students from Weston, Wellesley, and Newton have.

    Posted by Sean August 25, 09 06:55 PM
  1. sounds to me like everyone on this board has sour grapes since none of you live in one of these towns. hey, we worked HARD to buy a house here. we didn't steal anything from anybody. we WORKED HARD specifically so we could send our kid to the public school here. why is everyone begrudging us? jealously, perhaps?

    Newton Resident

    Posted by LMDL August 25, 09 07:31 PM
  1. "Too bad those rankings don't get to take into consideration the overall sense of entitlement and poor character students from Weston, Wellesley, and Newton have. "

    Say what?

    You mean like the US Congress? Just look at the public's view of Polosi, Reid, & Co.

    Posted by Anonymous August 25, 09 07:41 PM
  1. Excuse me TOM from Norwood -- in what fantasy land are you getting the info that Brockton has one of the "worst" school systems?

    I dont know about the other cities on your list, but I assure you that the Brockton School System is full of enormous successes. It is a huge urban area (6,000 students at BHS alone) and therefore has it's challenges too. But the lows certainly do not negate the highs.

    Numerous parents from the surrounding towns choose to send their kids through the Brockton system, paying thousands to do so. And who could blame them? Our kids enjoy an array of resources and programs which are recognized statewide (and at times even nationwide) for their successes in music, art, theatre, sports, communications, etc....

    ...And then there are all of those Bad Brockton Losers gaining admission to the nations most prestigious universities including the Ivy's year after year. Something tells me the admissions folks at Harvard, Yale, Cornell, U. Penn, Dartmouth, Smith, B.C., Syracuse, and Notre Dame aren't being forced at gunpoint to accept Brockton's students.

    Posted by Elle Weatherly-Bancroft August 25, 09 07:44 PM
  1. The bottom line is that smarter individuals who place a high value on education live cause their towns to have highly rated schools. These are the parents who read to their kids most and push them academically. Wealth in itself, higher town revenue and higher spending per student is not a strong factor - look at the spending per student for the worst schools, they tend to have the highest spend per student on the list!

    Los

    Posted by Carlo August 25, 09 08:14 PM
  1. The data may look right. However, whatever ranking algorithm the statistician used cannot be correct and does not make any sense. Boston Latin has the best and highest scores in every single category listed. Go figure!!!!

    Posted by Elias August 25, 09 08:19 PM
  1. Wealth doesn't automatically mean bad character, Sean (#17). Neither does snobbery, so your children might fare well after all.

    And yes, the education level of the parents plays a huge role in this, one that I imagine would be pretty hard to measure. If you took the population of children in my town and transported them to a town like Lynn, which doesn't fare as well in these surveys, their scores would "magically" go up overnight. So it's not the money that makes the difference. A well-educated parent in any community can make sure his or her child gets a good education.

    And it also pays to remember that the same school can be in different positions on many surveys. The school my daughter attends, Dover-Sherborn High School, is all over the map on national surveys. What matters is that we feel it's the best place for her.

    Posted by Sherborn mom August 25, 09 08:21 PM
  1. I'd agree with most of this except the Lexington ranking, which I'd give
    a mediocre rating. Hopefully we're talking about the quality of the
    schools, not the percentage of students who have priviledged
    backgrounds that would override the mediocre administration of
    a school system.

    Posted by Jenna August 25, 09 08:25 PM
  1. Yes, LMDL "Newton Resident," you WORK HARD, and that's why you can afford to live in a wealthy suburb. And the rest of don't WORK HARD, and that's why we can't afford one of the wealthy suburbs. Let me guess: You grew up in one of those towns that Boston Magazine rates as "tops", and that's why you have such an open mind and such great critical thinking skills . . .
    And by the way, you can have Newton.

    Posted by molly829 August 25, 09 08:33 PM
  1. to LMDL, what % of your neighbors were giving their homes by their parents. my brother resides in Wellesley and on his street of 20 house, 6 families were handed down their houses. I understand, that you and everyone else who have worked hard to get what he or she considers blessed, should cheer. But please do not pretend that ALL the residents of your town did it ALL by themselves.

    Posted by relax26 August 25, 09 08:53 PM
  1. Sean, You are bittttttter!!!
    Relax dude!!

    Posted by dcmacca August 25, 09 08:54 PM
  1. #25 THANK you

    Posted by lilac August 25, 09 08:59 PM
  1. How about proofreading. Where is the town of Bromfield?

    Posted by bdbd August 25, 09 09:01 PM
  1. I don't see what all the haters are getting worked up about. Private schools not included on the list? No kidding Sherlock - it's a ranking of PUBLIC schools. Entitled children in these towns getting on your nerves? Generalize much? Bunch of fools making some of these comments.
    I live in one of these towns, happy to be here, scrimped, saved, and paid a huge premium to live here because it's a priority for me and my family. The better test scores and admissions from these towns are a function of several things - more family support, more financial support for teachers, more money to get the best teachers and critical supplies - plus, people who care about education all converging in these towns tends to raise the bar for everyone. I can send my kids off to school knowing that their friends' parents are just as involved as we are.
    Haters, go fly a kite.

    Posted by J.P. August 25, 09 09:14 PM
  1. Nice to see Weston come out on top. As a graduate of the Class of 1993, I can attest to the quality of education. To those who are commenting on the affluence factor, each and every classmate of mine worked hard to graduate and go off to college. People need to really step back and look at the entire picture and if you are disappointed in your own community's schools, take part and help foster change in it.

    Posted by Proud Weston Graduate August 25, 09 09:16 PM
  1. Strange use of statistics. Is it relevant that one school has more guidance counselors than another? Why is the number of AP classes important? Isn't it more useful to determine how well kids do on the tests? Or maybe it isn't -- some schools are pushing kids into more challenging and less standardized approaches to learning. Does it matter that one school has 50 sports and another 45? And so on. This is pseudo-science at it's worst from a magazine that has seen much better days....

    Posted by winch August 25, 09 09:28 PM
  1. Last time I checked the figures, Boston spends just as much as Weston on a per pupil basis. The city of Worcester spends only slightly less than Wellesley. Most of the lesser achieving school districts spend, in comparison to the state average, either average or above average money per pupil. Draw your own conclusions from these facts...and also I encourage you to do your own check of the figures from the state. Its eye opening.

    Posted by John August 25, 09 09:28 PM
  1. Gotta love the liberal state of Massachusetts. I think we used to call them armchair liberals. Lo and behold, money talks...

    Posted by sherborn dad August 25, 09 09:31 PM
  1. The world needs ditch diggers too. If you want a better life work for it, stop looking for a hand out. If you want your children to do better, be part of their education and stop complaining about the what the State should be doing about and start looking at what you should be doing.

    Posted by steve August 25, 09 09:45 PM
  1. Boston magazine does this every year. Brookline and Newton have just as many poor people as wealthy. Also, this is just one magazine's opinion. And they always pick the same schools. There are many towns that have excellent school systems that were not mentioned. Sometimes I wonder if many of the people that work for Boston Magazine live west of the city. There are great schools north and south of the city, that never make the list, Masconomet, Hamilton Wenham, and Lynnfield to name a few. And many of these towns are just as affluent as many of the towns on the list.

    Posted by David August 25, 09 09:58 PM
  1. I can't believe this country tolerates public schools!!!! Isn't that the same as the "public option" in the Obama plan??? Say NO to the public option. How is it that private schools even compete????? There is no way that if we allow the public option, that any alternatives can exist. And the cost to tax payers will be horrendous. Anyone who sends their children to public schools is SOCIALIST!!!

    Posted by School Dad August 25, 09 10:01 PM
  1. Newton is not in the same sphere as Weston, Wellesley or Dover. It's not even close. The City is large, economically diverse and borderline inefficient. Sure, the Library is nice and the Parks are fairly clean. However, Newton's City Hall and Board of Aldermen are either woefully incompetent or criminally corrupt. Instead of addressing pressing issues, the incumbents decided to outspend Deval Patrick on a gaudy new HS just so the status-conscious, "new money" phonies in Newton could boast about having a bowling alley to their snootier friends living in Weston, Wellesley and Dover.

    Newton is second rate. Kill the Metco. Vote for an Outsider. Muzzle your Dog after 8 PM. And if you're a self-entitled and supremely useless Soccer Mom, for goodness sake....USE YOUR BLINKERS!

    Posted by saabguy August 25, 09 10:13 PM
  1. As someone who lives in one of the highly-rated towns (higher than LMDL's precious Newton), I'll pile on and say that LMDL is full of bunk. I don't think the affluent necessarily work harder than anyone else. Maybe LMDL spends his/her day in a back-breaking job, but most affluent people don't. I would say that work ethic is important for anyone, but having unique skills (be it intellect or being able to slug a baseball 450 feet) will trump work ethic anytime.

    As for the ratings, perhaps affluent people in general value education more than the overall population. If so, that would tend to drive up the property values in a self-sustaining cycle. So wealthy towns end up with high-quality schools. All of the factors involved are correlated with one another, so trying to determine cause and effect seems pointless.

    Posted by hardworker August 25, 09 10:13 PM
  1. My folks moved to Dover when I was entering soph year in HS. We moved from Newton. Both of my parents grew up in Boston in the 40's and 50's and neither came from money. They did go to college, they did work hard, and then they decided to buy a house in Newton in the early 70s and raise a family. They parlayed that into a nicer house in Dover in the early 90's. Never made any kind of fortune during their careers, just played it smart. My parents chose to move not only because it was a great real estate investment, but also because the public school system in Dover was so highly rated. I have to say, I was absolutely blown away by the quality of teachers at Dover-Sherborn. Far superior to anyone I had in Newton elementary schools or Junior HS. The town knows the school system is a big draw for potential buyers, so they put forth a great effort in screening for the best, and maintaining their stellar reputation.

    Posted by beefstick August 25, 09 10:16 PM
  1. I'd love for some Texas schools to come up here and show everyone how good highschool sports can really be. I really wish people in New England would put more emphasis on raising up young athletes instead of idolizing over paid, selfish & egotistical pro athletes... (That probably isn't a completely fair generalization).
    I'd rather watch the Little League World Series or a good High School football game than the pros... any day!

    Posted by KrisYoung06 August 25, 09 10:22 PM
  1. I take some pride in this list. I was educated in the number 6 school and am raising my kids in the town that lays claim to the number 12 school. KUDOS to Dover for claiming the top prize. You Dover parents have done your kids a big favor whether they appreciate it or not. HIgh school kids generally take most things for granted, Congrats again!

    Posted by HP August 25, 09 10:29 PM
  1. School Dad wrote:
    "I can't believe this country tolerates public schools!!!! Isn't that the same as the "public option" in the Obama plan??? Say NO to the public option. How is it that private schools even compete????? There is no way that if we allow the public option, that any alternatives can exist. And the cost to tax payers will be horrendous. Anyone who sends their children to public schools is SOCIALIST!!!"

    School Dad: your sarcastic sense of humor comes across very badly or you are a deranged individual...

    Posted by AM August 25, 09 10:33 PM
  1. No need for name calling... - people naturally take pride in seeing their community on a list like this and take umbrage when their community is overlooked.

    One factor to consider in per pupil cost is the higher number of special needs and English language learners in schools in poorer communities. What sometimes amazes me about these discussions is our failure to appreciate that we are all part of the Eastern Massachusetts community, and that all our children would benefit from the best possible education.

    Those who point to the parents' education level as a key factor are on to something - it is one of the most highly correlated features of high achieving students - no big surprise there.

    Generally, I think the value of lists like this is in the discussions they inspire. But, the results are a little bit silly - "Boston" magazine pandering to its clientele I suspect. The list is essentially the same if you look at per cap. income or parents' education level or MCAS scores. Of course the experiences and opportunities afforded wealthier children show up in positive ways. So, how do we provide as many children as possible with better opportunities?

    If we are to be a stronger, more vibrant community (region, nation) then each of these children is ours - all of ours.

    Posted by mf August 25, 09 10:40 PM
  1. Regardless of what statistics these rankings take into account, ask any admissions officer in the country and they will tell you that Boston Latin School is not only the premier public school in the state, but one of the top in the country. There is a reason we send more kids to top 40 colleges than any other public school in New England.

    Posted by AJD August 25, 09 10:42 PM
  1. Can't trust everything you read. BLS education is real . . . stats are for those chasing the image and not the thing itself. Best all.

    Posted by JohnnyDorchester August 25, 09 10:55 PM
  1. I am a 26 year old, i am from a lovely town in upstate new york, where things have always been simple, slow and real. I have been here for 4 years since graduating college. What is this place? Money rules, I have visited places on the south shore, through friends who were dating younger girls. Girls 17-18, and here they were in duxbury, in milton, in huge expensive houses, disrespecting them, and disrespecting themselves. What is this place? Weston, Sudbury, Corcord - this is not real. These places are not reality. I met many of these kids in college - money grows on trees, respect is bought, inspiration is imaginary.
    I am disappointed. It is pathetic that education should ever - ever, mirror wealth.
    What does it take for the human being to realize that education and wealth must be separated in order to truly live free?

    Posted by lindsey dresbeck August 25, 09 11:18 PM
  1. We're right in the middle rank-wise, but I know of a family who is relocation to my town from Wellesley because they want a smaller school system.

    My kids go to MA's best kept secret. Small student to teacher ratios. Improving test scores. Involved parents. And I have an over 3000 + sq ft house with a public library, a recreation department, and lots of sports. And it doesn't cost over a million dollars. And I would wager that we have fewer incidents of drug and alcohol abuse.

    Posted by toots August 25, 09 11:21 PM
  1. Commonwealth School should be very proud. It has only existed for just over 50 years and yet the administration has managed to create an academically rigorous environment rivaling, and based on this report, surpassing schools with a much longer legacy, Hats Off!

    Posted by Hats off! August 25, 09 11:22 PM
  1. The old saying is there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. Spin the numbers any way you want. The smartest kids in Mass. are at Boston Latin.

    Posted by fan66 August 25, 09 11:32 PM
  1. I would add Hopkinton to the top 20 list.

    Posted by bobbo August 26, 09 12:07 AM
  1. My lord, as a Cambridge taxpayer (no kids yet), I'm furious with this report. Apparently I'm dumping a lot of $$ into an ineffective and wildly inefficient school system. Somehow Boston magazine, with their brilliant analysis, thinks that makes R&L just great.
    Ridiculous study. Ridiculous school system.

    Posted by EdLover August 26, 09 12:10 AM
  1. Academic achievement is directly attributed to a child's oral language development. Children of middle-class parents hear over 30 million words spoken to them by age 3 while children of parents on welfare hear only 10 million words spoken to them by the same age. When the children of parents on welfare enter Kindergarten they are already way behind in terms of their oral development. It is very difficult for the school to make up for what the child was lacking all those years.

    Posted by Mike August 26, 09 12:36 AM
  1. Statistics can be twisted but how can one compare test sores of Boston Latin to other public schools? There are smart kids everywhere at various schools, there are just more at a school that select only good ones from a big pool of kids.

    Posted by Indy August 26, 09 01:09 AM
  1. How can you NOT be number one when you've got more money than God.
    Gee, you mean Chelsea didn't pull this one out?
    I bet it was close though, right?
    It would be like expecting the Yankees to finish last, in spite of a $200 Million payroll.

    Posted by Steve Leeman August 26, 09 02:00 AM
  1. How can you NOT be number one when you've got more money than God.
    Gee, you mean Chelsea didn't pull this one out?
    I bet it was close though, right?
    It would be like expecting the Yankees to finish last, in spite of a $200 Million payroll.

    Posted by Steve Leeman August 26, 09 02:00 AM
  1. Wonderful. Now lets take Weston's 'winning formula'and apply it to every school in Massachusetts (especially in Quincy).

    Posted by sookilee August 26, 09 02:19 AM
  1. No wonder the US has slipped from the top to the bottom of the worlds "social mobility" rankings in under a generation, and is now as "aristocratic" as 1920's Britain. With our apalling (and apallingly expensive) healthcare system, it looks like our destiny is the same as 20's Britain as well.

    Posted by Stevef August 26, 09 04:16 AM
  1. Per pupil spending is an absurd factor in determining any rankings, only achievement should be considered. How else can success in education be measured?

    Posted by Brian August 26, 09 05:46 AM
  1. Boston Latin is public education at its finest. The oldest existing school in America founded in 1635. Boston Latin had been a top feeder school for Harvard, and has consistently sent large numbers of students to Harvard, recently averaging about twenty-five students per year. More than 99% of Boston Latin's annual graduates are accepted by at least one four-year college. Granted it is an exam school. Kids compete to get in and to stay. I remember the headmaster's address to the incoming freshman class he said, "Look to your left, now look to your right, counting yourself only one of you will graduate." Hard work pays great dividends in the final analysis.
    I came from a poor working family who lived in the Allston/Brighton area of Boston. A community developed largely around large railroad and livestock operations during the 20th century. My family had a strong philosophy about the value of a good education and the hard work associated with obtaining it. To get ahead in life my grandfather, a Polish immigrant, said, “ You have to work hard and even make some sacrifices but through a commitment to education you will achieve your goal.”
    Look at the statistics. In particular the student/teacher ratio between Boston Latin ranked # 17 and Weston ranked #1. With 1/2 of the teachers Boston Latin students had higher SAT scores and MCAS scores. In my book Boston Latin will always be # 1.
    Without a free public education I never would have had the opportunity to achieve something for myself and make an positive impact for my family, society and America. God bless our forefathers who had the foresight and wisdom to see the benefit of public education.

    Posted by oiznor August 26, 09 05:52 AM
  1. Why is much of the data exactly the same as last year? Pupils (surely someone graduated in the past year), spending, MCAS scores, etc.

    Posted by Mike August 26, 09 07:44 AM
  1. WARNING TO PARENTS: This information is ridiculously incorrect do not make your education decision on this puff piece.

    Posted by LMAO August 26, 09 07:58 AM
  1. I am a graduate of Weston who chose to come back and teach in the schools. Why return? It is a phenomenal place which values creativity and intellectual discussion. Just as I had in my classrooms as I student, I put a value on problem solving, not rote memorization. THAT is why WPS comes out on top.

    Posted by Westongradandteacher August 26, 09 08:13 AM
  1. It's Parents. Parents. Parents. Why is that so hard to understand? Kids raised in a well-educated 2-parent home will succeed. And guess what? Parents are attracted to towns filled with 2-parent well-educated families. These families tend to be successful and have money. And who gives a rat's blank if that money is then handed down through the family over time? I'm sure there are many liberal jerks who think that wealth should be confiscated upon death. All the money in the world sent to poor performing inner-city schools will not chnage the fact that 75% of those kids are raised by single parents who are uneducated and/or drug addicted. It's a pverty/death spiral. My parents both graduated from Boston Colleg in the 60's. They tortured me during my junior high and high school years. If I brought home a "C" on my report card it was literally the end of the world. I was in all AP classes in HS and had to work my butt off. I graduated in the top 10% of my class at a public HS and went on to a 4-year college on a full ROTC scholarship. I still remember my mom, even in my senior year of HS, telling me I'd be nothing but a "bum" after I got a "C" in one of my classes. Granted this may not be the best parental approach, but nevertheless it was effective. They cared enough to be cruel so to speak. Well it worked. 20 plus years later my wife and I make well over $200K and we are raising 2 kids. And I will be the jerk father who makes my kid study his butt off.

    Posted by TR August 26, 09 08:16 AM
  1. Thank you, Schooldad, for my first good laugh of the morning! And thank you oiznor for reminding me what a great place BLS is. My daughter is a student there and despite the hard work and the spartan conditions, she loves her school, loves her friends, and is incredibly proud to go there. I wouldn't trade it for all the Westons on the world.

    Posted by greenbrier August 26, 09 08:31 AM
  1. ha ha, ok oiznor, BL is the best - judging from what is coming out of harvard these days i pray some of the others schools in the top twenty start "feeding" harvard. jeez, if your town made the top 50 consider yourself fortunate and stay on top of your kids school work.

    Posted by i_have_to_laugh August 26, 09 08:50 AM
  1. Listen, EVERYONE in our State should be happy we have kids smart enough to be ranked high at all... If your school is not doing as well, strive to be better. Parents, spend more time with your kids, volunteer in the schools and stress that education is the priority (you don't need to be rich to do that). Parental involvement from educated parents is my guess as to why these towns do better though money may have some influence. But so what, teach your children well within the confines of your town. You don't have to be number one to still be doing well. Rankings spur competition and competition is good!!! Be happy your able to live in Massachusetts and send your kids to school here. I'm sure people from other states with lesser school systems would consider us all rich! We can't be all the same... In order for all our kids to be the same, we'd have to dumb it down. We're trying to compete with the WORLD, people, don't cry baby because your town wasn't ranked high enough. Just be glad that we have American kids in this country who do so well. They will be our leaders some day, if they're smart enough!!!! We're in this together. Stop the whining.

    Posted by Education Priority August 26, 09 09:01 AM
  1. Grew up in a top 10 town, live in one now with my own family. I am not wealthy. My folks were not wealthy. We are a 2 income family. We could have bought a lovely house in the town next door, large and modern. But instead we bought a small dumpy house that we've fixed up ourselves, because of the school system here. My town has affordable homes, but when people see what they'd get compared to the town next door (ranked in the 40s), they often go next door to the nicer home. Their loss, although I'm sure they love their McMansion. So sometimes it's sour grapes from them, when they see lists like this.

    Posted by PlanetaryJanet August 26, 09 10:06 AM
  1. 62 - These rankings are essentially correct. The top school systems have remained the same for decades now. Any parent who ignores the data is beyond foolish.

    BL Cheerleaders - BL is a selective test school, and thus is not comparable to other public schools that have to teach everyone regardless of their ability.

    Posted by GCabot August 26, 09 10:28 PM
  1. It's hard to take seriously any top-ten list of local private schools that does not include Roxbury Latin, which is arguably in the top ten in the country. Also, where is Buckingham, Browne and Nichols? This list is mighty suspect.

    Posted by Brother Superior August 27, 09 07:42 AM
  1. Living in Wellesley most of life, I have seen this town change and not for the better. You have a really good chance to be hit while in a crosswalk by a mom in her surburban while on her cell as well as not using the blinker than anytown around. No one knows how to park between the lines. I have bruises from being hit so many times by a shopping cart. I get honked at while trying to pull into my driveway. Go for a walk at night and pass a few people walking and see if they can even say "hello". I am a product of the public school system for 13 years. My wife a product of private school. Don't get me wrong, it is nice to live in the town where you grew up but I don't recognize it.
    If my house caught on fire, they will be there.
    If I need the police, they will be there.
    If I want a neighbor to say hello after living next to each other for two years, that just isn't going to happen.
    And how in this economy can we justify building a new school for $175 million. So what if my locker from 20 years ago still has a giant dent in it, is the roof falling in or does the ceiling leak?

    Posted by Red Raider August 28, 09 08:36 AM
  1. Steve (#35) aptly said: "...If you want your children to do better, be part of their education and stop complaining about the what the State should be doing about and start looking at what you should be doing."

    Whether your child goes to public (in whatever system) or to private school--when the parents/guardians are *involved* and willing to do what ever it takes to ensure that their child succeeds, that child will thrive academically. Kids who go to the Brookline Highs, Westons and Dovers and Newton Norths etc. whose parents who are not involved, don't necessarily fare any better than the kids who go to the schools at the lower end of the spectrum whose parents *are* involved and active in their education. Yes, the communities with the better schools may have access to "better" opportunities and services, but the interested, involved parents in those other communities are the parents who will seek the additional scholastic opportunities so that their children *can* succeed. One can go to Phillips and still be a ne're-do-well, or go to public school and become a doctor, lawyer or other professional.

    As an alumna of the #1 ranked private school (thanks Mom & Dad!), now with (young) kids of my own, I can say that, involved, active, interested parents *do* tend to seek communities where academics seem to be important (or they send their kids to private school). As an alumna of a Massachusetts school who now lives in another state, I can also say that I am constantly comparing what I see in my current state in terms of education with what I experienced in private school and to what my old friends who went to public school experienced...and I still think that there is no comparison to a Massachusetts education. Sure, my husband went to school in my current state, but he excelled and succeeded in part because his family was active and involved. Our kids will excel as well (fingers crossed), because we will be parents who are active and involved in our kids' education.

    Where one goes school and what you make of it starts at HOME.

    Posted by 89alumna August 29, 09 09:37 AM
  1. Where is all this vitriol coming from? We are talking about a good thing here - the education of our kids! Yes, anything about our kids makes us tend to take a stand and get emotional, but some balanced positive views would be a breath of fresh air.

    Posted by John August 29, 09 06:18 PM
  1. Brother Superior, Roxbury Latin is 26th and BBN is 27th on the private school list. Maybe RL suffered from not reporting their SATs scores. I certainly think they should have at least been higher up on the value list (#12) since their tuition is subsidized by their huge endowment. Massachusetts has a surfeit of private schools, especially boarding schools, so it's not that crazy to think that these two schools don't finish in the top 20. Are they better than Milton (12), Deerfield (14)? While there are some surprise names on the list of top 10s (Newton Country Day, Montrose Academy, BU Academy) because they are pretty new as schools, it's hard to argue with schools like Commonwealth (1) which, even though you may not have heard of it, has SAT scores topping 700 in every discipline. I doubt Roxbury Latin can touch that with a ten foot stick. RL promotes the top 10 percent of their class to go to Harvard, and mostly as inner city, hard-luck stories that the Ivies eat up. The rest are middling wealthy students who end up at BU. Hardly a great track record for a school.

    Posted by Doughboy August 30, 09 02:37 PM
  1. Tutors, tutors, tutors. Wake up. it is not the schools, but private funds to tutor kids up the you-know what. I live in a "w" town, and know...

    Posted by Mary-Ann September 1, 09 05:21 PM
  1. I live in Sudbury, where in my humble opinion, LSRHS is second to none, including ANY private school in the state. The faculty, new school and campus, and the school's philosophy is remarkable. This town is full of people who chose to live here because of it's reputation for premium schools. I have to agree with a former poster, "why all the vitriolic comments toward the towns with highly ranked school systems"? Kind of reminds me of the mindless hateful people who refuse to allow their children to listen to President Obama's speech about staying in school and doing your best to achieve your goals. We both work full time jobs in order to afford living here, we live in a nice house, our children enjoy top notch academic programs and athletic opportunities, but I believe the key is, we are both very involved in our children's educations. If you want your children to succeed, get involved, it makes a huge difference, your kids will thank you some day.

    Posted by get involved! September 8, 09 06:58 PM
  1. It isn't the people's fault who live in Weston that their school system is seen as the best. I don't understand why the people who have been responding to this article feel as though Weston has done something bad by being the best!

    Main point - Don't say that Weston has done something bad, just because they are the best. Don't get angry at someone because they are better then you are. If you do that, you are simply lowering yourself to the level at which you have falsely rated Weston residents.

    Posted by Anonymous October 7, 09 04:01 PM