Hingham is a recently yuppified town southeast of Boston, Massachusetts.
Ask anyone around, there anyway, they have the *best* schools. I've even heard local apologists assert that they are the best government schools in all of Massachusetts.
I've perused their MCAS scores - and they look OK, but nothing that could bestow any *best in state* designation.
In fact, the only scores that stand out at all are those from the 10th grade testing:
Because the elementary and middle school scores are nowhere near those levels. Click the link above.
Obviously, Hingham school district chauvinists claim that no matter how the kids start off in early grades....that how they leave the district, i.e. 10th grade, is most important.
Fair enough. (Although after 10th grade, they've still got 2 more years...)
But still, averaging those 10th grade scores ranks them 23.33 out of 350 public high schools in the state.
Bear in mind those ranks are based on *averages*, not on the upper tier's performance. So if a town has a little ghetto subdivision, its overall school grade can be dragged down. Note that Hingham has no such pockets of economic diversity. Furthermore, I've heard that they are very aggressive in designating kids *special ed* because in that case their testing scores don't have to be counted. (Though, I bet more than a few schools are guilty on this count.)
Consider how much lower Hingham would rank if weighed against the state's private high schools. Because of the prohibitive cost of
I grew up in Massachusetts; and I never, ever heard anything about Hingham schools until I moved to the South Shore. Remember I competed throughout HS in math competitions, regional, statewide, and up. So I had some familiarity with the Boston-area schools, specifically which ones were highly competitive on the math front: Canton, Westwood, Newton, Boston Latin, etc. Again, *Hingham* never rang a bell reputation-wise.
One would think that if the Hingham school district was anywhere near *the best* or *one of the best* there'd be some inter-scholastic way to prove this other than blunt AVERAGES, right?
What I wanted to know, was how schooled were Hingham's best and brightest. As a parent of precocious kids (aren't we all?), I could care less about mean performance. Read this from last year:
Fourth in its league? Are you kidding me?
And one of those schools above it - Notre Dame - is an all-chick situation! I don't need to say it because Obama's Larry Summers already did.
How the bleep can Hingham schools be soooo good if in an intense competition of four contiguous towns....it comes in fourth?
At my private HS, which was really *one of the best in the state* when I was there anyway,....at our worst we might finish fourth, but in the entire county! (And not ever when I was there.)
IMO, if Hingham's star mathletes can't even beat those of neighboring towns, I think it takes some real stones to be talking about statewide educational supremacy. Of course I'm a biased math guy; but still, math has to at worst the second or third most important academic subject.
This post may read overly-extrapolative, but it's grounded in my firm hunches. There are so many towns out there, across the fruited plain, that delude themselves into thinking they have *the best* schools. It's really ridiculous - not to mention mathematically impossible to have so many superlatives.
For those of you familiar with Hingham, enjoy this clip I just found of the OTHERWISE beautiful town:
I really like that music! Can someone enlighten me as to who it was?
UPDATE - My MIL informs me it's Edith Piaf.