Mission High School tops Fremont reporter’s alma mater in rankings

U.S. News and World Reports has released its annual high school rankings, and for the first time in at least four years my old school Great Neck South (61) is ranked below Mission San Jose (36).

The rankings have always been BS (It’s really just a measure of AP classes) but this year’s methodology must be especially faulty.

The magazine probably forgot to credit us for giving rise to Talia Shire of Rocky fame. Her older brother Francis Ford Coppola went to Great Neck North, as did comedian Andy Kaufman, shoe designer Kenneth Cole and Olympic figure skating gold medalist Sarah Hughes.

Mission sent Kristi Yamaguchi out into the world along with quite a few b-list jocks.

Matt Artz

  • Andrew

    “The rankings have always been BS (It’s really just a measure of AP classes) but this year’s methodology must be especially faulty.”
    I think your mind might be a bit faulty

  • Rindu Muncie

    I hate these rankings, especially because of where MSJ ends up.

    Tell someone you grew up in Fremont, they ask “Did you go to MSJ?”

    You say, “I went to American (or another HS).”


  • http://noas.blogspot.com NoAsWS

    Matt, based on the list, I think Great Neck North should rank higher. But Ishan might disagree ;-(

  • http://www.ishanforcouncil.com Ishan Shah

    There’s a misconception that rankings are ALL mission has. We actually won MVAL all-sport champions last year… meaning we took more mval titles than any other school in the league. But, the rankings are special. I won’t lie. The hectic atmosphere, the incredible pressure level…at the end of the day you realize you really do have to earn the right to be on that list (AP’s are just a small component of that Matt!). Its actually the 4th for open enrollments(public)schools in the country. You have to look at what it took to get there.

  • JMoose

    its not the high school, but the students that make it a standout.

  • enigma

    Your argument is not actually valid. If such rankings were all based on AP classes, you should know “martz” that msj has offered the exact same number of AP classes for the past 4 years, which means your school’s short comings are perhaps in another area. If the ranking is based on AP enrollment, then it is clearly your celebrity student body who needs to take more AP classes. It takes effort to manage an intense high school workload, and frankly, most schools in the United States are too busy funding mental detectors than encourage a proper education. Most people are also too busy insinuating MSJ’s overly nerdy and Asian student body through these hopelessly biased and absurd publishings.

  • 2cents

    I agree- this school spits out Intel science finalists every single year. As if that wasn’t enough, look at Ishan. These kids are building futures for themselves and they’ll be taking the name of Fremont and MSJ with them when they go out into the world. We oughta be proud. I’m sure the students deserve credit, nobody is disputing that Ishan & Jmoose. But, I’m positive the faculty there is a big part of it as well.

  • enigma

    “I hate these rankings, especially because of where MSJ ends up.

    Tell someone you grew up in Fremont, they ask “Did you go to MSJ?”

    You say, “I went to American (or another HS).”


    There is a important moral in all of this. You are right, every school does deserve credit for their accomplishments.I think every school in this country should be the focus of our leaders. But I will have to say that 90% of MSJHS success comes from the student body.
    I think the problem is that education is being far too tied up in litigation, and as a population, we are growing further and further away from being educated. $200 dollar textbooks, and $32,000 + college tuitions are the factors which are sending jobs to China and India. MSJ does sometimes gather too much attention, so much that house prices and college admissions are affected by it. But MSJ should be a type of example of what every school in this country can become.

    I do agree to the fact that these rankings are pretty bad. Each top ranked school has some sort of special attribute, like being a magnate or IB school. So the rankings do not give the full picture of the schools. In fact, both schools discussed here would probably have much better rankings with proper criteria. In fact Great neck may have smarter students…

  • Max Dornfest

    Haha, Ishan remember what I said earlier when this first came out? We’re actually ranked first for public high schools, different than open enrollment.

    America’s Best High Schools: Top Open Enrollment Schools…

    International Academy
    Bloomfield Hills, MI
    -Receives Title I Funding: Yes

    -Not Public, it is an international institution, and is not categorized as a “public school,” There is a difference between “public” and public school.

    IDEA Quest Academy and College Prepatory
    Donna, TX
    -Charter School: Yes
    -Magnet School: Not Available (means for all “public school” purposes, yes.)
    -Receives Title I Funding: Yes

    KIPP Houston High School
    Houston, TX
    -Charter School: Yes
    -Magnet School: Not Available (means for all “public school” purposes, yes.)
    -Receives Title I Funding: Yes

    Mission San Jose High School
    Fremont, CA
    -Charter School: No
    -Magnet School: No
    -Receives Title I Funding: No

    AAnyways, the rankings were not just on AP scores, the overall judgment was for which high schools best prepared their students for college, which included AP test scores, State standardized testing scores, number of prior year’s seniors attending a prestigious university, percentage of drop outs, graduation rates, access to college counselors, and etc.
    AP tests are certainly considered, as they very well should be for a ranking on best preparation for college, they are not the entire criteria measured. To say that they are, is either jealousy or just plain ignorance (even if we do have the highest AP Stats test scores in the nation lol)
    I believe we earned our rank, test scores or not: Mission is the only high school I know of that has a structured program, starting during junior year, where students are informed about what preparative measures they must start to be ready senior year to apply for college. This being only a fraction of what support Mission provides, but there are various meetings and lectures by the counseling staff on FASFA, Letters of Req, Commonapp and other sites for college registration and etc. No other high school’s AP English program spends most of first quarter focusing on college essays, the teachers teaching and pushing students to write the best college application letters possible and then some.
    Mission doesn’t need to be liked, nor does it need to be social, that’s not its purpose nor is it realistic. Mission exists as an entity likened to a meat grinder- taking freshmen in and smashing, stressing, studying, and sleeps depriving them, until they come out as processed college obsessed ultra-students. We were ranked the highest because we are the MIT and Cal Tech of high schools. People don’t need to like us, nor would we notice- too busy shoving our noses into a Barron’s or Princeton Review. We do this because we are the best; we do this because it makes us the best.

  • Max Dornfest

    But to address martz,

    Do you believe this years rankings should reflect which individuals haphazardly happened to attend your school?

    Should 2010′s rankings depend on the four short years Francis Ford Coppola, Andy Kaufman or other arbitrary examples you give? Or should annual be based upon a school’s performance currently?

    You dismiss the rankings by saying “they were always BS..” yet you looked at them with pride for the last four years, this monumental show of immaturity and unwarranted spite makes you seem like a jealous kid with a keyboard, instead of anything resembling a real writer.

    You praise your school to the point of being masturbatory, doing nothing other than possibly insulting the(61st)reputation of your school.

    What I find laughable is that first, you try to insult our alumni by calling them “b-list jocks” when all of our noted athlete were more prestigious and well known than yours. But even worse, you decide to compare Sarah Hughes to Kristi Yamaguchi, when Mrs. Yamaguchi is hands down, if only by medals and placing, a higher ranked skater.

    At this point, with the yellow-journalism and just plain stupidity in your article, I am pressed to wonder if this is just a satire, instead of a real pathetically based attempt to bash on Mission.

    Every freshman at MSJHS learns that your final paragraph should be relevant to your topic, a more eloquently stated reflection on your initial idea, you close with a blurb-failing to insult mission, instead actually showing its superiority. I also must ask, how are sports alumni AT ALL relevant to current academic school rankings?

    Oh and by the way, your school’s wiki is ridden with grammatical issues, along with an ego undeserving of school with such a pathetically low rank.

  • Marty

    I’ve never understood why Fremont and Cupertino don’t split up these aberrations of academic performance into multiple schools. MSJ for example has parents lying, cheating and stealing to get their kids in. It’s blatantly obvious that the defining factor for the school’s performance is the quality of students and parents in the geo zone, and thus the population required to support multiple high performing schools is available.

    Judging from the exterior condition of MSJ alone, my guess is that FUSD is trying to garner the most amount of accolades by doing the least amount of work.

  • enigma

    “Judging from the exterior condition of MSJ alone, my guess is that FUSD is trying to garner the most amount of accolades by doing the least amount of work.”

    There is truth to this. After all MSJ is a public school. We rarely hear a public school being super helpful to its student body. With faculty salaries at an all time low, there is little incentive to improve the school or quality of education. After all, how much can we depend on good faith and public service? But, strangely, administration salaries are high. So it seems that FUSD, like many districts, is happy to accept its stable situation as they deem it. FUSD also has very outlandish fund allocation policies. The schools doing the best get the least. So ergo, our science and math departments are completely broke. I think, however, that its the state policy and budget cuts which FUSD is falling prey to than the people running it. But I dont know too much about that, so you guys can fill in the gaps.

  • Marty

    I think I just lost my ranking position as TCB’s most pompous blowhard. It’s been lonely at the top, Max.

  • Susan Hearn

    Rest assured, you’ve earned the lifetime title.

  • http://www.ishanforcouncil.com Ishan Shah

    Welcome to the beat Max. You and Marty should get along just fine :D

  • http://www.ishanforcouncil.com Ishan Shah

    by the way…we should really be studying for finals, not on here >.<

  • 2cents

    Everybody needs to breath. It doesn’t help the MSJ stereotype when you come out and flash around like that max. While I agree with much of what you said, this is a public forum. How you say something is just as important as what your saying. Let the stats speak for themselves. Like you said, Mission’s athletes are well known. I mentioned earlier, the school produces brilliant students. Matt can say what he likes, others can trash mission as well. But, at the end of the day, the fact remains that Mission is ranked the 36th best high school in the NATION.

    You spoke with exquisite english, albeit all you said could have been put much more civilly. People like Jen Siew, who wrote a beautiful article on here about student activism, and ishan Shah, who’s doing quite well running for office, work extremely hard to give your youth demographic a good, respectable image. Be careful max, lest you begin to undo all their hard work.

  • 2cents

    Enigma, your arguments are quite hard to follow. Don’t leave out so much information, it become difficult to respond.

  • Marty

    I hope that when Matt Artz lands a gig as a NY Times columnist, his tag line at the end of each column will read:

    “You can reach Matt Artz, who praises his high school to the point of being masturbatory, at martz@nytimes.com

  • Jen

    Someone has to be the first one to say it, it might as well be me: the demographics of the Mission area have contributed to (or are the sole reason for) the level of academic excellence at MSJ. One could also argue that due to the school’s academic record, the demographics of the Mission area are as such.

    When I was at Washington, more moons ago than I like to count, MSJ had a reputation for being good academically, but it was not the leaps and bounds ahead of the other schools in the area as it is now.

    A majority of the students at MSJ are of Asian or South Asian extraction. These families put a high premium on academic excellence and the parents are known (by teachers in the district) to be rabid as far as involvement in their childrens’ academic careers. Due to the reputation of the Mission schools, the area has been attracting more and more Asian families over the last ten to fifteen years.

    Perhaps it might benefit the other schools in Fremont if there were a stiffer penalty for lying your child’s way into a Mission school. Those families and their children who are driven to achieve academic excellence could help improve other schools in the area.

    As they say, a rising tide lifts all boats.

  • http://community.fremontcitizensnetwork.org/ Bryan H

    Know quite a few friends going to Irvington High and American High. The kids are doing quite well too, although the schools not as “academically concentrated” as MSJ. There are also a few good elementary schools in Fremont (other than MJS).