Every year, different news organizations release their rankings of schools across the country. The most notable of those organizations, U.S. News and World Report, recently published their list of best public high schools in Minnesota. This year, Mounds View disgracefully fell to the 23rd rank, down from 7th the year prior. To say it was embarrassing and a loud wake-up call would be an understatement.
While such a dramatic change may seem like a fluke or serve as a reason to dismiss the ranking entirely, that would be a flawed argument as many schools within the top 25 have firmly held their standings from year to year. As a high school that has proudly promoted its top 10 rankings in earlier years, it is important that the Mounds View administration addresses this ranking and puts in place remedies to counteract the deteriorating reputation of the school.
During my four short years at Mounds View, it was easy to see the diminishing academic environment. Students went from stressing over their grades and standardized test scores to being denied entrance at various bathrooms because of widespread vaping addictions. That shift is directly tied to the actions of Mounds View administration over the past couple of years. The new grading system is the most inconspicuous way of ensuring all students earn A’s in their classes and curtailing academic motivation. In addition to that, it is comical how many times I heard in my history and English classes something along the lines of, “this class used to be a lot harder two years ago, but we changed our curriculum.” When it came time to choose classes for the following academic year, I would have been rich if I received a dollar for every time I heard the word, “balance.” The school should be encouraging students to tackle harder classes, as this will prepare them for future success. I understand that not everyone’s class list should have AP from top to bottom, but this should not completely prevent the administration from motivating students. The reduction in academic rigor across classes and decreased motivation from students to challenge themselves in the classroom will lessen college-readiness, which will especially harm students who are pursuing elite colleges
When I look more closely at the rankings, it is easy to see where Mounds View lacks in comparison to other public high schools in the state: Our graduation rate and math and reading performance ranks are #111 and #197, respectively, in the state. This means that 196 public high schools perform better than Mounds View in math and reading, even without the addition of private high schools. If I were a parent and I saw this figure, I would think twice before enrolling my children in the Mounds View District. It was not too long ago that Mounds View vehemently highlighted the idea that property values positively correlate with the strength of the school systems. If they still agree with that sentiment, I believe both the district and I can understand the scope of the issues facing our school.
The Viewer reached out to Mounds View Administration but did not receive a response. To see the list of rankings of best public high schools in Minnesota, visit this link.