Sound Off: Why Only One Western Kansas School in State’s Top Ten?

Hays High Received Bronze Recognition

Hays High Received Bronze Recognition

Over the weekend, two Wichita High Schools were named to the list of top-10 public high schools in Kansas in the 2013 rankings of the nation’s best high schools by U.S. News and World Report.

Liberal High School was the only Western Kansas school included in the state’s top ten. Hays High and Garden City from the Western Athletic Conference received bronze awards. Dodge City High received no award. Salina High schools received no award.

Does it surprise you that Liberal was the only Western Kansas school to make the top 10?

Why was no other Western Kansas School in the top 10?

Does it have to do with school funding?  Does it have to do with location?  What do you think? Tell us in the comments section below.


The Sumner Academy of Arts and Sciences in Kansas City ranked No. 1 in the state.  The others include Northeast Magnet High School and Maize High of Wichita, Blue Valley North in Overland Park, Blue Valley in Stilwell, Olathe Northwest, Gardner-Edgerton in Gardner, and Liberal, Fort Scott, and Louisburg high schools.

  • Frustrated

    How did Liberal get in the top 10???? It is no surprise HHS didn’t. Hester is wise to get out

    • Uncle Thomas

      Hester did not voluntarily leave. He was back doored by the new principal.

  • Chris

    Very simple reason for this—most small schools do not have the time/facilities/staff to test for AP. Thus, they have no scores for this criterion used for the US News Awards. Come on Hays Post, how about you do some research before posting? Or did they not teach that at the school you graduated from?

    • Frank

      Also, Maize is west of I-135.

      • Hays Post

        Thank you Frank. We have updated that

    • Simple

      The small schools have the same time and often choose to ignore AP. Not fair to students. We spend too much on @&$=+%SPORTS

      • Chris


  • http://concerned concerned

    It is correct to say that a percentage of the score for the rankings comes from success in AP classes. The concern I have about Hays High is the advertising of AP American History when it is not living up to the standards established by the College Board. The students are told in the beginning that they will not be prepared by the end of the year to take the AP exam. Last year there were two session of “AP” American History which were also taught as a concurrent credit class for BCCC. Of course the class was not nearly as demanding as an AP class. At the end of the year three students took the exam. At Baldwin High School, a much smaller school, the entire class took the AP exam at the end of the year. Do any parents complain about this distortion of the mission of an AP course? With its purpose being is to give students the opportunity to take a highly rigorous course during high school in preparation for college, one would think that parents would be upset. No, parents do not complain. Maybe they feel that their child deserves a substandard AP course. Or maybe parents in USD 489 are a naturally content bunch. Or maybe its apathy or worse ignorance. I am not sure, but I do know one sure thing that if parents do not care about the quality of education taught at their local high school, then who will?

    • Mother of students

      We have 3 kids go to HHS We have complained over and over about AP and HHS always has an excuse. Can’t wait to get my kids out.

  • Loco Parentis

    The US News rankings are ALL weighted towards the AP exam.
    — 7th ranked Liberal: 16:1 ratio; College Readiness of 17.2 with 11% (of 37% tested) passing; 87% math proficient, 92% reading proficient.
    — Not-ranked Hays High: 16:1 ratio; College readiness of .6 with 1% (of 1% tested) passing; 92% math proficient, 92% reading proficient.
    From this, one sees the rankings are overweight to schools who actively promote AP programs and exams. And that on average HHS kids test as well or better on state exams than those in the Top 10 ranked schools. “Concerned” brings up a good point, though — why are only 3 kids who take an AP class sitting for the end-of-year exam?

  • Anonymous

    As other suggested it is the AP weighting that caused Hays to rank so low.

    It is my understanding that Hays High have the option of taking the AP at the end of the class or taking the class for concurrent credit through FHSU or BCCC. The vast majority of students opt for taking the course as concurrent credit. As it is the most guaranteed option of earning credit. I believe that it is usually when the student is going to a college that is out of State and would not accept those concurrent credits that they opt to take the AP exam.

    • http://concerned concerned

      The problem is that Hays High does not prepare the students to take the exam and yet calls the class AP. It is academic fraud. It this were to happen in the Olathe school district, parents would be up in arms demanding that the class be taught as advertised. In USD 489 the parents do not seem to notice or worse even care what happens in the classroom at Hays High. What Hays High should do is stop pretending that it teaches AP American History and join the ranks of all the school here in western Kansas that do not teach AP courses. Once upon a time Hays High’s education stood out among the small schools in western Kansas, but not anymore.

      • http://What? What?

        This is the Emperors New Clothes. If you call it AP American History, then it must be. But please disregard the fact that very few brave souls take the exam at the end of the year because the instructor teaches a lower level concurrent credit course for Barton County Community College. It’s still AP because it says so in the course catalogue. Despite that the fact that FHSU will not accept this class as an college level class, it is still qualifies as an AP course. Good for USD 489! We are Hays High. We don’t care. We don’t have to.

        • Anonymous

          According to Wikipedia, “For a high school course to have the AP designation, the course must be audited by the College Board to ascertain it satisfies the AP curriculum. If the course is approved the school may use the AP designation and the course will be publicly listed on the AP Ledger.”

          • concerned

            Yes, the instructor is required to supply the College Board the curriculum for the class which must comply with the AP American History standards. The instructor then teaches to those standards to prepare the students to take the exam at the end of the year. Hays High does not prepare to the students to take the exam at the end of the year. Instead Hays High teaches concurrent credit which does not cover the amount of material that an AP would cover leaving the students unprepared to take the AP exam but be prepared enough to receive credit from BCCC. Hays High needs to change the title of its class to something other than AP. AP is a brand name with specific standards. Hays High is not in compliance. I agree with What? that this constitutes academic fraud and should be stopped.