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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Public schools in Newark, Camden, Jersey City, Elizabeth, and Passaic surpassed New Brunswick’s new High School in this year’s edition of New Jersey Monthly’s “Top Public High Schools.”
The formula used by the magazine to rate high schools relies on graduation rates, standardized test scores, the ratio of students to faculty, the percentage of faculty with advanced degrees, and the number of Advanced Placement courses offerred.
In last year’s publication, New Brunswick High School was rated 282nd in the state.
But after a precipitious drop in New Brunswick’s graduation rate, caused in part by a new state formula to calculate the rate, NBHS fell to 293rd in the rankings this year.
There were only 35 high schools with a lower ranking in the state, according to the magazine’s rankings.
The High School was opened in January 2010 at 1000 Somerset Street, and the former high school building on Livingston Avenue became the first-ever New Brunswick Middle School.
The graduation rate in New Brunswick was a hot-button issue this year, when new federally mandated rules for calculating the rate caused NBHS’ to drop to 58.76%.
District officials blamed the new formula, which counts students who leave the district to go to school elsewhere, as non-graduates. Previously, those students were omitted from the calculation.
Under the old calculations, the rate would be closer to 70%, they said, still the worst in the county by a wide margin.
Metuchen High School was rated the best in Middlesex County by the magazine, and 19th in NJ, up from 54th overall the year before.
Perth Amboy High School was rated the worst in the county, and 320th in NJ, two spots lower than it was last year.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.