La Cañada High School

Opinion: La Cañada in the world of competitive academics

Most students who graduate high school enter some form of higher education afterwards. But in La Cañada High School, the majority of people aim for elite institutions such as the Ivy League universities. This leads to toxic competition between students as they aim for a higher ranking than the next student. Of course, this consequently results in a high California school ranking. But at what cost?

According to US News and World Report, La Cañada High School has a California state ranking of 39. But what constitutes a school ranking? There are five categories within the US News Scorecard: college readiness index (70.0/100.0), AP tested (76 percent), AP passed (90 percent), mathematics proficiency (83 percent), and reading proficiency (92 percent), where mathematics and reading proficiency are based on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) scores. Based on the five categories of statistical information, the US News and World Report scores schools at the national and state level. From this information, it can be concluded that school rankings are based on numbers.

Is school ranking an accurate representation of the quality of a school? Although the answer to this question is subjective, there are certain objective facts that must be considered. American students are shown to be incredibly stressed in the 21st century. According to the “Greater Good Scientific Magazine” by UC Berkeley students, 70 percent of high school students “often or always feel stressed by their school work.”

These pressures come from parent expectations, as well as overloading on challenging academics and extracurriculars. Most students spend the majority of their time building up their resumes for their college application, and thus experience high levels of stress. But there is more to high school than college preparation. High school is often a pivotal time in discovering one’s identity, and what one is passionate about. Because of the large amount of time students spend on extracurriculars and classes, stressed out students aren’t able to develop a personality or pursue non-college related interests.

In the 21st century, a great deal of emphasis is placed on going to a “good” high school in order to get into a “good” university in order to get a well paying job. But is life only about monetary success? Shouldn’t factors such as discovering passion, developing your personality and growing relationships with those around you be considered more important? While LCHS has a high academic ranking and will help students to get into a good college, it isn’t the whole embodiment of life.  

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