While I am definitely no fan of the various ways schools are sorted, sifted and ranked because of the temptation to look at a narrow range of measures and then declare that one school is better than another, so long as folks insist on using and abusing such numbers, we might as well recognize they are out there.

In the last few weeks we’ve heard a lot of talk about Massachusetts being the best and Alabama being the worst.  This of course is fueled by the recent decision to hire Michael Sentence, who last worked in the Bay State education system 15 years ago, as the new state school superintendent.

So here is the most recent look at high schools on a state-by-state basis by U.S. News & World Report.  (This includes the District of Columbia so there are 51 spots.)  The magazine looks at “college readiness” and “state exam performance” to obtain their values.

Is Alabama no. 51?  Nope..

Is Massachusetts no. 1?  Nope.

Massachusetts is no. 5 and Alabama is no. 37.  And yes, no. 5 is certainly better than no. 37.  But we do outrank other southern states  North Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi.

And consider the U.S. News & World Report ranking of magnet high schools.  Loveless Academic Magnet Program in Montgomery is no. 9 nationally; Booker T. Washington Magnet High in Montgomery is no. 69; New Century Technology High in Huntsville is no. 156 and Brewbaker Technology Magnet High in Montgomery is no. 198.

And just for those keeping score, let the record show that there are ZERO magnet high schools in Massachusetts ranked in the top 200 nationally.