We are so used to dealing with difficulty in this struggling city that we sometimes fail to appreciate the excellence within. There is a lot of it to be found, but the example we have in mind today is a component of the often-maligned Buffalo Public School District. City Honors has been recognized again -- as one of the best public high schools in the entire nation. That's something to cheer about.
It's also nothing new. City Honors has placed highly in national rankings for years. This year it placed No. 10 on Newsweek's annual list. It has ranked as high as No. 4 and never lower than last year's No. 13. It has also done well on annual lists published by U.S. News & World Report.
Part of the reason for City Honors' success, no doubt, stems from its selection process. The school uses an admissions exam and other criteria to draw Buffalo's brightest students. Still, the school must be doing more than just picking the cream of the crop. Buffalo's other high schools -- and high schools around Western New York -- need to look for lessons they can pull from City Honors' success.
Public education is, to be blunt, a mess in New York State. At around 70 percent, graduation rates are appallingly low for a state that spends so much on education. Nationally, the state is second in per-pupil spending, but is 40th in percent of students graduating.
That is intolerable, a fact that City Honors' stellar record only underscores. Something needs to change. Educators could do worse than to pick apart this school's performance.