Doing hard time for a TV

During his 35 years in the Orange Correctional Center in Hillsborough, N.C., Junior Allen was known neither as the best prisoner nor the worst by the facility's staff. Certainly, upon being released last Friday, he was one of the longestserving given his crime: stealing a $140 black-and-white TV. Prison personnel could only wonder if he'd still be doing time if the set had been color.

List of best public high schools begins in Irondale

Don't let the highfalutin name fool you. The Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School in Irondale, Ala., a suburb of Birmingham, may not sound like a public high school, but it is. According to Newsweek, the Jefferson County school is the best in the United States. Although some would argue with the way Newsweek ranked 1,036 schools, contributing editor Jay Mathews devised a straightforward grading system. The magazine divided the total number of Advanced Placement (AP) and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) tests taken by students in 2004 by the number of graduating seniors. On this basis, five schools in the top 10 are from Florida. The top 10 high schools using this formula and the location of each:

1. Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School Irondale, Ala.
2. International Academy Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
3. Stanton College Prep Jacksonville, Fla.
4. Eastside High School Gainesville, Fla.
5. H-B Woodlawn Arlington, Va.
6. School of Science Engineering (magnet school)Dallas
7. Paxon High School Jacksonville, Fla.
8. Pensacola High School Pensacola, Fla.
9. Raleigh Charter High School Raleigh, N.C.
10. Hillsborough High School Tampa, Fla.

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