Lark: It would appear that the respected elitist cliches of the class room, Jocks, Cheerleaders etc. just more or less oppress everyone else, curry favour with the educational establishment and control things, such as, the year book, a real parody of how big money interests curry favour with the state, oppress everyone else and control the media.
Gee: It strikes many as more of a result of forcing 2000 individuals together in a 'community' with which their relationship is neither revocable nor provisional.
Do not get stopped at the surface of a social phenomenon. Yes, the social hierarchy of public education resembles class antagonisms. But this social hierarchy is not a consistent reflection of class antagonisms. It is, as Lark aptly put it, a parody of the real thing. The 'jocks' and 'cheerleaders' are no elite, they only think they are; they are proletarians (and some scattered small proprietors)---as are those other students they torment. They are all proletarians (and some scattered small proprietors). Differences are essentially manufactured---and transitory.
The ruling class---as usual---is off stage, at private schools, learning to rule (which includes receiving enough 'culture' to consume 'well' the surplus of the working class).
There is a reason public education venerates brawn over brain. The workforce awaiting almost all every last one of them has no further use for brains. As a matter of fact, the ruling class (who owns the workforce) regularly chews up brains and spits them out for breakfast.
When Gee says 'It strikes many as more of a result of forcing 2000 individuals together in a "community" with which their relationship is neither revocable nor provisional,' he demonstrates his inveterate commitment to unsocialism. There is a certain pathology to his distrust of 'community.' Back in the good old days when every one was an island ... no, wait, that was the dark ages and those days weren't good at all. Even most bourgeois will agree to that, it's just those libertarian cranks who deny the social bonds that the Industrial Revolution has irrevocably forged.
Let's make the most of those bonds, they are not going away! Socialism is predicated upon the material conditions of capitalism (but not the social). Surplus for all, according to work---and need!
SDF: Furthermore, practices (common to such high schools) such as competitive grading and class ranking guarantee the failure of the bottom percentile of each class to be sure... And compare this with the schooling practices advocated in B. F. Skinner's "Walden Two"... By contrast, traditional schooling appears as a deliberate attempt to create communities that do not care for all of their members. Schools could do worse than adopt the model of Summerhill.
Yes, the proletarians are engineered for failure---and ideological compliance. Hierarchy is inculcated every day in a million ways while in actually the students are going to end up in the same dreary place: the workforce. That's work as in work forced upon them! The brilliant part of the illusion is that hierarchy exists within the proletariat world. (Remember the Capo...)
As far as Skinner goes, I always referred to his Technology of Teaching (1968), not Walden Two (1948). And still do. In a nutshell, he attacked the notion of education as selection and advocated instead individualized education for all at each student's own pace---without penalty. Not so different from Summerhill, just more of an emphasis on verifiable results. Skinner, after all, was a scientist as well as an educator.