How much does attending one of these elite high schools matter? Not as much as you might think.

The assumption sits at the heart of a raging debate about elite high schools in Boston and New York City: that schools like Stuyvesant and Boston Latin offer the very best preparation for college that the public school system can provide.

“Why isn’t every public school in New York City a Brooklyn Tech-caliber school?” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said recently, referring to one of New York City’s test-in high schools. “Every one should be.”

“Admission to Stuyvesant has been a ticket out of poverty for hundreds of thousands of brilliant, non-wealthy New York kids,” tweeted New York Times columnist Bret Stephens.

But studies looking at the test-in schools in those cities and in Chicago have found that students receive little if any measurable benefit from attending them. Students with similar qualifications who attend high school elsewhere end up with comparable SAT scores and college admissions offers, they find.