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Researching public schools?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
We're thinking about moving and I want to find out more about the schools in the area. How do I go about doing this? People are always spouting off stats like "70% of the kids at _____ high school go to college" or "75% of kids at ______ elementary test higher than their grade level". Where are they getting this info?!

post #2 of 8
You could find out the names of the schools that would be in your new area, call them and see if they have a website you can look at. If your new area isn't too far from where you live now, arrange to take a tour of the school. Get a feel of it. Look at the children's work that's hanging in the hall. Check out the play ground. Talk to the principal. Ask to observe a class in session. Find out about arts programs, and other enrichment programs, special needs and gifted programs. There's usually information about standardized test scores, but that shouldn't be the only thing you look at.

Do you know anyone living in the area you want to move to? If so, talk to those people about the schools.
post #3 of 8
post #4 of 8
Depending on your outlook on standardized testing, this may or may not be the most important consideration. I would call the guidance office at the prospective school. The guidance people know how many kids are getting into good schools, and what the general atmosphere at the school is.
post #5 of 8
there should be a state Dept of Education website which give data on each school in your state
post #6 of 8
One thing I found is there is no national standard- if you're thinking of moving out of state, it's harder to compare schools. It's like comparing apples to oranges. Even within the state, sometimes, it's hard to compare. Usually it's based on test scores, but stats and numbers can be changed to mean whatever 'they' want. There are so many issues with standardized testing, it's hard to even look at.
post #7 of 8
We were able to find some of this sort of info. on real estate web pages, by "searching by area" and then pulling up school stats for specfici areas.
post #8 of 8
What I noticed is there is no info given by the students. It all comes from the principal, and it's all info that can be explained with numerical values.

Here are some questions I think need to be answered, and I mean answered by the students: Are the kids happy? If they had the choice, would they stay at their school or find another one? Do they feel respected? Are they safe? Are their classes fun and interesting? What would they change about their school?

If anyone knows of a website like this where students rate their school, I'd like to see it!
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