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Old 07-13-2011, 06:24 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarlaJane View Post
Instead of college attendance, how about college placement?
Furthermore, statistics on college retention. Are students sticking with their degree plans, graduating from college on time, etc.?
What's interesting is that one of our local community colleges that is located in the inner city has one of the city's highest transfer rates to a 4 year university. I remember this being mentioned in the news but it was quickly changed to another topic.
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Old 07-13-2011, 08:06 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skeet09 View Post
Furthermore, statistics on college retention. Are students sticking with their degree plans, graduating from college on time, etc.?
What's interesting is that one of our local community colleges that is located in the inner city has one of the city's highest transfer rates to a 4 year university. I remember this being mentioned in the news but it was quickly changed to another topic.
Frankly, I would be happy with any criteria that is a more substantial indication of intelligence and/or ability.

For example, the only thing that a standardized test indicates is how well a student can take a test. When was the last time your job consisted of passing a test (if only!)? And since when did a student attribute their success to the fact that his/her teacher had an MA and was certified? For most, having a teacher that cares is much more important than having a teacher that is certified. And nowhere in the criteria do I ever see a measure of teacher involvement.

It would just be nice to see some criteria that accounted for actual performance and/or results, or even a system that doesn't try to use criteria at all. Because, let's face it, there really isn't a way to guarantee that someone is getting a good education, no matter what the criteria says.
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Old 07-13-2011, 08:09 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
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There's a lot of impassioned talk in this thread since I innocently posted the first reply. But I don't think the resulting polarization is necessary as the arguments being made are not mutually exclusive.

On the one hand, it makes sense to seek out a 'good' school district, defining good by whatever matrix you choose - test scores, college placement, cost per pupil spending. It certainly plays a role in where one chooses to live, and nobody would deny that a school ranked higher in your preferred matrix is going to be more desirable than one ranked near the bottom.

But the original post talked about obsessing over the 'best' school district, a search that may bypass really good districts over one that is maybe just marginally better according to some quantifying factor. And even if one district is ranked higher, it doesn't automatically mean it is better for all of your kids. In this regard, the OP makes a good point that parental involvement and other factors have a greater impact on a child's success in life than a school district's ranking. I don't think one needs to be smoking crack to make that observation.

There are valid points on both sides here, provided that people are actually open to considering them. Of course, some people prefer provocation to conversation, so whatever floats your boat.
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Old 07-13-2011, 08:59 PM
 
Location: 92037
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maf763 View Post
There's a lot of impassioned talk in this thread since I innocently posted the first reply. But I don't think the resulting polarization is necessary as the arguments being made are not mutually exclusive.

On the one hand, it makes sense to seek out a 'good' school district, defining good by whatever matrix you choose - test scores, college placement, cost per pupil spending. It certainly plays a role in where one chooses to live, and nobody would deny that a school ranked higher in your preferred matrix is going to be more desirable than one ranked near the bottom.

But the original post talked about obsessing over the 'best' school district, a search that may bypass really good districts over one that is maybe just marginally better according to some quantifying factor. And even if one district is ranked higher, it doesn't automatically mean it is better for all of your kids. In this regard, the OP makes a good point that parental involvement and other factors have a greater impact on a child's success in life than a school district's ranking. I don't think one needs to be smoking crack to make that observation.

There are valid points on both sides here, provided that people are actually open to considering them. Of course, some people prefer provocation to conversation, so whatever floats your boat.
maf763,

Excellent observation to what I initially posted. You hit the nail on the head.

I dont think my question was far fetched nor a subject that is not found on city-data or in conversation regularly. I dont think anyone can really know how their child will mature, regardless of what type of situation they may be raised in. So in the best possible circumstances, of course you want your own child to be in an environment that gives them a platform to succeed. This of course means "best school district" in the general sense.

For the school districts that are not top dog, I feel they tend to be marginalized when in fact, there are some great individuals to come from them. Again this discussion isnt about inner city vs upper middle class suburbia.

I just wanted to pick the brains of some of the city-data experts that could present some thoughtful discussion on a matter such as this. Its just such a curious decision....

Last edited by shmoov_groovzsd; 07-13-2011 at 09:08 PM..
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Old 07-13-2011, 10:01 PM
 
Location: On a Slow-Sinking Granite Rock Up North
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I think some parents live entirely too vicariously through their children.

Personally, I like to work with what I've got.

I would rather see my children grow up to be kind, productive, hard-working adults who are solidly rooted in the reality of the world, than to have them score the highest on proficiency tests and get into some prestigious college in order to make me look better.

If they do end up in a prestigious college, I would rather it be because they wanted to be there - not because I crammed it down their throats.
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Old 07-14-2011, 06:48 AM
 
20,793 posts, read 53,771,875 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alanboy395 View Post
This isn't true for the city I ended up graduating HS from. Alexandria, VA's city public school system is pretty mediocre when compared to the two districts that border it and it is still pretty expensive and going up every day. Underacheiving public schools aren't driving buyers in Alexandria away.

I can't blame parents for wanting to keep their kids out of systems like DC and Baltimore which can be downright dangerous. My problem is when they are downtalking districts that may not perform the best but are still ok.
It would make a difference if people actually used the public schools in DC (at least the better students). In this situation, Alexandria is popular because of it's location and people are willing to pay for that with the intent on sending their kids to private schools.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarlaJane View Post
Graduation rates are really not indicative of anything, including how good a school district is.

If 100% of students are going to college from a particular school, it neve stipulates which kind of colleges they are attending. Many attend cc's, which is hardly indicative of what I would label as a "best" district; most kids who go to cc's didn't do so well in high school but have enough money to further their educations and get a four-year degree. Hence, what seems like a "best" school is, again, determined by vacuous statistics that provide parents with a false-sense of security.

Moreover, it also provides insight into exactly who is determining the definition of "best." It seems to me that "best" often indicates a district with high test scores, funding and college attendance as well as teachers with MA's/PhD's, none of which are truly indicative of real education; I know teachers with BA's who are better teachers than those with PhD's, and I know some really talented and intelligent individuals who didn't even break 1000 on their SAT's and/or opted for a trade rather than college after high school. However, it all indicates that schools whose students go into trade professions are viewed as inferior, which is just sad but, again, indicative of just exactly who is defining the standards for "best" status.

For me, schools whose students opt for trades instead of college is not indicative of how successful the school has been in educating its students. The criteria by which "best" is defined is not only outdated but completely hollow and misleading, and it needs to be redefined. Instead of test scores, how about job placement? Instead of MA's, how about ethics and subject/content knowledge? Instead of college attendance, how about college placement?
Graduation rates are very much indicative of how good a school is-or at least how involved families are in that school promoting the importance of getting a good education. You are also wrong about differentiating between the types of colleges students go to-it is always broken down here. We have, on average, 94% of our high school seniors go on to 4 year colleges,4% go on to Community colleges and 1% into the military. It is a very important distinction. As for those that STAY in college-that is more of a reflection on the college vs a high school I think. The job of the high school is to prepare kids for college-so the ultimate goal is getting INTO college. Once there, it is up to the individual student to maintain their drive and determination to finish. I guess I fail to see how a student discovering college isn't to their liking a reflection on any high school.

As for college "placement" by this I am assuming you mean which colleges students attend--well that is pretty skewed way to determine school quality. There are so many factors involved in final decisions-mainly coming down to money. Geographical considerations are also key--many students don't want to go hours and hours away from home-ruling out Ivy Leagues, for example, for about 3/4ths of the country. We certainly have plenty of students from our high school that attend top colleges, many they have been accepted but chose to go elsewhere for various reasons, etc.

Picking the "best" schools is fairly subjective but what you really need to do is pick what is the best for your kids.
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Old 07-14-2011, 07:28 AM
 
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StarlaJane and Golfgirl, You are both right about High Schools differentiating between what colleges that their graduates attend. I was recently on a HS committee and we found that within our own county High Schools reported that differently. Our HS does break it down into four year universities and two year colleges. A neighboring HS lumps them all together as the percent that will be attending college.

I'd like to say that I don't think that parents obsesses about schools as much they give it thoughtful consideration. When we moved to where we now live, we weren't looking for the absolute "best" school. As others have pointed out, that's a very subjective criteria. We wanted, as golfgirl puts it above, the best for our kids. That includes an atmosphere where college is the norm, and where students and teachers work together with parents as a team. To me, that meant a small school district. Scores on standardized tests were, for us, a starting point. Those tests are not hard and if the majority of students don't even test proficient, then I wouldn't consider that school district. I also did not want crowded classes or a district that was in financial problems. I would have liked ethnic and financial diversity, but here in PA that combination does not come with the other factors.

When one is moving, you realize quickly that you have to prioritize your values so what may seem an obsession with the "best" schools is really just placing school fit at the top of the priority list. That seems reasonable to me.
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Eastern time zone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarlaJane View Post


There are certainly those parents who care about their children's educations, and there are certainly districts that deserve "best" status. However, more often than not, you find parents stating that the school that their child is attending is a "great" school, regardless of whether it actually is or not, b/c the parents see the school as a reflection of themselves and their kids and they are not about to admit that their child's school is crappy (b/c then that would mean that they are crappy).
I think there's another piece to this though.
If you go to the CD local pages for my area, there are a couple of high schools that are always recommended as "top" when newcomers ask. OTOH, they'd be a terrible fit for my daughter, and lack certain classes my son wants. "Best" and "best for my kid" are not always the same. A parent who cares about his child's education will look for the situation which works best for little Flossie, and that may or may not be the top-ranked school in the area as defined by Newsweek or Education Monthly.
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Eastern time zone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shmoov_groovzsd View Post
golfgal,

You make great points and yes the statistics show as always. But again this isnt my point. My point is that its far easier to look at poorer areas and say, "yes that is why they never graduate" poor in life poor in school. Total failures.

I am talking specifically about parents that give a darn about their kids in these poorer areas, which statistics will NEVER show. Guess what? Out of the 48% graduation rate, there are 48% that graduated. No one cares about talking about that.
There are some differences though. The kids graduating from Inner City D-ranked High School are likely to've not had access to the range of advanced placement and honors courses enjoyed by their counterparts from Uppity Suburban High. Teachers in ICDHS-type schools frequently tend to be either brand new or burnt out, with a scattering of the insanely dedicated. Equipment may be in poorer shape or lacking. OTOH, if you subscribe to the theory that public school is the only possible way to "become socialized", there's no better way to learn how to think fast in unusual social situations (like my middle school's fine tradition of Annual Spring Race Riots).
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:03 AM
 
Location: 92037
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aconite View Post
There are some differences though. The kids graduating from Inner City D-ranked High School are likely to've not had access to the range of advanced placement and honors courses enjoyed by their counterparts from Uppity Suburban High. Teachers in ICDHS-type schools frequently tend to be either brand new or burnt out, with a scattering of the insanely dedicated. Equipment may be in poorer shape or lacking. OTOH, if you subscribe to the theory that public school is the only possible way to "become socialized", there's no better way to learn how to think fast in unusual social situations (like my middle school's fine tradition of Annual Spring Race Riots).
Aconite,

LOL @Annual Spring Race Riots.

Yes you are totally correct. In another post, not just the quoted piece above. I basically said that unless you have a whiz kid where they are not the norm or status quo student, then yes, by all means give them a platform to excel in.

The reply to that post got off topic, because I never even subscribed to using inner city schools as a reference point. That was thrown in there but for the sake conversation was worth pointing out.
IMHO inner city schools depending on region vary so extremely that its a totally different subject altogether.

I was going for more of the posts we see here in city-data regarding "best schools". Everyone on here that is a regular certainly knows what I am talking about. All I was trying to do was get a synopsis into the approach. I have seen some snippy bantering about it, which is quite comical. And when I read about the 'justifications' used as to why a parent would send their kid to schools based on just scoring, it raises questions. I am really talking about minimal differences based on the criteria they use like standardized scoring.

It just strikes me as odd and perhaps more transparent in San Diego perhaps. There are basically two districts that are almost neck and neck based on history of scoring as being " the best". Parents for even the same "best district" get snarky about even the best elementary schools when in fact there may be only 3. Its ridiculous when you see the reasons why.

Thats precisely why I question the methodology, hence my OP. Its like really? Is it THAT much better? C'mon there are plenty of kids that dont go to those districts that go on to be someone or be successful in life. Whether that is through university, trade or entrepreneurship.
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