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Old 07-14-2011, 09:37 AM
 
Location: NJ
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:12 AM
 
Location: Massachusetts
4,033 posts, read 8,254,016 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
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.
I wasn't talking about your particular school but schools in general (for example, the Newsweek list of "best" schools). While your school district may break it down, most rankings do not. But, again, to simply state that students are attending "four-year colleges" does not indicate the quality of the college and, hence, the quality of the education received.

And the statement ^^that I bolded is exactly how I feel about high schools, especially those characterized as "best." I don't understand how you can think that the factors determining college attendance/quality are not also the factors determining "best" school status: just as there are many factors determining "best" school status (students from higher socio-economic backgrounds nearly always score higher on standardized tests and go to schools in wealthier neighborhoods that have greater access to funding), there are also many factors determining which college one attends. As you stated, $$ is usually a factor, which means that those who do not have enough money to attend college will get a job or start work in a trade, not b/c they do not have the smarts, but b/c they cannot afford college or have other responsibilities (kids, family to support)--in much the same way that "best" students might choose a not-so-prestigious school due to extenuating circumstances--all of which will skew "best" school status.

Moreover, where one attends college as well as rates of attrition are hugely indicative of high school preparation. If a student leaves after the first year, it may be b/c college is not to his/her liking. However, that seems unlikely with someone that has been prepped for four years to get into and complete a college education. If they leave after a year, they most likely flunked out (exceptions notwithstanding), and that has everything to do with the high school. A highly ranked high school with a high percentage of students who end up attending but not completing a four-year degree may be indicative that said school is not so deserving of its status. What is really disturbing, and should be evaluated but usually never is, is when students from "best" districts end up at cc's or fourth-tier universities.

However, as we both have noted, there are just too many factors involved in a student's educational experience that determine their future and that have nothing to do with the quality of their educations. This is why I disagree that "best" school status and the criteria used to determine such staus is really indicative of anything b/c it is such a simplification of very complex situations.
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Old 07-14-2011, 12:55 PM
 
2,113 posts, read 2,242,920 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarlaJane View Post
Graduation rates are really not indicative of anything, including how good a school district is.
Strongly disagree with this statement. Graduation rates tell a lot about the school district - what kind of students attend, how involved the parents are, how experienced the teachers are, etc.
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Old 07-14-2011, 01:16 PM
 
Location: 92037
4,631 posts, read 8,586,173 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cindy_Jole View Post
Strongly disagree with this statement. Graduation rates tell a lot about the school district - what kind of students attend, how involved the parents are, how experienced the teachers are, etc.
Cindy_Jole,


Sorry, I am confused....

How do graduation rates = type of students, parent involvement and how experienced teachers are?

As far as I see it, its just a statistical number representing graduating percentages of the actual students.
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Old 07-14-2011, 01:31 PM
 
143 posts, read 326,655 times
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In my city, almost all of my parents' friends are fixated with buying houses in what they deem to be the 'best' school district. However, I find it interesting it always correlates with where all the new houses are built....

That said, I do think it's a good parent that researches where the good school districts are prior to buying a house. It doesn't mean it has to be the wealthiest district, or the have the highest test scores (although both would not be bad way to send your kid to), but it should be the school that fulfills all the parents' criteria of what they deem "the best".

For my parents, who are Chinese, and their Chinese friends, it is all about academics. They typically research college matriculation rates, test scores (ACT/SAT), AP/honor courses, diversity of classes (physiology? economics?) etc.

For others, it may be the special education classes offered to their special needs child, or the athletic facilities, or the art department etc. However, it is typically the better funded school districts that will offer the good teachers, multitude of AP classes, specialized depts etc.

Furthermore, most parents are interested in giving their child "the best". What parent, if they could afford to, would want to give their child "second best"? It's just in the nature of being a parent. The thing is, the child's success may not wholly depend on whether they were breastfed, went to X school district, did internship at Y company etc. However, parents still push and help their children along in those choices because they want to make sure to maximize the opportunities for their children.

As for me, I am grateful that my parents made every attempt to give me "the best" education they could provide. They've stressed education all my life, and one aspect of respecting that education was to make sure the school district they sent me to was "the best" they could offer given their resources. They wanted to make sure the school provided AP/honors tracks, had well paid teachers, and a good track record of sending kids to college. Their plan was for me to attend college as well, and they wanted to make sure the school's goals were in alignment with theirs. However, they were reasonable about how much to spend. They weren't about to pay for an elite private school when the local public was pretty decent. Education, like anything, has it's price. As long as parents are reasonable in how much they want to spend, I say why not go for the best!
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Old 07-14-2011, 01:59 PM
 
Location: 92037
4,631 posts, read 8,586,173 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phylogeny View Post
As for me, I am grateful that my parents made every attempt to give me "the best" education they could provide. They've stressed education all my life, and one aspect of respecting that education was to make sure the school district they sent me to was "the best" they could offer given their resources. They wanted to make sure the school provided AP/honors tracks, had well paid teachers, and a good track record of sending kids to college. Their plan was for me to attend college as well, and they wanted to make sure the school's goals were in alignment with theirs. However, they were reasonable about how much to spend. They weren't about to pay for an elite private school when the local public was pretty decent. Education, like anything, has it's price. As long as parents are reasonable in how much they want to spend, I say why not go for the best!
phylogeny,

This last paragraph you wrote is so key and really did a great job in helping me understand the psyche and motivation a lot more.

I think the most important things I took away were that your parents were part of the process, wise enough to understand and emphasized certain aspects in regards to what they best was they could 'reasonably' afford.

I totally agree in that if resources are unlimited, then it would seem all the more obvious to get the best that money can buy.

The biggest challenge that I have seen in parents that push themselves into a financial situation they cannot afford, is that it can lead to households that are VERY stressful and this sort of "I sacrificed everything" is held over a child's head.
I have seen this with friends or acquaintances. Or the parent isnt involved as much because to give them the "best" sometimes that can equal to working a lot. Of course this is not the norm and happens at all income levels I would presume.
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Old 07-14-2011, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Texas
42,251 posts, read 49,796,479 times
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Part of the reason is so that they can feel they are giving their kids the best.
Part of the reason is so that the kids will be surrounded by the best students - that fosters a richer environment for learning, etc.
Part of the reason is to assuage their guilt over handing over the entire responsibility for educating their child to the school.

Because in the end, it's the family that determines how well a student does. Not the school. Not how much money the schools spend, etc.
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Old 07-14-2011, 02:21 PM
 
20,793 posts, read 52,393,704 times
Reputation: 10476
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarlaJane View Post
I wasn't talking about your particular school but schools in general (for example, the Newsweek list of "best" schools). While your school district may break it down, most rankings do not. But, again, to simply state that students are attending "four-year colleges" does not indicate the quality of the college and, hence, the quality of the education received.

And the statement ^^that I bolded is exactly how I feel about high schools, especially those characterized as "best." I don't understand how you can think that the factors determining college attendance/quality are not also the factors determining "best" school status: just as there are many factors determining "best" school status (students from higher socio-economic backgrounds nearly always score higher on standardized tests and go to schools in wealthier neighborhoods that have greater access to funding), there are also many factors determining which college one attends. As you stated, $$ is usually a factor, which means that those who do not have enough money to attend college will get a job or start work in a trade, not b/c they do not have the smarts, but b/c they cannot afford college or have other responsibilities (kids, family to support)--in much the same way that "best" students might choose a not-so-prestigious school due to extenuating circumstances--all of which will skew "best" school status.

Moreover, where one attends college as well as rates of attrition are hugely indicative of high school preparation. If a student leaves after the first year, it may be b/c college is not to his/her liking. However, that seems unlikely with someone that has been prepped for four years to get into and complete a college education. If they leave after a year, they most likely flunked out (exceptions notwithstanding), and that has everything to do with the high school. A highly ranked high school with a high percentage of students who end up attending but not completing a four-year degree may be indicative that said school is not so deserving of its status. What is really disturbing, and should be evaluated but usually never is, is when students from "best" districts end up at cc's or fourth-tier universities.

However, as we both have noted, there are just too many factors involved in a student's educational experience that determine their future and that have nothing to do with the quality of their educations. This is why I disagree that "best" school status and the criteria used to determine such staus is really indicative of anything b/c it is such a simplification of very complex situations.
A student may be accepted at Harvard, Yale and Stanford yet chose to go to a local state school for many reasons. Does that mean the high school is not as good because the student went to the state school vs an Ivy?? This is why placement is a skewed way to view the quality of a school. We had a girl in our school that was accepted at several Ivy's a couple years ago but chose to go to a local private school-still a good school but not Ivy caliber-she chose the local school because her Dad died and she wanted to be close to her mom to help her--is that any reflection on the high school?? Many kids it simply comes down to cost and that is not a reflection on the high school either.

As for the Newsweek list-up until this year that was solely based on how many kids TAKE an AP test-don't even have to pass the test, just take it-hardly a measure of the quality of a school since all they have to do is require 100% of their kids to take an AP test and voila, they are a top 100 school. It's interesting how the list has changed since they expanded the criteria to include things like average ACT/SAT scores, graduation rates, college attendance rates, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shmoov_groovzsd View Post
Cindy_Jole,


Sorry, I am confused....

How do graduation rates = type of students, parent involvement and how experienced teachers are?

As far as I see it, its just a statistical number representing graduating percentages of the actual students.
Because a graduation rate means that if you have 1000 kids start in 9th grade and 50 kids graduate, your school has serious issues with kids dropping out. If you have 1000 kids start and 1000 kids finish, you have a school that kids want to attend, families that care about keeping kids in school, etc. It's actually a pretty obvious statistic. Spend a day in an inner city school near you, then go to one of the top suburban schools near you and see what difference a school with a high graduation rate makes.
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Old 07-14-2011, 02:34 PM
 
2,113 posts, read 2,242,920 times
Reputation: 1758
Quote:
Originally Posted by shmoov_groovzsd View Post
Cindy_Jole,


Sorry, I am confused....

How do graduation rates = type of students, parent involvement and how experienced teachers are?

As far as I see it, its just a statistical number representing graduating percentages of the actual students.
For a student to graduate, s/he must meet the minimum academic requirements.

To meet those requirements, a student's success depends on three factors, to varying degrees: student motivation, parental involvement, and teacher experience/competence.

Therefore, a student who graduates would have success in at least one of those three factors. A student who does not graduate is lacking in at least one of those three factors.

In conclusion, a school district with low graduation rates means that the majority of the school's population is lacking in at least one of those three factors.
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Old 07-14-2011, 02:42 PM
 
Location: 92037
4,631 posts, read 8,586,173 times
Reputation: 1931
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cindy_Jole View Post
For a student to graduate, s/he must meet the minimum academic requirements.

To meet those requirements, a student's success depends on three factors, to varying degrees: student motivation, parental involvement, and teacher experience/competence.

Therefore, a student who graduates would have success in at least one of those three factors. A student who does not graduate is lacking in at least one of those three factors.

In conclusion, a school district with low graduation rates means that the majority of the school's population is lacking in at least one of those three factors.
Cindy_Jole,

Perfect. Thanks for clarifying what you were saying. I was more confused about how a teachers experience made a difference when in fact you corrected it by saying competence/experience.
I am sure you are aware of teachers unions and the fact that experience doenst necessarily mean "competent" teaching because of tenure.

I didnt want to assume what you meant even though it seemed in the prior post, that you were implying all three were the reason kids graduate.

Yes and last but not least, the student has to be motivated enough to actually perform. This would come from an encouraging environment not exclusive to just the classroom but the home life. However I have seen plenty of students get less motivated due to parental pressure in excelling.
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