It seems to me that that's the most common way to judge a school district. However, I don't think it is the best way to do so. For most of my life, I went to school in a rich, mostly white neighborhood-Massapequa, N.Y. I did fine in elementary school, but middle school was problematic, since I was a minority within the white race-red haired, so I got bullied a lot. Polish and people from New Jersey got bullied, too. Then they started bullying me because I wasn't rich (I was illegal-apt dwelling)! So, along with the expense of the studio apt ($1300), I moved to a slightly poorer and more diverse community-Lindenhurst, N.Y. I'm doing much better in school here (96 Avg.!), even though the test scores are lower, and making more friends. I'm not bullied at all-the bullying is towards more obvious minorities (I.e. Black, Mexican). Another thing-Lindenhurst's white population in high school is mostly White Trash, and it's one of my main motives for being more successful, since I don't want to be like any of those slobs. In Massapequa, there was still some white trash but not a lot, so I didn't worry about trying to be better than everyone else. So here's my list of what defines how good a child will do good at school:
1. MOTIVATION (especislly at Home)-without my relatives accusing me for any grade below 90, who knows how I would be in school. It's also from how I do not want to be like my seperated parents living in illegal apts. Without motivation, there can easily be kids who fail miserabley in the best schools in the country, or those with motivation can succeed in the worst school districts.
2. ETHNICITY-it's pathetic, but it's true. A child will avoid racial bullying if s/he is either of the most populous ethnicity or the least (if they are extremely unique, they might be very interesting to other kids and could become very popular). However, if they are of an ethnicity that's uncommon but not extremely rare, it might get problematic.
3. SAFETY-this should be obvious.
4. VARIETY-where there's a lot of different clubs, there's a lot more individuality and it is easier to make friends.
5. ECONOMIC STATUS-again, pathetic but true. If there's more people of the child's economic status, it's easier to make friends.
I understand that test scores are a factor, but what I'm trying to say is that taking a glance at the rating for a school on greatschools.com isn't the best way to see how good a school district is. It really all depends on the child him/herself and how s/he was raised. Agree or disagree?
Sorry if I came off a bit snooty when talking about my grades!