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Old 05-16-2010, 10:38 PM
 
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Why do so many people seem to speak so much more highly about the Eastside education system for elementary/middle school/high school than Seattle's education system?

It confuses me a bit since Seattle itself is rated one of the "most educated cities" in the country , and from what I remember, a 90-95% high school graduation rate. I think New York City, for one example, has a 50-70% high school graduation rate.

Some make it sound as if all the good schools (for elementary, middle school, high school) in the Seattle area are in the Eastside suburbs and not in Seattle itself, or even in other areas of the Seattle area. Why is that? It doesnt seem like that is the case at all, and a bit misleading.

For Seattle to have such a great high school graduation rate, and to be rated one of the "most educated cities" in America, I assume almost all of its high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools must be great. And Seattle seems to offer better education opportunities for elementary/middle school/high school in some ways than if someone went to school in the suburbs, even if it may be a suburb as nice as Bellevue, Mercer Island, or Bainbridge Island.

I personally dont understand some people's preferences for a nice suburban elementary/middle school/high school over a nice bigger city elementary/middle school/high school.

And of course, Seattle's colleges seem to be much better than any of the colleges in the Eastside.
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Old 05-17-2010, 12:09 AM
 
Location: Greater Seattle, WA Metro Area
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Those "ratings" are not based on the state education system for K-12 but rather on the % of individuals age 25 or over that hold college degrees.

The Seattle Times: Local News: Seattle ranks as nation's best-educated big city

In general, the school systems on the Eastside of Seattle are solidly performing top to bottom, in a large majority of schools in the district where that is not necessarily the case in SPD. So take for example, Mercer Island. All schools in Mercer Island are generally going to be outstanding. Same with Bellevue, almost all of Issaquah Schools and much of Lake Washington schools. But the key is that you have far less socioeconomic diversity on the Eastside. My question to my realtor was where do I need to live to go to the best Issaquah Schools? Well, the majority of them are very high performing so I didn't have to pay too much attention to the exact location of the house I chose because the odds were, we would be in the zone of a great school.

Seattle Public Schools has some great individual schools but for the district as a whole, you will have more low performing schools because the socioeconomic diversity of SPD is greater than that of the Eastside. This is pretty much the story in any major city that I know of. They have also been using a lottery system for years (which is being phased out starting with the coming school year) which really made it difficult for families in certain neighborhoods to even get into their neighborhood schools so the quality of their education was not a given just because they lived right next to a fabulous SPD school. But do your homework - there are certainly amazing schools within SPD but your being able to attend them is not necessarily a guarantee until the lottery system fully phases out. At least that's the way I understand it.

Washington State Report Card is a tool you can use to compare certain metrics of the various school districts...

Washington State Report Card
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Old 05-17-2010, 12:15 AM
 
Location: Greater Seattle, WA Metro Area
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Also your stats are wrong on the graduation rate in SPD. This report (though it's 2 years old) has it at 67.6%...

Seattle gets mixed report on graduation rates

And this shows ontime graduation rates by School District in the greater Seattle area...

Education (http://www.uwkc.org/kcca/data/Education/default.asp#High - broken link) School Graduation
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Old 05-17-2010, 12:33 AM
 
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texastrigirl is right. The median household income of Seattle public schools students is far less than the median income of the city of Seattle as a whole. There are lots of highly educated/ wealthier folks in Seattle who do not have kids, and there are other highly educated/ wealthier parents in Seattle who send their kids to private schools. Yes, there are some amazingly good public schools with the city of Seattle. But the fact of the matter is that Seattle is not simply populated by upper middle class, highly educated hipsters. It's almost as if there are two Seattles. There's the Wallingfords, the Queen Annes, the Ravennas, the Greenlakes, etc, but then there are also the Delridges, the Rainier Beach's, the South Parks, etc, places where many students have strikes against them even before they enter the school system, where there's a whole lot less parental involvement.
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Old 05-17-2010, 01:50 AM
 
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To texastrygirl: Wow. I must say Im surprised. I remember from some source that said Seattles high school graduation rate is 90-95%. Your link says that its 67-68% for percentage of people who graduate high school on time. I know some people who didnt graduate high school on time but were people who cared about their education, intellectual pursuits, and ended up going to college and doing well in college. Maybe it still is 90-95% for people who graduate high school, but not on time

Also, 67-68% is still very good for a major city, as it says in this link I found. Seattle has the 7th highest high graduation rate for a major city, so that is good.

Lets compare it to some of these cities: "Detroit had the lowest graduation rate, 24.9 percent, among the 50 surveyed cities, while districts in Indianapolis, Cleveland and Baltimore, all had rates below 35 percent. The report analyzed public school data from the 2003-2004 school year."

"The gap between Seattle-area public schools and higher-ranking suburban schools was nearly 10 percentage points, far smaller than margins found in many cities covered by the report, which was prepared by Maryland-based Editorial Projects in Education Research Center."

Seattle gets mixed report on graduation rates

The point of my thread was that so many people seem to make it sound like someone who moves to the Seattle area, or lives in the Seattle area HAS to go to the Eastside suburbs for a good k-12 education, but there are plenty of goof k-12 schools in Seattle itself. It seems like a lot of people who may have kids age 5-18 are automatically turned off by the idea of having their kids go to a K-12 school in Seattle just because there are some bad schools here.

Personally, I would rather go to a good high school in a major city than a good high school in a suburb, and am glad I went to a good high school in a major city rather than a suburb. In some ways, the best major city high schools usually seem to offer a much better education than the best suburban high schools. Quite a lot of people would prefer to go to a school in a bigger city setting than a more suburban setting, and Im one of them.

However you, and Ira500 make good points.
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Old 05-17-2010, 12:58 PM
 
7,233 posts, read 12,642,972 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NaturalUrbanBalence View Post

The point of my thread was that so many people seem to make it sound like someone who moves to the Seattle area, or lives in the Seattle area HAS to go to the Eastside suburbs for a good k-12 education, but there are plenty of goof k-12 schools in Seattle itself. It seems like a lot of people who may have kids age 5-18 are automatically turned off by the idea of having their kids go to a K-12 school in Seattle just because there are some bad schools here.
Well, to be fair: People ask where the excellent/good school districts are. And that is definitely in the Eastside.

However, if someone asks where the good schools are within Seattle (public schools or area), posters do tell them which schools would fall in that.

p.s. did you make a freudian slip right there?
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Old 05-17-2010, 01:20 PM
 
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You can find outstanding schools in Seattle, but with the new neighborhood assignment plan it is critical to make sure that any home you are interested in buying or renting is in the area for one of those schools.
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Old 05-17-2010, 03:42 PM
 
Location: WA
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"Most educated" refers to adults, and doesn't reflect directly on the school system. This means that there are a lot of white collar research and programming jobs here that attract college graduates from all over the country (and world).
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Old 05-17-2010, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Greater Seattle, WA Metro Area
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NUB - not trying to debate here...just trying to use data to answer the question you posed because it's just slightly better than "I heard from someone" or "someone told me once". Not that all data is compiled correctly mind you but it's all we have and I am a numbers girl so it's where I look when trying to educate myself for decisions I have to make. You will always find exceptions to trends in numbers but when making decisions, especially from a distance, the numbers for Eastside schools look really good on paper. So it's often a starting point for those researching from out of town. Glad you had a good experience at a major high school in a city. I had a great experience at a high school in a small Iowa city and also ended up being a very successful professional so a high school experience is just one factor that will influence an individual's success.

We specifically chose Sammamish first for the schools and the safety of raising a family here and because we are a half block from Pine Lake, love the tall pine trees, are 10 minutes from Tiger Mtn, 45 minutes from skiing and just up the hill from Lake Sammamish. We take our kids into the city frequently (even Pioneer Square - though not at night) and lived for 2 weeks at Harbor Steps. My husband works in the heart of downtown. Three years ago when relocating from Texas, we looked at Greenlake and a few other Seattle neighborhoods because we were considering commute distance as well but once we learned about the hit or miss of SPS and saw that our money went further for houses in Sammamish combined with the amazing beauty in proximity there AND the great schools, it was a no brainer for us. To each his own. We love raising our kids here and also having the ability to go into the city whenever we want so it is the best of both worlds IMO.

Last edited by texastrigirl; 05-17-2010 at 05:15 PM..
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Old 05-17-2010, 05:22 PM
 
Location: Greater Seattle, WA Metro Area
1,938 posts, read 5,641,755 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NaturalUrbanBalence View Post
To texastrygirl: Wow. I must say Im surprised. I remember from some source that said Seattles high school graduation rate is 90-95%. Your link says that its 67-68% for percentage of people who graduate high school on time. I know some people who didnt graduate high school on time but were people who cared about their education, intellectual pursuits, and ended up going to college and doing well in college. Maybe it still is 90-95% for people who graduate high school, but not on time

Also, 67-68% is still very good for a major city, as it says in this link I found. Seattle has the 7th highest high graduation rate for a major city, so that is good.

Lets compare it to some of these cities: "Detroit had the lowest graduation rate, 24.9 percent, among the 50 surveyed cities, while districts in Indianapolis, Cleveland and Baltimore, all had rates below 35 percent. The report analyzed public school data from the 2003-2004 school year."

"The gap between Seattle-area public schools and higher-ranking suburban schools was nearly 10 percentage points, far smaller than margins found in many cities covered by the report, which was prepared by Maryland-based Editorial Projects in Education Research Center."

Seattle gets mixed report on graduation rates

The point of my thread was that so many people seem to make it sound like someone who moves to the Seattle area, or lives in the Seattle area HAS to go to the Eastside suburbs for a good k-12 education, but there are plenty of goof k-12 schools in Seattle itself. It seems like a lot of people who may have kids age 5-18 are automatically turned off by the idea of having their kids go to a K-12 school in Seattle just because there are some bad schools here.

Personally, I would rather go to a good high school in a major city than a good high school in a suburb, and am glad I went to a good high school in a major city rather than a suburb. In some ways, the best major city high schools usually seem to offer a much better education than the best suburban high schools. Quite a lot of people would prefer to go to a school in a bigger city setting than a more suburban setting, and Im one of them.

However you, and Ira500 make good points.
If you look at the "extended graduation rate" for SPS (meaning those who do not graduate on time but who do graduate, it is 70.6%...so still not 90-95%. Maybe they were speaking about a specific Seattle high school...
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