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Old 08-28-2008, 09:48 AM
 
8,377 posts, read 20,082,575 times
Reputation: 2225
For the record, an "A" school means absolutely nothing. There are some "B" schools that blow "A" schools out of the water because they also base that rating on test score GROWTH. Some schools have nowhere to go but down because their test scores are so high, and then get "B" labels because they do, and all the rating is based on is test scores. Ratings are always flawed, and even as far as ratings go the Florida grading system is flawed. You are best off checking the demographics of each school district before you actually move in based on a supposed "A" rating and see if they ,are right for you. The "Greatschools" rating is also a good objective comparison tool. If I had kids, I wouldn't put them in an elementary school below a 7 or 8 or a middle/high school below a 9 unless I REALLY like what I see in the school, because these tests that the kids have to take really aren't all that difficult, so it's saying something it the school ranks any lower.
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Old 08-28-2008, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Bay Area
2,406 posts, read 4,642,912 times
Reputation: 1760
Quote:
Originally Posted by compelled to reply View Post
For the record, an "A" school means absolutely nothing. There are some "B" schools that blow "A" schools out of the water because they also base that rating on test score GROWTH. Some schools have nowhere to go but down because their test scores are so high, and then get "B" labels because they do, and all the rating is based on is test scores. Ratings are always flawed, and even as far as ratings go the Florida grading system is flawed. You are best off checking the demographics of each school district before you actually move in based on a supposed "A" rating and see if they ,are right for you. The "Greatschools" rating is also a good objective comparison tool. If I had kids, I wouldn't put them in an elementary school below a 7 or 8 or a middle/high school below a 9 unless I REALLY like what I see in the school, because these tests that the kids have to take really aren't all that difficult, so it's saying something it the school ranks any lower.
Yes, we went by the Greatschools rating, and checked the demographics prior to moving. The school here is an 8. The poverty level is far below the state average (31% versus 46%). Demographics seemed ok. But these are in comparison to the state average. The state average is sooo bad, that even a better school compared that is not so good. I am not trying to be negative- but it really is the reality here. My daughter's school bus is so packed that there are 4 kids to a seat. There are supposed to be 2. We pay almost 5 figures property taxes for this?? Ridiculous.
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Old 08-28-2008, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Bay Area
2,406 posts, read 4,642,912 times
Reputation: 1760
Quote:
Originally Posted by compelled to reply View Post
For the record, an "A" school means absolutely nothing. There are some "B" schools that blow "A" schools out of the water because they also base that rating on test score GROWTH. Some schools have nowhere to go but down because their test scores are so high, and then get "B" labels because they do, and all the rating is based on is test scores. Ratings are always flawed, and even as far as ratings go the Florida grading system is flawed. You are best off checking the demographics of each school district before you actually move in based on a supposed "A" rating and see if they ,are right for you. The "Greatschools" rating is also a good objective comparison tool. If I had kids, I wouldn't put them in an elementary school below a 7 or 8 or a middle/high school below a 9 unless I REALLY like what I see in the school, because these tests that the kids have to take really aren't all that difficult, so it's saying something it the school ranks any lower.
Oh and btw, you're right. Those standardized tests are ridiculously easy. For example, right now they are doing spelling. Learning to spell alter. My daughter learned that in 3-4 grade. She is in the 7th here. She can't even believe thats what they are teaching!!
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Old 08-28-2008, 10:58 AM
 
8,377 posts, read 20,082,575 times
Reputation: 2225
34%?!?!?!? My schools around here are barley pushing 12...8 IMO is too low for the middle school considering the standards here. 9 is OK. The fact that they are still leaning spelling in middle school is not at all uncommon, both in Florida and around the country. We need a serious revamp in the way kids are taught in lower income schools. The problem is that there is no accountability in the school system (which the NCLB was supposedly supposed to handle) and that every kid has potential to learn, but many smart kids are held back by their home environment, and that ends up dragging down the whole system which doesn't really work for anywhere except for those upper-middle class schools...and the taxpayer suffers because the only thing they really do with these schools is throw more money into them for "programs" to make the schools "look" better, like the magnet school example a few posts ago.

Of course, the parents need to have accountability just as much as the school system does, and that's why most public schools seem to fail if they are in anything less than upper-middle class areas and why those schools spend much LESS money per-capita than most inner city schools. The system is just hopelessly inefficient. And thanks to the NCLB, it's the same thing everywhere now, and basically half of America's children are being let down both by their parents and their local school districts, all at the expense of the taxpayer.

Last edited by compelled to reply; 08-28-2008 at 11:10 AM..
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Old 08-28-2008, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Bay Area
2,406 posts, read 4,642,912 times
Reputation: 1760
Quote:
Originally Posted by compelled to reply View Post
34%?!?!?!? My schools around here are barley pushing 12...8 IMO is too low for the middle school considering the standards here. 9 is OK. The fact that they are still leaning spelling in middle school is not at all uncommon, both in Florida and around the country. We need a serious revamp in the way kids are taught in lower income schools. The problem is that there is no accountability in the school system (which the NCLB was supposedly supposed to handle) and that every kid has potential to learn, but many smart kids are held back by their home environment, and that ends up dragging down the whole system which doesn't really work for anywhere except for those upper-middle class schools...and the taxpayer suffers because the only thing they really do with these schools is throw more money into them for "programs" to make the schools "look" better, like the magnet school example a few posts ago.

Of course, the parents need to have accountability just as much as the school system does, and that's why most public schools seem to fail if they are in anything less than upper-middle class areas and why those schools spend much LESS money per-capita than most inner city schools. The system is just hopelessly inefficient. And thanks to the NCLB, it's the same thing everywhere now, and basically half of America's children are being let down both by their parents and their local school districts, all at the expense of the taxpayer.
Basically we were naieve, thinking we are moving into an upscale neighborhood and paying high taxes, therefore this "A" school would be decent. Our taxes are 9K annually here, my husband is really upset that the school system is that bad, when we pay that much!!! Where we moved from in Carmel, the public school system was good, because the area was upscale, received much revenue from property tax and was "known" for good schools. But we chose to send her to private schools in Carmel anyway, because thats what we wanted for her. Here, we are forced to send her to private, because the schools are that bad. Maybe if we did not come from private, I would not have the same perspective. I really didn't know what to look for concerning stats on poverty. That has never been an issue where we used to live. I thought, well its better than average?? Its very confusing if you have not had to deal with it before. Regardless, I would be very concerned if I were a parent moving here. If you can afford private schools, I would recommend it.

Many of the areas here, you have to choose, do you want to love the house/subdivision or school? We chose the house over the school, because she has only 6 more years until college and we could put her in private for those 6 years. A house we hope to stay in for more than that, 20,30, etc years. Its a toss up, and an important thing to realize before moving or buying a home.
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Old 08-28-2008, 01:39 PM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
679 posts, read 842,309 times
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We don't have kids yet but I'm starting to do research on area schools for when we do. It looks to me like for a first rate education in Tampa the options are Plant High School or private school. Am I wrong?
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Old 08-28-2008, 03:27 PM
 
127 posts, read 282,632 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by faina00 View Post
Yes, the schools here are bad. At least the one my daughter just started. And it was a grade "A" school. She came from private schools up north, to this supposed "A" school. It's at least 2 years behind her last school, and she in all honors/advanced here, and they don't offer languages!!! I knew we should put her in private but my husband talked me out of it because of the "A" grade, said will wait to put her back in private until high school. Now we are scrambling to find a decent private (which IMO they're not as good here if you don't want religious). And the poverty she witnesses at school! And yes, we live in an upscale area, yet the school she goes to makes her feel like she is in the inner city. In her words, she has never seen such ignorant people in her life, nor such poverty. I would be scared of the public system here if I were you. Thats just my opinion, and my standards are probably much greater than most, but education is a priority.
What area do you live in and what school are you referring to?
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Old 08-28-2008, 06:08 PM
 
19 posts, read 32,844 times
Reputation: 10
I really appreciate all of your input. My husband and I are big believers in public schools and would hope that since we can afford a very nice (upper middle class) neighborhood, that the schools would be great. Have to admit I'm now terrified since we're pretty much committed to this move (for financial reasons) and it's sounding as if we'll have to pay for private schools to get the same quality of education my kids get here.

Two questions: (1) Other than Plant High are there ANY really good high schools? (Don't think we want to live in South Tampa.) and (2) No languages in the high schools!! Really?? Please say it ain't so ...

Someone give me hope ... please ...

P.S. Can anyone answer the question about whether it's possible that a child might not get assigned to his/her neighborhood school?
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Old 08-28-2008, 06:11 PM
 
19 posts, read 32,844 times
Reputation: 10
Oh, and is Pinellas County any better? Dunedin High? Palm Harbor University High? Others??
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Old 08-29-2008, 02:51 PM
 
13,545 posts, read 22,431,371 times
Reputation: 9890
Excellent post Faina and CTR.. Schools teach the FCAT so they won't loose money or teachers. It is pretty sad that the teachers have no choice but to make sure the kids make good grades on the FCAT. There has to be a better way.
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