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Old 06-19-2008, 03:38 PM
 
Location: Manhattan
347 posts, read 870,716 times
Reputation: 81

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Hi - A broker told me that all the schools in Westchester were the same (meaning as good as the others) and I saw the same comment posted at City-Data. The comment on City-Data suggested the difference in scores is simply because of different income groups. I myself picture that factors such as who the principal is, the class size and the teaching staff make a difference from school district to school district. Can anybody give more reason why some people think Westchester schools are all the same?

Last edited by fyrisle; 06-19-2008 at 04:24 PM..
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:04 PM
 
1,569 posts, read 2,749,560 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fyrisle View Post
Hi - A broker told me that all the schools in Westchester were the same (meaning as good as the others) . . . . Can anybody give more reason why some people think Westchester schools are all the same?
Yes. He's selling houses in an area with a crappy school district.

Simply put, the "quality" of the school district generally follows the income of the parents/the price of the house/the real estate taxes/the parents' education.
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Northern Westchester/Putnam
103 posts, read 402,519 times
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As realtors we can't comment on quality of schools (it would be considered steering towards certain communities). There is a lot of school information out there - different rankings, school reports etc. that you can research on your own (or ask for people's subjective opinions!)
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Old 06-20-2008, 08:12 AM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
1,316 posts, read 4,566,105 times
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There are definitely differences between schools. Even among the very "best," each has its own strengths and weaknesses. That said, there is a great deal of parity between most Westchester schools in terms of the stats that matter most--$$ spent per pupil, class size, student-teacher ratio, etc. If you look at greatschools.net (which seems to have an excellent rating system) you'll see that most schools score between 8 and 10, and almost every district has at least one school with a perfect 10 rating. A huge factor is what the school's curriculum is and how they teach it, and that is largely the same from school to school (in Westchester). Which school is "best" is going to depend as much on your child(ren) as the school. Different kids will excel in different situations and environments.

And the biggest single factor will be the teacher. One of the things I like about my son's school is that they put a lot of energy into classroom placement and seem very attuned to the fact that each teacher has her/his own style and that different teachers will work better with different kids. So far, they've done a great job of placing my son. But they do make mistakes--we have friends whose son was having a horrible time in second grade (couldn't focus, couldn't get the work done, was frustrated and hated school). The parents talked to the school and the boy was moved to another class--and in practically no time the kid was loving school and all of the "issues" the other teacher had had with him disappeared. But other kids did very well with the first teacher. It's all about finding the right environment for the individual child.

There are other non-academic factors that matter a lot too--what is the nutrition policy, how much emphasis is put on creating a "bully-free" environment, how many clubs are there, what is the overall "vibe" of the school? Those can make a huge difference in how happy a kid is and how well he/she does.

People on this site seem to put a lot of weight on SAT scores, but they really don't tell you about the school. Schools teach to the state standards and the school and state exams test how well kids have learned the standards--those test score will give you an idea of how well the school is teaching the curriculum (but it is true that kids who are still learning the language will usually have a harder time with any test and will therefore "bring down" the sores). The SAT, on the other hand, does not test what schools are teaching, schools do not teach to the SAT, and schools do not prep kids for the SAT. (Not to mention the fact that the SATs have lost a lot of their importance in the last few years and most universities no longer place nearly as much emphasis on them as they used to). And yes, there is a lot of data that shows that SAT scores are hugely affected by language proficiency and SES (and how much $ parents spend on sending the kids to SAT-prep courses).

Sorry for going on and on....
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Old 06-22-2008, 05:35 AM
 
Location: Jupiter
1,108 posts, read 3,688,943 times
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Talking Dump Your Broker

Quote:
Originally Posted by fyrisle View Post
Hi - A broker told me that all the schools in Westchester were the same (meaning as good as the others) and I saw the same comment posted at City-Data. The comment on City-Data suggested the difference in scores is simply because of different income groups. I myself picture that factors such as who the principal is, the class size and the teaching staff make a difference from school district to school district. Can anybody give more reason why some people think Westchester schools are all the same?
It's time for you to dump him/her and find yourself a "buyer's agent" who will work exclusively for you and not the seller....A buyer's agent works for the buyer and as such can tell you much more information that a seller's agent that works for the seller and can really tell you nothing....both agents are prohibited from telling you certain things....but telling you all the schools are the same is a fairy tail........

Do your own research....compare school scores....on this site...go to the high school's in the area you are considering....see what is going on...it will not take long to completely eliminate certain areas/school districts......
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Old 06-22-2008, 04:10 PM
 
739 posts, read 1,610,380 times
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I'll make it easy for you. School districts to avoid: Yonkers, New Rochelle, Mount Vernon, White Plains and Greenburgh. The more expensive the house and the higher the taxes, the better the school district. Sorry if that's offensive to some but it's how things work in Westchester County.
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Old 06-22-2008, 07:18 PM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
1,316 posts, read 4,566,105 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExNooYawk View Post
The more expensive the house and the higher the taxes, the better the school district. Sorry if that's offensive to some but it's how things work in Westchester County.
"Better" meaning what? Smaller classes? Higher teacher-student ratio? More spent per pupil? More teacher-training programs? Newer buildings, equipment, and materials? Principals that involve teachers in classroom-placement and curriculum planning? Principals that do not involve teachers in classroom-placement or curriculum planning? Schools with research-based text books and curriculum guides? Schools with no text books and a student-led emergent curriculum? Schools with open classrooms? Schools with traditional classrooms?

The fact is that millions and millions of dollars have been spent doing studies trying to determine what makes one school "better" than another. There are loads of theories, but no proof that any particular theory is true. The idea that you can tell which school is "better" for your child by looking at the SAT scores, taxes, or home prices may make you feel better--but it is based on absolutely nothing more than wishful thinking (and maybe what your realtor told you).
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Old 07-01-2008, 06:42 PM
 
148 posts, read 741,402 times
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They are not all the same, look at all the data out there GreatSchools.net, www.schoomlmatters.com (broken link) etc and decide what will work for your children...e.g. a large public school or a small public/private/parochial school. An extremely competitive school environment or a very nurturing one, an extremely diverse school district or one that lacks diversity in every sense of the word. A child that ends up hating school because his school is not a good fit will not do well even if he is in the best school district in the county. Also lets face it Havard cannot take all or only the students from Scarsdale, Rye, Chappaqua and Bronxville your child may stand a better chance if he/she is a very good student in a school district that is not top tier, versus one of the several very good students in the more competitive "top tier" schools. These universities that everyone seems to desire are looking for diversity in their intake because it helps to achieve a well rounded class.
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Old 08-24-2008, 03:33 PM
 
1 posts, read 3,060 times
Reputation: 10
Default Ignorance is a shame

Just want to reply to your comment about schools in Westchester. Do you even have children in the schools system? If so, do you understand the testing system that so many people believe justifies what schools are good and which are not? The only reason why schools in the weathier areas have higher test scores than the schools in less weathy areas is because the parents are so competetive and often pay outside tutors to make sure that their children receive 3's and 4's on the test. So as for your opinion on what school districts to avoid, I would go visit the schools themselves and base your opinion on that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ExNooYawk View Post
I'll make it easy for you. School districts to avoid: Yonkers, New Rochelle, Mount Vernon, White Plains and Greenburgh. The more expensive the house and the higher the taxes, the better the school district. Sorry if that's offensive to some but it's how things work in Westchester County.

Last edited by Viralmd; 08-24-2008 at 04:16 PM.. Reason: Rude
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Old 09-03-2008, 02:08 PM
 
Location: New York
26 posts, read 108,022 times
Reputation: 17
Default Avoid Yonkers

I grew up in Yonkers and attended public schools there for my whole life (graduated in 1993). I don't know if things are different now, but I can only imagine that they are worse.

The environment was awful. My high school, Gorton HS, was the scene of stabbings, rape on premises, gang violence etc.. I don't even need to get into property crimes that were a daily occurrence. Even one of my TEACHERS stabbed her boyfriend in a domestic incident (to be fair, she was aquitted). An undercover cop in my school was having a sexual relationship with a student. One of my teachers married a student the year after we graduated. My physics teacher was physically assaulted 5 years after my graduation and had to retire early. I have heard that since my graduation, they have installed metal detectors in the school. I cannot imagine a worse school -- and its supposed to be the best high school in Yonkers.

I did however, as an honors student, get a really good education. Yonkers at the time had a program called Century Honors which was basically a tracking program. I was in the top 10 of my class. My SAT scores were 1510. I took AP Calc, English, American History, Chemistry and Physics. And I got into an Ivy League college. I would say that there were around 15 students in my senior year who acheived that level of academic success.

So basically, what I am trying to say is that its more than test scores. Even though I turned out fine, I would never subject my child to the experiences I went through in Yonkers Public Schools.

My friend who grew up in Hartsdale had similar experiences. Mount Vernon is also considered to be really bad. My cousin currently attends New Rochelle high school and she seems like she is doing ok there.

Talk to people who actually send their kids to the schools and ignore statistics.

Quote:
School districts to avoid: Yonkers, New Rochelle, Mount Vernon, White Plains and Greenburgh. The more expensive the house and the higher the taxes, the better the school district.
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