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Old 07-21-2011, 01:48 PM
1,996 posts, read 3,229,608 times
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Over and over we have been advised (in person and on this board) not to consider Seattle public schools. Could someone explain to me what is so bad about them? Are we talking gangs and drugs or just changing boundaries and limited resources? We have a middle schooler and a high school student and will be commuting to downtown Seattle for work. Thanks!
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Old 07-21-2011, 02:43 PM
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Well, what is interesting is I see a disconnect between the general opinion of Seattle schools and what School Digger and Great Schools say about them. Sure there are some low rated schools but there are also some highly rated schools. The same can be said for Bellevue and the other standard responses for good schools.

Now I have no first hand knowledge of the situation, just the research I'm doing online.
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:00 PM
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To be fair, it's possible for your children to get a good education and be safe going to Seattle's schools.
Just not most of Seattle's schools. Off the top of my head, I'd say 20% of Seattle's schools are safe and have a good learning environment, 40% are safe but incompetent and ineffectual, not a good place for a kid who wants to learn, and 40% are run down, out of control, and borderline dangerous.
Seattle schools have a long history of systemic incompetence and corruption. Administratively, they also have this long history of taking actions that make things worse, and every few years some new crisis erupts. Great, popular teachers and principals get involuntarily transferred to different schools, all too often, seemingly just for the hell of it. There's also program and building uncertainty. Seattle schools are a place you have to get involved with as a parent. You can't just assume that things are going to be alright, you have to fight for them in Seattle schools.
That said, if you live in certain neighborhoods, the schools have very loud and active parents who tend to get what they want. That's particularly true at the elementary level. There are some good elementary schools throughout the city ( and lots of bad ones too).
If you're in the right neighborhood, there won't likely be gangs or violence, and the school will be good academically.
But those neighborhoods have high housing costs. I'd guess that Seattle has a much higher percentage of parents who send their kids to private schools than Bellevue or Issaquah. Our kids went through the Seattle public schools, and didn't get shot or stabbed, but it was exhausting fighting the whims of the school district.
I'm not saying " Don't send your kid to any school in the Seattle school district." What I am saying is that if you decide to live in the city and send your kids to public schools: Be careful, be vigilant, and stay involved.
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:56 PM
Location: Seattle, WA
456 posts, read 724,067 times
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A few observations:
There's a pretty good correlation between the % of FRL students at any individual school and its overall quality. Essentially the district is running two systems: one for wealthier/non minority students and one for everyone else. They've never done a good job of serving the second population.

That being said now that there is an attendance region for each school you can navigate the wildly different quality levels more easily by picking where you live. As mentioned above neighborhoods with better schools tend to be more expensive.

I'd quibble with above characterization and say its about 50% good overall. There are some hopeful signs for the system as a whole. The last few years has brought a much larger percentage of the potential school population in (I think its up around 80% recently for kindergartners). I'm also hoping the new superintendent / the next board elections will bring greater accountability at the administration level.

My impression for middle school/high schools is that Eckstein is the best followed by maybe Hamilton now that it has the APP program and for high schools Roosevelt, Ballard, Garfield if in the APP program.

I hope that helps,
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Old 07-22-2011, 05:07 AM
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It does. Thanks all!
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Old 07-22-2011, 02:15 PM
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Read through Save Seattle Schools Community Blog for a good look at why many Seattle parents don't recommend Seattle Schools.
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