Can you graph a good school?

A class size experiment in the United States f...
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I hadn’t planned on blogging about this again this soon, but this post from Graham Wegner got me thinking about it again. In this post, he talks about “the popular public schools” that parents move for. He discusses the idea that popular doesn’t necessarily mean good. While I would agree with that, I am caught in the middle of my own process of trying to find the best school for my children. I really don’t think that there is anything wrong with moving to a specific area because of a school.

Being an informed consumer is not a vice.

However, I do agree with the fact that the schools with the best test scores or most popularity will not neccesarily provide the best total education for my kids. I know that there is so much that goes into a single student’s education, much of which is determined by how well he/she advocates for his/her own education.

Although I do believe that you can have a great educational experience at nearly any school, it is hard for me to get away from data and images like these:

vs.

What you see above is the difference in the Math achievement scores between the Cherry Creek School District, which is one of those “Popular Districts”, and the Denver School District, which for the most part is not. While I do believe in taking a look at the school environment and other factors, is it really any wonder that parents would flock to Cherry Creek? Is it really any wonder that they would want to have a better place for their children than maybe they even had for themselves.

So, when I am looking into creating a home for my family, I want the best that there is to offer them. This includes schools. I believe in the power of choice. I will be voting with my feet.

But, I don’t plan on giving up on the Denver schools either. That is what makes me different from many of the parents that Graham describes. While I may be working with my children’s schools to make sure that my kids get the best education possible. I would rather be able to get the kind of education I will get by moving, without moving. I would rather get a world class education anywhere. Is that too much to ask?

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0 Comments

  1. Ben, there is definitely no problem with trying to get your child into a school that you believe will benefit their education. My post was just trying to talk about the murky thinking of many parents and how curriculum, teaching methodologies and assessment are not even considerations for these sometime expensive and disruptive decisions. And many parents who make these moves based on “I hear it’s a good school” will also jump at simplistic “league table” calculations based on periodic bubble test results – rather than actually visit the school, look in the actual classrooms and ask probing questions about school programs, teaching methods and future directions. I totally agree about working with your child’s school as well. I’ve been a member of our school’s Governing Council since our eldest started five years ago and believe that I have had a positive influence in a number of areas including a renewed focus on effective educational technology.

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