Sunday, November 26, 2006

comparing schools when moving

One of our move priorities is to live in a community with a good school district.

We've found some interesting sources:

  1. Great Schools is fairly comprehensive and national. It compares schools, let's you know the various schools near a given address by distance (very valuable when house hunting). School achievement scores, attendence and demographics can be viewed and compared. We were very suprised by Chicago public school performance. The magnate and elective schools were the best in the region. We were also suprised to learn that many of the rural NC schools we had heard so many poor things about scored much better than publicized locally in NC. We were also very suprised to learn the difference between an allegedly good school district and a well known one - allegedly good had dissapointing scores.
  2. The Chicago Tribune has a comprehensive ranking, but you need to sign-up (for free) to view it. We were quite suprised that Winnetka, long associated with the top of public education in the Chicagoland area was actually not at the top -- once again the magnate and Chicago elective schools dominated.

My wife pointed out that we should focus most on elementary schools and then on middle schools. I want to make sure we have good Montessori programs available as an alternative to preschool. Whether we keep our children in Montessori or move them to elementary school, I'm not sure.

As we move often, looking for the best high school is something we needn't put to much focus on. On the other hand, I am a bit nervous about moving our children once they start school.

One resource I wish I had was a data source that told me what colleges high school graduates went to. Frankly, I was disappointed to learn that one well regarded school district sent most of their students to the Big 10. Great schools, but I had hoped there would be more East and West Coast schools present.

Have a wonderful weekend,


PS Please comment with any other school comparison resources.

PPS I was very impressed to see that Park Ridge, IL had one of the best school systems. I believe that is where Hillary Clinton grew up.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Take those school rankings with a grain of salt. New Trier High School in Winnetka is much larger than any of the magnet/private high schools ranked above it on the Chicago Tribune list. That's why New Trier's % of passing scores is lower than that of the handful of much smaller schools ranked above it - it must take in everyone from its surrounding area because it is public.

I would bet that the top quarter of the students at New Trier exceed the top half of the students at any of those magnet/private schools. Smart kids living in Winnetka, Willmette, or Glencoe don't need to attend one of the magnet/private schools because their local public high school, New Trier, is so good.