I am very happy with our school, even though it has some pretty significant challenges. It isn’t a “4” to me, or to most other parents I’ve talked to. I have friends at other nearby elementary schools with ratings of “3”, “4”, even “2” — they also love their schools.
I have no idea why (or how) anyone bothers to rate elementary schools. Elementary schools are all filled with cute little bunnies with teachers who are easily qualified intellectually to teach what they are expected to teach.
Now, sometime in the 6th/7th grade…..those cute little bunnies turn into hormone raging monsters. Which is why few teachers want to teach middle school.
High schools can be rated on more objective grounds, and therefore such ratings can be valuable.
Circles are mostly telling you to find high socioeconomic students and avoid lower socioeconomic students (and English language learners, kids who qualify for special education services, and so on . . .).
Yep. School success is tied to socioeconomics like few other things we will experience in our lives.
More importantly, and as I said above, we should view anything that assigns one number to a school building full of people — kids, teachers, custodians, librarians — with a hefty dose of skepticism.
Well, I don’t know if Great Schools does this, but the most important factor that any parent should be focused on is what percentage of the children, in each grade, are operating at grade level in reading and math.
Why? Because if you have bright kids who are at or above grade level, but their classmates are predominately BELOW grade level, then the teacher is going to have to slow down to “teach to the mean” in their classrooms. Either that, or fail a significant portion of them, which generally is not a good career move. So they pick the former. That means that the bright kids are getting penalized.
Unfortunately, and to your other point, because of the correlation between socioeonomics and student performance, AND the correlation between wealth and race in the US, if you pick a school where the kids are all operating at grade level, you’re going to be picking a school with extremely small african-american and american-latino enrollment. Exceptions are rare.
My daughter’s high school is one of these exceptions. 100% operating at state standards in reading, 97% at math. The school is 67% free or reduced lunch and is 97% non-white.
What’s the secret? Well, it’s 67% Vietnamese, and the non-Vietnamese students tend to be 1st gen immigrants from the Middle East and India. All three ethnic groups are intolerant for anything but academic excellence.
Works great for my daughter, because she gets all the benefits of diversity with none of the scholastic drawbacks. Problem is it’s a model which can’t be easily replicated.