How much does a "good school district" matter?

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FI4LIFE
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How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by FI4LIFE » Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:16 pm

Hi All,

My wife and I have been considering moving lately. The main reason being that our smallish city schools are not that great. This assessment is based mostly on my own experience with the schools many decades ago, test scores, high student-to-teacher ratio and lack of parent involvement. Otherwise, we like where we live and have great friends etc. Our city is very diverse economically and culturally.

The kids would handle the move fine as my oldest is very outgoing and makes friends easily. The younger ones are young enough where it would not matter.

Does anyone have any advice regarding moving solely for the school system? Many of the surrounding towns are quite boring and lack diversity, but their test scores are great and they attract families who want their children to succeed. We are finding the decision-making process difficult.

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:44 pm

I think it depends on what you value.

A man who does not teach his son a trade teaches him to steal.

PJW
Last edited by Phineas J. Whoopee on Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lakpr
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by lakpr » Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:46 pm

We did the move a decade ago precisely for the same reason. The best argument for moving was that, if I was hesitant myself to buy in the school district I was residing in, wouldn't I have a tougher time selling the home when it's time to? Won't the prospective new parents also look at the school district and hesitate to buy? Then the decision became a no brainer.
Last edited by lakpr on Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ged
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by Ged » Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:49 pm

I know my parents moved to a town with a good school district when I was ready to start. My opinion is they did me a great favor.

KlangFool
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by KlangFool » Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:51 pm

FI4LIFE wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:16 pm

their test scores are great and they attract families who want their children to succeed.
FI4LIFE,

It is very simple.

Do you believe that the neighborhood matters? Do you want to be surrounded by families that believe education matters versus those don't? Is this important to you?

KlangFool

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RickBoglehead
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by RickBoglehead » Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:54 pm

It matters a lot.

We moved in 1994 to a new state. Picked the district, rented townhouse for 18 months until we found a house in the district. Moved to another state in 2007, focused on districts only, top 2, picked more diverse one.

Both our sons went to the one of the top 3 public universities in the country as a result, with in-state tuition for 7 of the 9 combined years.
Last edited by RickBoglehead on Sat Oct 26, 2019 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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kevinf
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by kevinf » Sat Oct 26, 2019 5:30 pm

RickBoglehead wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:54 pm
...Moved to another state in 2097...
Image

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RickBoglehead
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by RickBoglehead » Sat Oct 26, 2019 5:33 pm

kevinf wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 5:30 pm
RickBoglehead wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:54 pm
...Moved to another state in 2097...
Image
LMAO.

Fixed.
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unstartable
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by unstartable » Sat Oct 26, 2019 5:43 pm

If your kids are highly motivated they will do well anywhere. if your kids need extra attention from the school, they will likely get more of it in the more affluent school district.

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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by BolderBoy » Sat Oct 26, 2019 5:44 pm

FI4LIFE wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:16 pm
Does anyone have any advice regarding moving solely for the school system? Many of the surrounding towns are quite boring and lack diversity, but their test scores are great and they attract families who want their children to succeed. We are finding the decision-making process difficult.
Parental involvement in the child's education is the most important factor.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

sambb
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by sambb » Sat Oct 26, 2019 5:45 pm

having been educated in a bad school district, i am so thankful my kids arent

Big Dog
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by Big Dog » Sat Oct 26, 2019 5:51 pm

fwiw: at least in CA, the 'good school districts' tend to have greater home appreciation.....

MathWizard
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by MathWizard » Sat Oct 26, 2019 6:03 pm

Unless you have them in private school, or teach themselves yourself, a good school is
hugely important. It put a limit on how far they can go.

I picked a city where there was a great public school district, much better than what
I had growing up. They had many more opportunities to learn in school than I had.

KlangFool
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by KlangFool » Sat Oct 26, 2019 6:09 pm

MathWizard wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 6:03 pm
Unless you have them in private school, or teach themselves yourself, a good school is
hugely important. It put a limit on how far they can go.

I picked a city where there was a great public school district, much better than what
I had growing up. They had many more opportunities to learn in school than I had.
MathWizard,

Even if you can do that, you are still living in a "bad" neighborhood.

KlangFool

birnhamwood
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by birnhamwood » Sat Oct 26, 2019 6:22 pm

The better the neighborhood, the better the schools. It's just that simple.

HomeStretch
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by HomeStretch » Sat Oct 26, 2019 6:23 pm

Whether to move is a personal decision but a better school district is a great reason to move. Especially if you and spouse know through experience that your current school district is less than ideal.

Spouse and I went to schools in not-so-good school districts. Education was not valued by a lot of the students and their families. Luckily we found our way to great colleges and careers. Living in a great school district was at the top of our list when selecting our town/neighborhood. Our child’s school experience was much different (in a good way) than ours.

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MikeWillRetire
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by MikeWillRetire » Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:34 pm

We live in the least desirable part of an affluent county in Maryland, and we decided to put our two children in private school initially. It was a great experience for them, surrounded by families that value education. But by the time they finished middle school, we could not afford it anymore. So we crossed our fingers and enrolled them in the local public high school. This is a school where 35% of the students receive free lunch (the County actually publishes this statistic oddly enough). We found that as long as the school offered "gifted & talented" classes, and Advanced Placement classes, they could still be surrounded by students who valued education.
They are now college grads, doing well. Good luck with your decision!

oldfatguy
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by oldfatguy » Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:37 pm

School ratings/rankings correlate to household income. That's pretty much all they tell you.

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unclescrooge
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by unclescrooge » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:24 pm

oldfatguy wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:37 pm
School ratings/rankings correlate to household income. That's pretty much all they tell you.
Not necessarily true. Pasadena, CA is home to gigantic multi-deca million dollar mansions and has terrible school rankings.

It may correlate with income, but education of the parents also correlates with income and I suspect the education level of the parents is driving the income.

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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by Ferdinand2014 » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:27 pm

The student, parents and home environment matter the most. Everything else is noise. I have attended both public schools and a private school (my last 2 years of high school). It all boiled down to how hard I was willing to work and how much my parents supported me. Private school is a waste of money. Moving to a ‘top’ school district is a fools errand. I have 3 children. 1 graduated from high school in a small town of 5,000 total residents. Another is graduating in a year from a highly ranked public school and a third attended private school from 8th grade through graduation. It matters little. They are all happy. All well adjusted and will, are and have attended college. The only difference is how much money you choose to waste.
Last edited by Ferdinand2014 on Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by Helo80 » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:28 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:24 pm
oldfatguy wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:37 pm
School ratings/rankings correlate to household income. That's pretty much all they tell you.
Not necessarily true. Pasadena, CA is home to gigantic multi-deca million dollar mansions and has terrible school rankings.

It may correlate with income, but education of the parents also correlates with income and I suspect the education level of the parents is driving the income.
I suspect that you reach a point where numbers don't matter.... realistically, if you're living in a multi-deca million dollar home... you can likely afford private education.... as in truly, one-on-one private education...

Hawaii is known for terrible schools, but I'm sure some of the properties on the islands are ridiculous...

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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by THY4373 » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:38 pm

My ex went to a "bad" school district and I went to a top one. We are equally successfully in life though her path was much difficult and more complicated than mine (though that was not all due to the school district). She was so put off by public school she would only send our son to a private school. Also she is seventh kid in her family and only one of the other six would I say managed to also be a "success". So I'd say school matters to a point. I think the peer effects are important. At my public high school it was just assumed you'd go to college because that is what 95% of the kids did.

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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by capran » Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:19 pm

I worked in education for 30 years. I read through the comments and agree with the poster that talked about the overriding importance of parent involvement rather than the school as determining ultimate outcomes. There could be some specific schools that have some over riding issues, but not usually. We had a relative that wanted to place their child with us for high school, but we just were not in a position that we felt that would work for us. They were worried the small town and lack of resources would handicap their exceptionally bright child. She stayed with her parents and their small town school. Went off to college and ended up with a Masters from John Hopkins. I also had quite a few kids who were moving on from my "good" middle school to a lower SES school. I remember one year when they graduated and went off to excel in three different prestigious Universities.

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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by GoldenFinch » Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:31 pm

A good school district usual translates to better resources. Better resources usually mean more opportunities for students. Unfortunately a good school district is no guarantee of a good overall experience for your child.

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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by csmath » Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:36 pm

Ferdinand2014 wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:27 pm
The student, parents and home environment matter the most. Everything else is noise.
I respectfully disagree. Having seen schools from the inside I can tell you that while parents, home environment, and who your kids spend time with are the most important factors... don't underestimate how bad schools can actually be and how much of a drag a low performing majority can be on a student. I have seen far too many students with potential, perform very well in a school, do everything they were asked, get great grades, and not get a good education. They never realize how low of expectations they were being asked to meet until they get to college and can't pass first year courses. What they thought was a college prep education in high school was actually just designed to get a high "college prep" graduation rate.

I'm sure some people will not understand or agree with me but I can say from first hand experience that a bad school drags far more students down than they bring up and I'm not willing to risk it with my own kids.

There are also some schools that are so competitive that it isn't healthy for all students. Education is very personal in the same way that we describe finance to be personal. To be clear, I'm not saying that students need to go to the "best" school. I'm saying that there are schools that just won't prepare/educate them enough to reach their goals or will require your child to be incredibly different than the majority of students around them.

Edited to add:
Ferdinand2014 wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:27 pm
Moving to a ‘top’ school district is a fools errand.
This is so true.

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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by nydoc » Sat Oct 26, 2019 10:02 pm

Move to a good school district and also be very involved in their education at home. Why to take any chances?

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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by unclescrooge » Sun Oct 27, 2019 12:35 am

csmath wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:36 pm
Ferdinand2014 wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:27 pm
The student, parents and home environment matter the most. Everything else is noise.
I respectfully disagree. Having seen schools from the inside I can tell you that while parents, home environment, and who your kids spend time with are the most important factors... don't underestimate how bad schools can actually be and how much of a drag a low performing majority can be on a student. I have seen far too many students with potential, perform very well in a school, do everything they were asked, get great grades, and not get a good education. They never realize how low of expectations they were being asked to meet until they get to college and can't pass first year courses. What they thought was a college prep education in high school was actually just designed to get a high "college prep" graduation rate.

I'm sure some people will not understand or agree with me but I can say from first hand experience that a bad school drags far more students down than they bring up and I'm not willing to risk it with my own kids.

There are also some schools that are so competitive that it isn't healthy for all students. Education is very personal in the same way that we describe finance to be personal. To be clear, I'm not saying that students need to go to the "best" school. I'm saying that there are schools that just won't prepare/educate them enough to reach their goals or will require your child to be incredibly different than the majority of students around them.

Edited to add:
Ferdinand2014 wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:27 pm
Moving to a ‘top’ school district is a fools errand.
This is so true.
Who your kids spend most of their time with can have a profound impact on them.

A family friend of my wife had 3 kids and lived in a bad school district. Dad is the city planner, super nice guy and overall wonderful family. Eldest girl wanted to join the military and enrolled in ROTC. The youngest girl was incredibly motivated and demanded to be placed in a private school at age 12, where she excelled. The middle boy stayed in the same high school. He was driving his friend home from school one day and the friend asked to stop at the 7-11 for something. But instead the friend robbed the place at gun point. Of course they got caught, and now the 17 year son is doing a year in prison for the crime of hanging out with the wrong crowd in high school.

If you think school ranking doesn't matter, you're right. But you're also wrong about how a bad crowd can negatively influence your kids future.

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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by KyleAAA » Sun Oct 27, 2019 12:42 am

I have never seen evidence they matter.

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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by Faisal » Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:14 am

School district ratings matter. Education matters.

I am from a developing country where my grandfather's focus on my father's education led him to be a senior level job which allowed me brilliant education opportunities globally. I now live in the US earn more than a fair income and have the ability to give my boys a great education.

But I am also brown, Muslim and an immigrant to the US. So what mattered to me and my wife (who is american) is diversity along with a good education. I did not want my sons growing up in a school environment where they are the only brown kid. The only Muslims in school etc.

US schools esp where I live are extremely segregated. So we chose an okay school district that was diverse. We felt that diversity is equally as important as a formal education.

I would say more in the need for diversity in education but that delves into politics which I know is frowned upon on the forum and rightly so.

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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by stoptothink » Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:57 am

Ferdinand2014 wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:27 pm
The student, parents and home environment matter the most. Everything else is noise. I have attended both public schools and a private school (my last 2 years of high school). It all boiled down to how hard I was willing to work and how much my parents supported me. Private school is a waste of money. Moving to a ‘top’ school district is a fools errand. I have 3 children. 1 graduated from high school in a small town of 5,000 total residents. Another is graduating in a year from a highly ranked public school and a third attended private school from 8th grade through graduation. It matters little. They are all happy. All well adjusted and will, are and have attended college. The only difference is how much money you choose to waste.
I pretty much agree with this. How do you even determine what a "good school district" is? At least in my experience, the ranking system is highly flawed. I grew up in one of the lowest ranked districts in the entire state of California, that had an amazing honors program; myself and my 2 (of 4) siblings who cared at all about academics had a phenomenal public education. We also won a lottery to send my daughter to the highest-ranked elementary in the county (a charter). It was horrible, we took her out after kindergarten and the lower ranked neighborhood school has been better (she's now in 2nd) in every single way.

School district matters a ton for home values, for the education outcomes of your children: ehhhh.

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LiveSimple
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by LiveSimple » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:07 am

Good school district matters a lot, you kids gets potentially good friends and the family also gets friends of similar nature.
This will prevail for a long time.

Now when our kids all moved out, our friends are kids school families as well. You had met these families in school activities, outside activities, shared college details etc.

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JPH
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by JPH » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:16 am

A lot depends on the individual teachers. All schools have both good and bad teachers. Environment and facilities matter too. But the schools I attended as a child basically had only desks and a chalkboard.
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dbr
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by dbr » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:29 am

I imagine not being in a bad school district matters a lot. This probably aligns with economic status of where you live. But I agree with those who are against trying to parse good-better-best that there may not be much difference compared to other factors. I think the "best" syndrome may be at work here. The "best" syndrome is the attempt to get the best answer to everything when there is no best.

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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by cableguy » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:37 am

Of course a great school district will benefit your children and the appreciation of your home if you own it. Also know that you’ll be surrounded by some crazy parents, who will drive their kids to school every day (the bus is a very dangerous place), who will drive lunch to the school every day (the school cafeteria food is very dangerous), who will call the school or drive back up to the school and complain if their child gets lower than a 95 on a quiz or a test (failure is not an option), and will call the AD or coach if their kid ever gets cut from a team or doesn’t get enough playing time (athletic success is just as important as academic success and D1 athletic scholarships should be available to most 5 foot 8 kids). LOL....

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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by blinx77 » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:51 am

My two cents:

I wouldn't fret very much about whether your house is zoned for a school that's high performing vs. the one that's the absolute tippy top. The difference is not likely to be material, and there is likely kids of a variety of learning styles and abilities at either school.

I would go through great lengths to avoid a school with lots of violence, drugs, gangs, failing students, teachers that are overwhelmed and/or don't care.

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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by Target2019 » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:59 am

Peers matter. Try to look ahead to the makeup in middle school, then high school. Even an exceptional public high school has problems. But children prepared properly will survive many societal problems.

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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by dbr » Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:02 am

blinx77 wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:51 am
My two cents:

I wouldn't fret very much about whether your house is zoned for a school that's high performing vs. the one that's the absolute tippy top. The difference is not likely to be material, and there is likely kids of a variety of learning styles and abilities at either school.

I would go through great lengths to avoid a school with lots of violence, drugs, gangs, failing students, teachers that are overwhelmed and/or don't care.
Right. My point previously is along the same lines. I also have friends who have not done well in certain rural school districts that don't have the resources and population characteristics to support good schools though violence, gangs, etc. are not issues there.

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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by stoptothink » Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:15 am

cableguy wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:37 am
will call the AD or coach if their kid ever gets cut from a team or doesn’t get enough playing time (athletic success is just as important as academic success and D1 athletic scholarships should be available to most 5 foot 8 kids). LOL....
OMG, we've already had issues with this...in elementary school. Have to agree, the biggest downside to "highly ranked schools" is dealing with helicopter parents. We're highly involved, but some of the things we see around us are insane. My kids (7 and 4) wrestle and the helicopter-parenting is out of freaking control. The kids whose parents just drop them off at practice are (in general) so much better adjusted.

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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by GrowthSeeker » Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:38 am

There are several dimensions of the question "does it matter" to consider.
Safety is one (and this one matters a lot), and resale home value is one, but I don't think we're talking about that.

Re: education itself there is: (1) quality of academic learning and then there is (2) the degree of penetration of political correctness. Those are two separate issues.

My opinion is that it used to matter a lot, but it does not matter as much anymore. From what several friends who have school age children have told me it seems to me that all schools have let academics slide down to the lowest common denominator and all schools promote high self esteem but not the ability to think critically. And all schools teach the children to be good little, cooperative, compliant citizens of the world believing in everything political correctness has to offer. And the private schools are just as bad as the public schools. Of course if the parents are also "all-in" on being PC, then the latter issue is not a problem for them.

But if you can find an exception, then I guess that it would matter a lot.
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're NOT out to get you.

fasteddie911
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by fasteddie911 » Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:48 am

I'd be hard pressed to move solely for a school. Housing prices, work commute, etc. matter too. Likely a house in a good district will retain or increase in value better. I too am of the opinion that peers probably matter most, as does parental involvement, the individual student, etc. To an extent school culture and resources matter too, but depends what we're talking about here and how bad it is.

For us, we live in an average district but have private school options. Houses in a good district in our HCOL area are a few 100k more. That's money that could go towards private school or invested in our kids future (college, downpayment or overall financial security) which I would argue may be more beneficial than their school district. If private school doesn't work out we'd be fine with this average school and saving/investing the difference for our children. I went to a top-tier HS but there were still problem kids, dropouts, drugs, etc. A top classmate went into drug rehab in college while my slacker friend is a doctor now, you never know where kids will end up.

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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by bogglizer » Sun Oct 27, 2019 12:05 pm

In California, good school districts cause the wealthier middle class to move in, raising home values and thus property taxes. The district then has more money to waste on stupid stuff like iPads. Meanwhile, surrounding districts have the wealthier moving out, with the opposite effect. Thus, Pasadena schools suck, while the surrounding towns of La Canada, South Pasadena, San Marino, and Arcadia have twice the ratings on GreatSchools. Lower property values also attract lower income earners, so those schools have more non-English learners, further driving down school ratings. For example, Claremont accepts kids from the Pomona school district, so the Latino kids with poor English drive down the ratings for the middle and high school, while having no impact on the mostly white primary schools.

We moved to a district with double the property values, but I would not say the schools are twice as good, and maybe not even much better. It was still a lot cheaper than private school.

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scubadiver
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by scubadiver » Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:01 pm

I would certainly avoid being in a very bad school district but I suspect there are diminishing returns with respect to being in a "good" school district.

Normchad
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by Normchad » Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:30 pm

Getting a good education is important, no doubt.

There is a big difference though between a mediocre school district and a bad one. I think you can get a really good education in a mediocre school district or school if you’re involved and work the system. The gifted and talented programs aren’t for the gifted and talented, they’re basically for kids and families that want to try to do well. So if you line yourself up with that in a mediocre school, and provide some supplemental help at home, you’ll probably be fine.

Bad schools are entirely different. I think it is nearly impossible to get a good outcome in a truly bad school. These are schools in which their are so many hardships, and so much unruly behavior, that a good education can’t be provided, even for the kids that want it. Generally speaking, bad teachers end up in bad schools too.

So you need to figure out if you’re looking at something that is workable but mediocre, or something that is bad.

We lived in Avery nice neighborhood with a good elementary school and a good high school. However it was zoned for a bad middle school. We formed that opinion by talking to parents of students there and looking at objective data. In the end, we moved, just because of the middle school. It cost about $100K to do that, but never regretted the decision.

Kid ended up at a good middle school and a good high school. Not amazing, but good. But her outcome was amazing, by steering her into the G&T stuff with the best teachers and classmates, and supplementing at home as necessary. She went on to get top scores for college admissions. I doubt this would have happened had we not moved.

knightrider
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by knightrider » Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:38 pm

Is it better to be the the top student in average school district or average student in top school district? I agree, that nowadays diversity is a big buzzword. So being comfortable in that environment has many benefits..

stephenspapa
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by stephenspapa » Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:23 pm

sambb wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 5:45 pm
having been educated in a bad school district, i am so thankful my kids arent
Ditto

ncbill
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by ncbill » Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:37 pm

Be aware school districts can change.

It was a nightmare when my school got re-districted between my junior & senior years of high school.

The number of students doubled, with most now pulled from the poorest sections of the city.

Lots of fights (these were the days before SROs were assigned automatically to every school)

My high school went from the top-rated in the district to near the bottom.

I was fortunate that AP courses (most of my senior year schedule) were new & taught at an off-campus facility.

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FI4LIFE
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by FI4LIFE » Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:51 pm

Very interesting answers so far. Our area has had a gigantic growth in the number of English-learner students. It is now up to almost 20% of the student population. The schools are doing their best to address this issue by creating dual-language magnet schools in one area. It is a major financial strain on the school budget but I don't know how that translates to other children's day to day learning, if at all. Almost 60% of students receive free lunch. This number is also on the rise.

The advanced programs within the high schools are highly touted but there is nothing saying my kids will necessarily be smart enough to get into those programs. As I stated, we truly have a diverse population..."from Yale to jail" is a tongue and cheek motto amongst the teachers.

My brother and I both went through the schools years ago. I turned out fine. I was a smart but lazy student. My brother found the deadbeat crowd and still struggles with addiction issues a decade later, in spite of this he is bright and very hard working. I would categorize my grade school experience as slightly below average but I did not feel unprepared when I entered college.

averagedude
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by averagedude » Sun Oct 27, 2019 4:02 pm

In my opinion, kids biggest influences are their parents and peer groups. Better school districts have better peer groups, but these districts have their share of bad kids too. It is just as important for parents to monitor the peer groups that their kids are involved with, and steer them away from the kids who would be a bad influence on them.

mathwhiz
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by mathwhiz » Sun Oct 27, 2019 4:23 pm

Even terrible schools will have honors and AP classes where the smart kids can congregate and break away from the dysfunctional and/or criminal culture of the school. The question is if you have the means and ability to do better, why not do better? Maybe the high achieving student will do great regardless but the success ratio is probably better in the higher rated school. It's like insurance. You are trying to prevent bad outcomes like a smart student who would have gone on the college path in a highly rated school becomes lazy, unchallenged and falls into a bad crowd at the poorly rated school. Once they get into drugs, it's game over for many of these kids. The addict gene turns on and 10+ years of their life can be wasted until they get clean.
The advanced programs within the high schools are highly touted but there is nothing saying my kids will necessarily be smart enough to get into those programs. As I stated, we truly have a diverse population..."from Yale to jail" is a tongue and cheek motto amongst the teachers.

My brother and I both went through the schools years ago. I turned out fine. I was a smart but lazy student. My brother found the deadbeat crowd and still struggles with addiction issues a decade later, in spite of this he is bright and very hard working. I would categorize my grade school experience as slightly below average but I did not feel unprepared when I entered college.

prairieman
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Re: How much does a "good school district" matter?

Post by prairieman » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:56 pm

We bought our first house before we had kids. As the kids were born and got older we didn’t realize that our house was in a so-called bad district until 5th grade. We discussed moving then, but it was already too late. They had friends already and wanted most definitely to stay. As it turned out, the school was fine. It had a very diverse student body which I think was an important part of their education. The school also offered plenty of opportunities in academics and sports which my kids got heavily involved in. I really don’t know why it was supposed to be a bad school other than having a terrible football team.

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