Does student success rely on good schools? Are good schools overrated? Discuss the factors that contribute to your child’s success in school.
A few months ago, I applied to a language immersion school for my five-year-old son. Not because I wanted him to learn a second language. No, I wanted him to attend a well-rated school within our district.
It’s the same reason I applied to a second “regular” public school within our district. That school also had a rating of 10 out 10, whereas the one we’re zoned for is a 7.
A seven isn’t bad. But it’s not a 10.
Are good schools overrated?
I’ll be honest: I want the best education I can get for my kids. And I’m not alone, either. I spoke with other moms who go even above and beyond my initial search.
Some called the district office frequently to check on their applications. Other moms visited the office. Others even hire what I call ‘school scouts.’ For a fee, you can hire a person to find the right school for your child based on your parameters.
I don’t think I went that far, but I did my due diligence and filled out every application, attended every meeting. I turned in my applications first thing in the morning and followed up as best I could.
But being the lottery system that it is, I didn’t get into either school. My son ended up #15 in the language immersion school and #26 in the other well-rated school. Too many parents applied with too few spots. Thus, my kids are now likely to attend our local zoned school.
I also didn’t have any good reason to switch schools, other than the desire for the best. The district usually approves switching based on logistics. For instance, you can request a school close to grandma’s house if she’ll be picking up your son. Or you work close to your desired school and would rather your child attend that one. Wanting to get into a good school because of its raiting doesn’t seem to cut it.
On one hand, I understand the benefits of families like my own staying at our local zoned schools. Families become more invested in their communities and can better improve the school. Engaged parents volunteer more. They raise funds on the school’s behalf. And they create programs for kids to participate in.
And most importantly, engaged parents value education and will invest daily in their child’s academics. They stock their homes with books. They create an environment that fosters the love of learning. And they expect excellence. These are the parents that will help raise their kids’ test scores. And children with better test scores can influence peers, thereby increasing the school’s overall scores. These are the parents much needed in less-than-10 schools.
It starts within the community, of course.
But in my ideal world, my son’s school would already be at its best. His classmates would perform on the same level as him. They’ll challenge him in healthy competition and peer influence. Being ‘smart’ would be cool. Parents would make their children’s education a priority and participate in school functions.
Both my elementary and high schools offered ‘honors’ classes. My high school back then was terrible, so the honors classes were a blessing. Only because I was in honors classes did I practice rigorous learning. My classmates and I breathed school and enjoyed it. Many of us went on to the same college.
So, are good schools overrated?
I felt bummed neither school had a spot for my son. But something tells me he’ll be more than all right. Our local school is still a good one. Because while the school environment helps, so does the home environment. I don’t see my son’s school affecting him so long as we continue to hone the value of learning.
After all, I’ve seen too many kids waste an excellent education. And others who excel even while attending under performing schools.
Because while great schools would be my ideal, I don’t think they determine how well a child performs. Too many factors, including parental involvement, play a role in a child’s academic success.
Your turn: Are good schools overrated? Are you happy with your child’s school? What factors do you think determine a child’s success in school? Let me know in the comments!
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