Choosing A School For Your Child

Posted: April 20, 2013 in Education, Family
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With several years experience in education, I get asked quite often,”How do I choose a school for my child?” There are several factors involved, but I will go through a few things to be aware of and look out for.

The number one thing a parent should look out for is the willingness of a principal or tour guide to answer their questions, and allow them access to all parts of a school. There are times when tours are allowed, that principals advise their staff to keep certain areas of campus off-limits to visitors, even though it is public and you have every right as a parent to see every part of the campus. The reason for this is the school could have 25% high achievers, and 75% low achievers. What the tour guides want parents to see are the 25% high achievers, even though they may know it could affect your child in a negative way if they are mixed with low achievers. You might ask,”Why would they do such a thing?” The answer lies in Federal dollars. The more students in a school, the more money a school receives.  When principals think about keeping doors open ethics are often compromised, because in reality they know with a huge population of low performing students, the high performing students will avoid the campus. Principals will even keep their worst performing teachers, and fire their better teachers, because often, the better teachers complain about these types of administrators. Things get really hairy on mismanaged school campuses.

The number two thing a parent should look for is the school profile sheet. This information is public record. A parent should look it over carefully. Three things that often affect academics in a school are constant discipline problems, poor attendance, and poverty.  You can look at expulsions, in-school suspensions, and attendance information online. If you want your child to succeed, it is advised that you look for the schools with high attendance, low-free and reduced lunch, and little to no expulsions or suspensions, unless of course the school completely isolates it’s high achieving population. This is like a school within a school and the campuses are divided basically between achievers and non-achievers.

The number three thing a parent should do is online research. There are plenty of sites that give school ratings and reviews. They are often very truthful ratings no matter what a principal may say about them.

The number four thing a parent should do is talk to students and parents. If a parent talks about how good a school is please find out how often they go on campus or are actually involved.  A lot of times, you could get bad advice, if they are just throwing an opinion out there with no hands on experience at the campus. Ask the students,”Do you feel your principal and teacher care about you?” The kids will often tell the truth, especially the high-achievers.

In review, if the campus is totally open, the attendance is high, discipline problems low, most students are paying for lunch, online reviews are great, and you hear great word on the streets, you are more than likely picking a fantastic school for your child. Keep in mind that fantastic schools are fantastic because of parental involvement. So be ready to work as hard as your child.

 

Comments
  1. This is helpful and right on from my experience. Appreciated.

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