7 things to know about schools with highest ratings

To be successful in later life is determined by whether a child learned to focus, be passionate about her interests, works hard towards her goal, has adaptability to changes and has high social intelligence. Most ( I believe 80%)  of these qualities are influenced by parents & family. Rest is schools and her friends.

“IS  THE SCHOOL WITH 10/10  BEST  FOR  YOUR CHILD? Or “WILL YOUR CHILD FEEL PRESSURED INSTEAD?”; Let me share our experience and hopefully it helps you decide – highly rated schools may not be the best choice for your child.

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Study, Creativity, Social Skills? how about just finding the right balance.

Is it wise to buy property primarily influenced by 10/10 school ratings. What about schools with  8/10,9/10, 7/10 ? When we moved to Washington from India, everyone talked about one thing, “Schools”. We started our research simply by trying to understand, what gives a school good or bad rating. After some research, many interactions & discussions with other parents; we figured that academically motivated parents were naturally drawn towards high-rated great schools. Most parents who would not send their child to private schools relied on school ratings for public schools. Somehow they are convinced that only well rated schools produces excellent students or studying in high-rated school is a promise for  success in later life.

We weren’t convinced.

The rating of the school alone can’t be the benchmark – everything in between matters a lot. Learning is a complex activity. I for sure do not understand why one child learns better, faster, quicker than others. However, I do know a big factor is,  individual capabilities and interests. A child with regular capabilities but immensely interested in reading will anyways read more, spend more time with books and consequently, will be better at comprehension and general language skills. While another child may need to focus less and still score great because of her innate ability to absorb more content in less time. These two kids can go to the same school and both may demonstrate similar performance.

Now imagine, a school with majority students like that – it will naturally have better luck with standardised tests. What-if the said school decides to Emphasise academics? Well, you got yourself a highly rated school. And also, the start of a vicious and limited circle.

You see, schools with high rating pull bright students. That further pushes the standardised scores that invites more attention from influenced parents who jump to buy properties on this basis. Parents would do anything to buy and rent in such neighbourhoods, creating unnecessary pressure on themselves. Both parents and child enter into unhealthy stress creating highly-competitive environment. This unhealthy pressure of trying to fit in mad race for high scores is detrimental to all over growth.

What does School Ratings means then? It simply means that school is able to prepare their students  better than most for one thing high test scores. School scores tells that a particular school is focusing on academics and not much in other areas such as arts,sports and other activities. What our children need is well-balanced school rather than swing towards one domain and neglecting all other areas of development.I personally believe that any school with 8/10+ is as good as 10/10.

Are these test scores going to decide the future of our children – I firmly believe “NO“. To be successful in later life is determined by whether a child learned to stay focus, be passionate about her interests, works hard towards her goal, has adaptability to changes, has high social intelligence. Most ( I believe 80%)  of these qualities are influenced by parents & family. Rest is schools and her friends. Family & parents are their best bet for later success.

To my list, Robin:7  key things on which school ratings should depend upon YOUR CHILD’S FUTURE DEPENDS ON

  1. Degree of involvement of parents 
  2. Child’s own capabilities and interest in studies
  3. Friends ( friends do inspire)
  4. Quality of resources used by teachers
  5. Teacher’s individual capabilities (remember every year we get a new teacher), and performance as a teacher
  6. Focus of school (well balanced or not? sports,performing arts,digital design & animation,plays, music. There are other ‘arts’ than maths & science )
  7. Test scores (least important)

By the time my daughter turned twelve, she had attended five schools, in two continents and five cities. When were we looking for school for the first time, we did extensive research.  Just like everyone else, my husband & I would sit and discuss about schools for hours and days. This continued for pretty long time until one day we came to conclusion that no school is super special. Its us “Parents” who will most important role in making our child’s future bright. Another most important thing in a school year is who their pals are, and who your child’s teacher is. The whole concept of great and excellent school dies with dealing with  a bad teacher. This is exactly like getting into a very big reputed company and ending up with a bad manager. No matter what your compensation, present salary and benefits would be if your manager is bad you are pretty much done. Your days would be bitter and everyday work would become a burden. In any company people do stand a change to change the group and org. But in school your child would experience a bad year if his class teacher is not good. This is very  true in elementary years. In middle and high school  there are no class teachers and they do have different set of tea subject teachers. There what matters most is who your child is hanging with. What kind of environment he/she has is exposed to. Our child has spent on an average of two years in 5 different schools including kindergarten. Every year her experience was much based on kind of teacher she got in the given school year. All schools were well reputed and well known in the cities. We had two occasions of dealing with bad teachers. And we both agreed upon that those were tough years,full of not good experiences for our child. Luckily, we were very involved  in our child’s school life and were aware of whats going on. We stood by her and supported her in all possible ways.

But if you are still interested, here is the Link to finding School Rating anywhere in USA:

http://www.greatschools.org/

The Best Schools around: http://www.thebestschools.org/features/50-best-american-public-elementary-schools/

Best and Worst schools: https://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-the-best-schools/5335/

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