School-Aged Children

"Bad" school system?

Ok, so I have one daughter in 1st grade and the other one will be starting Kindergarten next year. The school district we live in has not been testing well and is in the bottom 20% (as far as test results go) in the state. I went through this same school system (I now have a bachelor's degree in nursing, am working as an RN and plan on going back to get my MSN or CNM) and it is my belief that each individual child has the chance to be great and score high on standardized tests. It is also my belief that a certain child's success has alot to do with parental involvement. Am I being naive, knowing that these schools are not performing well but still content with keeping my children there? Serious answers only please, as I think this is a serious matter. Thanks!

Re: "Bad" school system?

  • jlw2505jlw2505 member
    I think you need to look at way more than just test scores.  If a school has a higher population of special ed students or non English as a first language student, they may not test as well (just one example).  I think you need to look at the bigger picture.  I do think parent involvement is huge overall as is the principle and teachers and the feel of the school.  Are the parents involved or is it a struggle to get parents to do anything?  What other programs does the district offer.  Having said that, kids can thrive regardless of the school district.  I went to a very small school that had next to no money but the families were great and very involved.  We had a set up with the local community college and kids could take classes at the college and get both HS and college credit.  I had a few friends who took more college classes senior year than HS classes.  My school didn't have the money to offer them but they had a great deal worked out so the school paid a small fee for these kids to take these classes.  We also had an amazing vocation tech training program for kids that were not college bound so they really found a way around the lack of money and ability.  If you looked at test scores in my area - I would bet they were far from the top of the state.  I lived in a very blue collar area, most of my graduating class (135 kids) did not go to college or at least not right away and of the many that did, a lot started at the community college level.  Having said all of that - it was so great to see how wonderful and success people are doing 20+ years later.  School is what you make of it and even if you are not in a top school - there are many ways to enrich the education you are getting.
    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
  • Thanks for the comments ladies! Well the school district I live in is one of the largest public school districts in the state, meaning the socioeconomic statuses range from poverty to upper middle class, families of almost EVERY ethnicity and background, plenty of special needs children, and so many other factors that may affect scores. I do want to look at the bigger picture and scores do not define the integrity of a school, but it seems as though that's what everyone looks at. We are not rich and don't have the money for a down payment for a nice home in a good district....we rent. We also don't have the money to send our children to private school. It almost seems like if you don't have money, you screw your kids out of opportunities they could have had. It doesn't help the the school corporation is constantly over budget and is having to make cuts left and right...including cutting about 100 teaching positions next year! I just don't know what to do.

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  • ITA with what Auntie said.  I live in a district with a lot of kids that do not speak English as their first language in the home.  They're bright children, but they do not test well.  So, I take the ratings with a grain of salt to some degree. I'd also look at the schools rating vs. the district as a whole, since your district is so large and diverse.

    At the end of the day, you do the best you can for your kids.  And, there is a lot you can do that doesn't include money.  But, if you don't have the right support from the school, you may have to be creative in determining what your kids need to get the most out of their experience there.  

    DS1 age 7, DD age 5 and DS2 born 4/3/12
  • Well we have regular primary schools but also traditional and magnet primary centers. This is also true in both the middle school category and high school. There are restrictions though in applying for the traditional primary centers and the deadline for the following school year is ridiculously early so I already missed it for the next school year. I'm hoping that with the magnet school program will be beneficial later on for my kids.
  • Another thought, since you are renting could you rent in a better school district? Either a house or an apartment? 


    My twins are 5! My baby is 3!

    DS#2 - Allergic to Cashew, Pistachio, Kiwi

    DS#3 - Allergic to Milk, Egg, Peanut, Tree Nuts and Sesame

  • Parental involvement accounts for a lot, but also the schools willingness to educate your child.  I have three cousins who went to a decidedly bad school system and decidedly bad schools in that system.  2 were Valedictorians and 1 was Salutatorian.  The 2 valedictorians are doctors who went to top tier schools, the Salutatorian has a masters from a top tier university.  I will say that they spent very little time with other people in their schools growing up.  They were somewhat sequestered from the general population of their town, which has a lot of chicken plants and other similar type jobs. 

    My cousins were sort of the golden kids of the school.  No one messed with them, and they did their thing, holding a lot of leadership positions in high school, which I think gave them a lot of confidence.  The flip side is that if you have an average student in a bad school, they could get lost in the shuffle if you aren't paying attention.  Neither the most needy, nor the brightest, that would be my fear, that they just get shuffled through because they are not trouble makers or "amazing". 

  • RHitchRHitch member
    I graduated from a TERRIBLE school district and had my BS in accounting at the age of 21 and an MBA afterwards.  I graduated from undergrad with a 3.3 GPA and from grad school with a 4.0 GPA.  Since then I have worked for all Fortune 100 Companies and I am very successful in my career (if I must say so myself...haha).  Some of my other classmates are Pediatricians, Lawyers and Nurses...while some are drop-outs and drug dealers.  As my mom always told me, there is a valedictorian and a drop-out at every school.  It was up to me to decide which one I was going to be!
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