Nov 5, 2007

I guess I am just a snob

While in the grocery store on Saturday, we ran into Austin's little friend in 5th grade, whom I did not particularly care for (he was in trouble a lot at school). The mom asked what school Austin was going to and I replied [Name Withheld] Charter School, and she said "Oh, my son goes to [Name Withheld] Middle School. I figure, sure it has a lot of fights and drug problems, but what school doesn't?"

My jaw dropped. As a parent, is that really the selling point you want to describe your 6th graders education?? I cannot begin to say enough about Austin's school, how wonderful the teachers, administrators and support staff are.

Middle School Rating
Here is the rating that Great Schools gave the Middle School her son was in. This is the default school in the district for my neighborhood.

Charter School Rating
This is the school Austin goes to, the ONLY thing we did different is to enroll him at the end of 5th grade for the 6th grade year.

Middle School CSAP
Here are the standardized test scores for the Middle School.

Charter School CSAP
Here are the test scores for Austin's Charter School. They are a new school, so they only recently have started standardized testing.

Obviously there is more of a problem than just the occasional fight the mom mentioned. I don't understand defending a school with such a poor rating, low test scores, and obviously a hostile environment. The Charter School does not have the bullying problem other schools have because the children are ALWAYS supervised. The curriculum is more strict, and children spend less time in the halls getting from class to class than they do at the Middle School.

Which one would you chose? The middle school with drug, violence and education problems? Or the charter school with strict rules, higher standards and excellent test scores? Both are free. Can you believe these schools are only 0.3 miles apart?


Karin said...

Heather, I will never understand how parents can just sent their childeren to the nearest school without making sure it is a good school.

I know several responsible parents who consider distance to school a major factor, because the children need friends who live in the same street! I would think their education to be more important. So my sons had friends who lived a few miles away, it never stopped them being friends and playing together after school.

Dana said...

I *so* wish we had school choice in Illinois. Unfortunately, if you are in the public school system, you must purchase your home in the district you want your children to go to school in - that or a private ($$$$) school. I can't imagine having a choice and not choosing the better school.