Help me get my son a good education!
June 27, 2008 2:51 PM   Subscribe

Mrs. Spyder and I are thinking about buying a house in the next year or so. With 1 youngster (almost a year old) and one on the way, we're looking to buy in an area with a good school district. Where can I find this information?

In addition to this, here's a bonus question: What constitutes a "good school?" Is it based only on test scores alone? Is there a more wholistic way of rating these schools, based on experience of teachers, feedback from other parents, etc?

FWIW, we are looking to buy somewhere in the SoCal area, specifically Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena-ish.
posted by Spyder's Game to Education (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Great Schools has ratings that include parent reviews, test scores and more.
posted by Gucky at 3:12 PM on June 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Many real estate websites (and almost all real estate agents) will know/list an area's better school districts. I happen to live in SoCal, and moved from (northern) Glendale to La Crescenta to get into a better district.

I've heard that you need to consider Pasadena carefully, that the schools aren't so hot there. Most of my friends/colleagues move to South Pasadena for schools.

Don't know much about Burbank.
posted by shino-boy at 4:22 PM on June 27, 2008

Best answer: --- most areas have lots & lots of subjective school-quality discussions; I'm sure SoCal is no exception.
posted by headnsouth at 5:46 PM on June 27, 2008

Best answer: I've been using SchoolMatters for my search. Lots of information, including test scores.
posted by dforemsky at 6:47 PM on June 27, 2008

Test scores are important, but they're not the only thing you should think about. Test scores are, in part, just a reflection of the wealth and education of the parents. The school where my son attended 1st-6th grade had middling test scores, but almost all of his teachers were terrific.
posted by lukemeister at 7:50 PM on June 27, 2008

I think the data here may be a bit old.. but it'll give you some idea:
posted by mhh5 at 2:52 AM on June 28, 2008

Real estate agents make it their business to know about schools, as it has a huge impact on property values and saleability. Feedback from parents is also good as is simply reading the local paper to see which schools get good press and awards and which are always at the center of some kind of trouble. No measure is perfect but by combining the suggestions you are getting here you should get a pretty good overall picture.
posted by TedW at 3:28 AM on June 28, 2008

Best answer: When we were looking for an area with good schools, my art teacher friend suggested that we look at each school's curriculum for things like art and music. Those schools that still have art and music programs are likely to be well-funded and have strong PTAs. In our case, our elementary school still has a stand-alone art room (as opposed to an "art cart" that travels from classroom to classroom) and not only has a general music program but also has a strings program and a band program.

So we narrowed down our choices based on things like test scores and college matriculation rates (almost 95% of our high school graduates in this district go on to very nice universities all over the world) and then we looked at the "finalists'" curriculum. We've been very happy with our kids' school.
posted by cooker girl at 10:10 AM on June 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

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