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Meet the teachers and principal and find out about the rate of teacher turnover. A good principal will retain good teachers. A school's quality is not much more than its teachers.

Average (standardized) test sores matter if you are trying to pick a good peer group. High test scores mean kids with higher ability, whether they got it from their homes or prior schools or whatever.

Of course, for elementary school you want to know that the physical structure is comfortable (HVAC, etc.) so your delicate little flower will not suffer during the day.

If your child has special needs, then the method for screening schools is totally different. You really want to do your homework, especially with charter schools.

As for geography, (this advice is for financially secure families), pick your school first and then move. Think ahead to middle and high school. It's a lot like choosing a job location. You get your job first and then figure out how long a commute you can handle. Kids' school shouldn't be any different. It's like a joint location decision for husband and wife's job, but there is a third (or fourth if you have more kids of very different ages) person to consider.

by Ward 1 Guy on Jan 24, 2013 2:38 pm • linkreport

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