When considering a move, most people check into rent prices and mortgage percentages before and sometimes in lieu of other important factors, like the school district. “But I do not have children,” some may argue; that is beside the point if the plan is to have children soon or eventually. It is imperative to look into the school statistics as at least of equal importance as the cost of living.
In the past, most people lived in their first home for three to five years, but with the economy and housing market the way it is currently, that is just not happening anymore. More and more people are staying in their houses because they just cannot sell them or they are upside down in their mortgage.
For this reason, couples are forced to raise their families within a district they had not planned on sending their children.
A child’s education in an important aspect of her childhood and that experience shapes her entire life. Teachers, schools, and districts can help determine where he child chooses to go to college, if he even decides to go. They can train a child to embrace learning, or completely destroy any spark she might have had toward finishing school and moving on to a productive life as an adult.
So, how to check on the school stats. It is relatively easy to check the state’s department of education page; schools also like to advertise their accomplishments, so check their sites as well.
Parents can also check sites like www.greatschools.org. They provide lists of thousands of schools around the country, searchable by state or city. Their ratings, based on a 10-point scale, are supposed to be given by parents and students who have a direct connection with the school.
Do not forget other important factors, besides the obvious crime rate check. Consider teen pregnancy statistics as well as seeing what support systems are available in or near the neighborhood. Support systems can include public libraries, museums, community centers, tutoring programs, churches, sports centers et cetera. It is relatively easy to find these: just search the city or county’s homepage, it should list a variety of neighborhood attributes.
For example, on the following Kansas and Missouri county homepages, there are clearly marked tabs for visitors, those seeking employment, community/crime statistics and recreational activities, among other options.
Johnson County KS
Wyandotte County KS
Miami County KS
Platte County MO
Clay County MO
Cass County MO
Jackson County MO
If you have narrowed it down to a city, then the city sites should be that much more helpful. If not, a drive through and/or visit to the local police station should give you most of the information you need concerning the neighborhood.
Parents who cannot move and are not satisfied with their child(ren)’s academic experience do not have to give up. There are plenty of outside of school opportunities and options, such as learning centers and tutors, that can help — there are also state and federally funded programs available that have little to no cost for students and parents. Check with the school, district office or State Department of Education for details.