Post # 1
We may have found a place to put an offer in on, yay! Except that I feel like a friend just rained on our parade. She was talking to her parents (mom used to be a realtor so she ask for some advice w/our ok) and apparently they were horrified and persuaded her that the area we want to buy in does not have good schools.
Depending on what measure you look at, the high school is ranked about 14-17 in the state…and approximately 300 nationwide. Not bad, right?! But apparently they all feel you *must* go to the top ranked school in the area and are trying to persuade us to look in two other areas instead and buy less house/smaller lot/not as nice house to afford them. (Those of their religion highly prize education.) Ironically, I looked up the two areas they believe are best and they actually aren’t number, but closer to say 6-11. I prioritize education too, but we don’t even have kids yet (and a lot can happen to quality of schools in 15 years) and I guess I just consider “good school” as an important criteria and not “number one/top school” as a must have. There’s other things to consider. I don’t want the really small house in the best district which I can afford, which might be near a busy road or have very small yard.
So now I’m a little sad that the first person we’ve talked to about the home is negative on our choice and that they think the above described school is not good. 🙁
Post # 3
Since you may be pretty far away from even having kids, so many other things in your life can change and you’ll move on or away anyway. Right now, if the house you like is in a stable, safe area and you feel both the house and time are right for you, why would you let anyone else’s opinion sway you? No one can predict the future, and who’s to say that school district’s rating won’t surpass, over time, the one they think you should consider?
There’s lots of things to weigh when considering buying a home, but a stranger’s feelings shouldn’t be one of them.
Post # 4
@kay01: I wouldn’t make that your deciding factor. We were deciding between buying a house in our city versus a suburb, and the city schools here are horrible (I mean really awful, about the worst in the state). But we were three years away from even maybe TTC when we bought, and then another 4-5 years before our first child would even be school-aged, so 8 years before we need to use whatever school we’re near. A lot can happen in eight years, and if we still live in the same area, we would probably move by then anyway.
If it’s your forever-home, then I might think about it a little bit more, but if it’s probably not, then I wouldn’t base your whole decision around that. Taxes will be higher in the other district too. Good luck!
Post # 5
I’m a teacher, so education is very important to me. That being said, I think you should trust your gut and stay where you are. You do not have children yet, and it sounds like you’re not planning to TTC anytime soon, so the school district, especially the high school, isn’t relevant right now. And remember, even after you do have children you still have 5 years until they’re ready for public education. That’s plenty of time to reevaluate!
Post # 6
School ratings change over time. What was the “best” school 5-6 years ago is often not #1 today. Also, I have found the ratings to be highly weighed upon standardized test results (in my area, at least). You just have to ask yourself if you feel that’s a good way to rank a school.
If we had gone to the top performing districts we would have had to comprimise greatly on our house. And we don’t have kids yet! I personally say, as long as the schools aren’t in trouble you will be fine. Hell, I went to a good-but-not-great school and I ended up graduating college with honors!
Post # 7
@kay01: I can’t comment on the property values but I can comment on the schools as I’m a teacher. There are differences between schools but the number one factor in determining the quality of education a child gets is the teacher. And great teachers are everywhere. I’ve taught at very very poorly ranked schools and seen great teachers. I’ve taught at a top ranked school and seen mediocre teachers. I think you’ll be fine. Good luck!
Post # 8
I think good enough is good enough. Besides, there are studies who show that children who excel at not top tier schools go on to do better in life than students who are middle of the road at excellent schools, likely due to basically the ego boost of being the best. So as long as the school is decent, I wouldn’t sweat it.
Post # 9
I would say “good school” is good enough. And that these parents are just part of the ever-judging “I’m better than you” mom culture.
And really, as long as the school is good, it doesn’t matter much if it’s “good” vs “best”, it’s the involvement of the parents that makes for the success of the kid over the course of their schooling.
Post # 10
To answer a few questions, yes we’re thinking of this as our forever home – or at least we’ve looking to buy one that will work for us for the next 20 years.
No, we are not trying for kids now but I’d like to start trying in the spring. DH wants us to wait (an unspecified amount of time), he thinks we have enough time and doesn’t want them now. We are 33/37.
Yes, I agree – great teachers are the best! That and parental involvement studies show is critical (better an involved parents at not so great school than uninvolved at a great school). But of course, impossible to really figure out now. I still remember certain teachers fondly as being fantastic. We moved a lot and my mom did a bunch of research each time to put us into the right classroom – and was nice to the secretaries and persistent so she usually got what she wanted.
Post # 11
I guess the question is … do you just want to do “good enough” for your children.
Post # 12
I want my kids to go to schools that are safe, where they can make friends, that have enough resources to challenge them (good library, arts classes, field trips, etc.) and where they get a decent education in math, science, writing, etc. But do I want them to go to a top performing school? No, because I don’t want them to feel pressure to be top performers. It is not important to me that my child wins competitions or gets perfect scores. I’ll support and encourage them in whatever subjects they seem interested in, but I don’t believe high performance is the best measure of a good and successful life.
So in your position, I would choose the “good/very good” school over the “best” school every time.
Post # 13
@HisIrishPrincess: That seems really judgmental. You can do fantastically by your children without each and every thing you get them or do for them being “the best” on paper.
Post # 14
@kay01: One more thing…
The school I just started teaching at is ranked the highest in the district, if not the state. It’s all so subjective though. If I had children I would NOT enroll them in this school. I don’t like it at all. You have to take numbers and rankings with a grain of salt. They don’t tell the whole story.
Post # 15
You get out of your education what you put into it. Your kids could go to the best school in the world, but if he/she hates school/is a slacker, etc. they’re going to get a mediocre education that they don’t care about. Likewise, your kids could go to the worst school in the nation but if they love learning & seek opportunities they could end up graduating as a neuroscientist from Harvard.
Go with the good school (hell, go with an average school if you want), but read to your kids. Take them to museums, show them that you love learning & new experiences, and that will matter so much more in the long run than an arbitrary school ranking.
Post # 16
I personally think the best for your children (and not what is rated the best) is a school that has an AP program, after school activities, a good graduation rate, and a higher SAT/ACT score and I think almost all suburbian schools have those. After that, its honestly up to the kid and the parents to navigate the school system. I went to best school district in my hometown and now I am living in an area that isn’t as wealthy but still safe/nice with a “good but not best” school district and honestly the statistics and atmosphere of the school is the same. Kids who want to learn will, kids who don’t want to will find a way not to in any district. Like other posters have said, its up to the parents to instill a love of learning young!