There is an excellent article in The Age by Morag Fraser on how she & her husband chose schools for their children. The best way, she says, to determine the quality of a school is to actually go out there and have a look, talk to the teachers, the principal and others involved.
We had friends with children the same age. We talked (endlessly, it seemed), gathered as much local gossip as we could. That wasn't difficult, because everyone here has an opinion about the local schools.
Then we went to each school. We saw the principals, walked around, looked in classrooms, watched children in the schoolyards at lunchtime, looked at writing, drawing, paintings pinned to classroom walls, listened to teachers, and then went back to those in charge.
We were given detailed, honest information (no brochures or prospectuses). I don't remember the statistical exactitudes now but I do remember the openness and the professionalism of the teachers and principals involved and a strong sense that we could trust them.
This is what parenting is all about; getting out and taking an active interest in the education of your children. Getting involved in the school your children go to. Every study on the topic has shown that the children who's parents get involved in their education do better. They feel that the time they spend at school is valuable to their parents and the children can get more support from their parents because they know what's going on.
We got to know the teachers; we pushed wheelbarrows, repaired gutters and fried sausages at weekends. We planted bottlebrushes, joined the school council and went to parent-teacher interviews.
She describes a system of choosing surprisingly devoid of the politics and in-fights that usually surround the public/private debate.
The public/private decision was not an issue for us. I taught in the nearby private school and knew it to be a good place, for all its modest fees - modesty no guide to quality there. In our area there was moderately friendly competition between the schools, public and private (there is still) but little sense that the state schools were the poor relations, let alone the default choice of those who could not afford better, or who didn't care.
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Interesting...just take into account the time factor here...parents have to realize that the process of choosing a school is a fulltime job.
Posted by: Sandra | May 5, 2004 11:24:19 PM
How sad it is that parents have to "choose a school". The time was when we could trust our public schools to give a reasonable education. But since the facist left tecahers' unions took over the system, public schools have gone to hell in a handcart.
There is only one real solution: privatise the public schools and give the money to the parents instead of the useless education departments.
Posted by: Toryhere | Aug 5, 2004 2:27:47 PM
Touble is, school x may be just the ticket now, but in a year or two, there can be new principal, and a complete turn-over in staff.
Posted by: goetz von berlichingen | Aug 30, 2004 11:56:46 AM
Trouble is, school x may be just the ticket now, but in a year or two, there can be new principal, and a complete turn-over in staff.
Posted by: goetz von berlichingen | Aug 30, 2004 11:57:25 AM
I know that education is very important and necessary. It is one of God's many gifts that have been given to us. I've realized that you need to work hard, make good decisions and be serious about what you are doing, especially during high school these way i want to choosing best one for my children.
Posted by: suzzane donald | Aug 1, 2008 5:40:58 PM