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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: For Parents/Students
By Bluealien01 (Bluealien01) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 03:30 pm: Edit

How would you rate your school/your childs school on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best)? Why?

I thought I'd share something that is both pathetic and hilarious. When I was in HS, I took an AP Bio course and the final exam(not the AP) was a crossword puzzle. What is wrong with public education these days????

By Achat (Achat) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 03:35 pm: Edit

You're talking about high school aren't you? Otherwise, you can count on this becoming a heated debate on LAC versus Research uni...

My son's HS was perhaps a 7. They seemed to care about individual students but did not have enough resources to help in college counselling etc.

By Bluealien01 (Bluealien01) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 03:37 pm: Edit

High school, yes. HS=High School

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 03:41 pm: Edit

My children attend a private Catholic school. I'd give it an 8. It's extremely strong in math, English/writing skills, social sciences and languages but somewhat weak in the sciences and fine arts. 98% of students go on to 4 year schools. Nice, comfortable and supportive atmosphere - about 25% of the faculty have doctorates, the rest have masters. 13 AP classes available, 20 something Honors classes.

By Mini (Mini) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 04:02 pm: Edit

10!!! (we homeschool)

By Concerneddad (Concerneddad) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 04:17 pm: Edit

7, but only because our GCs are xenophobic and cannot seen to think of scools out side the state. Otherwise, a 9.

By Csbballstar06 (Csbballstar06) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 04:39 pm: Edit

The D's school has @530 students, with @130+ students graduating each year. Of those, 1/2 will go to college. Of that 1/2, 1/2 will go to 4 year schools. Of that 1/4 , 2/3 will attend in-state schools, leaving @10 kids to go to 4 year private or out of state public schools.

This year our val is attending U of Chicago, our first truly inspired choice. We have never had a N.M. winner (close). The next few classes will see my daughter and others upset the local paradigm with their choices.

As provincial as our little school is my daughter has been given great gifts by incredibly talented mathematics teachers. One, a traditional teacher who taught the basic foundations through the algebras and geometry. For the last 2 years she has had teacher two, a raving lunatic who has challenged my D in ways that defy description by a history major.

In fact , the only reason he is there this year is that my D challenged him to come back and finish what he started. (this insane man gave this year's calculus class a "pop" review test day one, it was The USAF Academy's Math Entrance Exam ). His strict grading policy is also the reason she sits #2 in her class instead of #1. She has won the Math award every year in High School and has yet to have a semester average over a 95. It's a tradeoff she gladly lives with.

So, overall a 5. The educational experience my kid is having, an 8. Nutman, a 10+.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 04:39 pm: Edit

9/10. Primarily because of almost uniformly excellent teachers.

By Cangel (Cangel) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 04:40 pm: Edit

Small private school - "8" - 99% to college, usually all but 1-3 students go to a 4 year college. 8/9 AP classes are offered, students can take 11 AP exams, most ever taken is 10. Very strong sports program, both male & female. Arts OK for the school's size.
Positives - very responsive to parents and students, many positive curricular and organizational changes made during DD's 11 years (but some bumps on the road). For example, right now they are phasing in changes to the science curriculum that will allow regular then AP sections of all sciences (Last year she took chem II, then sat for the AP exam, but the class is not completely taught as an AP, they've never had a 5, her class had one 4 and a bunch of 3s). The school is a top notch place for the average or slightly above average student, they will be nurtured, supported and then challenged to excel.

Negatives, lower expectations by parents and little selectivity prevents the stunning high school records some kids on this forum show.

By Cangel (Cangel) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 04:48 pm: Edit

After reading Csbballstar's post, let me clarify: 145-150 grads each year, 75-80% to state schools (both in-state, and adjacent state legacies, think Auburn and LSU not Michigan or UVa) 5-8 to LACs of low to moderate selectivity (last year Rhodes and Trinity in San Antonio), 5-8 to top 25 schools, 1-3 service academies, 1 Ivy admit every other year, 1 UVa admit every other year. This year's val was accepted at harvardEA, turned it down for UVa.

By Jenniferpa (Jenniferpa) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 05:00 pm: Edit

Large suburban high school: graduating class around 650 each year. They'd probably say a 9 but I'd only give them a 6, because inspiring teachers. of which there are many, are balanced by absolute duds. I don't think it's a coincidence that there are a lot of teachers in our district who are married couples. Also uninspiring GC (I don't think my daughter's ever knew which college she was going to). Maybe 1 to each Ivy each year, and around 50 to Penn State. This year neither of the two top ranked students got into their first choices (Yale and Northeastern). Offer quite a few AP's but the only class that has consistent results (i.e 90% get 5 on the test) is Statistics. They're supposed to be adding AP classes in order to become one of the 100 top ranked schools in the country, but even if this happens, it just goes to show that rankings can be stupid.

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 05:10 pm: Edit

I'll fall in with Achat and Concernneddad and give my daughter's hs a 7. Great teachers for the most part. They did very well for my son. However, the GC issues do come into play. There is basically no college counseling other than "here are the applications" and our GC's, too, are xenophobic, and only keep 2 private school applications in their office. (If you're aiming high or far away, better do your homework!)

By Txtaximom (Txtaximom) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 06:13 pm: Edit

Large(4,000)public. Teachers are hit or miss. There are many gems on staff. Counseling for out-of-state or private nil to none. 25% Don't finish with their class. Many who start college do not finish. You can carve out a decent education if you do the legwork and stay on top of it yourself. Overall: 5

By Coureur (Coureur) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 07:57 pm: Edit

>>This year neither of the two top ranked students got into their first choices (Yale and Northeastern).<<

Wow, one of the top two kids was rejected by Northeastern? Either there was something else really wrong with that kid's app or Northeastern has somehow gotten to be a lot more competitive/selective than I thought it was.

By Jenniferpa (Jenniferpa) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 08:18 pm: Edit

Well, I really don't think there was anything wrong with his application (he's going to Princeton), but honestly, I think he may have been harmed by being an Asian maths and science whiz (which is extremely unfair, because he was also an excellent writer).

By Backhandgrip (Backhandgrip) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 09:34 pm: Edit

Large public suburban H.S. for all 4 kids: 7 or 8.
(It has plenty of merits but I'm tired,- I have to teach this last kid to drive!)

By Cheers (Cheers) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 10:11 pm: Edit

2 private schools of 600 in six/five years. One gets an 11 for academics--I would have been challenged. However, that school only gets a 3 for community support; thus not a great fit for us.

The other is hyper traditional, ties and jackets --the whole British boy's school scene. That gets an 8 for academics, (a few departments resemble undiscovered black holes); but the community, surprisingly, also gets an 8--making it a better fit all around.

By Patient (Patient) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 10:26 pm: Edit ranking would depend on the year--and I am also only speaking of our perception, not the entire community's perception, which would vary undoubtedly from student to student. A 10 for senior year: top notch teachers, great, fun, supportive group of friends, wonderful diversity, outstanding music, great college counseling and support, and a never-to-be-forgotten run at the sectional championships in baseball, beating a nationally ranked team along the way; oh, and, even a national title in a BC Calculus team competition. It would be lower for the other years, maybe in the 6 to 8 range, because of variable teacher quality primarily.

And now we go through the whole four years, again...

By Coureur (Coureur) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 11:29 pm: Edit

>>Well, I really don't think there was anything wrong with his application (he's going to Princeton)<<

Oh, well if he is strong enough to get into Princeton but Northeastern rejected him, I would suspect a touch of the "Tufts Syndrome" setting in at Northeastern.

By Jenniferpa (Jenniferpa) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 01:40 pm: Edit

I am, of course a moron! Why did nobody point out that this was much more likely be be Northwestern! There is absolutely nothing I can say in mitigation: except I'm just directionally challenged.

By Ohio_Mom (Ohio_Mom) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 01:59 pm: Edit

That's ok, Jenniferpa - I got in trouble with one of the kids on this board for abbreviating Northwestern as NW instead of NU.

By Ohio_Mom (Ohio_Mom) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 02:05 pm: Edit

Oh, yea, the actual topic. Suburban/rural public school, offers about 9 AP's (scores 4+ frequent), somewhat xenophobic GC's - otherwise I would rate it a 9 for excellent teachers, extracurricular activities, parental involvement - most classes under 20 for AP.

By Garland (Garland) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 03:09 pm: Edit

Inner suburban/almost urban public of about 2000. A tiny minority go out of state. 7/8 APs (4s and 5s are scarce). Just over 900 average SATs. I'll give it a 5, on the strength of a couple great teachers and counselors.

By Coureur (Coureur) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 04:04 pm: Edit

>>Why did nobody point out that this was much more likely be be Northwestern<<

Okay, now the story is making more sense (whew!). Northwestern is still not as strong as Princeton, but at least they are on the same planet. A top kid theoretically could get rejected by Northwestern.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 04:22 pm: Edit

my oldest daughter school gets an 9
private prep school, small classes, amazing teachers, equipment, opportunities for learning. Virtually all the kids go on to 4 year schools within a couple years, several go on to the Usual Suspects of Harvard/Yale, but also the eastern womens colleges, wonderful midwestern schools and even a few who roll down to California. No AP classes, a 100% graduation rate. I don't know exactly how to seperate out expectations and prep from students background, many parents are college professors &/or with advanced degrees, but this environment was something that I would have had a hard time providing on my own.( they get -1 for being private school)
My youngest is going to start next week at a school that probably gets an 8 for some kids but only a 5 for others. I don't know what camp she will be in. Good resources for public school, but student body is mixed in motivation and classes are stuffed full. Lots of AP classes, most in state in fact, but students are more likely to discuss how well teachers prepare you for AP exam than what you learned. Many students do go on to 4 yr colleges including the same numbers as my daughters private school ( or more) but percentage wise probably same. I do know students who have transferred from the private school to the public although they are generally students who are taking the AP classes etc.

By Momrath (Momrath) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 07:08 am: Edit

10 International school with incredibly caring, intelligent teachers. Choice of IB or AP programs. Smart, talented, multi-cultural kids. A wonderful life experience that takes full advantage of the fascinating culture we live among.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 08:03 am: Edit

9.9. Same school as Momrath. My husband quit the company he had worked at for 18 years so our boys could finish HS here. Unmatched resources in and out of the classroom, human and otherwise. I just attended another, rather lame, college I am a bit less effusive than usual!

By Bluealien01 (Bluealien01) on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 05:44 pm: Edit

On another funny note, I had a band instructor in middle school who lied on his resume about the highest degree obtained. I have no idea how he accomplished this, but he only got it past the administration for a year before they canned him. I also took Calculus for only one semester with a very odd individual. I still do not know if my instructor was male or female and why someone would go from teaching at a reputable university to teaching at a high school, but this was an odd person who IMO had no clue how to teach. She also made up her first name because her real name was a male name. We (the students) actually had to teach her--which is what she told us the first day."If you can teach it to me, I can teach it to you." If we can teach ourselves, then what is the point in teaching it to her, if we were the learnees??

Whatever you parents do, please, do NOT move your chidren to North Carolina.

By Coureur (Coureur) on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 06:06 pm: Edit

>>On another funny note, I had a band instructor in middle school who lied on his resume about the highest degree obtained<<

Lying about degrees not confined to teachers in North Carolina. At my old company an R&D manager was fired for claiming that he had a Ph.D. that he didn't really have.

He wouldn't have been found out except that he made the mistake of leaving his wife for a younger woman. The old wife knew his secrets and called up the company and told them. Hell hath no fury....

He didn't necessarily need a Ph.D. to do that job, but he was fired for lying.

The next (and last) time anybody saw this guy was on TV on the Newlywed Game. He was competing with his new young wife. I guess they needed the money.

By Mstee (Mstee) on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 06:47 pm: Edit

Our local public high school, from which my oldest graduated -- a 4. A four because though there were a few bright spots, such as the swim team and the art dept., there were some awful teachers (one really bizarro nutcase, which my son had last semester of senior year--unfortunately that experience has really affected my perception of the school) and the school is poorly run. Lots of discipline problems. Physical fights in the lunchroom and so on. So, it falls below what I consider acceptable in a high school. It is possible to get into a good college from there, though, if one keeps the nose to the grindstone, and doesn't let the negatives affect him/her. MIT took a kid from there this year.

The local Catholic school, which my daughter currently attends, and from which my second oldest just graduated would rate a 7. It is well run. Has some weak depts., but also some strong ones. The atmosphere is great. It seems to allow kids a safe environment in which they can be themselves, whether that be a jock, a nerd, an artist, etc.--at least my two have felt that way.

By Bluealien01 (Bluealien01) on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 10:44 pm: Edit

And that was not the worst of HS. Some of the kids could literally NOT read. At least not very well. Do parents just not read to their kids anymore or what? Reading out loud like this:

Thhhee d-o-g Chhhasssed thhheee cattt.

Read the above sentence VERY, VERY slowly or get a 2 or 3 year old to sound out those words (they do it slowly and it's acceptable because they are little kids) and you'll know what I'm talking about. It's like these kids had NEVER read anything aloud in their lives. And this was a College Prep class. It wasn't all of them, only some...but still. It's ridiculous. And no, it was not stuttering--I know the difference between and idiot and someone who has an unfortunate speech impediment.

By Ohio_Mom (Ohio_Mom) on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 11:31 pm: Edit


You said "Do parents just not read to their kids anymore or what?"

Yup, some don't. They let the TV - and then videogames - "parent" for them. I would'nt trade the time I spent reading to my son for anything in the world - from "Goodnight, Moon" to Tolkien's Trilogy. We still read favorite passages of the books we are reading to each other.

By Parentofteen (Parentofteen) on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 11:57 am: Edit

I could not really rate my two daughters' public high school on a scale of 1 to 10. I do know that it is definitely not tops academically, yet both girls have learned how to take the material presented to them and to delve into it on their own in order to maximize their learning.

My older daughter learned early on that she was well above average in all of her public school classes. Instead of complaining or allowing herself to vegetate and become bored, she took her education into her own hands. She always "went the extra mile" with all projects and papers, thus stunning her teachers and peers. She also very unselfishly made herself available to tutor those who struggled in academics. Her academic challenges did not come from the classroom, but from the high standards she set for herself. She chose only to compete with herself and to always do her best. Her father and I were simply amazed at her drive and interest in all her academic classes.

She took the maximum number of AP classes available at our small public high school, self-taught a lot of the material, and ended up with all 4s and 5s, mostly 5s on the final exams. She also spent her junior and senior years reading dozens and dozens of classics so that she would be well prepared for an English major in college.
Boy, did that pay off for her verbal SAT score!

We have no private high schools in our county, so public was our only option. Looking back at her education, however, I now see how important it was for her to be in a public situation. Without the best teachers and resources, she probably learned much more about the value of an education than had she been offered the top academic situation. She truly learned to love learning, and perhaps, more importantly, she learned how to appreciate the many cultural and academic differences between herself and those with whom she attended school for thirteen years. One of her tenth grade teachers once commented, "Your daughter can get along well with any type of person." That meant more to me than to hear that she was #1 in the graduating class.

This year she is a freshman in college and is faced with getting to know all new people and with having to self-teach many a course topic. So far, after three weeks, she is succeeding beautifully. She has joined a group that tutors inner-city kids a few hours each week and truly loves seeing the love and appreciation that light up their little faces each time she arrives to help. Many of her fellow classmates have been raised in private, all-white schools and are actually a little intimidated or scared about working with inner-city kids.

Back to the original topic, I guess I cannot assign our public school a rating based purely on academics. At that, it would probably be very low. I do know, however, that I would not choose to put my own daughters into any other situation, mainly because the life lessons learned in a public school are invaluable.

By Patient (Patient) on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 12:26 pm: Edit

Parentofteen--that is a wonderful post, thank you. That is the feeling I also have about public schools, and it is also how I feel about my son's experience in his public school (although ours is considered an exceptional public school and for many good reasons). However, your daughter does sound like the kind of person who would thrive no matter where she was. And she has a wonderfully supportive, articulate, philosophical parent so perhaps no wonder!

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