Does your child attend a "Good" school?

Does your child attend a "Good" school? I think that this is a subjective question. Every parent has their own definition of what a "Good" school is. Some parents look at test scores, the school decor, the income level of families, teacher credentials, etc. There are a lot of factors that parents consider when deciding where to send their children to school in Chicago and other major cities where there are options. Most suburban districts have set schools that children must attend based on where they live.

Most parents will say that their kids attend a "Good" school because who wants to say that they send their kid to a school that is not "Good"? No one! Ask any parent and they will find something good to say about their child's school. So are all schools "Good" in some way? Probably. I spent time in one of the worst schools in Chicago. It was consistently on academic probation for the small amount of students meeting state standards. Even in this school there were people who were pointing out the "Good" aspects of the school. I guess "Good" depends on your perspective. I personally saw no "Good" in the school with such a small enrollment but was still on academic probation. I think that the "Good" part of any school should be the education that it provides children. Everything else is gravy. The staff is nice, the building is homey, the atmosphere is friendly and the parents are like family. Its nice to have all of these things but they aren't totally necessary.

Most parents in Chicago rely heavily on test scores when it comes to choosing a school for their child. The standards for meeting the state standards on the ISAT test are so low that we should all question the quality of education we are receiving at our "Good" schools. For the parents of elementary school children, how many of our kids struggle when they go to a selective enrollment high school. I will admit, that I was naive to think that not very many "Fs" were given at these schools because everyone was smart. No so much! How many CPS students entering college are required to take remedial classes? A whole lot! Here are the percentages of CPS 11th graders that were ready for college in 2011 according to their ACT scores (Math 19%), (Reading 21%), (Science 11%) and (English 38%). With stats like these, you have to wonder, where the "Good" schools are in Chicago.

I have come to the conclusion that a "Good" school is a very subjective term. I know someone who was told by her principal to give her students grades that they had not earned. She is a great teacher, so of course she refused to do it. An "A" can mean something different at every school and that should not be the case. A child who earned "As" in elementary school should not be getting "Ds and Fs" in high school unless his/her work ethic has changed. A young adult who earns "As" in high school should not be taking remedial classes in college if their work ethic has not changed. If this has happened to your child, you might need to reconsider the term "Good" school that you bestowed upon your child's school. Unfortunately, these two scenarios happen very often. The children are blindsided because they have been lead to believe that they were a lot smarter than they actually are. Eariler this year an elementary school principal expressed her concerns that the valedictorian of her elementary school was not accepted into any of the selective enrollment high schools. She was the best student at her school but apparently, she couldn't compete with many of the students at other schools.

Parents need to be active in the education of their children. You need to know what they are learning in school. Make a habit of asking your friends what their children are learning as well. When I was curious about the education my children were receiving, I decided to have them take the ACT test in 6th grade. I figured that every student in the country is measured by this test for admission into college so why not. I learned that my children were getting a "Good" education and they will be well prepared when they take the ACT in high school.

Every child should be prepared to compete with their peers in their next education phase. Schools are not doing the children any favors by dumbing down the curriculum. Every school should be a "Good" school!

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