Choosing public schools

Discussion in 'Horn Depot' started by BrntOrngStmpeDe, May 5, 2011.

  1. BrntOrngStmpeDe

    BrntOrngStmpeDe 1,000+ Posts

    I have the ability to be pretty flexible with where I live. My kids are getting to the age that i want to pick a spot and stay but a critical part of that decision is the schools.

    How would you go about determining "the best" public school?

    Primarily I'm talking High School, presuming that the feeder schools would be of similar caliber.
  2. HornsInTheHouse

    HornsInTheHouse 500+ Posts

    Where do you live, or are planning to move to? Somewhere in Texas?
  3. jmrob93

    jmrob93 Guest

    It all depends-- big school vs small school, how involved they want to be

    Sometimes buried in all the stats are students SAT averages--much better stat on colege preparedness that State minimum test scoring
  4. Smurfette

    Smurfette 500+ Posts

    You get what you wanna get out of a public high school. Larger schools are going to have more course offerings, which is a plus.

    To determine how rigorous the school is, look for passing percentages on AP tests.
  5. busterbrown16

    busterbrown16 1,000+ Posts

    Seems very open-ended, but if you have flexibility on where you live I would say Highland Park. Can't get much better than those public schools. If you want a little bit cheaper, go to Southlake.
  6. BrntOrngStmpeDe

    BrntOrngStmpeDe 1,000+ Posts

    should have been more detailed...

    So my kids all do well, typically, all A's on report cards. still pretty young, oldest just starting 7th grade. They do math contests, robotics, UIL etc. But they've all expressed an interest (spurred on by dad) in MIT, Harvard, Stanford types of schools.

    Probably not going to send them to private school, so I'm really focusing on the High School (s) that would give them the best shot at getting into one of these tier I institutions.

    My job is such that it doesn't really matter if its Dallas, Austin, SA or Houston (or somewhere else). So if there was a real difference maker, I'd likely move there.

    Are there high schools in Texas that routinely place kids into these types of schools?
  7. busterbrown16

    busterbrown16 1,000+ Posts

    Last month's D Magazine had the rankings of the top schools in DFW that got their kids to the top 25 college rankings on the US News & World Report. I remember briefly skimming it and it was heavily peppered with private schools. Hockaday, St. Mark's, Jesuit, Cistercian, to name a few. Two public schools I remember on the list were Highland Park and Southlake Carroll. I can't remember any of the others, but you might be able to find the list online.

    I am sorry, but I am not familiar with the public schools in any other area of Texas. Obviously, if you are looking at the schools you listed in your post, private school is your best bet.
  8. utguy444

    utguy444 25+ Posts

    I'll try not to write a book, but that's a tough question to answer. I've been a TX teacher for 19 years. I've found good teachers in all the schools I've been in, but the bigger suburban schools tend to have the best offerings, and better teachers. Country schools less, for one thing, they just don't pay as well. Pay has a lot to do with it. With 19 years experience, I can make 60K in a larger suburban school, but only make 44K in a country school - the pay scale can be that different. Country schools (small towns) tend to not be as academically strong. But there are exceptions to all of this. No two schools are exactly alike, because of the teachers and admin. Many think private schools are a better education, but that is NOT necessarily true. The smaller the private school, the harder it is to get quality teachers, because the pay is so little (half sometimes). My son is in a small private school, and I've heard from people who know (in public education and tutoring) that the academics are NOT strong at that school. Do not put your kids in the 'inner city' schools, like SAISD, Austin ISD, Dallas ISD or Houston ISD. One last thing, too many districts in Texas are suffering from budget cuts, and that means they're cramming more kids into your classrooms these days. That means more stress on the teachers, and an overwhelming work load (my last school was horrible for this, and it was almost unbearable). Having too many students in your class leads to the Law of Diminishing Returns, and everyone suffers. But, most definitely, the healthier suburban schools are the best. Each of the major cities have them. I'm familiar with San Antonio, Austin and Houston, if you want to PM me for some more specific recommendations.
  9. utguy444

    utguy444 25+ Posts

    I do believe you mentioned MIT and schools like that. Well, that makes a big difference. For example, a small country school, lets just say, Yoakum or Shiner, Texas, will probably have a great Ag department, compared to an inner-city school in Austin or Dallas. I worked in Sugar Land, which last I checked had 9 high schools. The Chinese kids were at Clements High, the Middle Eastern kids at another, African Americans dominated two other high schools, and not all of them had Ag programs. But two or three of the schools had really good Ag programs, and the others didn't. So, is Fort Bend a good school district, or not, for your kids? Depends on what you want. They may blossom in one school, and be totally frustrated in another. So, it's hard to make blanket statements about suburban school districts, whether they're good or bad.
  10. utguy444

    utguy444 25+ Posts

    You mentioned that your kids got A's, and seemed very interested in high academic standards (or at least you are), with the forward thinking of going to a university with a high academic reputation. Well, I said earlier do not place your kids in the "inner city" schools, but before you write them off, some of these big school districts (because of grant money) have great "magnet" schools, specialty schools, with high-tech programs, just for high-achievers, that it sounds like your kids are. I'm sorry, I don't recall the name, but I remember touring a high school in NW Houston area back in the late 90s, that had so much grant money (famous for the amount they got because they had such a superior grant writing team), that the high school built a community college on it's property. They had the most superior high-tech labs ever seen (robotics, manufacturing, semi-conductor, computer), so much so, they rightly bragged they were better than most major universities. That one district has grown into a major college network in NW Houston. I saw it, and it was true - I saw automated labs that would make most universities jealous, and this was a high school.
  11. J.R.69

    J.R.69 250+ Posts

    Check out school's history of # of National Merit Scholars/year relative to other schools.
  12. fishnugget

    fishnugget 25+ Posts

    I'll second the notion of looking at Magnet School programs. I went to the Academy of Science and Technology. It's currently within The Woodlands High School at College Park, a relatively new high school, which in itself is a great school from what I hear.
  13. brntorng

    brntorng 2,500+ Posts

    In Austin ISD, I believe LBJ is still the math and science magnet school and Anderson has the IB program that is very academically rigorous. Eanes ISD in Westlake also has a solid reputation for academics as do Round Rock and Lake Travis ISD. As has been pointed out, a motivated student can get a very good education in many public schools, but they can also slide through without learning much. In a private school it's typically much more difficult to slide through.
  14. wherzwaldo

    wherzwaldo 1,000+ Posts


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