New American Media
January 26, 2012
OAKLAND, Calif. — Around this time every year, millions of parents in California are working through the school enrollment process. Unfortunately, while many don’t have a choice regarding what school their child will attend, those who do often find their options bewildering.
My wife and I are both educators (her currently, me formerly). We know the education system well, and what qualities to look for in a school. Still, even we were confused when we moved from San Diego to Oakland and began looking at local public schools.
After months of research and hours spent talking about the pros and cons of schools, we filled out our “options” form with our top three school choices. In some ways, this final step was a leap of faith. The school we picked had low scores but we liked the Spanish immersion program and believed that the principal and teachers could turn it around.
Our experience is not uncommon, as conversations with numerous other parents showed us. As parents, we know that the schools we select will have lifetime implications for our children’s success. But as we make these choices, we lack high-quality information on school performance.
The first problem is the school rating system. Read further about California school’s two separate ratings.