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Looking for a New School System? Try

May 29, 2014

Folks base their decision on where they’ll buy a home on dozens of factors. Jobs, price, character, walkability, crime, proximity to (or distance from haha) family, and so many other things can affect a buyer’s choice. If there are kids involved, though, you can bet that the quality of the public schools will be a priority.

Unfortunately, it can be hard to get good information about school districts. In the past, word of mouth, and maybe one newspaper article per year were your only way of knowing which districts were the best. In the age of the Internet, we are faced with a different problem–too much information. Every school districts website wants you to think they’re the best, and for every parent on Facebook or Twitter who loves their child’s school, there will be another who has nothing but problems with their district.

When I went about choosing a school district for my daughter, I used They were the only site I found that used both test results and, in Ohio, other data points like college readiness, student improvement year over year, and more. They also allow parents to leave testimonials about their child’s school or teachers, which can be helpful to get an overall idea of what a school is like. I liked their rating system, and I loved that I could put in an address and see all the schools in the district (although I double checked this with the board of education office before making an offer on a house!). I really enjoyed using Great Schools, and recommend it to other parents/buyers out there.

Image: Shiner, by Norman Rockwell. Hopefully your kids can avoid this particular school experience (although this girl seems pretty self-satisfied haha)

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