The neighborhoods you consider while house hunting may be determined, in part, by school districts and educational choices. If you’ll be sending your children to public school, ratings and other assessment tools can help you judge the merit of the schools near you. If you’re considering a private school, you may have to sort through programs with a wide range of philosophical backgrounds. Read on to learn about school ratings, types of schools and other factors to consider.
Finding Information About School Districts
School ratings and test score data can be found through your State Department of Education website. According to Project Appleseed, the National Campaign for Public School Improvement, “The federal legislation requires an annual school report card for all schools. School report cards describe characteristics of the school, including the number of children, various test scores, ratios of teachers to students, ethnic ratios, poverty levels, and more. Report cards can usually be obtained by contacting the department of education in the state or the school district office where the school is located.”
If you’re considering several regions at once, you can get State Education Data Profiles by accessing the National Center for Education Statistics website.
What to Consider when Choosing a School
When you look for information about a school district, you have a lot to consider. Not only should you look at test scores and class sizes, but you should also consider the particular needs of your child.
If your dream house turns up in a school district with poor school ratings, don’t give up hope. It may be possible to get a geographic exception to send your child to a different school. While this may rule out traveling by school bus, it could be a good compromise if you need to be close to work or have other reasons for choosing a home in a less-than-ideal school district.
How far will your child have to walk to reach school bus stops? This can be a serious concern in areas with cold winters or in rural areas, where bus stops may be far apart. According to the American School Bus Council, school buses are safer than cars and provide vital transportation to 26 million students every day. With 480,000 buses operating in the U.S. at any given time, there’s a good chance your student will be riding one to school.
If you need help finding a school district or school near you, you can visit the U.S. Department of Education’s website to search their comprehensive database. You can use their search tools to find public schools, private schools, and school districts all over the country. Their database includes facts like enrollment numbers, student demographics, teacher/student ratios, and school contact information.