Wednesday, April 8, 2015
News Herald – Juliann Talkington
It is hard to believe, but it is time to start thinking about what school your child will attend in the fall. Registration for some schools has already begun.
Fortunately, there are ways you can reduce the anxiety associated with the selection process. First, start early. In the past 15 years many things have changed. As a result, it is important to do your homework, before you make a selection.
Get information about the curriculum. Do the kids learn all the basic subjects (math, science, language arts, history and a foreign language)? According to Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, it is critical for children to have a strong understanding of math and science in the global age. Is the academic program designed to provide students with these skills?
Ask about results. With grade inflation in the US at an all time high, it is imperative that parents have concrete information on what their children learn. Does the school participate in third party testing? What do the school’s test results show? How do students in the program compare to children educated outside the US — Singapore, Taiwan, Belgium, etc? According to Thomas Friedman, author of the World is Flat, better education is imperative, because Americans now compete with the most brilliant minds in the world. As a result, it is important to make sure your children are prepared for this level of competition.
Inquire about expectations. What is expected of the students? parents? teachers? Is there a tie between student performance and teacher compensation? Schools that expect and reward performance generally produce better outcomes.
Speak to others. Ask to speak with parents whose children attend the school. What do they say about the school?
Consider logistics. Can you get your child to the school and still meet your other obligations?
Observe. You can learn a lot about a program by watching. Ask for a tour. If the school is not willing to show you around the facility, you should be concerned.
Assess. What are the pluses and minuses of each program? For example, a school may be very convenient, but the academic program does not meet your expectations.
Choose. This is the simple part. Once you have done all the homework, it should be easy to pick the best option for your child.
So don’t be intimidated! Finding the right school is not difficult. It just takes time.