Last week I had planned on writing an entry calling out people for pushing to get their kids into schools based on the school’s API scores alone.  My friend told me a story of a kid that used to go to our school, had had a great experience and loved the teachers – but the parents got him a waiver to get into my friend’s kids’ school, one of the higher scoring schools nearby, because they felt their child would get a better education if the scores were higher. I felt myself rolling my eyes when I heard the story – scores shmores, who needs them?

I was going to link to studies and articles that show that it isn’t the scores of the school that matters, but the socio-economic status of the family and the education level of the parents. In other words, if you yourself are college educated, your kid is as likely to score relatively high on standardized tests no matter if she is surrounded by other kids of highly educated kids or not.  If you want your kid to excel in school – the easiest way is to get yourself a college degree first.  My husband told me of a study he read that the best way to encourage your kids to be readers is to have books around and to have your kids see your reading.  Set the example – value education. Of course, there are plenty of people in this country who do well in school without having highly educated parents – that’s the American dream come true and every family has to start somewhere. My great grandparents came here from Eastern Europe, with hardly any money and not speaking English, not all my grandparents graduated from high school, but they worked so that that my parents could go to college and find careers outside of the family businesses.  The second generation born Americans became doctors, lawyers, Phds, politicians, prominent business people and other movers and shakers – giving us third generation the financial security to fumble around a bit in the arts before landing more traditional careers.  So, those kids at our school whose parents may not have a lucrative careers in this country – may be the grandparents of a whole generation of doctors, lawyers, teachers etc .   Okay, I totally digress!!

Back to the scores – “Who cares about the scores?” I was going to write last week. Of course, today, the new scores came out and yes, we still trail behind the other schools with less socio-economically disadvantaged student population and with less kids of college-educated parents, but we made a HUGE leap! 30 points higher than last year! We didn’t care about the scores until we scored HIGH! Now we are very proud of the kids, the teacher and ourselves.  The scores are finally showing that we are not to be scoffed at – we are on our way UP! Pop open the bottles of champagne!

Here is the link so you can see for yourself: http://api.cde.ca.gov/Acnt2012/2012GrowthSch.aspx?allcds=19647336016372

Meanwhile, I think I will make some s’mores to celebrate along with that champagne.

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