Evaluating Public Schools

This section provides tools to aid in finding the best public school option for your child. Compare private and public schools, explore school zoning issues, and delve into the public school grading and ranking system. Find information on the safest schools and what they are doing right.
View the most popular articles in Evaluating Public Schools:
Updated May 31, 2017 |
Changing Schools and Moving to New Area
Find out tips and services for changing schools and moving to new area.
Changing schools and moving can be stressful events, even if the entire family is excited about the move. The purpose of this article is to give you a checklist of all the things you may need to think about as you orchestrate your move and what you may need to do when changing schools. We have set up the list of things to do along a timeline, to mirror you own busy schedule as you get your household and school paperwork in order.

As soon as you decide to move  

  • Changing Schools?
    • Research the schools. The difference between a top rated school and a school that lags behind its peers could be as simple as living on one side of the school boundary. Also, if your child has special needs or unique goals (i.e. they had been in a foreign language immersion program), you will need to find out what is available where you are moving to.
    • Start early. Even public schools may have waiting lists if they are charter or target schools.
    • Found out if there are any extra-curricular activities that require early enrollment or may involve practice over the summer before the school year starts.
    • Enroll your children in their new schools. Make sure you've filled out all the required paperwork and have all the necessary doctors' forms, immunization records, etc. so that the kids can start on Day One.
    • Get a copy of your children's current coursework so that the new school can get a better idea of where to place the
. . .read more
Updated July 12, 2017 |
Public School vs. Private School
It is helpful to know the issues involved when considering public versus private schools. More about these considerations here.
As a parent, you’re always looking out for your children, trying to make the best decisions for them and their futures. When it comes to schooling, parents often have to work out whether to send their children to private school or keep them in public school. Hopefully this article will help you decide which school is best for your family. We’ll first talk generally about some of the different factors that impact decisions regarding public and private schools. Then we’ll go over some national statistics regarding public and private schools. Finally we’ll leave you with a conclusion that should help you decide what is best for you.
Factors affecting Private versus Public school decisions
Public schools are schools that are provided by state and federal funding. Ninety percent of the children today in America attend public school. Private schools include both parochial schools and non-parochial schools. According to a special report published by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in 2002, in 1999–2000, approximately 27,000 private schools accounted for 24 percent of all schools in the US and 12 percent of all full-time-equivalent teachers. Clearly, there are many more public schools that provide education to American students than their private counterparts.

Usually when considering private versus public school, parents will have one or more factors that concern them.

When looking at public or private schools, the following factors come into play:

  • Academic reputation and college preparation
  • School size and Class size
  • Safety reputation
  • Special programs
  • Costs
  • Religious and Moral instruction
  • Location
  • Ideology
. . .read more
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Recent Articles
March 09, 2018
We examine the rise in atheist club in public schools across the country – and how the push for Christian clubs may have inadvertently spurred this growth.
March 05, 2018
Changes instigated by the Trump Administration have been met with a great deal of controversy but one of the biggest debates within the education sector is in regard to integration and charter schools. Keep reading to learn more about the charter school debate and what you should know as a parent.
March 05, 2018
The Common Core State Standards Initiative has changed the course of education in the United States, particularly with its emphasis on standardized testing. But how does standardized testing affect teaching quality? Keep reading to find out.
Evaluating Public Schools

School Zoning

Learn more about zoning rules, how they impact schools and your child. This section offers information on the history of school zones, what they are, and how they work. Get information on who decides school boundaries and the impact those decisions have on the community.

Getting Started

An overview of school designations, best practices for evaluating your options, and tips on choosing the best school for your child. Learn about Blue Ribbon, Vocational and Special Education schools. Get tips on finding the right school in a new neighborhood, city or state.

Grading and Ranking Schools

Explore the public school grading/ranking system, how it works and what it means. Get latest national rankings and read what critics of school grading have to say. Take a look at the nation’s top performing schools as ranked by U.S. News and Newsweek.

Public School Safety

A comprehensive look at the safety of US public schools. Learn what schools are doing to combat gangs and drugs, prepare for natural disasters, and protect your children from predators. From web cameras to armed guards, see what tools public schools are employing to keep kids safe.

Public vs. Private Schools

A comparison of public and private schools, the pros and cons of each, and a look at the cost of getting a stellar education at both. Take a look at some of the most expensive schools, notable public school alumni, and learn more about “private” public schools.