In this post, I’m going to tell you what to look for when searching for a good public school. FIRST: Charter Schools are not real public schools. Do not forget that.
Charter Schools are not REAL public schools.
Public schools have what’s known as school report cards that can be found on-line. Those reports are supposed to report a lot of info.
Always ignore the standardized test score rankings.
Low standardized test scores basically reveal how many children at a public school live in poverty. A high child poverty rate at a public school is what brings those stupid, useless tests scores down, not the teachers.
Higher test scores for a public school usually reveals it is located in a more expensive area where many of the parents are college educated and/or earn more money.
If the public school report card has the following information, use it to determine if it is a good public school.Look for the average level of education for the teachers at the school and the turnover rate. If most of the teachers have a higher level graduate degree, in the subject area they teach, then they probably know what they’re doing and are good at it.
If the public or charter school has a high turnover rate for its teachers, those schools are in trouble and probably are being mismanaged by its district administrators and maybe the site administrators, too. Those not a public Charter Schools have a reputation for high teacher turnover and harsh disclpline for both teachers and students.
Many administrators have never taught, and many of them couldn’t teach their way out of a paper bag if their lives depended on it.
Still, you can ask how many of the administrators at a public school and the ones in the district office were teachers for at least six years before moving to administration. If the top admin never taught, they probably do not know what they are doing because they do not know the challenges teachers face in public school classrooms.
If the public school has a low teacher turnover rate and hangs on to its teachers for long periods of time, those are the public schools you want to focus on. The teachers that stay are more dedicated and work harder. It’s a demanding, challenging job that drives out the undedicated teachers really fast.
A lower teacher turnover rate also usually means the administrators probably know how tough teaching really is. Good public schools do not focus on teaching to raise those damn standardized test scores. They focus on supporting their teachers so they can teach the children instead.
Teachers that don’t learn how to manage their classes and/or can’t stand the pressure burn out faster and leave sooner.
Incompetent administrators, in public schools and those private sector Charter Schools speed up teacher burnout when they focus more on those useless and often misleading standardized test results instead of supporting teachers so they can teach, not to the test, but what their students should be learning.
A good teacher often works more than 50 hours a week while only teaching about 25 of those hours. Teaching is like an iceberg. Most of the work teachers do takes place out of sight, before and after school and on the weekends. When I was still teaching (1975 – 2005), my work weeks often ran 60 to 100 hours when I added all the time I put in: correcting student work at home, doing grades at home, calling parents from school and at home, planning lessons at school and at home, et al.
It’s not easy to manage your classes, teach. and do all that stuff during regular school hours.
I’m a former US Marine and combat vet. Teaching was tougher and more demanding than any other job I’ve had in my life (I worked in the private sector for about 15 years, too), including being a combat Marine.
By the time I went into teaching, I was 30 and I stayed for 30 years until I was 60. If I had to go back to work for some reason, I’d rather be a Marine again instead of a teacher. Marine Corps boot camp and being shot at in combat, as long as whoever was shooting at me kept missing, was less stressful and demanding than teaching. I think the Marines did more to prepare me for teaching than earning my teaching credential through a full-time, year-long urban residency did. Still those urban residency teacher training programs are considered the best ways to learn how to become a teacher.