Parenting

It's Not Crazy to Move to a Good School District So Your Kid Can Get the Best Education

My husband and I often disagree over one major issue. We have no idea where we want to move in the next couple years. Our children are about to start school and we have a fundamental difference of opinion over what that means. He would like to move to a place with good public schools (read: the suburbs), and I would like to take our chances on urban schools and use private if we have to as a last resort.

He will probably win this fight. Unfortunately, the points he makes are good ones. He would rather spend more money on an investment, like our home, than spend it all on private school. The homes in areas where the schools are better are more expensive, it's true. But they're also less interesting, at least to me.

We are not alone. Living in an urban area, I have seen countless people become parents, stay for a year or two, and then exit to start their kids in the "better" school systems with higher test scores out in the burbs.

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I happen to believe that a child can learn and thrive anywhere given supportive, loving parents and decent teachers. But it's also true that the competition and good school resources do make for a better overall learning environment.

For children to succeed, it's best to put them in a place where the children are used to excelling. I went to three high schools and saw a big difference between the first one -- a public school in a small town in Ohio -- and the last one -- a public school in a tony suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. The first one was a place where students were OK with getting C's and many didn't plan to go to college. Football was way more important than good grades and a good school was a state one.

The last school I went to was highly competitive, full of successful parents who expected the same from their kids. We sent an absurd amount of students to Ivy League schools and most of the rest to close seconds. The difference was pronounced. At a place where it was cool to be smart, children tried to excel. There was competition, but that only made you do better.

Remembering all this, my husband will probably win our fight. I believe in supporting public education, and that may mean investing more initially in our home so we can get more from the schools in the long run.

I used to judge those parents who left our urban area, but now, as my daughter inches ever closer to kindergarten (nine months and counting!), I am also contemplating making that same move.

Would you move for your child's education?

 

Image via InAweofGod'sCreation/Flickr

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