What is a Good School?

Education Can Improve Your Life Situation

Dave Brown is on a mission to inform the public
about US Public Schools. What do people mean when they say, "I want my children to go to a good school?"

When people speak of a good school, they also mean that the students who attend the school share some of the values that their families believe in - especially the values related to the importance of being academically successful. Most parents explain to their children how education can improve their circumstances in life, from the advantages of future financial earnings to the opportunity for personal growth and happiness.

Perhaps what people really mean by a good school is that it's in a community where the majority of the families share a passion for and value education. The opposite is a school where a majority of students may not be interested in being academically successful or earning the grades needed to extend their education deep into high school.

The value of education may be a problem in communities if the residents who live there do not believe that schooling can improve their life circumstances. The dropout rate may be high in these areas, and this can be an indication of whether community members believe that education can improve their lives.

The question, "What is a Good School?" elicts the following answers.

  1. A safe place for children and adolescents.
  2. A place with caring teachers.
  3. A place where students regularly experience academic success.
  4. A place with teachers who use effective strategies to engage learners.
  5. A place with support services available to meet the learning needs of all students.
  6. A place with a broad array of curricular and extracurricular opportunities.
  7. A place benefiting from community members and caregivers who value education.
  8. A place benefiting from parents and caregivers who hold reasonable expectations for their children to achieve some measure of academic success.

What is a Good School? Find out more in Why Americas Public Schools are the Best Place for Kids

Principles Supported by Educational Research

These specific components of successful schools are not merely people's opinions; these principles are supported by educational research - a body of common research findings that have been revealed over decades. Those responsible for establishing and regulating public school policies can and do have an impact on the first six criteria.

Where do you want your children to go to school? A safe place for children and adolescents. A place with caring teachers. A place where students regularly experience academic success. A place with teachers who use effective strategies to engage learners.

What is a good school? Neither educators nor policy makers can control how much emphasis or value community members place on education. How does your public school measure up if you use these eight criteria to judge the schools in your community?