Does it really matter that our kids go to a “good” school? Education & Learning


We are looking at buying a house (and are therefore looking at schools), and my husband is worried about the stats of college entrance and such for each school. I don’t think it’s so important as long as the school is safe.

Some background on us,

I went to a low quality school mainly serving farming communities. All my friends are now tradesmen or working customer service. A lot of my friends were from families on welfare or living in grungy trailer parks with absentee parents. They didn’t care who I was we just had fun exploring the mountains and riding the bus to new parts of town together. There were a lot of skids and potheads but I just didn’t spend much time around them. Because most people in my school weren’t “academically inclined” I didn’t have any homework (ever, even in my senior year), so I had a part time job, and I used my spare time to take night classes at the community college, and do calculus etc online, and volunteer.

Do you have to go to college to be successful in life?

Sure I went to a community college for a year, but because I did so many college courses in high school I didn’t have a heavy course load, did excellently, and transfered into the best school in my state. Now I’m working as an engineer and can live in any country or city I want. My friends are mostly tradesmen and cashiers, and I don’t think it matters because they’re great people. Not to mention I have a huge benefit at work because I get along very well with tradesmen, so when on job sites they are always upfront with me about progress/issues.

My husband was home schooled and never went to a “real school”, he is looking at the stats and wants our kids to go to a school where most kids go on to college. I think the stats are largely reflective of the fact that kids in rich areas have parents that went to college that will push them to do the same. Im worried our kids won’t be exposed to different socioeconomic classes and will live in a bubble if we just follow the stats. I think their own vetting of friends and self reliance will allow them to do well in life. My husband doesn’t agree and wants our kids to have the statistical best start in life.

Before I was pregnant we were in agreement on this issue, but now that reality is sinking in our views on this are getting more polar.

TLDR; Am I naive or does it not really matter whether our kids go to the best ranked school?

5 thoughts on “Does it really matter that our kids go to a “good” school? Education & Learning

  1. The single biggest influence on their future success is your own input and support.

    That said, growing up around people who’s parents value educational success makes a huge difference to their own outlook on their own educational success. That’s not to say that rich parents are good and poor parents are bad, but rather that statistically, kids who have more resources tend to have better support for their education, and kids who have better support for their education tend to do better in education, and those who do well in education tend to do better in life generally. You become like the people you spend time with.

    I agree with you that the difference in results is probably reflective of the kids background rather than the quality of teaching, but that matters a lot. Being surrounded by people with high standards tends to result in one having high standards themselves.

    I went to a very good school. The network of old school friends (or even just other alumni) has helped me professionally throughout my life. The value of that cannot be understated.

    If you have friends from a wide variety of socioeconomic classes, your kids won’t be in a bubble. If your kid can go to a good school whilst also getting the well rounded upbringing that it sounds like you can give them, then they’ll have the best of all worlds

  2. If you’re in America, it matters a lot. Higher rated schools attract better teachers and get more funding so they can offer a lot more class options and extracurricular activities. Some schools will even have programs to have kids with good grades take classes at the local universities during the day. I think your experience with no homework and the ability to go to college at night is unique. American schools typically expect kids to have homework but it varies wildly teacher to teacher how much homework is given. I wouldn’t expect kids to not have loads of homework though. Also consider that more funding or more affluent areas will be able to provide better technology typically. In these days with schools doing virtual learning some or all of the time – technology matters. Not just equipment provided but software available can change the learning experience.

  3. I always felt that my biggest priority in terms of where to send my kids to school was that education had to be a top priority to the other parents at the school.

    My mom taught in a district where a common attitude among parents was that school wasn’t important, and that as soon as you were old enough you should drop out and get a job. If that’s the attitude your kids’ classmates parents have imbued on them, you’re going to have a very hard time overcoming that attitude rubbing off on your own kids.

    But if the other parents believe that education is incredibly important for young minds and imbue their children with that attitude, that will be a prevailing attitude among their peers.

    I don’t think college admissions really the most important thing for evaluating a school, but it might be a decent proxy for how parents feel about education, given the readily available data.

  4. This is kind of a multi factorial question. I think it matters a lot. Not for the reasons you said, but I want my child to be competent in math, reading, and writing. I think those skills are critical your entire life – no matter what career you go into – to be a sufficient adult. I think “good” school is a vague term that can mean all kinds of things to different people. For some people that means safe, for others it means good test scores, and for others it means college entrance statistics. I went to a mediocre elementary school and it was really hard for me to play catch up when I went to a better middle school. I’d argue that’s why I’m so bad at math now, I never had a solid foundation as a kid and none of “comes naturally” like it does for my peers. In general, yeah I think it matters. Not because it’s the difference between your child becoming an engineer or a farmer, though.

  5. Yes I think it matters.

    For us, it was the difference between:

    “I’m bored at school, I don’t want to go to school today My stomach hurts, I’m being bullied on the bus, they are teaching the same stuff we learned last year, there are kids in my class who are disruptive and the teacher doesn’t care” at the low rated school


    “I love school; we are going on another field trip; I have this cool project we are doing this month; my teacher is really smart she spends time with me making sure I understand stuff!” At the 5 star school.

    Also he tested into the Cambridge Programme. He’s in high school learning Forensics and Engineering. They only offer it at 3 high rated public schools in my area. The low rated schools don’t have many opportunities. It’s sad, but I went back to school myself and got a good paying job to move into this area and get my kids in a better school.

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