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Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids
Old 12-28-2002, 11:52 PM   #1
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Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids

As an overeducated Ivy Leaguer - where education of my kids is my biggest issue (and expense) - I'm curious where people think the best schools might be (probably needs to be reasonably near a coastal city - east or west coast).

The reason I ask is that even the best public schools have a tendency to be in the more expensive neighborhoods. The issue with those neighborhoods is that you also need to "keep up with the Jones" so your kids don't feel like the "poor person on the block". Believe me, I've known people that became the "poor person on the block in these neighborhoods" and it isn't a very good experience for most kids.

One suggestion is to relocate near a university. Most college professors with kids don't try to play the financial social game with thier kids as well as seem to place an emphasis on the education of thier kids.

Any other general (or even better) specific suggestions?

West coast or Northeast coast (DC and above) are the areas we are most interested in.

Thanks.

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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids
Old 12-31-2002, 02:42 PM   #2
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids

Another way to find a good school district - see if the state and/or local newspapers publish report cards. Reviewing those for the municipality where I live showed, as espected, that the poor neighborhoods tend to offer the worst bang for ones education buck. However superior public school districts are located in both middle and upper class neighborhoods.

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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids
Old 07-20-2003, 12:06 PM   #3
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids

I'm thinking about this issue myself.

Good websites:

www.greatschools.net

http://www.homefair.com/homefair/ser...heschoolreport

http://www.greenes.com/sat.htm

After doing some research, I think Bellevue, WA would be the best choice. Great schools. Moderate housing prices (for West coast), no state income tax, low property taxes (1.2 %), mild weather (though there'd be rain), great outdoors, cosmopolitan atmosphere.

State of Washington as a whole seems better dedicated toward public education than other states. You may consider other areas in WA such as Bellingham, Vancouver, Issaquah. If you are a penny pincher, Vacouver, WA (a suburb of Portland, OR) may be of interest to you. You can live there (no state income tax) and shop across the state line (no sales tax in Oregon).

Other considerations: Chapel Hill, NC; Sacramento, CA; Jacksonville, FL; Ithaca, NY; Plano, TX; Sugarland, TX; Concord/Walnut Creek, CA; Danville/San Ramon, CA; Irvine, CA. These places all have their pluses/minuses; some places are expensive (esp. Bay area and Orange Co., CA); some cold weather (Ithaca, NY); but I believe that they are overall "better deals" than their surrounding areas; e.g., Irvine, CA is not the most expensive place in Orange County, yet its top high school (University High) is one of the best in California.

Good luck. I'd welcome any comments and additional input from others.

amt
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids
Old 01-23-2004, 01:19 PM   #4
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids

Another good place....Vestavia Hills, Alabama, which is in Birmingham.

Good schools, housing is relatively reasonable, low property tax rate, 5% state income tax.
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids
Old 02-01-2004, 01:54 PM   #5
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids

I have a northwest bias, so be warned.

In the State of Washington Bainbridge Island and Mercer Island schools are top notch. Homes on Mercer Island are VERY expensive because of high-tech (ok, Microsoft). Homes on Bainbridge Island are just plain expensive. The advantage of Bainbridge for a retiree is the lack of brutal traffic, a town of ~ 20,000 (you can get to KNOW your kid's friends), the library is cozy, boating in the Sound is a real option, and there is a nice choice of activities (community theater, Rotary...).

If a maritime climate isn't your thing look at Ashland, Oregon. If it weren't known for the Theater it would be known as a college town. The last time I checked the HS offered a skiing program. This is outdoor activities heaven. Housing costs should be moderate.

If an urban enviornment, income tax, and relatively expensive housing don't scare you off look at the Lincoln High School area in Portland, Oregon. It is tough academically, in the same league as Bainbridge and Mercer Islands. Their strong sports have been soccer, golf, tennis, debate. Skiing is an after-school activity.

Both states are experiancing a school funding crunch, what makes a difference here is community involvement in the schools.
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids
Old 02-02-2004, 08:31 PM   #6
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids

Brat, the world doesn't need to know Bainbridge exists. We only have enough water on the island to support the existing population, so if somebody wants to move here, they have to wait for a current resident to leave
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids
Old 02-04-2004, 09:59 AM   #7
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids

The NW attitude was accurately reflected by a former Oregon governor who said, "Visit but don't stay."

No more than the Native Americans before us, we in the NW cannot prevent population growth if we have attractive communities. Our only option is acknowledge that reality, attract new arrivals that enrich our community, and hire GOOD planning staff.

The issue of domestic water supply is a hot one throughout the west; our grandparents had gunfights over water rights (now lawyers are our hired guns). Farmers in Idaho have been complaining of urban growth competing for 'their water' for at least 20 years. California dreams of a water line from the Columbia to LA, they think every drop that goes to the Pacific is wasted. There is no evidence that there is a shortage of potable water on the Island because no one knows the capacity of the aquifer. If we were serious about fresh water management, storm water runoff would go through oil separators and in to drywells or ponds to replenish the aquifer. The water issue is a red herring to avoid planning for the inevitable.

BI ER's are making major contributions to the community. We are the beneficiaries of their experience and talent. Rejoice!
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids
Old 02-04-2004, 04:40 PM   #8
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids

Interestingly - having been born and educated in the State of Washington - and having left at age of 26, I'm perfectly willing to visit my friends and relatives in places like Oak Harbor, Enumclaw, Kalama, Cougar, etc - as long as I don't have to LIVE there - except possibly August and be be somewhere else the other eleven months.

On the other hand, If I had kids(which I don't), it would be high on my list (go Huskies) for education and outdoor activities - great place for kids (of any age).

I think its the 'been there done that' and 'warm is better' thing.

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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids
Old 02-04-2004, 08:10 PM   #9
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids

No disagreement there, but of course not many of us could live in Cougar country... too darn cold in the winter! *Even the Norwegians settled on the coast.

My attitude about raising children is to keep them busy in life enriching activities, give them lots of love, and develop their intellect. *In addition to fine schools, families can climb mountains, ski, or sail in these locales. *Each of the places I mentioned have institutions of higher education, performing arts, reasonably priced public golf courses and excellant medical facilities nearby.

There is a tradition here that we talk a lot about the rain, and it does rain- to make it less attractive to others. *We sometimes get earthquakes. *Ashland gets snow in the winter, Portland and Seattle suffer for about a week a year. *Basically the snow stays in the mountians. *On the other hand those communities don't have humidity, huricanes or tornados, gaters or fire ants.

In an hour I can be in the center of a large city, outside my window I see sailboats, ships, eagles, deer, heron and seals. *It's a tough place to live.
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids
Old 02-04-2004, 08:39 PM   #10
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids

Basically, any affluent neighborhood will have good schools. Of all the places I've lived, I think La Jolla, CA would probably top my list of great retirement spots that have tremendous educational, cultural and natural resources. It's gotten kind of expensive and crowded since I've lived there, though.

Not only does it rain a lot in the Pacific NW, but they predict the area is due for a *major* earthquake. Not one of those minor 6.4 jobs like we had a couple years ago, but a 9.0 that will seriously change the landscape. We're sitting on the "rim of fire" out here. You'll recognize me when it hits -- I'll be the one riding the tsunami in my red plastic kayak.
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids
Old 02-05-2004, 04:24 AM   #11
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids

I came from a 'poor' school district and took some 'catch up' math classes in JC. The JC and transfer to 4 yr State University worked well for me in the 60's. Wonder how good the system is today - still cost effective?
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids
Old 02-05-2004, 06:21 AM   #12
 
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids

I tried to nudge my youngest toward a JC. She wouldn't
listen and choose a very expensive private school
instead. I had no objection if someone else wanted to
pay. Alas, her mom, (my ex.) hauled me back into court
to see if you really could extract blood from a stone.
Anyway, in my research (after the fact again) I found
that junior colleges (I only have an AA degree)
were cheap cheap cheap. I recall total costs in Illinois at about
8% of where my daughter ended up. Hell, even I could have paid 100% and not missed it. In my daughter's
case it was a complete waste of money, unless you
factor in that you are mingling with a better class of
people, a theory that I doubt.

John Galt
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids
Old 02-21-2005, 09:44 AM   #13
 
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids

What do you think about schools in Jacksonville or Sarasota, FL? They seem pretty good from stats. FL has no income tax. And great beaches help, too.
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids
Old 02-22-2005, 08:22 AM   #14
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids

One thing I don't like about Florida schools is the standardized test taken at the end of the year. If the kids get an "A" in the class but fail the test they failed the class. Why give the grade if the test is the determining factor?

JG-- I was talking with a labor department guy who was telling me, that after your first job where you went to school is irrelavent. Your second and subsequent jobs are primarily based on your job performance. The college you attend is what helps determine your first job after you graduate. I also doubt you hang with a better class of people at a JC, but I think the possibility of hanging with better contacts at a better college is present.
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids
Old 02-22-2005, 10:54 AM   #15
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids

Would personally recommend Fairfax County, VA, just outside of D.C. Also agree that the more affluent areas seem more "productive," eg. higher ratio of National Merit Semifinalists, more books in the libraries, etc.
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Re: Good schools for ALL kids
Old 02-23-2005, 06:03 AM   #16
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Re: Good schools for ALL kids

Quote:
As an overeducated Ivy Leaguer - where education of my kids is my biggest issue (and expense) - I'm curious where people think the best schools might be.
I think the best schools are found near the most involved & caring parents. *Want a good school? *Look for an award-winning parent's organization. *

But the best educations might happen in the home, not the school. *I'm not necessarily a homeschool zealot but I absolutely disagree with those parents who abdicate their education responsibilities to the govt.

Quote:
The reason I ask is that even the best public schools have a tendency to be in the more expensive neighborhoods.
That's an observation on par with "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer." *Even if either one is correct, it has everything to do with skills & hard work and little to do with economic opportunity. *In fact at least one macro study found that dumping more money into a school system actually LOWERED achievement. *The theory was that the school no longer had to efficiently allocate their capital for the best return.

The proven factors-- merit-based teacher pay and keeping the teacher:student ratio below 1:15. *That doesn't require an expensive neighborhood, although it can certainly help pay the bills.

I think that better schools (& neighborhoods) are where the families are involved & work harder at them. *While those places can easily be more affluent, that's not limited to materialistic places like Georgetown or Marin County.

Quote:
The issue with those neighborhoods is that you also need to "keep up with the Jones" so your kids don't feel like the "poor person on the block". *Believe me, I've known people that became the "poor person on the block in these neighborhoods" and it isn't a very good experience for most kids.
If you feel obligated to KUWTJ, then it sounds like there's more of an education problem here than just the quality of the institution. *

Our kid isn't poor. *She's chronically impoverished because her weenie weekly allowance satisfies her needs without gratifying every want. *That educates her on setting goals, making budgets, deferring gratification, exploiting revenue opportunities, and appreciating the pitfalls of the materialistic Jones' lifestyle. *That sounds like the kind of experience every kid should have.

For those not yet able to afford Stanford or Hahvahd (and certainly for those not interested in them!), I'd suggest library copies of "Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools You Should Know About Even If You're Not a Straight-A Student" by Loren Pope and "Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities" by Alexandra Robbins. *Speaking as another overeducated college graduate, they immediately showed me that I made a big mistake in my own college choice. *We've become particularly enamored of Eckerd College, and I've teased our kid that at least one of us will matriculate there in 2010.

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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids
Old 02-23-2005, 07:50 AM   #17
 
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids

I picked up on the "I've teased our kid" line. I did that
and DW opines it was a mistake. After my divorce
(yeah I know that complicates everything) I didn't
know who was paying for what or how much. I knew my spoiled youngest daughter turned up her nose at
the local junior college (no snob appeal?) but I kept
bringing it up to "get her goat". After she chose a very
pricey private school, I found myself back in court
(long after I was retired) so it could be determined
how much blood could be extracted. That was 3 years
ago and it's not over yet. Anyway, it's partly my fault
as she was spoiled rotten back when I was "livin' large".
Other than this headache, all college decisions
(including my own) appear to have worked out just fine.
My 2 oldest kids and I all got our degrees and as far as I know, no regrets.

JG
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Re: Good schools for ALL kids
Old 02-23-2005, 10:56 AM   #18
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Re: Good schools for ALL kids

Quote:
I think the best schools are found near the most involved & caring parents. *Want a good school? *Look for an award-winning parent's organization. *

But the best educations might happen in the home, not the school. *I'm not necessarily a homeschool zealot but I absolutely disagree with those parents who abdicate their education responsibilities to the govt.
Quote:
I think that better schools (& neighborhoods) are where the families are involved & work harder at them. *While those places can easily be more affluent, that's not limited to materialistic places like Georgetown or Marin County.
Interesting observation about parental involvement. I had a professor who sent his kids to the local public school rather than private like most of this colleagues. They thought he was nuts, but he had researched the subject thoroughly and had come to the conclusion that parental involvement was the decisive factor in success, not the school itself, so he just worked hard to be involved with his kids and didn't stress about getting his kids into the local magnet or private school.

Do you have any experience with DOD schools? Supposedly these schools are on a par with the best public schools in the country despite having average funding levels, a high percentage of students on the free and reduced lunch program (low income), high minority population, and frequent turnover of the student body (due to military moves) .

The mandatory parental involvement in DOD schools has been offered as one factor in their good performance - although I can certainly think of others. So far, I've had no direct experience with these schools myself, but my teacher friends who work in them say they are heaven compared to other places they've taught, mostly because complaints to parents do not go ignored.
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids
Old 02-23-2005, 11:04 AM   #19
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Re: Good Schools for Early Retirees Kids

my sister and I went to a DoDDS school when we were very young. Even back then they had a very left leaning slant. My sister was having problems staying on task. The teacher would let her outside to play for a few mintues when she would stray. Needles to say it took my sister all of 3 days to figure out that if she wanted to go outside she just had to be a little brat. It turned out the teacher was using a very liberal approach not allowing her to maintain control of the classroom, which resulted in her being fired.

30 years later the local kindergarten teacher started doing the same with my son. I related the story of my sister to her and told her if she wanted more trouble with my son to continue. Otherwise be teh adult and stop letting him walk over you and he will behave, once you put your foot down.
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Re: Good schools for ALL kids
Old 02-25-2005, 08:21 AM   #20
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Re: Good schools for ALL kids

Quote:
Do you have any experience with DOD schools?
Not personally, but many overseas military parents prefer them to stateside schools because when you're overseas everyone works that much harder to bring together a supportive community. A DODSS is just an outgrowth of that parental involvement.

I knew a couple who transferred to Yokosuka in the 1980s with their two boys. Everyone became fluent in Japanese and loved the culture. By the time he retired in 2001, one was attending a Tokyo university and the other had a full-time job teaching business English. They returned to the U.S. without either of them...
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