Often, parents goes out of their way to ensure that their child falls within the catchment area for a prestigious school, even if this means spending more money on housing than they would otherwise prefer.
Why are parents so obsessed with finding the best schools in their areas for their students? When dealing with families who cannot afford to pay for private education, one of the biggest motivating factors in their search for academic excellence near their homes is making sure that their children have the best education possible, thereby setting their offspring up for success in university applications and career ambitions. Some parents regard getting their children into the best school in their area as the only way to make sure their child grows up in a position to achieve and earn all the things they want from life.
Parents’ obsession with finding the best schools for their children leads to some complications, primarily because it is so difficult to assess what really makes one school better than another. Is it the grades that the students earn, and if so is that an indication of high quality teaching? Are the socio-economic demographics of a school the most transparent way of assessing the level of success which will be enjoyed by each student upon graduation? How about graduation rates themselves, or the percentage of children at a school who go on to attend and graduate institutes of higher education?
Still other parents argue that the most important factor in choosing the best school in their area is the personal attention their children receive from teaching staff and other members of the school’s administration. Students, especially those for whom academic success does not come naturally, often need personal attention in order to excel, and one way to ensure this is to find schools where small class sizes are the norm. The conflict for many parents without extensive financial means is that these schools are often located in wealthy suburbs, and it can be difficult to afford homes in those areas – particularly for parents whose own academic career was not full of the same advantages they wish their children to have, and who work for low salaries as a result.
What many parents don’t realize is that almost any school can be an excellent learning environment for their children and their children’s classmates, provided the parents of all the students are willing and able to get involved in the educational system. Teachers can put as much time and effort as possible into a day at school, but if parents fail to reinforce lessons about respect and responsibility at home, then their children’s success will eventually hit a glass ceiling.
To make the most of any school experience, parents should support their children and teachers as the students navigate the sometimes crushing responsibilities and efforts required to achieve a first-rate education without paying top tier school fees at a private institution.