I live in the Chicago area, but it's immense, and virtually every suburb is an individual, independent school district...Can you be more specific as to the town where your job will be located, and perhaps then I can give you some additional information. (Also, if you mention where you're moving from, I can perhaps get a sense for what you're already "used to.")11444
Start at the top of this website under Research and Compare. Check the box with Top-Rated Schools. I agree with healthy11, the area is immense. I would start by looking at schools in communities close to your new employment, but if you find a school and neighborhod that you like, you can commute to work. It will just be defeating to your budget and make for long work days.11443
Are you moving to Chicago or The Chicago Area? In the area, DuPage and Lake Counties have the best schools, with a few exceptions. We currently live in Villa Park and the schools are not great, not due to the teachers, who are trying hard, but due to non-participating parents who want "free" everything. Other towns in DuPage Country have very good schools, Naperville, Elmhurst, Wheaton, Warrenville, Glen Ellyn etc.
If you have to move into the City of Chicago, I have to be honest. You would do best either NOT moving into the City, or Home Schooling or putting your children into a Private School. The Chicago Public Schools are not academically challenging, and they are also dangerous. When my husband I got married, 22 years ago, one of the reasons we moved OUT of Cook County was the inferiority of most of the schools. Best to stay in DuPage, if you have to move to this area.
Good luck. We will soon be moving to either Elmhurst or Wayne County, so our younger children will get good Gifted Services. (Which our current Elementary School doesn't offer in any quality.)
I feel the need to clarify about schools in the City of Chicago....they are NOT all bad or dangerous. My brother-in-law lives in the city limits, and his children were tested and accepted to magnet schools, which are highly competitive and academically very challenging. My nephew graduated from Whitney Young Magnet School last year, and was accepted into colleges such as M.I.T., and given "full tuition scholarship offers" to other universities. He's a National Merit Winner, and got "straight A's" in his first year at college. I think he's VERY well prepared, and he's a product of City of Chicago public schools.11441
I certainly didn't mean to offend anyone. Both my husband and I attended Chicago Public Schools, as did most of our friends and family. I saw little then, and see even less now that I, as a parent, can recommend.
My sister and her husband still have a child in CPS and they had to keep him home for a week last year, due to a boy in his class who threatened him with a knife. His classroom is overcrowded, and one year, three teachers quit. He is NOT getting an adequate education. I have family, who are educators, who say they would rather teach in rural Mississippi than in CPS. Your mileage may vary.
I do not care for CPS, perhaps you had a different experience. I think one can look at the ratings of schools on this site and others to make their own choice.
Magnet schools can be wonderful or awful, but, someone asked for different opinions, and she will have to talk to people and make her own choice.
My mother once gave a good piece of advice. If you want to see what a neighborhood is like, drive to the neighborhood, park your car, get out, and walk around, no more than a block from an Elementary or Middle or High School right around the time the school lets out for the day.
You can see things the real estate agent won't tell you, and things the school won't tell you, either. Are their fights? How many HS girls look pregnant? Are boys and girls grabbing each other in an inappropriate manner? Is there supervision? Are there Police parked AT the school? if so, why? Are ANY parents around to greet their children home from school? Or are even the little ones latchkey kids? Are the kids throwing garbage on the ground? Are they using nasty language? You can tell a LOT.
Here's a good thing to do: Try this exercise right outside a couple of schools in Glen Ellyn or Wheaton IL, then do the same on the South Side or West Side of Chicago, near a few Public schools. Report your findings.
It will be very enlightening. Everybody may have a different experience.11440
I do concur that NOT all schools are the same, and it is a very good idea to watch kids coming out of a school and get a feel for the neighborhood, not just believe a real estate agent or a "rating" on a website.
I happen to live in Cook County, in a northwest suburb of Chicago. "Blue Ribbon schools" are all around, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're good for everyone. Property prices are typically higher in areas that have "good" schools, due in part to the way IL funds education... It may be that the original poster can't afford to live in the areas with "the best" schools, but he/she should know that there are still good choices around Chicagoland...11439
Even the best public schools in DuPage that include the "best" junior Hight schools in the nation have flaws, mainly, just because thay are pre-programmed as the "public" schools. Overcrowding generates indifference in many teachers. Your kid is just material for them to process and to go to the next student. There's little engagement in student lives, let alone, little interest in how family is doing. Also, you may find indifference in parents as well. A public school is mainly rated by "perfomance", but itself, it does little to encourage a positive learning process. Most parents take kids to tutors, that's why the kids score so high in the school's test. Instead the school takes pride in the "quality" of education it provides. It is sooo misleading to the public! And, by the way, if your kid is inclined to be just a kid, and not to be a robot (like most of the public teachers would like them to be) - then your kid can be out of school and the education district in a whiff, whether it is a two weeks suspension, or even expulsion. I would really recommend investing in your kid by taking him/her to a school where our unique kids can be themselves. I'd recommend Waldorf education method. We have some schools in the Chicagoland (Warrenvilel, and other suburbs, also at the Lake front). Most Waldorf teachers work not for money's sake or for "comfortable" position at the school, but it is rather a call of life and big phylosophical affiliation for them: they are deeply involved with your child's interests and learning style.11438
There have been a number of discussions about schools in the Chicago area.
In general, suburban schools are good in any direction. The more expensive the real estate, chances are the higher the rating of the schools. For instance, the North Shore suburbs in Cook & Lake counties, Winnetka, Kenilworth, Wilmette and to some extent Evanston, are among the wealthiest areas in the country and you can be sure that the schools have tremendous programs. The average home price is also enough to shock your socks off.
You have to be kind of savvy to find the good schools in the city itself. It's a discussion unto itself. There are neighborhood schools which are good, but it's very important to buy in the attendance boundaries. The next school over may be the pits. There are also magnet schools which are highly rated. And there are private and parochial schools as well.
As for social problems, even suburban schools have more than during my childhood. But certainly, the more urban and diverse the population, the more problems that will be encountered.
But you might consider that part of your child's education as well. For instance, Evanston to the north,and Oak Park to the west, are both older suburbs that are both known for having diverse communities and attract many people for whom that is important.
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