Thanks for the perspectives, Baggins. While weâ€™re straying a bit from the original topic, I do sincerely enjoy the discourse. Iâ€™m curious, are your perspectives/models/probabilities based on experience with the educational system here, and where your kids currently attend school? I donâ€™t think I was downplaying the value of a top school â€“ hey, if you can afford a home in Palo Alto, Los Altos, or San Carlos because you want your kids in those schools, more power to you. Top schools are top schools for a good reason, and youâ€™re absolutely right that kids will get a good education there.
Yes youâ€™re right in that itâ€™s safe to assume that going to a top school gives one a good education, but I think my original point was simply that going to a lower-ranking school doesnâ€™t necessarily guarantee a low quality education. To me, itâ€™s not a binary assumption (i.e. high API=high value education, therefore low API=low value education). Yes, we agree that every student, their family situation, economic status, how hardwired they are to succeed, and myriad other factors are different from one child to the next, even in the same family -- predicting a childâ€™s educational success in the context of a model and probabilities, to me, doesnâ€™t make sense. Averages are just averages, and I just feel that one canâ€™t generalize or predict one studentâ€™s future outcome based on a historical average. Yes, lower API schools have lower performing students, but will every student that goes there learn less? Will every student at a high API school be more successful in the real world than their lower API school peers? I just donâ€™t think itâ€™s a black and white yes or no answer on that. In my 17 years in the corporate world Iâ€™ve worked with brilliant people, some with a Stanford MBA pedigree and some with just a BA from Chico, and Iâ€™ve also worked with complete boneheads that had Stanford degrees. Just my opinion.
Someone who excels and does well at a lower ranking school â€“ would they have done even better at a â€œbetterâ€ school? You can make a speculation, and it might be logical on paper, but I havenâ€™t seen any empirical study yet that proves that. Hence, I donâ€™t buy that argument right now â€“ Iâ€™m certainly open to changing my opinion, though, especially if youâ€™re a teacher, or researcher in education and can prove that theory.
I also donâ€™t believe educators denigrate the testing â€“ remember, though, these are weighted averages. A school with an API of 800 might have some students scoring at 1000 and some at 600. I donâ€™t believe teachers blame socio-economic factors, but those factors sure do seem deeply rooted in the lower scoring demographic and schools. Check out this article for some interesting reading: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-op-dustup28nov28,0,813168
As to where a parent will encourage their child to go, I just donâ€™t think anyone can assume how a decision like that is likely to go â€“ some parents would recommend a Hayward State because they canâ€™t afford the tuition costs of a UND or Stanford. Or, a student may choose a state school over a private one because the state school offers a better program for their major, or because their older sibling went to the state school, or their girlfriend is going there. Every studentâ€™s situation is different. Again, Iâ€™m not claiming to be any kind of expert â€“ these are merely my opinions based on firsthand experience that I mentioned earlier, and in talking with clients daily/weekly/yearly about school district decisions. Happy New Year!