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Listen: Boston Parents And Teachers Answer The Question Of What Makes A Good School

Using a projector, Jodi Doyle points out shadows on the ceiling to students of her preschool class at the Eliot K-to-8 Innovation School in Boston's North End. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Using a projector, Jodi Doyle points out shadows on the ceiling to students of her preschool class at the Eliot K-to-8 Innovation School in Boston’s North End. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

What makes a good school? For each parent and their child, the answer may be different, and takes into account a wide array of factors. Does the school place appropriate focus on a curriculum outside of academics? How passionate are its teachers? Can it accommodate the schedule of working parents? To that end, “good” is a subjective term, but when asking parents and teachers from around Boston the question, “What makes a good school?” some common themes arose:

What do you think makes a good school? Share in the comments, or hear what others said on our Learning Lab blog.

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  • MBrown

    I feel it is simple. A “good” school is one with “good students.” The real question is this: what is a “good student?” That is pretty simple, too. Simply put, no matter how it is defined, a “good student” will most likely have come from a family that values education. After that, everything will fall into place: deferred gratification, knowing hard work will beget success, respect for teachers (even bad ones) and on and on. Some will say that “under served” students may lack these attributes due to their environment and I say “nonsense.” Nothing that makes a good student good costs a single penny. It is what the student brings to the table—what he has learned between ages 0 and 5—that matters. And that comes from his parents and no one else. Little else is important.
    In Metro Atlanta the schools are huge, county-wide institutions with 100,000 or more students. The geographic range is such that the schools spill into “good” neighborhoods and “bad”ones. They are all given equal equipment, equal teachers (until the talented ones realize they are unappreciated—if not disdained—and leave to where the good students are). There are, however, schools that excel by any metric and ones that are violent, toxic wastelands. The difference? See the first paragraph above. Sure there will be those kids from good homes who will shoot themselves in their feet and the occasional kid from a family of drop outs who becomes a Rhodes scholar. Such anecdotes, however, are meaningless when discussing broad trends.

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