Lilac City Real Estate

Comparing Schools

Magazine Provides Answers about Schools for Realtor

Jim Grapes - June 5, 2008

 

As a Realtor in Spokane I'm asked many questions.  When people look for a new home they have a lot of questions.  Every home shopper I've met wants to know everything about their prospective neighborhood to.  Answering these questions is a big part of what we Realtors do.

 

I can answer some of these questions, but others I am not.  Fair Housing Laws protect homebuyers from various types of discrimination.  For example, Federal and State laws forbids me from helping a homebuyer find a home in a particular neighborhood based upon the buyer's preference of racial demographics.  This is known as "steering" and its a bad idea even if requested by the client.  I agree with Fair Housing Laws and do my best to comply with them.

 

One important question I'm frequently asked is, "How are the schools in this area?"  Potential home buyers often want to find areas with the best public schools if there are children in the family.  I want to be helpful to my clients, so I help them find the answers they are seeking.  However, I avoid offering my personal opinions concerning specific schools.  As a real estate professional in Spokane, I would rather provide facts gathered and presented by third parties and let the person shopping homes for sale in Spokane make up their own mind.

 

This makes good sources of objective information concerning the quality of schools very important to real estate sales associates and to homebuyers.  Usually, I rely on official information from the Washington State department of education.  In Washington this department is called the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).  OSPI publishes a report card on each school district and anyone who wants to look can find it on the internet at:  http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us 

 

The Washington State Report Card provides a lot of information about each school district in our state.  However, it doesn't compare school districts of schools with each other.  It merely displays WASL Results, Student Demographics and Teacher Information.  It would be up to the interested person to manually compare the data between various schools districts.  This is why I enjoy finding articles in newspapers and magazines that compare schools.  Sometimes you can find regional comparisons. 

 

Newsweek Magazine recently published a very helpful article for those seeking the top schools in a particular area.  On May 17, 2008 they published an article titled: "The Top of the Class, The complete list of the 1,300 top U.S. high schools."  In this article Newsweek gives people what they are craving to know about education, they actually compare schools.  Search Spokane Real Estate.

 

It is difficult to compare schools and it's nice to see a method in print.  Newsweek Magazine basically ranks schools by a ratio of advanced placement exams (Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Cambridge tests) taken in that school divided by the number of graduating seniors in May or June.  The higher the ratio the higher the school ranks.  They count advanced placement tests taken by juniors and seniors, so a school could have a ration of 1.0 if half the juniors and seniors take one advanced placement exam.  See the article for more information on the methodology.

 

Spokane County has three schools in the Newsweek list and Washington State has twenty-four.  The top public schools in Spokane County are Mount Spokane (1.235) in Mead, Lewis & Clark (1.223) in Spokane and Joel E Ferris (1.181) in Spokane. The top school in Washington had a ratio of 6.717 advanced placement exams per senior the top school in Spokane had 1.235 advanced placement exams per senior so there is still plenty of room at the top.  Still this is a comparative indicator of the quality of schools here in Spokane County, Washington State and the Nation.  I as a Realtor am glad to have it.