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Missing Left Sock Beast
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September 2010
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Missing Left Sock Beast [userpic]
Request for assistance

A friend of mine is moving to the Bay Area, and she would like to know if anyone can give her information about areas with good schools or, alternately, to know what schools to stay awy from. The kids are in elementary school right now. If you know, or if you know someone who would know, please share?



All I know so far is that Cupertino's school district is considered among the best in the country. Homes in the district are priced accordingly. Yowch.

Best of luck to your friend!


Not Oakland. :/ What else does she need to be near? Berkeley schools are okay depending on the school, Albany's are decent, Castro Valley's are decent, San Lorenzo's are decent. If you know what general part of the bay area is best for her, I can narrow it down.

I went to Albany High School, which was considered second-best in the East Bay at the time, second only to (IIRC) Piedmont. My stepdad went to Lowell High in San Francisco, which was quite good at the time. This is all pretty well out of date, though. Cupertino currently has the local rep for good schools in the South Bay, enough that it triggers a premium on property prices and rents.

She should call each county's (Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo--the Bay Area is huge--any idea where exactly she is looking to move) office of education and request any information they have about the school districts--they can also help her understand the best way to obtain information about particular schools within the county. I used to work for the Santa Clara County Office of Education and a big part of my job was putting together the big book of stats about school districts and assisting parents in using this information.

Each county determines the school district lines, each of which contains multiple schools. The school district itself is then responsible for setting the boundaries for individual schools. So, the county can help your friend with a map of the top-level school districts, but she would have to go to each school district to get a map of which schools serve which parts of the district.

One thing to look for is the number of non-English speakers in a school. Schools in California are now funded based on test scores. Non-English speakers tend to score lower. As a result, many elementary schools in the state that have a high number of non-native English speakers have eliminated (yes, eliminated) basic subjects like social studies and science in the lower grades in order to incorporate "language development" time (separate from English/spelling, etc.) in order to better prep their students for the tests. The school where my mom works has done this--the third grade students have no science, no social studies, no art, no music--all in the name of raising test scores to secure funding. That is one of the biggest issues in California schools right now--teaching to the tests. It is very sad and detrimental to all students and definitely something to look for when looking for a school district.

Oh, and the better a district is considered the more outrageous home prices and rental prices are going to be. It is all really expensive here, but it can go really, really high in the "prime" areas.

Edited at 2008-03-15 06:57 pm (UTC)

San Carlos, where I live, probably has good schools since "prestigious San Carlos school district!" is prominently featured on most of the homes-for-sale flyers in the area.

you particularly do NOT want East Side San Jose -- a lot of gang activity there.

the rest of what people are saying is true generally; The higher priced the area the better the schools. sad, but true.