Hello, and welcome to this episode of the Planning Period Podcast, I’m your host as always, Brad Shreffler.
This week on the show, I’m giving you some updates on some things happening with the show and with me personally. This is going to be a brief episode, just so I can keep you all informed of what’s going on.
Two days ago, I got a call from the company I rent my home from and they informed me that they would not be offering us a lease renewal when our current one is up. Which is at the end of January. So, the last 48 hours, and I suspect the next month and a half, have been an absolute whirlwind of activity.
Ignoring the limited timeline issues, it is tremendously challenging finding a place to live. First, obviously, you have to be able to afford it, and that it meets your criteria for number of rooms, bathrooms, open floor plan, kitchen counter style, carpet or hardwood floors, etc., etc. etc. I cannot speak for other parts of the county, but in Central Florida, that’s already a tough challenge.
The bigger challenge, and the one more interesting to this podcast I believe, is picking schools. How do you determine the quality of a school when you’re looking at where to send you students?
A lot of time has been spent on this podcast talking about testing, often with a focus on its impact on students and teachers. However, with this situation thrust upon me, I find myself thinking about the even larger impact of testing. If you go on a real estate website to lookup houses for rent or sale, it will list the schools that students in that home would go to. It typically includes a school rating for these schools, sometimes just the state assigned school grade, but most often from GreatSchools.org. Great Schools rates schools on a 1 to 10 scale based on ratings in academics, equity, and environment.
As a parent, this seems like a great thing. I want my kid to go to the best school, I find a school that is a 10, I buy a house there. This will come to no shock to my audience, but even on my wife’s income and my own teacher salary, we cannot afford to buy any house available in a zone that would go to a 10 school. There are two different problems laced in that statement, one about teacher pay and another about socioeconomic’s impact on school grades.
But, these ratings are more or less arbitrary. The school I teach at for example. This is, in my opinion, the best school I have ever worked at. The staff build relationships with students, the admin support teachers, we have limited high-level referrals and discipline issues, and we are A-rated by the state testing numbers. I cannot think of a school I would rather send my son to when he goes to middle school. And we are rated a 6 out of 10 on GreatSchools.
At the end of the day, what more can I go on though? I don’t know teachers at every school in the area to ask, and certainly the average parent doesn’t. You can go on little more than these falsely-objective criteria. So, these school rankings effectively keep the socioeconomics of the area from changing. The wealthiest parents will continue to send their students to the high rated schools because they can afford the houses. And home values go up as a result of the high rated schools, blocking others from being able to come in. It’s messed up.
Anyways, that is just a little taste of where my head has been at the last couple of days. With that as context, I do want to let you know that Planning Period Podcast will be taking a hiatus for the next few weeks. It is not over, I promise you that, but I am going to take at least the rest of December off and probably some time in January. With all this going on, plus holidays, some travel plans, and end of term at school, there just is not time for me to do interviews and produce episodes right now. But do not worry, I will be back in January and on my normal weekly schedule.
One other show update worth mentioning. For the last co