A new school is here and that means everyone is already talking about the latest rankings.
Parents, teachers and students know that school rankings need to be taken with a grain of salt. Each ranking system uses a different methodology and emphasizes certain factors over others and none can communicate things like individual experiences, special services, facilities, or extracurricular activities.
Case in point: four different ranking sites, four different number one schools:
All of the above are focused on public schools but do include charter schools, which can be an important consideration for families moving to the area. Charter schools are usually available to students in several nearby towns based and base admissions on a combination of application, eligibility and lottery.
All of these well-publicized school ratings are certainly not the whole picture but can be a starting point for more research and conversations with local families and administrators.
Whether a potential buyer will have children in the local school system or not, it is important to at least take school ratings into consideration for a real estate purchase. Districts do move up and down in the rankings over the years but those districts (rather than individual schools) that are consistently towards the top of the list tend to benefit from better-appreciating real estate markets than others.
A Realtor.com study done in 2016 found that homes in districts rated as a 9 or 10 by greatschools.org were an average of 49% more expensive than those rated a as 6 or less. Of course, property taxes and consequently school spending tend to be higher in these areas also which provides the public schools with more resources to be successful.
Public school quality is just one factor of many including home price, commute, community, etc that buyers have to weigh as part of the whole picture and most home buyers have to prioritize their non-negotiables.
Luckily, regardless of which town you choose, there are no wrong choices; Massachusetts is fortunate to have, as a state, the highest rated public schools in the country