Colorado School Report Cards Are Out

This week the state released the annual School Accountability Report. The Colorado Department of Education keeps some pretty good information on their web site (www.cde.state.co.us). They have tons of stats on every school (not just district) in the state, and this report kind of sums things up. One of the first criteria (after price range!) we recommend to buyers when looking for a home, is the school district. Everyone has to decide for themselves what is the most important aspect of that, and raw test scores are certainly not the whole picture. But the summary report in the Gazette on Tuesday (when this report was released) had some interesting tidbits.
1. On scale from Low to Excellent, some school districts came in with every school either High or Excellent, while others did not have a single school at that level. Academy D20 had all High and Excellent except for their alternative high school, Aspen Valley. Cheyenne Mountain D12 had all Excellent, except for Pinon Valley and Skyway were “only” rated High. The same for Lewis Palmer D38, only Grace Best and Palmer Lake Elementary were rated High, all their other schools were rated Excellent. Falcon district 49 had quite a few schools rate High, but no schools achieved Excellent. Harrison D2 had only one school that even rated High (James Irwin Charter School), and no schools that were rated Excellent. D11 has a huge number of schools, and only 6 were rated excellent. Of their 5 high schools, 3 were rated High (Palmer, Coronado and Doherty), and 2 were rated Average (Mitchel and Wasson)
2. Charter Schools (which we have been involved with for 13 years, my wife teaches at the Classical Academy) continued overall to do quite well, but it depended on the theme. The “academically rigorous” schools that include (for example) Cheyenne Mountain Charter, The Classical Academy, Monument Academy, Rocky Mountain Classical Academy, Colorado Springs Academy, Colorado Springs Early Colleges, etc all were rated High or Excellent. The more experimental and / or alternative schools did not do quite as well.
3. While there is not a really great set of statistics to back this up, the average home prices in these areas correlates pretty well with the school achievement levels. Cheyenne Mountain Schools District D12 has the highest home prices (avg $518k this year), Lewis Palmer D38 the 2nd highest ($411k), and Academy School District 20 the 3rd highest ($339). D49 was $233k, while D11 was only $203k. Which came first, home prices or school performance? Conventional wisdom and some national statistical analysis shows socioeconomic levels play a huge part in educational achievement. Where the parents are wealthier and better educated, the kids usually follow suit with better test scores.

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