“Aren’t the schools terrible?”
That’s one of the top questions I get when I tell people we’re moving to Hawaii.
Schooling was one of the first few things we thought about when we considered moving, even before Hawaii became our destination. I suppose that’s normal for any parent.
The fact that Hawaii was fully our choice made it a little more stressful than just following a job to a location and whatever it is the public schools have, that’s what you get. It’s our whim to take them to this spot.
We had both kids at AOL’s daycare since they were babies, and we’ve been spoiled with top-notch education and support. Our public schools are also fantastic here in Northern Virginia, and Mara had a great experience in kindergarten this year. Anything that feels like compromising their future is a really tough sell.
One thing we did to help address the concerns was another visit in January for housing and school reconnaissance (it’s a tough job). We asked a ton of questions to both local parents and real estate agents.
The general consensus: Somewhere between “yup, they suck” and “Not great, but not that bad.”
Some of the opinions included:
- Overall performance isn’t very good, but individual schools vary quite a bit
- If you stay involved, the kids will be fine
- The teachers aren’t too bad, but many kids there come in unprepared, so the overall performance of kids isn’t that great
- Many parents put their kids in private school, particularly in older grades
- Parents whose kids had been in the system suggested that if the kids go to the right school, they’ll be fine
One benefit of our January trip was finding what we think is the best elementary school in the area. It happens to be where we want to live anyhow, so we’re going to focus on renting in that area and giving the school a fair shot. Both kids are well-prepared and should do fine with anything decent for a year.
In the end, we’re giving the public schools a go. Kirsten and I both stay involved enough that we’ll work with the kids and school as necessary if there are any difficulties.
And if we have major problems? I guess that will make for some lively blog posts!
Photo By Jesse Gardner