The Wire, Test Scores And Judging Schools

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I recently finished Season 4 of The Wire, a television show that ran from 2002-2008. Referring to The Wire simply as a “”television show”” is a little bit like introducing Michael Jordan as just a “”basketball player””, or The Rolling Stones simply as a “”rock and roll band””, but it is what it is. If you have not experienced The Wire, then you need to make it a priority. That being said, Season 4 focuses on the Baltimore Public School System, and the players that shape the landscape: the students, teachers, parents, administrators, politicians and test scores.I won’t be spoiling anything for you by mentioning that the test scores play a big part in the picture.

I’m a Realtor. I know very little about classroom instruction or educational policy.  I do, however, spend a substantial amount of time with home buyers, many of whom want to know about schools. Here’s what I tell them: Do Not Rely On Test Scores. Doing so is lazy, over-simplistic and misleading. Considering the recent Atlanta Public School cheating scandal, this should be fairly obvious. But it’s not. Especially when the city’s leading newspaper’s “”Home Finder”” has an education section that showcases school test scores from 2008, and statistics from the Georgia Department of Education from 2006.

Buying a home is a big deal. Don’t rely solely on test scores. If your child might one day go to school in a particular district, you need to look beyond what a state-wide exam tells you. Visit the school, talk to parents who send their children there, talk to teachers, get to know more about the PTA. Learn how the school relates to other schools that are located within close proximity with homes in a comparable price point. Bottom line, do whatever you need to understand the full picture.

The juice is worth the squeeze… as is The Wire.



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Jon Effron is widely regarded as one of the leading Realtors in Atlanta, working with both buyers and sellers throughout the metro area to maximize their real estate investments. In 2014, Jon was the #1 individual agent at Keller Williams Intown, one of the largest brokerages in Intown Atlanta. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Jon was the Vice President of Development at Tujay Group, an Atlanta real estate development firm. His career pre-real estate included stints at, eGroups (now Yahoo! Groups) and Elite Traveler magazine, where he served as the Vice President of Marketing.