Peg Tyre has recently published a highly useful book, The Good School. In it she cautions parents that there is no such thing as a perfect school, and even great schools may be hard to find; she argues that they should be happy to find a good school in their neighborhood, and shows how to find one and how to make it better once you've committed to it. Because school choices are steadily increasing, this book is timely.
Parents will inspect to see that the schools under consideration are safe, clean, and conveniently located, and that the pupils, teachers, and managers in them are happy. After these initial considerations, parents should be informed about the schools' curricula, to be assured that their children will not be left behind by the lack of ambition and rigor in the school leaders' educational vision. For example, if a school doesn't start algebra until 9th grade, those students are already finished, in the final outcomes they can expect, with regard to being competitive for selective universities: they won't study calculus in high school, whereas all pupils at One World Secondary School will study at least some calculus, some as early as the tenth grade. Again, if they don't start learning a new second language before high school, they will not be ready, for example, for Advanced Placement exams even by the end of 12th grade, much less be ready for content instruction in another subject through the medium of that second language, which is standard practice in European Schools and is also what we are planning for at One World Secondary.