Sunday, July 5, 2015

Linn-Mar or Liberty?

Some friends are contemplating moving and are considering the Linn-Mar and Iowa City school districts. They are particularly wondering about the quality of the high school experience in each district, as their kids are approaching high school age. If they move to the ICCSD, they would probably be in the North Corridor area and so ultimately at Liberty High, and I realize that it’s hard to compare Linn-Mar High with a high school that doesn’t exist yet. Nonetheless, they do have to make a decision. What say you, readers? Linn-Mar or Liberty, and why?


IC Local said...

Here is the AP Index for the schools in Iowa:

Linn Mar is rated below IC schools and CR schools are top rated. Not that everyone wants to be an AP scholar. But if that is a path they think their child might go down it might be something to consider.

If you friends wanted to join the ICCSD I would recommend they have their kids go to CHS or WHS. North Central is not very diverse student body wise. They also do not offer as many after school clubs as NW and SE do. I feel that it will be awhile until Liberty is fully in swing based upon NC.

Another Newbie said...

I think the schools themselves will be similar and will draw from similar populations. I'd make the decision based on the school district. L-M and IC are very different and operate according to very different philosophies. Based on what they want for their child(ren), which one fits them better?

Our family was in this position almost exactly a year ago. It isn't an easy decision. Best of luck to them!

Chris said...

Thanks, IC Local. I'll pass that along. Here's the clickable link.

Can't resist adding this editorial comment: I don't put much stock in this latest trend of ranking high schools based on participation in AP courses. First, I have some doubts about the value of AP courses (see critiques here and here) as opposed to honors courses designed by the teachers. But I'm also concerned about the manipulability of the measure: as soon as participation in AP courses becomes the measure of a "good" high school, the school has an incentive to encourage kids to take AP courses regardless of whether it's a good fit for the particular kid.

I've heard, for example, that in Cedar Rapids, so many kids have been put into AP courses that those courses can no longer be as challenging as they're supposed to be. I've also heard that the push to put kids in AP courses there has had a negative effect on the remaining (non-AP) courses, in which expectations have fallen even lower. Those effects can be compounded if the administration pressures teachers not to give low grades even when they are merited (because that would make the school look bad!).

I'm worried that our district is also starting to chase rankings in that same way, as I wrote here.

Chris said...

Thanks, Another Newbie: I know that my friends are looking into those differences. Can you tell us anything about how the two districts' philosophies differ?

Mandy said...

I have been to the L-M sporting facilities a few times. Holy cow! They have certainly invested millions. I have no idea if they invest in the arts and academics the way they do sports but their facilities are on state of the art and better than the smaller colleges in the area. We're most familiar with the swimming venue. Spectacular.