School of Thought at TIME is back from its summer break and so are my kids, who are starting kindergarten. I don’t generally write about them on this blog or in TIME and that’s not going to change but my wife and I made an exception this week. Hope it’s useful, interesting, or both.
I’m a policy guy, not a daddy blogger. As a general rule, I don’t discuss my children in this column or on my Eduwonk blog, but when TIME asked me to write about how my wife (who also works in education) and I chose our kids’ elementary school, I figured why not. We are constantly besieged by friends and colleagues about how we went about picking a school, as if there was some secret education-analyst methodology I was privy to. I wish that were true! But even though I don’t have access to the secret sauce, I do have a pretty good sense of how to kick a school’s tires. Plus, I think it would be a shame not to use all of our parental angst for the greater good. And so, as our kids start a new year at a public school, here are some lessons from our school-hunting experience that might help guide yours.