Madison Schools Ranked in National Top 10

With the new school year just starting, educators in town got some good news from CBS MoneyWatch, as Madison has been ranked one of the top 10 school districts in the country.

According to MoneyWatch, "Parents are flocking to 10 small towns around the country, all located on the outer rings of larger cities, to raise their children. But it's not the low crime rates, big backyards, and white picket fences that bring them here; it's the schools."

One of those school districts is Madison, ranked number nine in the top 10 list.

According to MoneyWatch, "Located along the Long Island Sound shoreline, Madison, Connecticut, might be a bit too far from New York City to be considered a suburb-it's nearly 100 miles away.

"The sea town is known for its extensive public beaches, including the state's longest, Hammonasset Beach State Park, and Surf Club Beach. The district has a GreatSchools rating of 10 (highest rating).''

The GreatSchools rating is on a 1 to 10 scale, where 10 is the highest and 1 is the lowest. Ratings are broken down into three categories: ratings 1 to 3 signal that the school is "below average,'' 4 to 7 indicate "average,'' and 8 to 10 are "above average.''

The foundation of the GreatSchools rating reflects how well students do on standardized tests compared to other students in the state. The rating includes additional information on how much students are learning in a given year and how prepared they are for college.

There were several New Jersey and California towns in the top 10 list. Madison was the only Connecticut town listed.

MoneyWatch said, "Parents want to raise their children in these school districts, as evidenced by the high proportion of school-aged kids to preschool aged kids.''

In areas that have more preschoolers than school-aged kids, parents are moving out of the area when it comes time to send their kids to school. That kind of trend is typically seen in more urban areas, where parents are comfortable toting around toddlers but may not trust the public schools, according to MoneyWatch.

"There are many reasons why they might leave, but school quality definitely matters," said Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia, a real estate website.

After establishing the places where parents are moving in droves, Trulia compared the data to the school ratings on, the national school resource site where parents can read about and rate local schools.

Trulia found that the places on this list, such as Madison, coincidentally have nearly perfect ratings at, which rates schools by how well their students perform on standardized tests.

In addition to all of these places having high-quality schools, they shared other attributes, Kolko said.

"People look for more spread-out, not-as-dense areas," Kolko said. "People also look for more affordable neighborhoods, where they can get their own yard and their kids can have their own bedroom."

"Generally speaking, more attractive districts are more expensive; less expensive ones involve a longer commute," Kolko said. "For some parents, in a bigger city, it boils down to a choice between their kids' school and their commute."


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