Finding the 'best schools'

In my current job I am sometimes charged with the plea to help someone find a house in a neighborhood with "good schools". Hmm... this is a toughy for me since I don't have any kids yet. In the Madison area I have attended Deerfield, McFarland, and Oregon at various times in my life. I don't really know which one was the "best". As a kid I just wanted to make friends and go out and play. Then as I grew a little older I realized that I liked school. I mean, I liked learning new things that were interesting. I find that even today I continue learning everyday and I enjoy it.

I am working right now with a home buyer who is moving to the Madison area from out of town and she told me that her number one top priority is "great schools". As a Realtor, I need to be careful what I recommend so that I don't violate any license laws. Nonetheless I set out to assist my client in the best way that I can. I am fortunate to work in a very reputable company with over 200 other real estate agents. So, I utilized my technological email skills and asked them what they would recommend. This seemed like a reasonable thing to do since I don't have any kids yet and I have only a limited viewpoint of school districts in the suburbs.

A host of replies came back to me. Some people recommended different school districts, some gave words of caution so that I don't violate any laws, one referenced an article from Madison Magazine, and some suggested various websites such as:,,and Then I figured that maybe I should go to the public school districts main website and I came across the Wisconsin Education Association Council website. They believe that every kid deserves a great school, which I thought was a good message. Out of all these great recommendations I'm not sure if I came away with the exact answers I wanted, but it was certainly better than what I had before.

Then I got to thinking a little more about schools in general....