Posts Tagged ‘Education’

GOODBYE API

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GOODBYE API

As most of us know the badly designed API system has been scrapped and at this time there is no replacement other than a totally stupid temporary process which can serve no purpose other than confusion.  This will produce a score for 2014 based on the average of the prior 3 years (2011, 1012, and 2013).

As the scores for each of these increased each year, it’s obvious that an average will be lower than the actual score for the latest year.

A typical parent is going to see that the score for 2014 was lower than 2013 and assume the school is going downhill.  WRONG.

To get a better feel for reality the parent should review the actual scores for the last 3 API years (2011/12/13), and if they show steady improvement it’s reasonable to assume that trend will continue.

Additional information is available from www.greatschools.org but, like the API method its scoring methodology is very simplistic and the user should read the guidelines for using its results and follow the advice they give.

MY ADVICE! Check out whatever scoring methods are available but assume that’s no more than 25% of the things you should do when evaluating a school. The rest, and most important activities, should be:

1.  Your personal visit to the school. They will welcome you with open arms.

2. Talking to parents in the area of the school.

NOTE: The final API replacement will be some variation of the Common Core Syllabus sponsored by the Federal Government. For the foreseeable future the details of this will be fought out by State and Federal politicians. It all reminds me of the description of a Camel as “A horse designed by a committee”.

GOODBYE API

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Say farewell to the API as you know it. Welcome to new era of accountability, with at least a couple years of confusion in between. English: San Elijo Hills Middle School

 

The release Thursday of the results on the state’s Academic Performance Index marks the end of a decade of judging student performance based on test scores alone. Within three years, California will have moved to a very different system in which scores on the newly introduced Common Core assessments and other state standardized tests will be but one spectrum in the prism for evaluating schools and districts. 

 

There will be new, multiple measures that could include high school and middle school graduation rates, rates of absenteeism, reclassification of English learners, passage on Advanced Placement exams or a mix of other indicators.

 

How these measures will fit together, and whether the can even be combined into a single index, will be the State Board of Educations challenge.

 

The law gives them till Oct 2015 to have it in place. 

 

 

 

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BAD DATA = FALSE RESULTS

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Consumers are constantly using the Internet to do research about planned purchases and that is particularly true for home buyers, but the accuracy of listing information is not guaranteed in most cases.
Popular consumer real estate listing sites such as Trulia, Redfin, and Zillow get their Listing Data from the Real Estate Industries Multiple Listing data bases i.e. www.mlslistings.com However, They are not regulated and do not keep the data up to date, typically updating every 7-9 days.
MLS Listings is a tightly regulated industry data base system which dynamically updates itself in real time 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.
If you like flashy graphics and multiple advertisements/solicitations then stick with the Zillows of this world.
If you want accurate data with no adverts then your only source is your local MLS site. In my case that’s www.mlslistings.com.
You can easily find your local service by Googling “xxxxxmls”

THE OTHER 10 COMMANDMENTS

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When Applying for a Mortgage Loan
1. Thou shall not change jobs or become self-employed.
2. Thou shall not buy a car, truck or van unless you plan to live in it.
3. Thou shall not use your credit cards or let your payments fall behind.
4. Thou shall not spend the money you have saved for your down payment.
5. Thou shall not buy furniture before you buy your house.
6. Thou shall not originate any new inquiries on your credit report.
7. Thou shall not make any large deposits into your bank account.
8. Thou shall not change bank accounts.
9. Thou shall not co-sign for anyone.
10. Thou shall not purchase anything until after the closing.

Conversation With A Buyer

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The following is a result of a recent inquiry from a subscriber to the Trulia Voices website. He wanted my opinion on a purchase he was considering. He had picked up a lot of useful information but did not have the experience of the actual steps involved which allows an expert to place multiple bits of knowledge into a clear context, and then into a plan.

                                                             ____________ — _______________

Hello James,

        You are obviously doing a lot of homework yourself, as I would prior to deciding on alternate strategies for a medical problem. However, in both cases accurate information is required in order to make the optimal decision.

I believe you have reached the point of needing accurate current data, placed in its correct context, in order to decide how to proceed.

For example, let’s look at the scenario you described in your question.

Purchase price – $360,000

Loan $288,000 – o.k.

20% down – o.k. but maybe not the best choice, as you are already aware.

6.00% interest – Wrong. Worst case is 5%. (A $200 per month difference in payment)

Property Taxes about $300 per month – Wrong. On $375,000 will be $390:63 per month. A $90:63 difference.

Hazard Insurance $100/m – Wrong. $60 per month is a good estimate. A $40 per month difference.

Just these few differences would allow you to buy up to $400,000 for the same monthly cost. This takes you into the Piedmont High School district with its much superior education system.

You’ve taken the time to build your knowledge and vocabulary well. Now you need real facts and numbers in order to become an educated buyer in a market place where getting it wrong can be very expensive.

I’m not going to base important decisions about my health on “free” research and advice from the Web. I want the alternatives to be explained by a professional, and specifically as they apply to me, not some mythical Mr. Average.

I suggest you take a similar approach and hire a Realtor who will explain the options available to you, and help you understand the pro’s and con’s of each one.

Sorry if this seems “preachy” but I feel very strongly about the mass of incorrect and misleading advice and information being spread throughout Radio, T/V, “News”papers, Magazines, and the Internet. These sources are not interested in supplying information relevant to you and your situation. Their sole motivation is to sell advertising.

Why not hire your own professional who can advise and inform you based on your unique circumstances, at this specific time, and with regard to your medium and loan term plans.

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Cupertino Schools Reputation-Co-incidence?

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Most Silicon Valley residents consider Cupertino schools are the reason why people will gladly spend more for their house than for a similar one in the surrounding Cities. I agree.

However, here’s a brief excert from a Mercury News Article discussing how different School Districts are handling the swinging budget cuts they are getting as the State works on cutting it’s huge deficit. http://www.mercurynews.com/cupertino/ci_15090121

“The exception to continued cuts is the Cupertino Union School District. A teacher union agreement to take furlough days, plus an unprecedented community campaign that raised more than $2 million, saved 107 teacher jobs and will preserve 20-to-1 class-size ratios in primary grades”.


Anyone aware of other school districts where all interested parties are co-operating to ensure the level of education is treated as the most important factor?

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California Buyers Tax Credit – Good or Bad?

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Speaking as a Realtor I should welcome the new California tax credit for certain homebuyers. Instead I condemn it as nothing more than a subsidy for lenders, the building industry and the brokers/agents (including me) handling their transactions.

California is a virtually bankrupt State with the 3rd worst educational system in the Country.

To be allocating $200 million to such a program, while simultaneously imposing huge cuts on education, seems to me the height of irresponsibility.

In practice this program will chiefly benefit people who would be buying anyway, and steer them toward new construction. I don’t see this as anything Realtors should be cheering about.

Banks and Builders however are welcoming it with huge sighs of relief.

Just my opinion.

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