Award Season: Who's getting good marks?

The Academy Awards will air this Sunday, March 4th, highlighting fabulous movies from 2018. I have some movies I'm really cheering for this year because I loved the character development or the storyline. What about you? What makes a movie one of your favorites of the year?

In 2016, Mad Max: Fury Road won a LOT of awards at the Oscars. I saw this movie, and although I was impressed by the strong female lead and innovative filming, I never thought I would come away from the Academy Awards feeling like I had completely misread the movie. As a matter of fact, after it won so many awards, I went home and re-rented the movie. What had I missed? What was so award-winning about Mad Max?

As I watched for the second time, I scrolled through the list of awards realizing, in fact, that the aspects that made this movie so “award-worthy” were not traits that mattered most to me. Best sound-mixing and best make-up, these qualities were not in my “best of” criteria list, though I understand they have value. Other movies I really enjoyed in 2016 (for example, The Martian and The Big Short), I loved because I was riveted by the stories and by the acting.

So, why on a blog about the economy, the environment, and educational options, am I talking about the Academy Awards? Movies can be a lot like schools and school districts. What matters most to someone as he or she considers the best place for a child might be different criteria than what matters to “critics” or “experts.”

Marvel and Star Wars movies were the top grossing films of 2016, and they were nowhere near the Oscars. But they were movies most people paid to see the minute they were released. Do I mean they were the best movies of the year? Not necessarily, but their box office totals show huge sums of people love these movies and keep coming back for more. I would argue the same goes for schools and their rankings.

What do school rankings mean? Are the scored elements in a school's ranking the things that matter most to your family? Maybe, for example, disabilites services and teacher-to-student ratio matter most to you. Like Mad Max, critics or experts might be awarding different criteria that are not a priority for you or your children.

Learn more about schools in your neighborhood, and see what the scorecard really says. If the “Star Wars” school is a better fit for your crew, don’t feel the need to love a “Mad Max” school that received the highest marks. Go with the list of priorities that is right for your child, your family, and your story.