(Shaw Nielsen /For The Washington Post)

Class Struggle columnist Jay Mathews gives parents nine things to consider when trying to distinguish one school from the next:

1. Attend a school’s PTA meeting before you enroll. Nobody is going to toss you out. At these meetings, said Montgomery County parent John Hoven, “meet as many parents as you can, get phone numbers, call them later and ask who else would be good to talk to.” If you think the school is for you, go ahead, jump the gun and “become an active, participating member of the PTA” even if you are not yet a resident, he said. The parents of the students already enrolled will be grateful for your participation and for your endorsement of their own choice of school.

Read the rest of Jay’s column to find out why demographics may not matter as much as you’d think, and why it's important to sit in on a class at a school you’re considering.

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