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New Jersey looks pretty impressive here

New Jersey may be famous for Snooki, Tanning Mom, and generally being the butt of a million jokes, but according to a new report, it’s the number ONE best state to raise a kid in. Released by the Foundation for Child Development, the annual Child Well Being Index (CWI) is a state-by-state comparison of quality of life for kids. Fist pump?

The report weighs 28 indicators in seven categories, from family economic well-being and health to emotional/spiritual well-being. Curious to know where your state stacks up?

You can read the entire Child Well Being Index for all the details, but here are some of the highlights: Overall, the report found that higher levels of child well-being are directly related to tax rates and the amount of money available for social and education programs. Quelle shock. The South and Southwest on the whole did the worst, while the East Coast and upper Midwest dominated the top 10. The West Coast didn’t score so fabulously either — my beloved home state of California only ranked at number 30. The five states with the BEST child well-being scores are …

1. New Jersey. I must say I’m not totally surprised. Though I never would have thought it when I moved here a decade ago, the Garden State has a lot going for it. In the CWI, New Jersey placed in the top 10 in five categories, and ranks at #1 for “social relationships,” which looks at the number of children in single parent families and whether or not children have “moved in the past year.” (Also please note: Many of those Jersey Shore kids are from Staten Island, NYC.)

2. Massachusetts. Also in the top 10 in five domains, MA came first in both the education attainment and community engagement (meaning attendance in school and prevalence of young adults voting) categories. The Kennedys must be proud!

3. New Hampshire. While doing very well over all, NH came in 45th in the emotional/spiritual domain, which factors in suicide rates and how often kids attend religious services.

4. Utah. The only western state in the top 10, Utah ranked first in the safe/risky behavior category, which looks at factors like prevalence of underage smoking and sex. (Am I the only one not surprised by this result?)

5. Connecticut. Back to the East Coast, CT ranked tops in the economic category — no shock there, right Stepford Wives?

The five worst states, from least bad to absolute worst: Nevada, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and — number 50 out of 50 — New Mexico.

Today the US News & World Report announced it has awarded Basking Ridge’s Ridge High School it’s Gold Medal for academic performance.  Ridge is the 5th ranked public school in the state and 14th overall among all New Jersey High schools.

Bernards High in Bernardsville ranked #33 in the same report, also an excellent showing by an excellent school, one that shares resources with Ridge.  West Morris Mendham came in at #40.

For more details, here’s the link to the report:

Read the rest of this entry »

More good news for local real estate demand: Ridge High School Ranked #8 by US News and World Report.  Read the whole thing.

We have had great recognition of our local public schools by buyers moving into the area.  Add our train line and convenient location near Routes 78 & 287, and our quality of life, and you have a great formula for keeping demand steady for the Somerset Hills towns.

RIDGE HIGH SCHOOL RANKED By Newsweek 1ST IN NEW JERSEY PUBLIC SCHOOLS, 3rd overall in NJ and #194 Out Of More Than 1600 Top High Schools in the Nation

Bernards High is ranked #359

Great showings by both schools. A key reason why real estate sales here in the Somerset Hills are relatively strong is the quality of our public school system. Congratulations to the teachers, parents and kids.

When Penny and I moved here 22 years ago, one of our key reasons for choosing Basking Ridge was the excellent school system.  Good “move”.  Now that we’ve put our two children through the school system, we can look back and thank our blessings.  They left the Basking Ridge (more properly, Bernards Township) school system well prepared for college academic life.

Our school system has been recognized many times before, but it’s always nice to see another, especially from Forbes Magazine.

When his job was moved from Redondo Beach, Calif., to landlocked Peapack, N.J., J. T. Crowley and his wife, Tammy, weren’t concerned about crossing the country or leaving his beachfront home office behind. Like most parents, they were worried about finding a house they could afford in a town with the very best schools for their kids.

After a week-long search spanning three counties, the family happily settled on a home in Basking Ridge in Somerset County, N.J. No wonder: Its public high school boasts a 100% graduation rate, administers Advanced Placement exams in 22 subjects, and in 2009 96% of students scored at or above proficient on the Language Arts Literacy and 96% scored at or above proficient on the math exam of the New Jersey High School Proficiency Assessment, well above state averages.

They didn’t skimp on housing, either, swapping a small three-bedroom, two-bathroom, ocean-front property for a five-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom colonial on an acre of land. There’s water, too, a pond for skating in the winter and swimming in the summer.

Here’s the article:

The Best Schools For Your Housing Buck

As they say, read the whole thing.