Ranking schools is kind of crazy. Depending on who you ask and what they think is important, a great school can get a terrible rating while a poor school gets a terrific score.

School ranking websites aren't much help, either.

I moved to Lake Charles in 2016, and my wife and I enrolled our kid in 4th grade at Henry Heights Elementary School. He went on to finish 5th grade as Henry Heights' Student of the Year this past May (#DadBrag), and he loved everything about his school. We liked it, too. It was very nice, with an attentive, friendly staff, excellent programs, and a generally great learning environment. However, according to its GreatSchools ranking that's based solely on standardized test scores, it only has an average rating of 5 out of 10. But based on Niche's more extensive criteria, it has a better score of B-. Then again, over on SchoolDigger, it only gets 2 stars out of 5, and they don't even bother telling you what data they consider important.

Trying to rank schools is madness, and all the conflicting scores make settling on the right choice for your family a difficult process.

Which is where talking to other parents comes in, along with people who have taught in the local school system. It's how my wife and I chose the school for our kid, because education cannot be easily quantified and calculated and jammed into a pie chart like the quarterly sales report of a widget factory. The best these ratings can do is give you a vague idea of what some data point might mean for your kid. If it even means anything at all.

And that’s not even going into trying to compare schools between states, which would be sort of like comparing apples to oranges if apples were square and made of olive loaf, and oranges were purple and tasted like codfish. Impossible, basically.

To make things even more confusing, Louisiana has adopted Common Core, which means our schools are now held to a higher national standard that non-Common Core states don’t have to worry about. So, while some of those other states get to more or less make up their own rules and then pat themselves on the back for jumping over however low they've set the bar for themselves, our teachers and students are still adapting to the new, tougher national standards. And that takes time.

Now, with all that in mind, here are the Top 10 Public Elementary Schools in Lake Charles, as ranked by GreatSchools.