Furnishing your outdoors? Don’t take a final decision without considering all your options. If you want to maximize the use of your outdoor area, the right kind of furniture is a must. Many people shop with beauty in mind only to realize that the furniture they bought lacks functionality. Don’t let that happen to you.

So, what’s the skinny on rattan furniture?

Natural rattan furniture is made of wicker or rattan fiber. Rattan fiber is the oldest natural fiber that is being used to make furniture today. Rattan is somewhat similar to bamboo but is not hollow in the middle. Therefore, it should not be confused with bamboo furniture. Rattan fiber is braided together to form pieces of furniture.

Natural rattan furniture looks stunning and lasts fairly long. It is quite durable and cost effective. However, being natural, the fiber is vulnerable to damage and rot over time. Synthetic rattan furniture on the other hand, looks like the real things but has several benefits over natural rattan. It lasts long and is weather resistant. It does not absorb moisture and thus offers good value for money.

Rattan furniture is best suited for the outdoors because it looks natural and is lightweight. In fact, rattan is known for gracing patios, gardens and balconies. Its rustic facade makes these pieces feel right at home out of doors. Since rattan is pliable, it can be molded into different shapes and intricate designs are easily made. To purchase eye-catching pieces, select a manufacturer who offers great craftsmanship.

Rattan furniture is a good idea for those areas that are prone to rough use. So, if you have rambunctious little ones at home, you do not have to hold them back around rattan furniture. The lightweight pieces do not topple heavily on children or cause any damage to the flooring.

Any piece of furniture that you use in an area that is frequently visited must be lightweight as well as solid. Rattan is lightweight and therefore easy to handle. At the same time, high quality pieces are solid and will not get toppled in the wind. Sounds like the kind of furniture you want in your patio?

Rattan furniture requires low maintenance. Unlike other natural materials that need to be treated with oil and preservatives, Rattan lasts for an amazing amount of time without maintenance. Just dust the pieces with a nice brush and they will look as good as new. In case of dirt, wiping with a wet cloth does the trick.

Fortunately, for all its benefits, rattan furniture is economical and cost effective. It is much cheaper than wood and lasts almost just as long. All the latest design trends are easily available in rattan, which makes it easy to dress up the room using rattan. So, if you are on a limited budget, desire a natural, outdoorsy look and want furniture that lasts, go for rattan. You won’t regret it!



School rankings based only on the results of standardized tests don’t give students, teachers, administrators, or parents the whole story about how well the school in question is meeting the needs of their students. We all want to make sure that students are performing well. If they aren’t then steps should be taken to help the students improve; however, rankings don’t provide enough information to conclude that schools are accomplishing this goal or not.

School Rankings Should Include Student Backgrounds

Since the standardized tests only provide a snapshot of how a student performed when the testing was being conducted, why is it being used as the basis for rating or ranking schools? We all want and need to know that students are being given every opportunity to get a quality education, and rankings based on test scores don’t really show improvement in student performance over the entire year.

Instead of basing rankings on the results of standardized tests alone, include some information about the student’s background into the mix. Other factors, such as the parents’ income and educational levels, do play a part in how well their children perform in school. Whether the students are being taught in their first language also makes a difference in their performance in school, so that should be part of the information gathered when we are looking at school rankings.

If a family moves a lot, either from school to school or district to district, that may play a role in how well students perform at school. Whether parents are able to get (and keep) steady jobs is also a factor, and school rankings that only look at the students’ performance on standardized tests are missing these vital pieces of information.

Look at How Well Schools Serve Student Needs, Not Just School Rankings

A better way to get meaningful school rankings is to look at how well schools meet the needs of their students. When the socioeconomic factors are included, then we get a better picture of which schools really should be ranked high on the list. Then we can examine what strategies those successful schools are using to improve the learning experience for all students.

With so much emphasis being given to school rankings, some schools are encouraging parents to keep children at home when the tests are being conducted. This practice is being done in cases where there is concern about a student not performing well, and affecting the school ranking for their particular school. School should be about much more than test results and which kids can help to keep their schools at or near the top. It’s supposed to be about learning and I am afraid we lost track of that idea somewhere along the way.