If you have kids, then I assume that after home price, school system will be your top criteria. Regarding schools, many factors -- some of them dependant on the individual needs of your own child - go into deciding what school is best, of course. Anne Arundel County has several well-respect private schools; my personal favorite (based on what I know) is Severn School in Severna Park. Key School (near Annapolis), Indian Creek (Crownsville), Spalding (off of Rt. 97 south of Balt.) and Annapolis Area Christian also get good marks. I've heard more mixed reviews about St. Mary's (Annapolis), but I have no first-hand experience.
As for public schools, AA County has a mixed bag (to put it charitably). Right after college, and again while studying for the bar, I substitute taught at Arundel (west-central county), Annapolis, Broadneck (Arnold-area), South River (Edgewater), Severna Park (Severn River) and Old Mill (north central county) high schools. I am also an '88 Severna Park alum.
My experience was that Annapolis presented a very challenging and very segregated learning environment due to serious discipline problems and extreme socio-economic differences between student factions. I would not send my kids there without concrete evidence of significant improvement. In fact, it's why we moved to Arnold when we had our first child.
Old Mill, South River and Arundel had fewer discipline problems, from what I could discern, but the students were not particularly academic-oriented (although S.R. had more select classes with students who were much more motivated). I understand that Arundel has improved, however. I expect that both schools are so, so, today, but continue to hear negative reviews of Old Mill. So, you’ll want to research these carefully before moving into one of those school districts.
Broadneck and SP were head and shoulders above the rest, both academically and in terms of how the students and faculty seemed to feel about the school. SP students were somewhat more consistently academically oriented than Broadneck, but both seem like great schools. SP seems to have improved from the time I attended it, although both BN and SP will likely continue to have the drug/alcohol problems typical of a wealthy (and sometimes competitive/spoiled) suburban district. Even SP, however, would probably only be an average school, based on academic performance measures, when compared with public schools in Howard or Montgomery County.
"Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy, and the lash." - Sir Winston Churchill