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Old 06-26-2012, 12:12 PM
 
8,269 posts, read 10,204,708 times
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I don't want to go on a tangent, but it seems like you have some serious issues about where you grew up and some misconceptions about what all suburbs and all cities are like.

I came from a family that moved around a lot. I lived in a ton of different places, but it was pretty much always suburban. Most of the time, it was what you would call "close in" suburbs, kind of like Sandy Springs. Actually, when I lived in Atlanta for a couple of years as a child, it was in Sandy Springs....so you get the idea.

The thing about it is, most of these suburbs were different. For example, in Brentwood, Tennessee we had the perfect situation where everyone in the subdivision knew each other, the houses all butted up to each other and shared gigantic backyards, and the kids just left the house in the morning and came home for meals and at dark. Our parents always knew someone was keeping an eye on us even if they didn't know exactly where we were at any given time. We were generally riding bikes, playing sports outside, running around the neighborhood, whatever.

In Richardson, Texas, it was a similar situation. Everyone in the neigborhood rode bikes and there were sidewalks everywhere so you could ride wherever you wanted. Texas is also incredibly flat, so it was easy to ride even to the grocery store, record store, etc. So it had what you are describing as an urban feel, but it was in the suburbs. We could go anywhere we needed or wanted to. Unfortunately, almost everybody had a pool and a fenced in yard, so there weren't a lot of pick-up games or kids just running outside to see who was available. It was more "appointment" playing.

Then the other extreme was Coral Gables, Florida. That was a situation where nobody even knew their next door neighbors. You never saw kids outside playing and I don't even know what people did. Thankfully we only lived there for a year. It was my least favorite place outside of Houston, Texas, which was a similar experience.

What I'm trying to say is it sounds like you grew up in a crummy burb. You didn't miss out on adventures because you lived in a low density area, you missed out because you lived in a not fun area. Similarly, just because you're in a high density area doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be loaded with a constant supply of playmates and adventures. Every individual area needs to be judges on its individual merits, it can't be just lumped as high density or low density.

On a personal note, I think the best situation for most kids would be a bit of a mix. A place where houses have decent sized, but not fenced in yards so it's easy to see what kids are playing where. Then parents can keep an eye on them and kids can easily see who to go play with. But I think it's nice when it's insulated a bit from the urban core because kids are kids, they are going to ride bikes in the street and chase balls, so quiet streets are good for that. It's also nice if you live in a family-centric area because then there is more of a "village" to help with keeping eyes on the kids and fewer spaces of people who don't want anything to do with kids, are going to yell at them for walking in their yards, and so on.

 
Old 06-26-2012, 12:12 PM
 
1,250 posts, read 1,532,429 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big L View Post
All 'burbs aren't the same, especially depending on the area in question. For example, where I'm from (Los Angeles County) most folks in the suburbs have plenty of things within walking distance, have access to public transportation, and, unfortunately, deal with some of the same criminal issues as the folks in the city. I did my last two years of high school in West Covina. Within about a 5-10 minute walk, there were two supermarkets, several fast food spots (McDonalds, Burger King, Jack in the Box, Subway, Carl's Jr.), some other mom-and-pop types of spots (Mexican food, etc.), TJ Maxx, a bank, a liquor store, and a few other spots (cleaners, etc.). If you didn't have a car, you could hop on the Foothill Transit (bus) and get to either West Covina Plaza (now Westfield Shoppingtown) in one direction or Puente Hills Mall in the other direction. Naturally, there were several stores and offerings in those areas as well.

Suburbs of cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, or a few other cities aren't like suburbs of Atlanta where your house is not within walking distance of anything and there is no bus or train available. I've spent part of my life living both in Los Angeles and in the 'burbs of L.A.. In comparison, I don't think the kids in the 'burbs missed out on anything. On the same note, the kids in the 'burbs here in Georgia aren't missing out on much, especially if they haven't lived anywhere else. A teenager that was born in Lawrenceville and raised in Buford or born in Marietta and raised in Acworth more than likely couldn't care less about what "adventures" they could have ITP.
I realize the burbs aren't the same density everywhere. Hence why I said "low density burbs ".

Yeah, a kid in those places wouldn't know any better, but that doesn't mean they don't miss out on that social growing up experience. Looking back I see I did.

I know I'm not the only one either. I think it's healthy to be that social growing up and to be surrounded by neighborhood kids that you can grow up with and actually be able do stuff with without a car.
 
Old 06-26-2012, 12:18 PM
 
1,250 posts, read 1,532,429 times
Reputation: 409
Quote:
Originally Posted by ATLTJL View Post
I don't want to go on a tangent, but it seems like you have some serious issues about where you grew up and some misconceptions about what all suburbs and all cities are like.

I came from a family that moved around a lot. I lived in a ton of different places, but it was pretty much always suburban. Most of the time, it was what you would call "close in" suburbs, kind of like Sandy Springs. Actually, when I lived in Atlanta for a couple of years as a child, it was in Sandy Springs....so you get the idea.

The thing about it is, most of these suburbs were different. For example, in Brentwood, Tennessee we had the perfect situation where everyone in the subdivision knew each other, the houses all butted up to each other and shared gigantic backyards, and the kids just left the house in the morning and came home for meals and at dark. Our parents always knew someone was keeping an eye on us even if they didn't know exactly where we were at any given time. We were generally riding bikes, playing sports outside, running around the neighborhood, whatever.

In Richardson, Texas, it was a similar situation. Everyone in the neigborhood rode bikes and there were sidewalks everywhere so you could ride wherever you wanted. Texas is also incredibly flat, so it was easy to ride even to the grocery store, record store, etc. So it had what you are describing as an urban feel, but it was in the suburbs. We could go anywhere we needed or wanted to. Unfortunately, almost everybody had a pool and a fenced in yard, so there weren't a lot of pick-up games or kids just running outside to see who was available. It was more "appointment" playing.

Then the other extreme was Coral Gables, Florida. That was a situation where nobody even knew their next door neighbors. You never saw kids outside playing and I don't even know what people did. Thankfully we only lived there for a year. It was my least favorite place outside of Houston, Texas, which was a similar experience.

What I'm trying to say is it sounds like you grew up in a crummy burb. You didn't miss out on adventures because you lived in a low density area, you missed out because you lived in a not fun area. Similarly, just because you're in a high density area doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be loaded with a constant supply of playmates and adventures. Every individual area needs to be judges on its individual merits, it can't be just lumped as high density or low density.

On a personal note, I think the best situation for most kids would be a bit of a mix. A place where houses have decent sized, but not fenced in yards so it's easy to see what kids are playing where. Then parents can keep an eye on them and kids can easily see who to go play with. But I think it's nice when it's insulated a bit from the urban core because kids are kids, they are going to ride bikes in the street and chase balls, so quiet streets are good for that. It's also nice if you live in a family-centric area because then there is more of a "village" to help with keeping eyes on the kids and fewer spaces of people who don't want anything to do with kids, are going to yell at them for walking in their yards, and so on.
I realize all burbs aren't the same. The thing is most of the burbs and exurbs in the south east are just like I described and yeah, low density which leads to lack of nearby amenities, public transit, side walks etc do lead to "crummy" burbs. Most of the burbs OTP fit this description. We are talking about Georgia right?
 
Old 06-26-2012, 12:38 PM
 
8,269 posts, read 10,204,708 times
Reputation: 6369
Quote:
City of Atlanta schools are by far the best funded of any school system in metro Atlanta.
This is an amazing statistic.

Atlanta spends almost 50% more per student than Fulton county. So how is Fulton county able to have 3 or 4 of the top 10 public schools in Georgia and Atlanta doesn't have a single one? I don't even think the city of Atlanta can crack the top 30. I don't have the list in front of me, but Fulton clearly has more schools that excel than Atlanta. Clearly they are doing something very right or Atlanta is doing something very wrong.

Of course, a good education has much more involved than money. As was previously mentioned, demographics play an enormous role. Not just in race and income, but really in how much value the parents put on education. You can be a rich white person, but if you don't care if your kid comes home with Ds, it's going to be hard for the kid to get educated. You can also be a poor black family, but if your kid gets a whipping when he brings home a C, he'll probably get a better education.

Another element people often leave out is the overall culture of a school. In some schools, you are a nerd or schoolie if you do well. In other schools, it is encouraged to do well and the kids compete amongst each other to see who can do the best. I would also call this an element of demographics. This is not dependent on race or income, but we all know that wealthier people of certain races tend to value education more than others on an aggregate scale. You can have a smart kid, but if he is constantly teased for getting good grades, that is going to make it much more challenging for him to receive a proper education. Also, if there are disciplinary problems and a kid is bullied or berated or whatever, that makes receiving an education that much more difficult.

Of course, you also have teh quality of teachers. Some are just smarter than others. Some are more engaging than others. Some know how to pass on knowledge better than others. A school not only needs money, it needs a competent principal that knows how to hire the best teachers by looking at the big picture and figuring out who really knows how to teach.

I feel like testing gets a bad reputation. I admit that it has its flaws, but you don't have to "teach to a test." If you are a good teacher who engages your students and passes on knowledge, the kids are going to naturally do well on the test wthout you specifically having to teach to it. If you do have to teach to it a little bit, so what? That's life. Sometimes a specific skill set is what is important and valued. I really have no problem with testing to make sure that certain requirements are being met. It doesn't mean that the education can't go above and beyond, but there are some skills that every student most certainly should have.
 
Old 06-26-2012, 12:43 PM
 
8,269 posts, read 10,204,708 times
Reputation: 6369
Quote:
I realize all burbs aren't the same. The thing is most of the burbs and exurbs in the south east are just like I described and yeah, low density which leads to lack of nearby amenities, public transit, side walks etc do lead to "crummy" burbs. Most of the burbs OTP fit this description. We are talking about Georgia right?
Most of the cities I lived in were the southeast. Actually, all of them, except for Texas.

If kids have room to run around and play, that's what they really need. In most suburbs, even in Georgia, there is generally a QT or Publix or something kids can ride bikes to (maybe not in the way out exurbs, I'm talking about within the proposed outer perimeter). What more do they need? I don't know if they would benefit from being within walking distance to trendy restaurants, dry cleaners, hardware stores, or bars.

I totally understand the idea that you are driving at, but I also think that because you didn't have it, you are idealizing what it would have been like to grow up in a city. The grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence.
 
Old 06-26-2012, 01:01 PM
 
9,124 posts, read 32,727,140 times
Reputation: 3536
Quote:
Originally Posted by ATLTJL View Post
This is an amazing statistic.

Atlanta spends almost 50% more per student than Fulton county. So how is Fulton county able to have 3 or 4 of the top 10 public schools in Georgia and Atlanta doesn't have a single one?
There's definitely no correlation between how much money is spent per pupil and the resulting outcomes. When I lived in NJ, there were certain towns that were called "Abbott Districts" as the result of a lawsuit that required all districts to receive the funding required to provide adequate education, even if the taxpayers of that city couldn't pay for it. The state kicked in huge amounts of $$ to these districts, taken from taxes paid by wealthier districts, and even spent over $8 billion building new schools in the districts. The result? Places like Jersey City, Newark, and Camden have some of the most expensive, beautiful schools in the country, have per-pupil spending that was double that of the top districts in the state, and still have the worst performing schools in the state. You can't fix some problems by throwing money at them.....
 
Old 06-26-2012, 01:11 PM
 
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This provides interesting food for thought when it comes to things like E-SPLOST.

I always supported E-SPLOST because even though I don't have kids, I know that having high performing schools keeps my property value high. But I wonder, if they didn't have the money coming in, maybe the schools would be just as good anyway.

Of course, you could probably argue that if your schools are already good, have good kids, and are managed well, additional funds can't hurt. I like the idea of the kids having updated chemistry labs, video screens, and all the other technology to make learning that much better.

It really is fascinating, though, that you really can't fix it just by throwing money at it. There has to be buy-in at the community level.
 
Old 06-26-2012, 01:18 PM
 
1,250 posts, read 1,532,429 times
Reputation: 409
Quote:
Originally Posted by ATLTJL View Post
Most of the cities I lived in were the southeast. Actually, all of them, except for Texas.

If kids have room to run around and play, that's what they really need. In most suburbs, even in Georgia, there is generally a QT or Publix or something kids can ride bikes to (maybe not in the way out exurbs, I'm talking about within the proposed outer perimeter). What more do they need? I don't know if they would benefit from being within walking distance to trendy restaurants, dry cleaners, hardware stores, or bars.

I totally understand the idea that you are driving at, but I also think that because you didn't have it, you are idealizing what it would have been like to grow up in a city. The grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence.
Lol, come on a Publix or QT? The proximity as well as easy acess to other things likes parks, movies , arcades etc and other kids via density and public transit creates a much easier social environment for kids to interact and just develop socially.

I'm not idealizing as I had cousins who grew up in South Florida with that experience and I spent summers down there. It was so much fun and refreshing to be able to walk out the door and meet the neighborhood kids or go chill at a one of his friends house, or walk to the stores with the groups of kids or barbershops or hop on one of the bus to another part of to see a girl or another group of friends the hop on the bus to the mall.

They didn't have as much money or junk as I did but I can tell they had way more fun then I did sitting at home and only seeing my friends a few times a month when we got a ride. Just being kids.

I'll say the downside is wondering if your home is the "hang out house" when you're at work but you gotta trust your kids and raise em right. Can't keep a eye on them 24/7.
 
Old 06-26-2012, 01:20 PM
 
9,124 posts, read 32,727,140 times
Reputation: 3536
Well, I know the last time the E-SPLOST was up for a vote by me, the comment by the school board was basically "if it doesn't pass, we'll just have to raise property taxes to make up the shortfall". That funding is a pretty significant portion of the overall operating budget in many counties, especially as the state has cut the amount of funding they provide. The school boards will get that funding one way or the other.....
 
Old 06-26-2012, 01:35 PM
 
Location: North Fulton, GA
1,156 posts, read 2,341,393 times
Reputation: 648
We would have loved to be ITP nearer to GT where my husband works, but needing a decent public school for a high school student with autism brought us to Roswell.
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