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Old 06-25-2012, 09:50 PM
 
Location: Grant Park, Atlanta
54 posts, read 28,867 times
Reputation: 19

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Several days ago, I posted to another thread about the impact of a child's educational options on a parent's choice to live OTP. Ironically, there were very few workable solutions provided for this situation (most rested in theory and not lived experiences). Yet, there are many who held very strong views about why folks leave the urban core; subsequently contributing to sprawl and reduction of urban density, et al.

My central thesis is that many parents do NOT wish to leave the urban core; yet are left with few choices when their child's education rests in the balance between poor performing schools, expensive real estate (if they are zoned to one of the few higher performing schools), school "lotteries" for admission to the good charter schools or private school. For folks who do not have to make these choices (eg. they have ample resources to afford private school, they can afford to buy in a good school zone, or they have no school-aged children), it is often easy to take very fundamental and ideological (and sometimes rather offensive) positions about why folks choose to live OTP.

While I understand there is a belief that many who leave ITP, do so because they prefer a suburban/rural/exurban lifestyle--and the consequential impact it causes to the urban core-- often absent in the discourse is the impact of educational options for children in the urban core has on parental decisions to move.

As a NE'er (Philadelphia, now in Grant Park, who actually is quite an urban dweller), I am currently facing the dilemma to either spend $450K+ on a home zoned to a good school, pay $30K for the next 12 years for private school, or move to a suburban area with a good school district. I would be very interested to hear from parents, who've had to make a similar choice.
My belief: not everyone in the burbs, is there because they want to own a 3000K McMansion, with an SUV!

How many of you who made the decision to move OPT, SOLELY because you felt educational options for your children were gravely limited? It's time our voices are included in this discourse.

Thoughts?

Last edited by 4KBH; 06-25-2012 at 10:02 PM..

 
Old 06-25-2012, 10:18 PM
 
15,076 posts, read 9,805,129 times
Reputation: 3602
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4KBH View Post
As a NE'er (Philadelphia, now in Grant Park, who actually is quite an urban dweller), I am currently facing the dilemma to either spend $450K+ on a home zoned to a good school, pay $30K for the next 12 years for private school, or move to a suburban area with a good school district. I would be very interested to hear from parents, who've had to make a similar choice.
My belief: not everyone in the burbs, is there because they want to own a 3000K McMansion, with an SUV!
Good question and well framed. There is no doubt that poor schools have been a deterrent to intown living during the past few decades.

However, it comes down to what was discussed in the other thread. People simply have to weigh their options and decide which course they prefer. Fortunately you can live intown for a lot less than $450K these days.

And many intown schools are excellent. Those neighborhoods tend to pricier, but there are other areas (e.g., Kirkwood) where the schools are rapidly coming up. As we have seen a number of times in the past schools can turn around quickly once a community commits to them.

I think you also have to take into account that suburban schools are not necessarily gold plated.

There are many subjective factors in evaluating schools and neighborhoods, and sometimes folks may have to stick their necks out a bit.
 
Old 06-25-2012, 11:24 PM
 
Location: Grant Park, Atlanta
54 posts, read 28,867 times
Reputation: 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by arjay57 View Post
Good question and well framed.


Quote:
However, it comes down to what was discussed in the other thread. People simply have to weigh their options and decide which course they prefer. Fortunately you can live intown for a lot less than $450K these days.
You are absolutely correct! It is within the balance of "weighing" that the true disparity exists. Many parents (like some on the previous thread) can afford private school, or to live in districts zoned to good schools (eg. Lin). Yet, for those who can not, very few choices exist ITP, hence many move.

Quote:
And many intown schools are excellent. Those neighborhoods tend to pricier, but there are other areas (e.g., Kirkwood) where the schools are rapidly coming up. As we have seen a number of times in the past schools can turn around quickly once a community commits to them.
True, but once more, there is a difference between "excellent" and "coming up." I don't know, philosophically, having to settle for lesser education just to live in the city, is a bit tough to swallow, for some.

Quote:
I think you also have to take into account that suburban schools are not necessarily gold plated.
LOL, you don't have to sell me on that one! Ironically, my Realtor showed me some homes in Lake Spivey. Really nice homes, crappy schools. [no offense to those who live there, but the rankings are abysmal.]

Quote:
There are many subjective factors in evaluating schools and neighborhoods, and sometimes folks may have to stick their necks out a bit.
Agreed, and for some "sticking their necks out" might mean, moving OTP. Quite honestly, I shiver at the thought of having to move OTP, but for me, ensuring a good education is more important than my own preference. For some of us, it's a sacrifice and not "snubbing" the city. This is really what I was trying to get across on the other thread: Folks should take all viewpoints into consideration when huge generalizations are made.

I guess what I'm saying is that if folks want to stand on "principle" it's time to have all stakeholders at the table.

Be well...
 
Old 06-26-2012, 12:10 AM
 
4,387 posts, read 3,952,201 times
Reputation: 2289
I think you've got a lot of things going on here.

First, good school districts are probably a primary factor in a lot of people leaving the city and heading out to the suburbes.

But it's not the only one. I think what generally happens when people settle down and have kids is they start thinking about their kids instead of themselves. Then they start realizing that they are changing, too. What I mean is, couples will start thinking in terms of once we have this kid, how important is it going to really be to us to be close to bars and nightlife anymore? We're not going to be doing that stuff anyway, so why pay a premium to be near it?

You can keep going on this line of thinking for a lot of things.....

Why do we need to be near that trendy restaurant? It's not very kid friendly anyway, and we can't be blowing a lot of money on expensive meals when we have a child to think about. Do I really need to be able to walk to the park anymore? I'd rather have a fenced in yard I can just have the kid go and play in without having to walk him there and back. Could I use the extra space I can afford in the suburbs? Well, I'll probably have a lot more people over, kids parties, toys, games, etc., so I think I could really use the room.

You can go on all day, but it's no secret that the suburbs are more geared to family life. You see it on this board all the time, people telling young college grads not to live in Alpharetta or Suwanee, it's wall to wall families with kids! Well, if you ARE a family with kids, this is an ideal environment, just as if you are a young single person, Buckhead or midtown are ideal. Sure, you CAN live in Alpharetta, but it's better to be around other young people. Similarly, if you have a family, you CAN live intown, but a lot of people prefer to live where it's mostly other families.

To get to your point, I think people start thinking about all of these things. A lot of times, people will be trying to sort it out and they are torn, they want a family friendly atmosphere, but they aren't ready to leave town. Often, the school situation can be the tipping point for sending them to the suburbs.

I have some friends who just had a baby. They weren't particularly looking to live intown, but they really wanted to be around Chamblee/Dunwoody, but they also wanted good schools and a nice home that they could stay in for a long time. They looked at Dunwoody for a long time and had trouble finding a house they liked. Then they started going to baby showers and birthday parties of friends. Long story short, as much as they resisted, one of them told me, "It really seems like all signs are pointing to Johns Creek. We don't want to be out that far, but lots of our friends have already moved there, the schools are good, and we can get exactly the house we want." I guess you could say in a nutshell they decided at the end of the day to compromise on location over the house itself.

What happened is common. They adjusted. They have a beautiful home, great neighbors, can walk to the Chattahoochee river, and are set up in a great school district. The husband has a slightly longer commute every day, but it's not like now it's an hour instead of 15 minutes. It's probably 10 extra minutes each way, and they got exactly what they wanted.

In summary, a lot of people I have seen resist the suburbs, but ultimately end up deciding that they make the most sense for the station of life they are in.

Some people make it work intown, but it is generally a pretty decent compromise of some sort whether it's paying more for a house, not getting as much house, and so on....but I think to address your point, the school plays a pivotal role in stacking the deck in favor of the suburbs for a lot of people.
 
Old 06-26-2012, 12:52 AM
 
15,076 posts, read 9,805,129 times
Reputation: 3602
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4KBH View Post
True, but once more, there is a difference between "excellent" and "coming up." I don't know, philosophically, having to settle for lesser education just to live in the city, is a bit tough to swallow, for some.
This is a key point. For some people moving to an area with up and coming schools doesn't equate to settling for a lesser education. Mary Lin is a good case in point. It hasn't been the blue chip school it is now forever. In 2001 it was majority minority and would have been regarded as "up and coming." But once you get a group of parents who are committed to the school positive change can come very rapidly.

Of course schools can also decline rapidly. We saw that happen a few decades ago intown and during more recent decades it has happened in many suburban areas.

Schools are very dynamic and malleable institutions. What's here today might be quite different a year or two later -- and it could be much better or much worse.

In my opinion it's also important to define what one means by good schools. That's also a multi dimensional judgment.
 
Old 06-26-2012, 07:41 AM
 
1,052 posts, read 646,237 times
Reputation: 570
Quote:
Originally Posted by ATLTJL View Post
Long story short, as much as they resisted, one of them told me, "It really seems like all signs are pointing to Johns Creek. We don't want to be out that far, but lots of our friends have already moved there, the schools are good, and we can get exactly the house we want." I guess you could say in a nutshell they decided at the end of the day to compromise on location over the house itself.

What happened is common. They adjusted. They have a beautiful home, great neighbors, can walk to the Chattahoochee river, and are set up in a great school district. The husband has a slightly longer
I have a hard time commiserating with a story where someone "settled" for living in John's Creek, one of the most affluent communities surrounding the city. If that was financailly viable for most people faced with this delimma, this could be a much shorter conversation.

I think for a lot of people who are now making this decision, the impact of their own upbringing can't be ignored. A lot of people unknowingly assume the way they were raised was the "right" way, and have a trajectory that leads them to do the same things. It's what feels familiar and what feels like home, so people want to recreate that. I grew up in town, going to public school, and both my parents worked. My wife grew up in a suburb, and went to private school, and had a SAHM. We've obviously had some tough conversations (with more coming) about how and where we'd like to raise kids. But, we both realize the other turned out "pretty much okay" so it's easier to consider that alternative scenario.
 
Old 06-26-2012, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Grant Park, Atlanta
54 posts, read 28,867 times
Reputation: 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ATLTJL View Post

First, good school districts are probably a primary factor in a lot of people leaving the city and heading out to the suburbes.
[sic] I think what generally happens when people settle down and have kids is they start thinking about their kids instead of themselves.
BINGO! This is the balance that I feel is missing in the discourse. When folks simply assume that others leave intown because they don't like density or due to other anti-urban reasons ; and only offer solutions that work, in theory it simply irritates me.

I've read thread after thread where urbanites bashed folks for leaving. Yet, ironcially those doing most of the bashing were 1) living in "good areas", 2) sending their kids to private school, 3) had no school-aged children.

When the major folks framing the conversation have no real skin in the game (concerning education), it's a bit insulting when they judge others who do.

That would be akin to me stating that there is no need for anesthesia during vasectomy based on theory derived from my knowledge of neuroanatomy. sure, i MIGHT know some stuff; but as a female, i'll NEVER have to endure the procedure, so how arrogant of me to dismiss the input of a man who's undergone the procedure?

This is what excluding the voices of parents with school-aged children and only allowing those voices who "in theory" can posit solutions to frame this discussion.

Off to visit ANOTHER intown school...

Last edited by 4KBH; 06-26-2012 at 09:19 AM..
 
Old 06-26-2012, 08:28 AM
 
1,052 posts, read 646,237 times
Reputation: 570
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4KBH View Post
I've read thread after thread where urbanites bashed folks for leaving.
In fairness, is suburbanites assessing people who choose to utilize public schools intown as inferior parents based on their perceptions of what constitutes a "good" education a terribly different scenario?
 
Old 06-26-2012, 08:42 AM
 
Location: Dunwoody,GA
1,344 posts, read 2,863,759 times
Reputation: 988
I don't know that I agree with the central thesis; that many would prefer to live ITP but for the schools. I'm only speaking for myself here, but I live in the Dunwoody Panhandle, and I love it. I grew up in Sandy Springs/Dunwoody, and I really wouldn't want to live anywhere else (unless I win the lottery; I wouldn't mind a mansion on W. Paces Ferry). I have tons of friends who live in Buckhead, Decatur, and the like, and it's just not for me. Not all 'burbs are the same. I love the community feel of Dunwoody, where everyone is friend of a friend and everything I need is within about a 3 mile radius of my house. I'm not talking about the big box store Perimeter Mall area; I'm talking about Dunwoody Village and the heart of Dunwoody.

What irritates me is ITP'ers who turn their nose up at OTP communities without having spent sufficient time there to form an educated opinion. My decision to live where I live is not because of the school situation either; my kids are in private school. Not saying anyone on this particular thread is doing that, but I see it on CD a lot.

Last edited by CMMom; 06-26-2012 at 08:54 AM..
 
Old 06-26-2012, 09:06 AM
 
Location: Here
318 posts, read 432,823 times
Reputation: 138
As a current ITP, I would prefer to be in a manicured walkable development in the burbs..more home for $ and open floor plan. We live in a choppy home that's really not conducive to how we live. We can't afford the home we want in our neighbhorhood, it would cost us 850k or higher. On the basis of home alone, it would be the burbs hands-down for us. I find that school options however, at least private, is what keeps us here. Having moved into a MES district for the school, it was a disappointment. I'm very jaded at the public school options here, probably even the burbs although I cannot speak from experience.

So while I live in ITP, I would rather be out in the burbs if there were more private school options for our kids.
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