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Old 07-26-2011, 10:34 AM
Location: 92037
4,631 posts, read 8,884,705 times
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Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I am a parent, and understand the wanting to "move mountains" for one's kids.

This obsession, if you want to call it that, as the OP did, is in evidence on the Denver/Colorado forums as well. On almost any given day, there is at least one active thread about "best schools". In a metro area of 3 million people, it should be obvious there is no one "best" district, let alone any one "best" school. I think part of the "obsession" is that people who are relocating have to live somewhere, and have to make decisions based on something, so they pick schools.
Precisely. Yes I did call it an obsession because quite frankly in the San Diego forums, the degree of sensitivity used is certainly obsessive in nature.

Typically this happens after posters have narrowed it down to the very few "best" in the County. At that point is where it really starts getting nitpicky. For example, one district here is supposedly rated as one of the "best" in California.
There are 3 or so elementary school in said area and some of the parents start obsessing about what the best pre schoosl are so that their child best prepared for kindergarten. I am not kidding.
They brag about Montessori schools. When in fact "Montessori" isnt even a brand of school, its a method. However, their replies each seem to imply that they are a chain of schools. I question "educated" decisions when some of those replies are coming from folks fitting into an upper middle class socio-economic lifestyle.
But its really all trivial because parents are going to do what parents are going to do. I was just curious about picking the brain of some of the processes from parents.

So while I do call it "obsessing" which it certainly is in this case, is not always the norm on city-data. The marginal differences in elementary schools still makes me wonder...
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:28 AM
310 posts, read 1,218,475 times
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Interesting post. I agree completely. Parents not only on the internet, but people I've met/know are obsessed with "getting the best school district." What's even more annoying is when they don't have the best district, but brag about their children's school. Like it matters! Another mom I know was just recently going on and on about how her kid's school kindergarten class will all have brand new electronic notebooks. Some other parents I know were bragging up their kids school, how it is the highest rated school district and everyone wants their kids to go there. My neighbor has been blabbing about how the district where her sister's kids go is just THE best. It's really annoying. I personally do not agree that the 'ratings' are what defines a school district. When anyone tells me that their school is 'rated 5/5' or 'best in the state' I interpret it as either the school has money and/or the parent cares way too much about the status symbol of the school. The high status symbol will not prevent your child from making bad choices, hanging out with the wrong crowd, getting good/bad grades. The involvement of the parent has a much stronger impact.
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:53 AM
Location: Massachusetts
4,033 posts, read 8,594,400 times
Reputation: 4912
Originally Posted by hiknapster View Post
Starla Jane, this is all very, very true. Of course you are assuming that all people think the jeans that are $100 more are better. Not I. I examine the jeans construction and base my choice on that. I may walk away and come back when the better jeans are on sale or clearance or find them at a store where they are cheaper.

Not all parents are in a never-ending quest for the best, let alone the most expensive. In fact, on these forums I find a lot of parents that are more interested in how the area suits them and the kid's education is almost an afterthought.

Of course the goal for parents that care is suppose to be to get the child in the best high school so that they can get in the best college so that they can be top of the class so that the best companies will come a-courting.

And we also know that the odds of that actually happening are very low.

But I also noticed that you don't have children Starla Jane and that explains your not understanding why parents have this urge to do the best for their children.

But once again, most expensive does not mean best.
Your argument that someone who doesn't have children simply can't understand or that those who have children are the only ones who can give a viable opinion on the matter is ridiculous. Just b/c you (or anyone else) have children does not make you an expert or the only one who can contribute to the issue. In fact, those of us who do not have children have the ability to look at the issue more dispassionately and objectively than those who are parents. And those who are obsessed will often use that argument ("you just don't understand") to validate their obsession as normal, which it is to them. The lack of perspective is staggering in such cases, as is the need to invalidate contradictory perspectives. It is textbook narcissism.

Moreover, I (and others) was a student once myself; we saw our parents' behavior wrt raising children and providing for them. You do not have a privileged perspective wrt this issue simply b/c you are currently a parent. In fact, your attitude is downright condescending and seems more a way to discredit an opinion that perhaps does not agree with your own. We all participate in this society and we all can provide perspectives that are relevant and valid.

Furthermore, while you may think that you do not fall into the category of the status-obsessed parent, you certainly seem to defend those that insist upon "the best." Even if what you mean by "the best" means more than the label,the fact that you use it at all speaks volumes about your own self-perception as a parent. At some point, you have to start wondering about why you insist on using the "best" label in the first place. B/c that label and its use are huge indicators of fear, insecurity and narcissism, whether you are a parent or not, whether you are talking about schools, clothing, cars, etc. It itsn't something that only parents use or that occurs only when someone becomes a parent; I could just as easily make a point of insisting on "the best" for myself, my family, my pets, etc. But I don't, and neither did my parents, precisely b/c they were not status-obsessed and class-conscious people who were concerned with competing with other parents and their children so that they could come out on top. So, you really have to wonder...
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Old 07-28-2011, 10:55 AM
Location: Jersey
2,296 posts, read 3,396,524 times
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Expecting you're kid to become well educated just because he/she attends a school in a good district is kind of delusional. However, good districts schools are great for property values, tend to have better programs, and you're kid will more likely have a more conducive learning enviroment and have a more "positive" peer group compared to a lesser district.

This actually has an interesting affect on demographics. In years past, upper-middle class folk were more scattered throughout the towns of NJ than they are now and you'd see many many towns that were predominatley lower middle class have good school districts. Nowdays, there is a lot more socio-economic stratification.
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Old 07-28-2011, 12:23 PM
4,044 posts, read 6,198,975 times
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Originally Posted by maf763 View Post
Furthermore, success in school doesn't always equal success in life.
I would never sell my soul to be in the ABSOLUTE BEST district. However, I can understand some parents' desire to be in a pretty good one.
Just because success in school does not guarantee success in life does not mean that it doesn't do a pretty decent job of increasing the odds.

Choosing a very good school district is rarely done with the expectation that the school itself will turn your kid into an Einstein, all while you're busy having a life. I really hate to say this because it touches on things Americans simply HATE to hear (although they act on it)...but based on what I heard from many parents looking for good to very good school districts, it really boils down to segregation along socio-economic (class) and sometimes racial/ethnic lines. More so the former than the latter nowadays.

They want their kids to go do school with children from other more or less "respectable/educated/involved/what have you" families. There is also some snobbery involved or simply a desire to protect the child from what society considers "lower-level" influences. This is how humans are, sadly.
As for the "meat" itself, when most kids in a school come from families that tend to push academically and that are involved in children's education (not even because they care so much about being educated in and of itself but for the child's chance to do better in life, materially speaking) ...the school's overall academic level goes up on its own, without any particular intervention from the school.
This is awfully convenient both for the teachers in the school (makes their life so much easier) and for parents. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy and it works. Yes, it feels wrong, even morally repugnant - but this is what happens.

I am not defending or justifying this phenomenon. I find it sad but also inescapable.
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Old 07-28-2011, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
A lot of upper middle class parents don't want their children mixing with lower class kids. That's pretty much what drives it. Where I live we have large school districts so this selectiveness goes all the way down to the school level, even though all the schools in the district have same levels and quality of teachers, facilities, curriculum, and funding.
Well, I should have read this first and saved myself a post.
This, yes.
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Old 07-28-2011, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by shmoov_groovzsd View Post
Thanks skeet09. What happened?!!

You werent supposed to be successful!!! City-data said the schools you went to would have predicted you being a complete failure in life lol

Great points!
And again we have that "adorable" story about the exception to the rule turned norm in the minds of people who hate the rule.
I'd be curious to know how the classmates of said poster did. How many of them ended up with similar shiny fates.
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Old 07-28-2011, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by user_id View Post
This is hogwash, the things the higher classes value most are personal relationships and life experiences.
One of the best points I have read in a while on City-Data.
In the US, there seems to be such an enormous amount of confusion about the mindset of various class groups, that sometimes arguments really seem to slide too much on the naive side. Americans tend to mistake the middle-upper classes (and sometimes even the plain middle class) for the "uppers". As for the true upper classes, many are not even aware that those exist because they are rarely in the public eye.

The true upper class mindset values exactly what user-Id said: relationships and life experiences. They are cozy, low-key, non-flamboyant, relaxed and accommodating and they couldn't care less about "BEST SCHOOLS". That's because they can afford this mindset: not only financially, but also mentally.
They care about inaccessible, super-elite schools where the right marriage ties can be established. They do not look to "gift" the world with awesome human resources. They simply seek to maintain their cross-generational privileges in all of their glorious laid-back-ness.

Few people though understand that a true upper class mindset cannot be made. You're born into it. Some of us will change our income bracket, some of us will DRAMATICALLY change our income bracket - but that will not make us upper class. Not in the mind. We remain "market people" and even when we don't need to be in the market anymore, its related anxieties can still follow us.

The vast majority of middle to upper-middle class parents will simply NOT afford to nonchalantly shrug about the school district their kids go to. It is as simple as that. Knowing I was doomed to the market, I would never try to pretend to be someone I am not; and while relationships and life experiences remain a top priority for our family, we also know that we can't exactly ignore that little thing called "the free market".

So good-to-very-good school district it is.
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Old 07-28-2011, 02:20 PM
4,044 posts, read 6,198,975 times
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Originally Posted by StarlaJane View Post
Again, "best" depends on your criteria. As someone who has run with "the best," I can tell you that most of them are slime balls that I wouldn't want my children anywhere near. "Best" these days usually means "a lot of $$." However, that rarely equates to character and ethics; in fact, it usually means the exact opposite, and that includes the "best" schools, public and private.

In short, rather than ask about "best" schools and/or districts, I think it is preferable that parents have a list of criteria that does not include standardized testing results and/or funding and that does include visiting the school and speaking with/researching the faculty and administration and getting feedback from the students (including one's own child.)
Agree very much with the first part of your post. Unfortunately, this "slime" thing is like a cancer nowadays and I am afraid it is spread everywhere, not just in the so-called "best" areas.

From the lowest to the highest, people care about money and much less about ethics, substance or character. This is a generational, 21st century thing - not a "district" thing.
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Old 07-29-2011, 12:51 PM
Location: San Antonio, TX, USA
5,142 posts, read 11,473,882 times
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Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
And again we have that "adorable" story about the exception to the rule turned norm in the minds of people who hate the rule.
I'd be curious to know how the classmates of said poster did. How many of them ended up with similar shiny fates.
One of my fellow grads went to Stanford and graduated. A few others did vo- tech programs in auto repair, cosmetology, dental, nursing. Some did a bachelor degree. Some didn't pursue any higher education and some went to the military. A smattering of various fates.
A lot of folks hear what school I attended and I sense their attitude change towards me. My folks did the best they could given their circumstances (my mom dropped out of high school and my dad attended up to a foreign grade school).
I just saw your post today; you can always send me a DM if I do not come back to the thread.

Last edited by skeet09; 07-29-2011 at 01:02 PM..
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