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Old 02-05-2019, 10:01 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
4,133 posts, read 2,001,554 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpomp View Post
I can almost guarantee that virtually every public school district in Delaware County is superior to virtually any private school and superior to those in Minnesota. Where exactly were you located? Chester?

The Philadelphia suburbs are nationally known for their top notch public school districts. Claiming that public schools teachers are babysitters is one of the most ridiculous statement I have heard on city-data, and I have seen some bad one.

P.S. I am graduate of Penncrest High School in Delaware County and I turned out pretty well.
There is a "quality divide" in Delaware County's public school districts, and it roughly mirrors the class one.

Those in the more affluent communities - Radnor Township, Haverford Township, Marple Newtown, Wallingford-Swarthmore, Rose Tree Media (where you attended school), Garnet Valley, Springfield Township - and the two the county shares with communities in Chester County - Unionville-Chadds Ford and West Chester Area - are highly ranked and generally top notch.

Those that serve largely lower-income communities - Chester, William Penn, Southeast Delco - aren't all that hot.

The remainder fall into a broad middle, from Upper Darby to Penn Delco, Ridley to Chichester to Interboro.

I'd wager that there are school districts in Minnesota that are equal to or better than those in the lower two tiers.
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Old Yesterday, 07:22 AM
 
Location: Pocopson
136 posts, read 43,910 times
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I understand that the previous poster mentioned Minnesota from their personal experience, and that Minnesota might get dismissed as "Middle America" due to its geographic location, but it has the highest SAT scores of any state: Average SAT Scores by State (Most Recent)

Once adjusted for participation, it's still #3 in SAT and #1 in ACT: Average SAT & ACT Scores by State (Participation Adjusted)

And for what it's worth, PA is 31st in participation-adjusted SAT and 35th in ACT. Maybe we're being homers?
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Old Yesterday, 08:00 AM
 
Location: Center City
6,645 posts, read 7,498,672 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patmcpsu View Post
I understand that the previous poster mentioned Minnesota from their personal experience, and that Minnesota might get dismissed as "Middle America" due to its geographic location, but it has the highest SAT scores of any state: Average SAT Scores by State (Most Recent)

Once adjusted for participation, it's still #3 in SAT and #1 in ACT: Average SAT & ACT Scores by State (Participation Adjusted)

And for what it's worth, PA is 31st in participation-adjusted SAT and 35th in ACT. Maybe we're being homers?
Each city I’ve ever lived in has had poor schools. Those who can afford it attend private schools, leaving schools in the inner city woefully underfunded. White flight has taken much of the professional class to the suburbs, where people value quality schools and choose to pay for them. Take a look at the ranking of the top 25 “cities” with the best schools: https://www.niche.com/places-to-live...ublic-schools/. Not an urban city in the mix.

This issue is not unique to Philadelphia but is more intractable here due to our state as the poorest big city in the country. I think the school district and our teachers are doing the best they can with what they’re given. Until our national priorities place more value on education rather than on the Pentagon and tax cuts for the wealthy, we will only see small and incremental progress in the quality of our schools year upon year. As in most of life, you get what you pay for.
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Old Yesterday, 08:00 AM
 
Location: New York City
5,173 posts, read 4,732,703 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
There is a "quality divide" in Delaware County's public school districts, and it roughly mirrors the class one.

Those in the more affluent communities - Radnor Township, Haverford Township, Marple Newtown, Wallingford-Swarthmore, Rose Tree Media (where you attended school), Garnet Valley, Springfield Township - and the two the county shares with communities in Chester County - Unionville-Chadds Ford and West Chester Area - are highly ranked and generally top notch.

Those that serve largely lower-income communities - Chester, William Penn, Southeast Delco - aren't all that hot.

The remainder fall into a broad middle, from Upper Darby to Penn Delco, Ridley to Chichester to Interboro.

I'd wager that there are school districts in Minnesota that are equal to or better than those in the lower two tiers.
I still stand by my post. I am sure Minnesota has excellent public schools, but the collection of top districts in Delaware, Montgomery, Chester, and Bucks County is hard to compete against.

And my original point was not do create a p***ing contest, it was to show how incorrect their statement was regarding public schools acting as babysitters.
You get on my case a lot for sounding elitist, that comment was pretty darn elitist if you ask me, yet you are defending their claim over mine...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patmcpsu View Post
I understand that the previous poster mentioned Minnesota from their personal experience, and that Minnesota might get dismissed as "Middle America" due to its geographic location, but it has the highest SAT scores of any state: Average SAT Scores by State (Most Recent)


Once adjusted for participation, it's still #3 in SAT and #1 in ACT: Average SAT & ACT Scores by State (Participation Adjusted)

And for what it's worth, PA is 31st in participation-adjusted SAT and 35th in ACT. Maybe we're being homers?
I am not surprised that Minnesota has high rankings. I am not dismissing the state at all. I was merely calling out a ridiculous claim from the poster about their view on the public school system (unless I misread).

PA is a very large state, even if the 4 counties in SEPA are top notch, there are still 60+ other counties in PA that probably do not help the overall average (outside of a few).
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Old Yesterday, 08:07 AM
 
Location: The Best Philly, West Philly
945 posts, read 660,935 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpomp View Post
You make some valid points about the Commonwealth, but the PSD is far from good, or even solid, so it's not an issue of perception. The schools you mentioned are largely outliers.
Its often a very tough decision for many parents who enjoy the city life but want the best for their children, and 9 time out of 10, the suburban schools are the answer. If I had children, I would not want them in Philadelphia Public Schools (minus a few), and I don't think I, or anyone should be chastised for that viewpoint.

Just trying to show you the other side of the argument.

There is hope for the PSD (partially what the soda tax is for), but I think we are at least a decade away from having any sort of sustainable improvements on a large scale.
One can't be blamed for making the decision that they deem best for their children. It's just a shame that those "best" options are usually out in the suburbs. I don't understand how the Commonwealth expects urban and rural school districts to succeed when we have such a messed up and inequitable school funding situation. Aside from the Commonwealth, the PSD hasn't always had the best leadership.

I also agree that we're at least a decade away from large-scale improvement. My hope is that all of these new transplants having children will consider staying within city limits and take an active role in improving their neighborhood's school. I want my future children to experience the beauty of urban living while providing them with the greatest level of opportunity, which is what I imagine a LOT of parents would love to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
Aren't some or all of the three schools I boldfaced public charters?

On your list of great quality elementary and middle schools, you left off the other school besides Penn Alexander whose district parents kill to get into: William T. Meredith.

But you might also be interested in the anecdotes I collect in a mental file labeled "The Philadelphia public schools aren't as bad as everyone says they are."

The anecdotes come from parents of children in public schools that don't rate as highly as these, such as Andrew Jackson in East Passyunk or Lingelbach on the Germantown/Mt. Airy border.

The stories I heard from parents of children in those schools provide anecdotal ammo for that small but growing body of research that finds that public schools are as good (or as bad) as the parents who decide to enroll their children in them make them. (And that kids from "good" families can do quite well in "bad" schools.)
Meredith was the name of the school that I was struggling to recall!

I would be interested in doing further research on that. Anecdotally, that absolutely applies to me and my family. Growing up, I attended schools within the Chester-Upland SD, which is statistically worse than the PSD. I'd eventually go on to earn my BBA in Finance from Temple University, which would have never happened if my mom didn't push and encourage me the way she did.
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Old Yesterday, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Pocopson
136 posts, read 43,910 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilliesPhan2013 View Post
I don't understand how the Commonwealth expects urban and rural school districts to succeed when we have such a messed up and inequitable school funding situation. Aside from the Commonwealth, the PSD hasn't always had the best leadership.
From my perspective, we can see the results of spread-out school funding in our own backyard: Delaware. Delaware's public school funding sources breakdown is (source: DEMYSTIFYING DELAWARE’S PUBLIC EDUCATION FUNDING) with average per pupil spending of $14,713:
  • Federal: $200 million (~10%)
  • State: $1.4 billion (~60%)
  • Local: $700 million (~30%)

For reference, here's PA's breakdown of sources (source: Pennsylvania school funding, explained) with average per pupil spending of $15,418:
  • Federal: 3%
  • State: 36%
  • Local: 58.6%

And what's the general end-result? Delaware's schools are consistently subpar, with anybody who can afford it sending their kids to private schools. Anybody I know would prefer PA public schools over DE public schools, but then again, I don't know any poor inner-city families.

But my point is that rich kids will still get a better education than the poor kids (unless you outlaw private schools). Once you accept that, the only difference is whether you prefer the rich kids to attend private or public schools.

All that being said, the name of the game is defining a minimum level of education that poor kids are entitled to, and ensuring they get that (by state and/or federal subsidies, if necessary). This is already the policy that's in place, and the debate is really what a "minimum level of education" actually consists of.

Last edited by Patmcpsu; Yesterday at 10:03 AM..
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Old Yesterday, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
4,133 posts, read 2,001,554 times
Reputation: 2602
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pine to Vine View Post
Each city I’ve ever lived in has had poor schools. Those who can afford it attend private schools, leaving schools in the inner city woefully underfunded. White flight has taken much of the professional class to the suburbs, where people value quality schools and choose to pay for them. Take a look at the ranking of the top 25 “cities” with the best schools: https://www.niche.com/places-to-live...ublic-schools/. Not an urban city in the mix.

This issue is not unique to Philadelphia but is more intractable here due to our state as the poorest big city in the country. I think the school district and our teachers are doing the best they can with what they’re given. Until our national priorities place more value on education rather than on the Pentagon and tax cuts for the wealthy, we will only see small and incremental progress in the quality of our schools year upon year. As in most of life, you get what you pay for.
There's another contributor to the problem. You can find that person in the mirror.

How the Systemic Segregation of Schools is Maintained by 'Individual Choices' | NPR

If we have to have an organization that pleads with / pushes / encourages white families* to choose to enroll their children in public schools where they may not be in the racial majority, then we have a problem still:

Integrated Schools: Families Choosing Integration

The anecdotal evidence I've been collecting, which is now being backed up by research, leads me to believe that affluent white parents will be doing their children no harm by sending them to schools like Chester A. Arthur in Graduate Hospital (GreatSchools.org rating: 3; Niche grade: C) or Anna L. Lingelbach in Germantown/Mt. Airy (GreatSchools.org rating: 2, Niche grade: C-). The former has a very active Friends Of group that's spent some serious money improving the school's playground and facilities as well as buying supplies and materials for the teachers.

The two Lingelbach parents I spoke with one Sunday after services at First Presbyterian Church in Germantown** were white women, and from their dress and demeanor I could pretty confidently place them in the upper reaches of the neighborhood's income distribution. They were absolutely pleased with the education their sons and daughters were getting and with the quality of the school staff.

I'm aware that there are schools in the city where the kids themselves might make learning more difficult. Most of them, I'd submit, don't fall into that category. The resources parents bring to the table also make a difference in how children perform, and those resources are the same no matter what school their kids attend. Will all this rub off on the other kids from less privileged backgrounds? The jury's probably still out on this, but it's safe to say they won't do any worse.

*Trust me, it's not the black families who need convincing. They know that their kids will get a better education if they go to school with white kids than they would if they went to an all-black school. It's just the way Dream Hoarders operate that keeps them from being able to do so.

**One of the reasons I love the neighborhood where I live now is because it's a mostly low-income neighborhood that still has plenty of not-poor residents in it who care about it a great deal. (So do many of the poorer ones.) They're all trying to figure out how they can work with one another to bring this place back up where it belongs. The process isn't easy, I can tell you that, but at least they're working at it. What about the rest of you? Afraid you'll get shot? (You probably won't. I haven't in the nearly six years I've lived here.)
'
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Old Yesterday, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
4,133 posts, read 2,001,554 times
Reputation: 2602
Footnote to the foregoing:

Someone upthread mentioned John Story Jenks (GreatSchools.org rating: 3; Niche grade: C-), Chestnut Hill's neighborhood public school, as a school that should be outstanding.

So far, the only Chestnut Hill resident I know who has said anything about supporting that school is a gay man with no kids. This person also happens to be Chestnut Hill's largest commercial landlord.

The neighborhood neither sends its kids to or supports that school. The kids who go there live in the Philadelphia "middle neighborhood" I wrote about for Next City two summers ago.

The organizers of that school's Friends of group found this out when they organized two fundraisers. The first was a wine-and-cheese reception. Just up Chestnut Hill's alley, right? Nobody came.

The second was a block-party affair: grills, burgers, bouncy house, DJ, dancing in the street. Lots of folks showed up for that one. They just didn't live in ZIP code 19118.

The people who live in don't-you-dare-call-it-Cedarbrook have the same aspirations, dreams and attitudes as many who live in Chestnut Hill do. They just don't have the same incomes.
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Old Yesterday, 10:22 AM
 
997 posts, read 1,106,493 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
There is a "quality divide" in Delaware County's public school districts, and it roughly mirrors the class one.

Those in the more affluent communities - Radnor Township, Haverford Township, Marple Newtown, Wallingford-Swarthmore, Rose Tree Media (where you attended school), Garnet Valley, Springfield Township - and the two the county shares with communities in Chester County - Unionville-Chadds Ford and West Chester Area - are highly ranked and generally top notch.

Those that serve largely lower-income communities - Chester, William Penn, Southeast Delco - aren't all that hot.

The remainder fall into a broad middle, from Upper Darby to Penn Delco, Ridley to Chichester to Interboro.

I'd wager that there are school districts in Minnesota that are equal to or better than those in the lower two tiers.
I am not a fan of Chichester, and I wonder if the staff are still treated the same like 15 years ago or so. I haven't heard good things about Interboro either, but the other two have more respectable cred overall I think.
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Old Yesterday, 10:31 AM
 
997 posts, read 1,106,493 times
Reputation: 381
Quote:
Originally Posted by daboywonder2002 View Post
I used to live in Delaware County and moved to Minnesota for my job. Been looking to move back, but the bad schools are not helping. For me, I have sent my child to a low ranked school and a top ranked school. The difference are so noticeable. The amount of homework, the type of students in class, accountability. My main problem with public schools is that they are basically babysitters. They aren't CHALLENGING students. just doing the bare minimum. As a parent, there's only so much you can do. And let's say your child is excelling. Then it becomes well this school is too easy for my child
We can't necessarily fault the staff at a "bad" school even though our society and government has a system that does. Ultimately, it is your child who can choose whether to be more challenged or not. There are many resources out there for this and that.

Also, does your child behave well in class? I presume yes, but I mention it because that is a very important factor and definitely affects the quality of education. One teacher cannot truly cater to 25-35+ kids different levels and abilities of learning to the finest details. Most of it has to come from the child himself/herself and a teacher is really more of a guide who tries to constantly find the right balance as much as feasibly possible.

If you're in PA, you can also consider cyber school. Especially if your child is not involved in sports. If your child is willing to take multiple courses independently and can show and handle all the work, they could even consider taking multiple classes with conflicts in the schedule as long as they can take the responsibility, maturity, and breadth and depth of learning from recording and live online sessions in an online system. This kind of learning, would have to be advocated by you to their guidance counselor or such AND the child would have to have a good academic record and maybe a good behavior record too. I don't know what your and your child's situation is, but that is how you truly challenge and engage in a challenge!
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