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Old 05-23-2011, 08:19 AM
gg
 
Location: Pittsburgh
11,596 posts, read 7,849,840 times
Reputation: 4056

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
That's a lame attempt to avoid dealing with what we know to be true.
Do you look at statistics at all? Really Brian, how many times can a region keep making the same mistakes over and over again? Have you looked at the history of Penn Hills over the past 30 years? That is a good study.

I am not going to argue with you. All I can say is look at the statistics. You have a valid point that a certain percentage of "disadvantaged" in a school is okay, but the percentage in your mind is way off base. Look at Fox Chapel. If you took Sharpsburg out of that school as a statistic, it would be in the top couple of districts year after year. Look at Fairview Elementary compared to Kerr. Can you argue against those stats somehow? They are just numbers, but numbers tell all. You may feel you are helping some great cause while you send your child to private school, but the numbers are the numbers and you can't argue against stats. It is what it is. If you want to help the disadvantaged kids that is great, but I don't want it to be at the cost of all the other kids. That collateral damage is unacceptable. If you really want to help the cause, read about Andre Agassi's school. That is the real answer, not taking down more schools that surround the disadvantaged areas.

Like I said, I am not going to argue this stuff. That is my opinion. I doubt you would agree with me on any subject, but you keep preaching this same stuff over and over again and it is hard to let go by day after day.
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Old 05-23-2011, 08:31 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
977 posts, read 695,818 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
We're talking about children. How does a five-year-old go about "deserving" a decent kindergarten?
A child cannot do anything to deserve a decent education, it is the responsibility of the parents to provide for their children.

The idea that people "deserve" things they cannot provide themselves with, is not universally shared. That and many other reasons, including a very poor track record of school mergers in this area, means we won't be seeing any large consolidations anytime soon, and likely not in the foreseeable future.
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Old 05-23-2011, 08:47 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 18,703,640 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stburr91 View Post
A child cannot do anything to deserve a decent education, it is the responsibility of the parents to provide for their children.
And if their parents are incapable of doing so, or abusive or negligent, then what?

Quote:
The idea that people "deserve" things they cannot provide themselves with, is not universally shared.
The idea that the state has a responsibility to take care of children in particular may not be "universal", but it is certainly very well-recognized in American law and practice. It sometimes goes by the name "parens patriae":

Parens patriae - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In addition to the moral dimension, this is also good public policy. Neglecting the welfare of children wastes a precious economic resource (human capital), and leads to increased social problems in the future that will likely end up proving very expensive to deal with.

Incidentally, with respect to education, the Pennsylvania Constitution provides:

"The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth."

Quote:
. . . including a very poor track record of school mergers in this area, means we won't be seeing any large consolidations anytime soon, and likely not in the foreseeable future.
Again, that is a lame excuse. The small consolidations we have seen in this area in the past are nothing like what I and others would propose, and meanwhile many other U.S. jurisdictions are using the sort of system I would propose without it being a disaster.

This isn't really about what experience or observation would teach us is best for education. This is about people who have a financial stake in maintaining the relative superiority of their school districts opposing reform, and rationalizing favoring their personal financial interests over providing a decent system of public education with glibertarian nonsense and false analogies.
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Old 05-23-2011, 09:03 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 18,703,640 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitts10yrs View Post
Povety [sic] has nothing to do with it.
Since I just stumbled across something relevant, I wanted to address this. Here is a chart plus an accompanying snippet of text:

Does Lack of Income Take Away the Brain’s Horses? | Neuroanthropology



Quote:
The percentage of children with serious mental or behavioral difficulties is shown as a percentage on the left. The drop-off as income rises is dramatic.
There is a lot more of note at the link. The bottomline is that poverty affects brain development, which leads to a lot of other problems. Schools definitely cannot fix all of that, but better schools can be one part of an overall strategy of reducing child poverty and the resulting effects.
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Old 05-23-2011, 09:16 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
977 posts, read 695,818 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
This is about people who have a financial stake in maintaining the relative superiority of their school districts opposing reform, and rationalizing favoring their personal financial interests over providing a decent system of public education with glibertarian nonsense and false analogies.
I agree with you on this, but I'll add this.

Watering down the education of the majority, for the benefit of the minority, is not acceptable to most in this area. It's a moral issue, most people believe that you reap what you sow, and that it is wrong to rob the rich, even if you are giving to the poor. Whether you think it's robbing the rich or not, it is perceived by many to be so.

While I don't think "rob" is the right word here, I don't firmly believe that people who pay 10-20K a year in taxes "deserve" more and better services than the people that pay little, to no taxes. I know major agree with that idea.

The point of having local government, is to allow the local people decide what is best for them. When people outside ones city/borough wants to take away their high performing school districts, expect them to fight back.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
Since I just stumbled across something relevant, I wanted to address this. Here is a chart plus an accompanying snippet of text:

Does Lack of Income Take Away the Brain’s Horses? | Neuroanthropology
I think this is all the more reason why people don't want their children exposed to these disadvantaged kids, and I can't blame them.

Last edited by stburr91; 05-23-2011 at 09:57 AM..
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Old 05-23-2011, 11:05 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 18,703,640 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stburr91 View Post
Watering down the education of the majority, for the benefit of the minority, is not acceptable to most in this area.
OK, but it doesn't have to be that way. We know that if a school district only has a moderate number of disadvantaged students, it can still provide a high quality education, including to advantaged students. It is actually already happening in school districts like Fox Chapel.

Quote:
It's a moral issue, most people believe that you reap what you sow, and that it is wrong to rob the rich, even if you are giving to the poor. Whether you think it's robbing the rich or not, it is perceived by many to be so. . . . [P]eople who pay 10-20K a year in taxes "deserve" more and better services than the people that pay little, to no taxes. I know major agree with that idea.
I think you are wrong that most people feel that way as applied to children. Polls suggest that a majority of Americans agree that all children, regardless of their parents' means, deserve a good public school. That still leaves plenty of room to disagree on how to get there from here, but it just isn't true that most people believe poor children deserve bad schools.

Quote:
The point of having local government, is to allow the local people decide what is best for them. When people outside ones city/borough wants to take away their high performing school districts, expect them to fight back.
Again that is a false choice: you don't need to exclude all disadvantaged kids to have a high-performing school district.

But in any event, this is a good example of why hyperlocal control and funding of public schools is a bad idea. Schools are for the benefit of children. These days, those children are unlikely to stay in whatever locale educates them. So it really makes no particular sense to have hyperlocal control/funding of schools.

Meanwhile, doing so creates all sorts of other problems, such as setting jurisdictions against each other, reinforcing negative cycles in distressed neighborhoods, forcing parents into suboptimal location choices, and so on. The sooner we dump this situation, the better, but the problem is overcoming the people who have invested money in the status quo.

Quote:
I think this is all the more reason why people don't want their children exposed to these disadvantaged kids, and I can't blame them.
First, look at the percentages. Even at peak, it is less than 10%. Your proposed attitude amounts to punishing 100% of the poor kids for problems caused by less than 10% of the poor kids.

Second, I really think you are wrong about how cruel most people are. Unfortunately, parents in the United States are constantly barraged with propaganda about how hopeless this situation is, so many of them become very defensive about the status quo. But I firmly believe that most parents, and certainly most of our society, would support doing better by poor children without making things worse for advantaged kids. And despite the propaganda, it is in fact possible to do better--much better--for poor children without making things worse for the rest.
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Old 05-23-2011, 11:20 AM
gg
 
Location: Pittsburgh
11,596 posts, read 7,849,840 times
Reputation: 4056
Quote:
Originally Posted by stburr91 View Post
A child cannot do anything to deserve a decent education, it is the responsibility of the parents to provide for their children.

The idea that people "deserve" things they cannot provide themselves with, is not universally shared. That and many other reasons, including a very poor track record of school mergers in this area, means we won't be seeing any large consolidations anytime soon, and likely not in the foreseeable future.
I certainly hope not. It has been disastrous. Guess that is why it really gets under my skin when someone comes on here and has no history of this area, then goes on about how there should be more mergers. On top of that, his child is in private schools.

If someone wants to help other kids that is great. I have been a big brother and also helped a kid who's father was in prison for a while. That is what is needed, not tax payers flipping the bill or merging a bunch of schools and have them fail like they always do. If you want to do something about it DO IT! I have done things to help, but I don't feel good schools should pay for it by merging.
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:13 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
977 posts, read 695,818 times
Reputation: 693
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
OK, but it doesn't have to be that way. We know that if a school district only has a moderate number of disadvantaged students, it can still provide a high quality education, including to advantaged students. It is actually already happening in school districts like Fox Chapel.
You have said many times that one can't conclude the consolidation doesn't work based on the failure of Woodland Hills because of the small scale of the merger, but then you say consolidation can work, and use Fox Chapel as an example. Both districts are similar size, so your argument seems inconsistent.

I think it is safe to say that comparing the Fox Chapel District (with it's large percentage of affluent population) to a countywide district, isn't comparing apples to apples.



Quote:
I think you are wrong that most people feel that way as applied to children. Polls suggest that a majority of Americans agree that all children, regardless of their parents' means, deserve a good public school. That still leaves plenty of room to disagree on how to get there from here, but it just isn't true that most people believe poor children deserve bad schools.
I never said poor children deserve bad schools, I said people that pay tens of thounands of dollars a year in taxes, deserve high quauity services.


Quote:
But in any event, this is a good example of why hyperlocal control and funding of public schools is a bad idea. Schools are for the benefit of children. These days, those children are unlikely to stay in whatever locale educates them. So it really makes no particular sense to have hyperlocal control/funding of schools.
Says the guy that lives in Wilkinsburg. I can't help but wonder how many of the people in Upper St. Clair would agree with you.

I support having Wilkinsburg merging if a deal can be made, as it would benefit not only the children of Wilkinsburg, but the tax payers of the borough and Commonwealth. The people in Wilkinsburg preventing a merger are hurting not only the children and tax payers, but the whole redevelopment of the borough.

Last edited by stburr91; 05-23-2011 at 12:24 PM..
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:33 PM
gg
 
Location: Pittsburgh
11,596 posts, read 7,849,840 times
Reputation: 4056
Quote:
Originally Posted by stburr91 View Post
I can't help but wonder how many of the people in Upper St. Clair would agree with you.
I don't think ANYONE would agree that lives in any of the better districts or even the average districts. Most people live in certain school districts because they want that for their kids. I know that is why I live where I do and there are countless others. If Peabody were to be forced to merge with Fox Chapel, I think there might be a war. I am not kidding. They took down a few schools in the past like Edgewood, which was a total disaster and people that grew up here saw all that go down. I think that is where the problem is on a thread like this. Some people didn't live here during that horrible time, but people certainly can see the byproduct of a merge like that. I find a suggestion of some huge merger very offensive to be honest and it is very upsetting to myself, who lived through that history. I worked with someone that graduated from Edgewood and she was about in tears if I discussed that forced merger with her. She was so proud of her school and now it is gone. Guess Woodland Hills was the outcome. That really says it all. It doesn't work. Anyone can see that. A school like Agassi built in Vegas DOES work. Possibly CAPA will work.
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:55 PM
 
20,274 posts, read 18,703,640 times
Reputation: 2827
Quote:
Originally Posted by stburr91 View Post
You have said many times that one can't conclude the consolidation doesn't work based on the failure of Woodland Hills because of the small scale of the merger, but then you say consolidation can work, and use Fox Chapel as an example. Both districts are similar size, so your argument seems inconsistent.
The inconsistency is an artifact of misunderstanding the purpose for which I am using Fox Chapel. I'm not saying it is an example of a successful consolidation--I don't even know anything about its history, in fact. I'm just saying it is an example of a school district that excels despite having a substantial minority of disadvantaged students.

Quote:
I think it is safe to say that comparing the Fox Chapel District (with it's large percentage of affluent population) to a countywide district, isn't comparing apples to apples.
I think the numbers are much closer than you think. I don't have the numbers by county, but I know that the Pittsburgh Metro area as a whole as about 34% disadvantaged students (defined as students qualifying for a free or reduced-price lunch). In Fox Chapel, it is over 16%. I've proposed capping the percentage in any given school at 49%, and this policy combined with the overall 34% pool would still leave room for many schools to be in the same range as Fox Chapel.

Conversely, people insisting that consolidation would mean that every school district would look like Woodland Hills are really being highly misleading. Woodlands Hills is about 70% disadvantaged, twice the Metro rate. You couldn't have every school end up close to that, and the whole point would be to eliminate the schools and districts where that has happened.

Quote:
I never said poor children deserve bad schools, I said people that pay tens of thounands of dollars a year in taxes, deserve high quauity services.
But we are not talking about services for taxpayers, we are talking about services for children. The only way what you are saying could be relevant is if what you mean is that the children of people who pay little in taxes don't deserve high-quality services, in this case high-quality schools.

Again, some people try to deflect the conversation by shifting to discussions about what parents deserve. But parents don't go to school, children do.

Quote:
Says the guy that lives in Wilkinsburg. I can't help but wonder how many of the people in Upper St. Clair would agree with you.
Right, if you have a financial stake in not just having good schools in your area, but in having superior schools, you may end up rationalizing keeping other schools inferior because you perceive that to be in your financial interests.

I don't know what to say about that, however, other than that such people are taking an immoral stance that is bad long-term policy, and the sooner they are overridden in the political process the better.

Quote:
I support having Wilkinsburg merging if a deal can be made, as it would benefit not only the children of Wilkinsburg, but the tax payers of the borough and Commonwealth. The people in Wilkinsburg preventing a merger are hurting not only the children and tax payers, but the whole redevelopment of the borough.
I agree with all of that.
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