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Old 10-08-2019, 02:13 PM
 
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Once again this year, the WCPSS is attempting to make changes which move kids from crowded, higher rated schools to less crowded, lower rated schools. The stated reasoning behind this is to deal with overcrowding and prepare for future growth - whether that's the real reason isn't really the topic of this thread.

I got to thinking today about a theoretical scenario where the school board miraculously accomplishes their goal, which is to make every school equal from an academic and socioeconomic standpoint. In that scenario, what would the long term affects be for the area in general? Would as many people want to move here if there wasn't the option of highly rated schools, and all schools were considered average? Would many people leave the area? How would all this affect real estate prices and the desirability of the area in general? Should a school board have that sort control over an area, whether intentional or not?

This is obviously all theoretical and would never happen, but I'm interested in people's thoughts. It was interesting to think about.
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Old 10-08-2019, 02:39 PM
 
Location: Research Triangle Area, NC
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The correlation to "best schools" and RE values is strong for sure; but not the end-all-be-all a lot of folks assume it is (most likely because in other areas of the country with smaller school districts in much greater concentration; the school district IS the end-all-be-all)

The only real concentration of "the best" schools in the Triangle are in West Cary/Morrisville/Apex and Chapel Hill/Carrboro. While those are among the most expensive parts of the region; they are FAR from the only desirable areas or the only areas with significant appreciation.

The majority of schools you will find in Wake, Durham, Orange, Chatham, and Johnston counties would fall more into the "average" range on the spectrum; with an unfortunate chunk below them concentrated in higher-poverty areas like Eastern Durham County and Eastern Wake County.

Assuming any district (obviously Wake is the one most strongly in reference here) were to completely "equalize" all of the schools, unlikely as that is (though a noble and worth-while goal),...I think it would be far-fetched for that to lead to a negative equity situation for most folks in prime areas.
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Old 10-08-2019, 02:51 PM
 
Location: under the beautiful Carolina blue
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In reading the online feedback forums for the WCPSS reassignment proposal, I would have to say it would have little effect. So many people on those boards, regardless of where they live, LOVE their schools and bought where they did to attend them. I think what people really want is stability, control and proximity to their schools. The proposed reassignments are ridiculous, sending kids from Holly Springs who can see HSHS to Fuquay, and North Garner? Give me a break. I know you don't want to go down this path, but overcrowding is not the reason for this craziness. If they needed to relieve overcrowding in western wake they would get a spine and make Mills Park YR.
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Old 10-08-2019, 02:58 PM
 
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I would suggest that moving students doesn't necessarily mean that schools would "even out". There's nothing stopping all of our schools from becoming "above average" when compared nationally, other than poor parenting.

I.e bad kids aren't relegated to being bad, they have the capacity to be great students if their parents cared a lick.
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Old 10-08-2019, 03:11 PM
 
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From my standpoint, schools factored about 20% into moving to the Raleigh area, and about 80% into what neighborhood I chose to live in. If the school system lowered the standards to the point where my child is not gaining the knowledge and discipline that is needed to survive in the “real world”, then I would look to other educational resources that would provide that for her, rather than leave the area. I personally don’t think there would be a mass exodus out of this area based on the one factor. Raleigh has too much to offer beyond it’s educational system.

As long as you have a free market, those on the upper rungs of the socioeconomic ladder will turn to the private sector. Hypothetically, I think the scenario you outlined would have the opposite effect of what is intended, and will cause a greater socioeconomic divide within the whole community. If they were to, either by law or regulation, give the public school system a monopoly, then I can see a mass exodus out of the Raleigh area.
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Old 10-08-2019, 03:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Backwoods Baptist View Post
I would suggest that moving students doesn't necessarily mean that schools would "even out". There's nothing stopping all of our schools from becoming "above average" when compared nationally, other than poor parenting.

I.e bad kids aren't relegated to being bad, they have the capacity to be great students if their parents cared a lick.
I agree with the first part. All schools can be above average compared to the state and region, keeping the area a desirable place to live.

The second part presents some reality based issues. Parents contribute, sure, but caring doesn’t necessarily translate to having the resources to help your child in school.
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Old 10-08-2019, 03:34 PM
 
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If I'm following your line of reason correctly, you are concerned that there would be a negative effect on the county-wide real estate market if our schools became more equitable -- that is, if we no longer had a system with both very highly and very low rated schools, but instead made an effort to make all schools, in your words, average. That potential and current residents, faced with a system where all of the schools are roughly equal in resources and achievement, would head somewhere else where there exist more stratified schools so that they can choose to enroll their kids in the "best" one.

From the outset, I'd say that I reject that premise a little bit. I think the goal of making schools be more equitable would not be, as you put it, to make all of the schools average, but to strive for all schools to be excellent, no matter how much money its students have or where in Wake they're located. There are worthy conversations to be had as to how we'd make all schools excellent (especially given the education-hostile tilt of our current General Assembly), but that doesn't seem to be your concern here.

But moving on to the idea of ratings:

I'd ask you to consider what makes a school "highly rated." Our NC school report card system depends almost entirely on EOG scores to differentiate among schools, with "achievement" -- that is, how high kids score on a single test on a single day in a single year -- weighted much more heavily than growth, which is a measure of how much kids have learned over the course of a year.

But of course, using test scores as a proxy for school quality is problematic for a few reasons. First, it's well documented by now that the student trait most accurately measured by test scores is their family's income level. Wealthy kids score very, very well on standardized tests; poor kids tend to score lower. So it's not a coincidence that the schools that have an A on their NC report card also tend to be the schools with the lowest population of poor kids. Decreasing the concentration of wealthy children in any given school wouldn't, logically, change any individual child's test scores -- they'd bring all of their advantages with them to their new school. What would change is having many wealthy kids concentrated into just a few schools.

Second, I'd argue that test scores aren't the best way to determine whether or not a school is good. I know people all over Wake County whose kids attend (gasp!) B and C schools and who have enjoyed an excellent education. Why? Because far more important than test scores are well-trained, committed teachers, good administration and a good learning environment. And WCPSS luckily seems to have many, many schools that enjoy all three things even if their test scores don't single them out as "highly rated."

Are there some folks who, faced with a school system filled with excellent schools that all are rated roughly the same, would instead seek an area with a more stratified rating system? I guess, maybe. But I have a hard time believing that all that many people would up and leave Wake County because they'd wish the schools were more stratified/segregated. OTOH, it seems to me that if realtors could tell potential residents that they were free to choose a home based on their commute, proximity to whatever it is they care about the most, or any other factor and rest secure in the knowledge that any school they'd attend was excellent, that would be a great thing.
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Old 10-08-2019, 03:48 PM
 
Location: Noth Caccalacca
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County-wide school systems have greater flexibility in shuffling students around than municipalities that control their own funding and borders. This is readily apparent to me, being originally from NJ. That county school system will save you money on unnecessary town-by-town administrative costs and services but it does so at the expense of tight local school control.

North Carolina is an interesting case. Most of the funding for schools comes from the state via income taxes with much smaller percentages coming from the property tax collected by each town or city. In NJ most of the funding comes from property taxes. About 40 towns and cities (e.g. Newark, Camden) in NJ receive the majority of their funding from the state via the state income tax. NJ's income tax rate is much lower than NC and the money collected, couldn't possibly pay for every student in the way that NC does. But the property tax bill that the average homeowner pays in NJ would make the average NC homeowner's eyes bleed. A tony section of Raleigh or Charlotte may have a section of homes of ~4000 sq ft or so that might pay $5000 in property tax. A similar collection of homes in a small upper-upper middle class NJ town will have tax bills of $25,000 to $30,000. So there's lots of money for higher teacher salaries and educational goodies like the latest tech and the newest textbooks.

Desirability of a town's or city's school system is maintained by economic segregation whether it's NC or NJ. As long as a "quasi-neighborhood school" school policy is the "unwritten law", the richer sections of Raleigh and Charlotte can maintain their top-rated schools. In NJ, poorer people will be keep out of the highest rated schools in towns where the "cheap houses" start at $750,000 plus for your 4bd 2.5ba models. That's how it's done!

Last edited by TheEmissary; 10-08-2019 at 04:05 PM..
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Old 10-08-2019, 03:49 PM
 
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Is it the school that makes the child perform better or worse overall or the intellect of those attending? By that I mean if an intelligent child attended highly rated school A, would their test scores by lower if they had instead attended lower rated school B?

If so IMO that would actually be holding back kids from their full potential. If however there is really no correlation and poor performing schools just have an over abundance of poorly performing students but still can educate those whom are motivated well, then picking schools based on scores is an outdated and misguided concept.
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Old 10-08-2019, 04:12 PM
 
771 posts, read 274,570 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheEmissary View Post
County-wide school systems have greater flexibility in shuffling students around than municipalities that control their own funding and borders. This is readily apparent to me, being originally from NJ. That county school system will save you money on unnecessary town-by-town administrative costs and services but it does so at the expense of tight local school control.

North Carolina is an interesting case. Most of the funding for schools comes from the state via income taxes with much smaller percentages coming from the property tax collected by each town or city. In NJ most of the funding comes from property taxes. About 40 towns and cities (e.g. Newark, Camden) in NJ receive the majority of their funding from the state via the state income tax. NJ's income tax rate is much lower than NC and the money collected, couldn't possibly pay for every student in the way that NC does. But the property tax bill that the average homeowner pays in NJ would make the average NC homeowner's eyes bleed. A tony section of Raleigh or Charlotte may have a section of homes of ~4000 sq ft or so that might pay $5000 in property tax. A similar collection of homes in a small upper-upper middle class NJ town will have tax bills of $25,000 to $30,000. So there's lots of money for higher teacher salaries and educational goodies like the latest tech and the newest textbooks.

Desirability of a town's or city's is maintained by economic segregation whether it's NC or NJ. As long as a "quasi-neighborhood school" school policy is the "unwritten law", the richer sections of Raleigh and Charlotte can maintain their top-rated schools. In NJ, poorer people will be keep out of the highest rated schools in towns where the "cheap houses" start at $750,000 plus for your 4bd 2.5ba models. That's how it's done!
Good post.

I will say as a quasi recent transplant to the Triangle, education setup here seems to expose some bipolar tendencies of the population/area.

On one side, you have a strong history of disliking/distrusting a "strong centralized governing body" which County based schools is in spades. On the other side, you have a strong history of disliking taxation (even for things most people, with the exception of the elderly who haven't seen a school in 50 years, agree an apex civilization should desire) like Education. So you have people that give a little on the strong centralized governing body side because they aint gon git anymore of my money (i'll ignore the fact that you point out about income tax here which is accurate)

The result is seemingly this Frankenstein of a situation where people don't like centralized control; and all that comes with it because it, i.e. lose the micro touch and feel. But don't like funding something equally as much, which leaves you with this question of "how do we make everyone better with the same scarce resource" and the only viable solution is a game of musical chairs/reassignment (which no one really focuses on the longer term impacts to the students).

I don't claim to have any great answers and what opinions I would share I am sure natives/older transplants would flame them as some sort of Yankee Liberal noise, but what I do know is between this subforum and among my "real world" friends, not many people seem to like the school situation here (even if their kids do well or attend a "good school").


ETA - I came from MA (although not a native of there either). For curiosity's sake I just checked the property tax records of our house there vs here (we lived in a town with its own school district)


MA - in 2016 we paid $4,331 in Property tax on a house Tax Assessed at $327,600 (1.32%) and given we sold it in 2016 the old "MA assesses your house for 80-90% of its market value" checks out.

NC (Wake Forest specifically) - in 2018 we paid $4,310 in Property tax on a house Tax Assessed at $365,317 (1.18%)


MA - Paid 5.1% in State Income Tax
NC - Paid 5.499% in State Income Tax


So, while the town in MA we lived in wasn't as extreme as your NJ example (and admittedly it had a higher rate for Retail/Commercial property taxes which there was a ton of in town) they still could afford their own school district for with a .14% higher property tax rate.

Last edited by GVoR; 10-08-2019 at 04:41 PM..
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