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Old 02-08-2013, 06:56 AM
 
2,173 posts, read 4,275,052 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brentwoodgirl View Post
And it's even tougher to compare schools by states. Most people focus on ACT scores as a measure of how states compare. But that's not a good measurement because the percentage of students taking the ACT is so different in each state. TN is one of 9 states that requires 100% of students to take the ACT, while less than 10% of students in Maine take the ACT.

All 9 states that require 100% to test are below the national average (CO, IL, TN, KY, LA, MI, MS, ND, WY).
Of the 16 states that have less than 30% taking the ACT, only one is below the national average (HI). Most of the others are 1-2 points above the average.

I don't doubt that rural schools in TN are behind rural schools in some of the NE states, but it's hard to tell exactly where the schools fall unless all the schools test 100%.

Our superintendent did a very good analysis to MA showing if we had only the top 25% testing in our district their scores would be much higher than the 25% that test in MA. (Although in fairness, we have no way of knowing that it is all the top 25% testing in MA, but we know it is a self-selecting, presumably college bound group.)
Growing up in Mass it wasn't the top students taking the ACT because the top students were applying to Ivys and Baby Ivys that use the SATs, the kids who wanted to go south for school were the ones that usually took the ACTs. Also frequently kids who didn't do well on the SATs would try the ACTs to see if they would do better since they are 2 very different tests.

If you look at the qualification standards to qualify for National Merit it is a lot "easier" to qualify in TN than Mass or NY. (National Merit is the top% of each state)

I think if you are going to look at ACT scores then look to states that test all students. Unfortunately even comparing against states that test all students, TN fairs badly although WCS does quiet well (but who knows how it compares to the most affluent districts in states that test everyone).
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by septimus View Post
Growing up in Mass it wasn't the top students taking the ACT because the top students were applying to Ivys and Baby Ivys that use the SATs, the kids who wanted to go south for school were the ones that usually took the ACTs. Also frequently kids who didn't do well on the SATs would try the ACTs to see if they would do better since they are 2 very different tests.

If you look at the qualification standards to qualify for National Merit it is a lot "easier" to qualify in TN than Mass or NY. (National Merit is the top% of each state)

I think if you are going to look at ACT scores then look to states that test all students. Unfortunately even comparing against states that test all students, TN fairs badly although WCS does quiet well (but who knows how it compares to the most affluent districts in states that test everyone).
This is a true story. When I was in the 4th grade in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan(which is kind of more of a Wisconsin culture in some ways than Michigan) I had a girl in my class move to Tennessee. I don't remember exactly what city she moved to. We were a small school and a pretty tight knit class, so when she got there she actually wrote the classroom a letter or two telling us how she was doing. She was just an average student before leaving, but she said almost as soon as she started school in Tennessee she was actually moved into the 5th grade because of how much ahead of them she was. I now live in Tennessee and this does not surprise me at all!
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:23 AM
 
71 posts, read 94,647 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiknapster View Post
I feel compelled to address this. I moved away from New England in 1996 because I just couldn't afford to live there. Moving down to Florida, housing prices were much better at the time, but some costs were higher such as gas and food. Once housing prices went haywire, I moved away. So in 2005 I was living in Knoxville. This is the first place I have absolutely thrived. I came with very little, ended up getting divorced, becoming a single mom. There is no way that I would be doing this well if I lived in the northeast.
First of all, I admit that Tennessee culture does vary greatly from region to region, east,middle and west. I think east seems to be the best as far as education and a little higher wages, especially Knoxville. Although I have not lived on the east coast I do know that most of those states have some of the highest taxes and cost of living in the country. Like I said in my post, I agree with you completely when it comes to moving from the east coast, the west coast, and especially the northeast. Also, the bigger the city, usually the higher cost of living. If you are moving from the New England area I would say that almost anywhere besides the west coast would be a major improvement in cost of living. Think about it though. The reason these places are so expensive is because they have long been the most desirable places to live for many reasons. Growing up in the upper midwest like I did, where the wages are considerably higher and the housing is actually cheaper than most of the south, is a different story. The people I meet here that are generally pleased with their decision to move are almost always from the east and west coasts where they can sell their two bedroom condo where they are at and come here and by a mansion. No doubt about it though, it is a fact that the wages are much lower here, the services are usually much less, not to mention the dramatic culture differences. Also a lot of times northerners are often not made to feel very welcome here, especially the further south and west you go. Take a look at some of the recent (GENERAL U.S. FORUM POSTS TO SEE THAT).l I am glad that it has worked out for you though.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:06 AM
 
4,989 posts, read 4,493,507 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by septimus View Post
Growing up in Mass it wasn't the top students taking the ACT because the top students were applying to Ivys and Baby Ivys that use the SATs, the kids who wanted to go south for school were the ones that usually took the ACTs. Also frequently kids who didn't do well on the SATs would try the ACTs to see if they would do better since they are 2 very different tests.

If you look at the qualification standards to qualify for National Merit it is a lot "easier" to qualify in TN than Mass or NY. (National Merit is the top% of each state)

I think if you are going to look at ACT scores then look to states that test all students. Unfortunately even comparing against states that test all students, TN fairs badly although WCS does quiet well (but who knows how it compares to the most affluent districts in states that test everyone).
I agree with most of this, but the SAT vs ACT has changed over the past 20 years. It used to be that the ACT was the test taken in the South and Midewest, while the SAT was the choice for NE and West. I took both because I wasn't sure where I wanted to go to college.
But now that colleges across the country accept both, the ACT has become much more popular over the past 10 years.
And I knew that National Merit was easier here, my nephew in TX was telling us that when he quailified because the score to qualify was easier here than TX as well.
I do think it would be interesting to see what all the states would look like when they all tested 100%. Not because I think TN would be in the top, but the scores between states wouldn't vary by 5+ points either, so it would be a better measure.
During the teacher's union battle in WI, the talking point was how much higher the ACT scores in WI were compared to right to work states, but only 20% of kids in WI were taking the ACT and they were comparing to states with 100%. That's not really an honest comparision.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
22,538 posts, read 46,113,418 times
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First of all, let's address the ACT scores. ALL Tennessee students take the ACT. ALL. Do you know what that does to the stats when pitted against a state where only the students entering college - or even less than that - take the test? Yet, repeatedly these scores are hauled out to make a point, yet they don't.

Average ACT Scores by State (2010) - Yahoo! Voices - voices.yahoo.com

Quote:
Originally Posted by TENNYOOPER View Post
First of all, I admit that Tennessee culture does vary greatly from region to region, east,middle and west. I think east seems to be the best as far as education and a little higher wages, especially Knoxville. Although I have not lived on the east coast I do know that most of those states have some of the highest taxes and cost of living in the country. Like I said in my post, I agree with you completely when it comes to moving from the east coast, the west coast, and especially the northeast. Also, the bigger the city, usually the higher cost of living. If you are moving from the New England area I would say that almost anywhere besides the west coast would be a major improvement in cost of living. Think about it though. The reason these places are so expensive is because they have long been the most desirable places to live for many reasons. Growing up in the upper midwest like I did, where the wages are considerably higher and the housing is actually cheaper than most of the south, is a different story. The people I meet here that are generally pleased with their decision to move are almost always from the east and west coasts where they can sell their two bedroom condo where they are at and come here and by a mansion. No doubt about it though, it is a fact that the wages are much lower here, the services are usually much less, not to mention the dramatic culture differences. Also a lot of times northerners are often not made to feel very welcome here, especially the further south and west you go. Take a look at some of the recent (GENERAL U.S. FORUM POSTS TO SEE THAT).l I am glad that it has worked out for you though.
Now, I'll address this.

People from different regions tell themselves these things to justify their current situation. Bear in mind that I lived in Mass. for 33 years. My family is still there, numerous cousins and friends, but also my adult children and my mother. Growing up I was told that heating bills were high in the North but in the South that was offset by cooling bills. Not true. Pit my mom's heating and cooling bills for the year against mine and I pay about 30 percent of hers. People in the Northeast tell themselves these things to make them feel better about the very high cost of living there. So people in expensive areas up north think that they are paying through the nose but it is well worth it. Well, if that were the case I would have moved back. The truth is I enjoy an incredible amount of satisfaction with my new way of life. I have cultural amenities, great schools, parks, greenways, weather and am surrounded by friendly people. And to add to that, I am not in some crazed preaching-from-every-corner Hee Haw. In fact, our mayor is one of the most liberal in the country.

You say that Northerners are not welcome in the South and point to posts on City-Data as some sort of statistic. What we have on CD, to a great degree, is people that complain. Why? Because disgruntled people will take the time to air their grievances as some sort of catharsis. Happy people - although clearly not me! - get on with their lives.

So your last line of your post seems to indicate that I'm a one-off. The truth is I am surrounded by people up north. They live and work around me and are supremely happy. By the way, I work with not only New Englanders and New Yorkers. I also am surrounded by Californians and Midwesterners. I am not some sort of anomaly.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:53 AM
 
52,717 posts, read 75,627,145 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiknapster View Post
First of all, let's address the ACT scores. ALL Tennessee students take the ACT. ALL. Do you know what that does to the stats when pitted against a state where only the students entering college - or even less than that - take the test? Yet, repeatedly these scores are hauled out to make a point, yet they don't.

Average ACT Scores by State (2010) - Yahoo! Voices - voices.yahoo.com



Now, I'll address this.

People from different regions tell themselves these things to justify their current situation. Bear in mind that I lived in Mass. for 33 years. My family is still there, numerous cousins and friends, but also my adult children and my mother. Growing up I was told that heating bills were high in the North but in the South that was offset by cooling bills. Not true. Pit my mom's heating and cooling bills for the year against mine and I pay about 30 percent of hers. People in the Northeast tell themselves these things to make them feel better about the very high cost of living there. So people in expensive areas up north think that they are paying through the nose but it is well worth it. Well, if that were the case I would have moved back. The truth is I enjoy an incredible amount of satisfaction with my new way of life. I have cultural amenities, great schools, parks, greenways, weather and am surrounded by friendly people. And to add to that, I am not in some crazed preaching-from-every-corner Hee Haw. In fact, our mayor is one of the most liberal in the country.

You say that Northerners are not welcome in the South and point to posts on City-Data as some sort of statistic. What we have on CD, to a great degree, is people that complain. Why? Because disgruntled people will take the time to air their grievances as some sort of catharsis. Happy people - although clearly not me! - get on with their lives.

So your last line of your post seems to indicate that I'm a one-off. The truth is I am surrounded by people up north. They live and work around me and are supremely happy. By the way, I work with not only New Englanders and New Yorkers. I also am surrounded by Californians and Midwesterners. I am not some sort of anomaly.
Not that I wanted to compare things at all, but to be fair, the suburb I live in has an average overall cost of living just below the national average and while it is more working/lower middle class, it is largely safe and the school district it is in had a 88% graduation rate last year. That is good considering that it is the biggest high school in the metro area grade for grade and I believe that it is the biggest grade for grade west of the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro area. So, it does depend on where you are in the Northeast
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:58 AM
 
4,989 posts, read 4,493,507 times
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Here's a chart where you can compare 100% that take the ACT to scores.
2012 ACT National and State Scores | Average Scores by State | ACT

Of the states that require 100%, MS is very low at 18.7, and IL is the highest at 20.9.
All the other 7 states are within less than a 1 point range, from 19.7-20.6.

Arizona and DC have some of the lowest test scores with low test taking rates- both at 19.7 with only about a 1/3 of their students taking the ACT. They would most likely both fall below MS if 100% were required to test.

All of the top 9 states have less than a 30% test rate.
The state that should really be proud is MN- they are #10 on the list and 74% of their students test. They could likely be 1st if the other states tested at the same rates.
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:02 AM
 
71 posts, read 94,647 times
Reputation: 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by hiknapster View Post
First of all, let's address the ACT scores. ALL Tennessee students take the ACT. ALL. Do you know what that does to the stats when pitted against a state where only the students entering college - or even less than that - take the test? Yet, repeatedly these scores are hauled out to make a point, yet they don't.

Average ACT Scores by State (2010) - Yahoo! Voices - voices.yahoo.com



Now, I'll address this.

People from different regions tell themselves these things to justify their current situation. Bear in mind that I lived in Mass. for 33 years. My family is still there, numerous cousins and friends, but also my adult children and my mother. Growing up I was told that heating bills were high in the North but in the South that was offset by cooling bills. Not true. Pit my mom's heating and cooling bills for the year against mine and I pay about 30 percent of hers. People in the Northeast tell themselves these things to make them feel better about the very high cost of living there. So people in expensive areas up north think that they are paying through the nose but it is well worth it. Well, if that were the case I would have moved back. The truth is I enjoy an incredible amount of satisfaction with my new way of life. I have cultural amenities, great schools, parks, greenways, weather and am surrounded by friendly people. And to add to that, I am not in some crazed preaching-from-every-corner Hee Haw. In fact, our mayor is one of the most liberal in the country.

You say that Northerners are not welcome in the South and point to posts on City-Data as some sort of statistic. What we have on CD, to a great degree, is people that complain. Why? Because disgruntled people will take the time to air their grievances as some sort of catharsis. Happy people - although clearly not me! - get on with their lives.

So your last line of your post seems to indicate that I'm a one-off. The truth is I am surrounded by people up north. They live and work around me and are supremely happy. By the way, I work with not only New Englanders and New Yorkers. I also am surrounded by Californians and Midwesterners. I am not some sort of anomaly.
Look, I am not trying to insult you in any way and I truly mean that. I don't know who's posts that you are reading, but I will repeat for the third time in three posts that I know that the cost of living in the northeast is definitely higher than the majority of the country. I also didn't get into religion or politics, but that does seem to be something that you have apparently thought about. I did not mention ACT scores either but there are also many other ways to compare primary education effectiveness. Most statistics that I have seen, weather accurate or not repeatedly show the southeast part of the country in at least the bottom ten in the country. I am a young parent with two kids in school who are both consistently at the top of their classes. Many times throughout elementary school my older son had scores on his report of 105, 103, and 106, which I was always kind of puzzled by because I often looked at and helped him with his homework and honestly I think that he is a smart kid but not quite deserving of those types of grades. I recently had a meeting with the elementary principle and she actually told me that because of the new tougher federal testing guidelines that the teachers are basically adding points to kids scores because many are doing so poorly, in effect giving kids are are doing well already outstanding scores. Google where the most doctors, engineers, and scientists are coming from. Not here! Many people here basically shun science and don't even believe in long standing scientific discoveries. No doubt about it, different areas work for different people, and I am truly happy that Tennessee has worked for you. I have been here for over fifteen years now and my wife and I both have decent jobs and are doing okay, although I recently had a job interview near my home town where if I get the job I would get at least a 15 dollar an hour raise for doing pretty much the same thing I am doing now. That is just a fact of life. As far as being happy, I am glad YOU are. It is interesting that Tennessee as well as the rest of the southeast have the some of the highest rates of depression, suicide, and medications per capita. Honestly I could go on all day, You can look up just about any statistic that you can think of and the southeast usually fairs the worst, including obesity, overall health and well being, divorce rates, poverty, graduation rates, quality health care, and on and on. Lastly, as far as northerners being welcome, I happen to live about 75 miles from where the KKK was founded and the culture unfortunately still lingers here for hatred of the north, blacks, Jews, and even Catholics. I 'm not saying that it is by any means everyone as I am married to a southern girl but it is pretty much common knowledge in most of the country that the southern belief system tends to be a little different to say the least. All that I am trying to say is that there are pros and cons to anywhere you go that extend beyond cost of living or higher taxes.
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
22,538 posts, read 46,113,418 times
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Tennyooper, please don't think that I am upset in any way. This is a forum where we help people relocate by presenting all of the facts along with our opinions. Because someone has a different opinion it doesn't mean they are angry.

I lived in Florida for about ten years. Most of the time I was surrounded by Midwesterners. I have never, ever in all my life been so put off by such racism. It was absolutely astounding. Now that I live in Knoxville it is something that I rarely see, at about the same rate as I did in the small town in Mass. that I come from. Sorry, that is my experience. Do I think all Midwesterners are like that? Of course not. In fact, as I said, I work with some Midwesterners now. But that certainly changed my beliefs about Southerners prejudices and how we, as US citizens, perceive each other.

Now certainly there is a different vibe in the grand divisions of this state. In fact, I often point that out and I am usually criticized for it, being called a "Knoxville booster" and the like. But the truth is cities - ACROSS THE COUNTRY - are generally more progressive than their rural counterparts. I promise you I can drag out prejudiced hillbillies from Massachusetts that can spew as much hatred as some of the folks you've met in Tennessee or that I've met from Ohio.

But it sounds like you are mentally preparing for a move back to your homestate and I understand that. In the meantime, the OP has asked questions about taxes, jobs and growth and I am attempting to answer her. In any event, best of luck. It sounds like you are truly miserable where you live!
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:46 AM
 
Location: A Yankee in northeast TN
9,531 posts, read 13,372,671 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TENNYOOPER View Post
.... With lower wages and a tax that hits the poor hard, there seems to be a bigger gap between rich and poor here.
Also with lower taxes definitely comes fewer and poorer quality services, including schools, parks, infrastructure, and much more. I'm not a fan of huge government but it should be responsible for some things and it seems like here everything is sort of left up to the individual.
I feel like a broken record, BUT what I save on not having an income tax more than makes up for whatever I spend in sales tax here. The working poor do not have a lot of disposable income and those sales taxes are really not that much of a burden in comparison to an income tax. If you are a property owner, then the low property tax in many areas also is a boon.
Some of us like that many of the services offered are NOT up to the gov't. and prefer to support the services we see as important to our communities. Having never lived in the northeast maybe I don't know what I'm missing out on, but I don't see the big issue other than poor schools. We have plenty of beautiful parks, good roads, free health clinics, decent libraries, etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TENNYOOPER View Post
The schools leave a large part of the education up to the parents compared to where I grew up. They have about 30 fundraisers a year, many of which kids can be rewarded with grades for raising money. If your child wants to play a sport middle school or high school I hope you are pretty well off because the parents of players usually fund the building and up keep of athletic fields and other facilities apparently because they can't get any money from the state.
Your schools give grades on fundraising? I'd be storming the school board over that, never heard of such a thing.
As far as parents helping fund sports and other extracurricular activities, I'm fully in support of that! Anything that doesn't pertain strictly to education shouldn't be solely funded by the schools IMO. And I speak as a parent who paid for band uniforms and other school related "necessities" for years. I am a firm believer in "you play, you help pay" when it comes to those things.

I suppose if you are used to having the gov't take care of everything for you then TN might come as a shock, but honestly some of us prefer it this way.

@TENNYOOPER- could you please use paragraphs or spacing, that solid wall of text is hard on the eyes.
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