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Old 10-10-2012, 03:31 PM
 
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We live in a semi-urban streetcar suburb just outside of Boston. Most people would consider it urban, we are a few blocks to the subway, much of the housing is multi-family, around 20% is single family homes. Yards are small but they exist for most properties. Everything is walkable.

Our area is gentrifying quickly - we are close to several very good universities and there are a large number of highly educated people that moved here in the last 5-10 years, but many of them leave for the suburbs right before their kids enter the public schools.

Our oldest will enter kindergarten in 2014, as I do more research on the schools, it is very interesting that study after study shows that kids in urban schools do just as well as kids in higher ranking suburban schools if they come from the same socio-economic background. If you take a student from a top suburb and put them into a lower ranking urban school -they do just as well. Same the other way around - if the city kids goes to a higher ranking suburban school the also do just as well. Same thing if you compare private to public schools.


We also have quite a few neighbors who decided to stay in the city and raise kids here - and their kids are generally thriving in an urban school system. So it amazes me how much parents focus on overall scores of a school system, when in fact it doesn't matter all that much. I feel that many people move to suburbs reluctantly "for the kids" because they think its best, but in reality they are depriving these kids of the culture, vibrance, walkability and independence that a city offers, all for the sake of that child? How ironic! Here are some of the studies proving my point - as a matter of fact I cant find one that proves otherwise!

"Once the full scope of the family is taken into account, cultural capital as well as economic capital, private school effects disappear."
http://www.edline.com/uploads/pdf/Pr...oolsReport.pdf

"That high socio-economic status is correlated with academic success is unpalatable, but undeniable."
What Do Test Scores Really Say About a School? | Education.com

What are your thoughts?
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Old 10-10-2012, 04:28 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
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Suburbs are not devoid of culture, vibrancy and ... whatever else. I say, don't you live in a suburb?

School choice is a very personal decision made based upon a variety of factors, usually based on what is best for the entire family, not just whether Mom and Dad can walk a block or two to have a latte. Trying to pigeonhole people for why the live where they do is just pointless.
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Old 10-10-2012, 04:54 PM
 
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The study by the Center for Education Policy only studied students from the bottom 25 % Socio-economic status (SES). So didn't that study merely show that students from low-SES families will do equally well (or poorly) in private or public schools? But can you generalize from that study to students from high-or-middle SES?
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Old 10-10-2012, 07:58 PM
 
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Suburban schools tend to be better but there are exceptions. I have heard of a railroad suburb (we don't have streetcar suburbs around Chicago) which has lots of industry so the per student spending is high, but it has low test scores because of the quality of the students.
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:11 PM
 
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Individual achievement has been shown to be very highly correlated with parental income.

It is entirely INCORRECT to assume that a move to a desirable suburban area will result in any kind of depravation of "culture, vibrance, walkability and independence". What is more likely is that a high income family will continue to provide ways for enriching stimulation regardless of where they live.

I know of no "twin studies" or other methods that literally separate children of similar parentage / genetic potential and track the progress of one in an urban setting vs one in a desirable suburb. The studies that you cite merely show children who are clustered in top performing categories tend to have parents of similar economic resources.

When one makes a decision to move motivated by the totality of trade-offs that are encompassed by a motivation for improved circumstances for ones children which is summed up as "for the schools" it often includes decisions about the relative safety and orderliness of neighborhood one is leaving and moving to, the overall ability to meaningfully interact with neighbors, the degree to which one can feel welcome / involved in local institutions including schools...

I assure you that the odds of a high income parent choosing to live in a crime ridden area with schools in disrepair is so small as to be immeasurable.

The converse, of parents of limited means leaving behind a culturally rich, safe area of a city for an affordable but bland sprawl prone fringe suburb is considerably more likely as employment shifts toward low skill jobs in fringe areas is still happening. It is likely that isolation and reliance on TV/ passive media will negatively impact the success of children in such a situation.

There are large number of alternate paths in each of these scenarios too -- the various families, well off and more economically challenged, who leave behind crime ridden areas for those where their safety is not at risk, families that are fortunate to see their economic fortunes rise as the career advances along with the growth of their children, those sadly more common of late that are forced to sell their home for a loss and move to less affluent areas. I really doubt that any education professors / sociologists have studied all these groups. I do however have pretty high confidence that those who are economically successful because of own academic preparation will be more involved in the education of their offspring and more likely to intervene should their children exhibit signs of not being well served by the schools they attend. The families of more "blue collar" backgrounds largely are unlikely to have as much interest in school performance. Of course a fair number of people from working class backgrounds do go on to academic success / economic advancement because of the efforts of dedicated teachers or even mentors that intervene in small or important ways...
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:22 AM
 
3,421 posts, read 2,590,924 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by semiurbanite View Post
We live in a semi-urban streetcar suburb just outside of Boston. Most people would consider it urban, we are a few blocks to the subway, much of the housing is multi-family, around 20% is single family homes. Yards are small but they exist for most properties. Everything is walkable.

Our area is gentrifying quickly - we are close to several very good universities and there are a large number of highly educated people that moved here in the last 5-10 years, but many of them leave for the suburbs right before their kids enter the public schools.

Our oldest will enter kindergarten in 2014, as I do more research on the schools, it is very interesting that study after study shows that kids in urban schools do just as well as kids in higher ranking suburban schools if they come from the same socio-economic background. If you take a student from a top suburb and put them into a lower ranking urban school -they do just as well. Same the other way around - if the city kids goes to a higher ranking suburban school the also do just as well. Same thing if you compare private to public schools.


We also have quite a few neighbors who decided to stay in the city and raise kids here - and their kids are generally thriving in an urban school system. So it amazes me how much parents focus on overall scores of a school system, when in fact it doesn't matter all that much. I feel that many people move to suburbs reluctantly "for the kids" because they think its best, but in reality they are depriving these kids of the culture, vibrance, walkability and independence that a city offers, all for the sake of that child? How ironic! Here are some of the studies proving my point - as a matter of fact I cant find one that proves otherwise!

"Once the full scope of the family is taken into account, cultural capital as well as economic capital, private school effects disappear."
http://www.edline.com/uploads/pdf/Pr...oolsReport.pdf

"That high socio-economic status is correlated with academic success is unpalatable, but undeniable."
What Do Test Scores Really Say About a School? | Education.com

What are your thoughts?
I woud say test scores probably say as much about the environment of the school as they do about the school's ability to provide and great education. I would agree with you, that a kid who is smart, hard working, motivated would do just as well at a low performing school in the city as they would in a top public school in the suburb, but you also have to consider the enviroment in which they go into. If a school has high test scores, that PROBABLY means he/she is around a higher number of smart kids, who are motivated and hardworking and that is the environment that you want your kids around. A low performing school PROBABLY has a higher percentage of kids who don't give damn, don't work hard, rather be doing something else, probably illegal, than wanting to be in class to learn. There could be more school violence, and on top of that, maybe your kid could be the minority in the school. I think environment has alot to do with it also.
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Old 10-11-2012, 01:24 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,061 posts, read 16,070,870 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by semiurbanite View Post
"That high socio-economic status is correlated with academic success is unpalatable, but undeniable."
What Do Test Scores Really Say About a School? | Education.com

What are your thoughts?
That title sums it up pretty well. If you want your kid have a respectable station in life, you do everything you can to ensure they achieve academic success. The schools where kids are most likely to excel and go on to four-year universities are in high SES areas. That has nothing to do with urban or suburban. There are many excellent urban schools and many crappy suburban schools.

Quote:
I woud say test scores probably say as much about the environment of the school as they do about the school's ability to provide and great education. I would agree with you, that a kid who is smart, hard working, motivated would do just as well at a low performing school in the city as they would in a top public school in the suburb, but you also have to consider the enviroment in which they go into. If a school has high test scores, that PROBABLY means he/she is around a higher number of smart kids, who are motivated and hardworking and that is the environment that you want your kids around. A low performing school PROBABLY has a higher percentage of kids who don't give damn, don't work hard, rather be doing something else, probably illegal, than wanting to be in class to learn. There could be more school violence, and on top of that, maybe your kid could be the minority in the school. I think environment has alot to do with it also.
I went to one of those lower performing schools, although it was in a suburb, for high school. Expectations aren't just from your parents but from the school as well. Doing well in a low-performing school doesn't mean much since the classes just can't be all that challenging, at least until you get to Honors/AP-level which is typically the 11th and 12th grades. What you take in 12th is pretty irrelevant for college selection. My school actually had a halfway decent math program, and it was the only subject where you were tracked on performance from the beginning. Unlike every other subject, I wasn't just dumped in with the average student for whom algebra was 11th or 12th grade math. I started in geometry. I mean, it's still not perfect as the average 12th grade student taking geometry is of a different caliber than the average 9th grade student taking geometry, but at least they're better than the average student who took algebra for dunderheads in 12th grade.

I really saw the effects of substandard education when I went on to college. For one, I had no idea how to study. I never had to do it before as high school just wasn't challenging. We also had a lot of the failure-to-thrive types coming out of Lowell High in San Francisco at UC Davis... it was the complete opposite for them. Davis was a cakewalk compared to what they came from just as high school was a cakewalk compared to Davis for me. It wasn't so horrible in math and science, although I was definitely behind the curve, but in the humanities and English subjects I was a complete ignoramus.
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Old 10-11-2012, 01:53 PM
bg7
 
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Our urban middle school had metal detectors at the entrances, a whole army of safety staff, nearly a third of the girls in my daughter's class were pregnant or had kids, one of the kids in her English class was stabbed outside the school on the last day of school and the building was a 1930's absestos hole with no sports fields, no gym, no swimming pool, and no community service programs or volunteerism and hopeless elective classes. She also had to take the subway to get there.

We did think about self-deluding excuses to stay in the city with red herrings such as walkability (she actually walks here), vague notions of "vibrancy" (noise and crime) and the blatant lie of "independence", but didn't go so far as to stay there and then find two half-baked articles, one not even relevant, and post them on C-D as some retrospective self-justification of our own reluctance to leave the city. And diversity didn't mean much since she is part of the diversity.

Thats my thoughts, since you asked.
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Old 10-11-2012, 02:15 PM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
5,311 posts, read 5,328,925 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bg7 View Post
Our urban middle school had metal detectors at the entrances, a whole army of safety staff, nearly a third of the girls in my daughter's class were pregnant or had kids, one of the kids in her English class was stabbed outside the school on the last day of school and the building was a 1930's absestos hole with no sports fields, no gym, no swimming pool, and no community service programs or volunteerism and hopeless elective classes. She also had to take the subway to get there.

We did think about self-deluding excuses to stay in the city with red herrings such as walkability (she actually walks here), vague notions of "vibrancy" (noise and crime) and the blatant lie of "independence", but didn't go so far as to stay there and then find two half-baked articles, one not even relevant, and post them on C-D as some retrospective self-justification of our own reluctance to leave the city. And diversity didn't mean much since she is part of the diversity.

Thats my thoughts, since you asked.
Wow, I'm assuming your city had no urban schools that would work? Or maybe you just don't like urban environments? I ask because I wouldn't consider walkability to be a red herring, but I can understand it being less of a priority than good schooling for your daughter; in any event, it would be a factor.

Also, I appreciate you not posting half-baked articles for retrospective self-justification, because that justification doesn't necessarily warrant an accompanying article.
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Old 10-11-2012, 02:18 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,987 posts, read 41,937,844 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bg7 View Post
Our urban middle school had metal detectors at the entrances, a whole army of safety staff, nearly a third of the girls in my daughter's class were pregnant or had kids, one of the kids in her English class was stabbed outside the school on the last day of school and the building was a 1930's absestos hole with no sports fields, no gym, no swimming pool, and no community service programs or volunteerism and hopeless elective classes. She also had to take the subway to get there.
Yea, few would want their children going to that school regardless of location, though I won't consider the subway a negative nor the lack of swimming pool (I thought only rich districts had that, we didn't).
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