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Old 04-07-2013, 12:00 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,980 posts, read 102,527,356 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
Well, the jury is still out on most of the "hipster" places; most "hipsters" don't have school-aged kids yet. Presumably when skinny jeans bumps into fashionably ugly glasses while they're riding their fixies, the inevitable will occur and 5-6 years later said hipsters will be looking for top elementary schools.

Hoboken, NJ (more yupster than hipster) has already reached that point, and the school quality has not followed; instead, the families tend to move out to the burbs. But that's just one place.
Hipsters, yupsters, whatever. I was thinking about the Highlands area of Denver, which has been "hip" long enough to show some improvement in the schools, if it were to come. It's slow in arriving, if at all. From what you read on CD, most use private schools or charter/magnet schools. Sadly, some planners seem to feel that the latter is sufficient and they don't have to care about the quality of the neighborhood schools. Please note there are some good neighborhood schools in Denver, just not enough.

Denver Public Schools
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Old 04-07-2013, 03:13 PM
 
1,356 posts, read 1,634,748 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeepRightPassLeft View Post
This, combined with an expanded metro system would make for an awesome balanced system where people would be able to take the train or drive, both with relative ease. I think DC should have built more freeways and trains, thrown em underground and it'd have been fine. Only thing that really gets in the way is those pesky costs...lol
I don't follow. NYC and the DC subway system are the two most used systems in the country because they it's so hard to get around either of those cities in a car and find parking without paying exorbitant sums of money. If you "balance" it out as you suggest then you'll see ridership probably decrease and both cities would resemble every other city in the US where people drive instead of using alternative means of getting around. I don't know about NYC, but I know DC's metro is packed to the brim during the early morning, rush hour, and weekend nights. That's a considerable amount of cars that are off the road, creating chances for accidents, and consuming energy per person. Even with all the subway system you still have a lot of traffic on certain roads from the system not being extensive enough(they're building a silver and purple line IIRC to help with that). Oddly enough though, the traffic is at it's worst outside the city limits where transportation is mostly dominated by cars. Once you're actually inside the city or near city limits, you can move around more freely without being stuck in bumper to bumper traffic for 40 minutes to go 5 miles.
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Old 04-07-2013, 09:49 PM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
6,473 posts, read 11,095,690 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Sadly, some planners seem to feel that the latter is sufficient and they don't have to care about the quality of the neighborhood schools.
How does one improve a school? Improve the outcomes from its students. How does one do that? Improve their lives. How can that be done on a massive scale at neighborhood schools where 90+% of students come from abject poverty? It cannot.

You can blame planners all you want, but there is only so much they can do. They cannot end poverty or its root causes. Our charters have very strict guidelines of who is chosen, so they aren't just an entire school of gentrifiers. I have worked with these kids, they are bright and from truly diverse backgrounds. Some are dirt poor and some are quite wealthy. All are impressive.

If options are not offered other than the neighborhood elementary where 75% of students are failing, then nobody who can afford to will raise kids here. If a charter does attract more "choice" residents, then school tax revenue increases, to the benefit of all students.

"Fix the schools" is hollow. Charters provide an option for parents who give a damn. Their existence allows for the improvement of the other schools. It isn't either-or.
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:18 PM
 
1,356 posts, read 1,634,748 times
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I totally missed that statement made by Katiana earlier about schools. Katiana, if you really feel that way about planners not caring about schools then what do you think about NIMBY'ers who want school districts zoned so that they only include homes with high property values and oppose busing in students from low income neighborhoods? And to clarify something, I very much oppose charters since they've strayed away from their intended purpose of being a temporary school type to test out new teaching methods and philosophies into something that's becoming an industry sucking money away from neighborhood schools.
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Old 04-08-2013, 05:41 PM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 407,275 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octa View Post
If you "balance" it out as you suggest then you'll see ridership probably decrease and both cities would resemble every other city in the US where people drive instead of using alternative means of getting around.
I don't really see a problem with this. Some cities are more transit focused, some are more auto focused. Some of them strike a nice balance. That's the great thing about living in the US, we have different communities for a whole variety of lifestyles.
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Old 04-08-2013, 05:51 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,983 posts, read 41,921,149 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeepRightPassLeft View Post
I don't really see a problem with this. Some cities are more transit focused, some are more auto focused. Some of them strike a nice balance. That's the great thing about living in the US, we have different communities for a whole variety of lifestyles.
There are really only a handful of cities in the US that could be described transit focused*, the rest are really auto-oriented. You might, depending on your point of view see little problem with that, but I don't think it's accurate to describe it as balanced. And even the "transit-focused cities" I listed are mostly not that transit focused compared to cities elsewhere in the world, which even those have plenty of drivers and roads so aren't really unbalanced. Even Canadian cities on average are quite a bit more transit-focused than American ones. Whether non-transit focused cities can be "fixed" to be more transit-oriented or should be is another issue.

*I'd label those as: New York City, Chicago, DC, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Boston. Some might disagree with my choices and add a few that have decent transit systems, but any other American cities is less oriented towards transit.
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:10 PM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
6,473 posts, read 11,095,690 times
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Just because a place doesn't have 100 freeways fracturing it into a million pieces and destroying the quality of life for the citizens nearby does not mean it's not auto focused. Last I checked cars were allowed to drive on most cities' streets.
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:36 PM
 
Location: South Portland, ME
889 posts, read 1,014,613 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsUpThumbsDown View Post
Just because a place doesn't have 100 freeways fracturing it into a million pieces and destroying the quality of life for the citizens nearby does not mean it's not auto focused. Last I checked cars were allowed to drive on most cities' streets.
Auto-focused means that driving is the primary way of getting around. It's good to NOT be auto-focused.

Amsterdam is a good example of a non-auto-focused city - they have bike lanes that span the entire city, trams, buses, and even a (small) subway system. It's completely possible to live there and get around to anywhere in the city without ever getting into a car. This is, IMO, what American cities should strive for.

From my experience I believe Chicago is the closest, with New York pretty good as well. I disagree about Boston, I found it difficult to get around there without a car. Haven't been to DC, Philly, or SF to comment on those, but it's sad that in such a big country those are the ONLY examples we have. There should be many cities in each state like that, not just a small handful across the whole country.
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:56 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,980 posts, read 102,527,356 times
Reputation: 33045
Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsUpThumbsDown View Post
How does one improve a school? Improve the outcomes from its students. How does one do that? Improve their lives. How can that be done on a massive scale at neighborhood schools where 90+% of students come from abject poverty? It cannot.

You can blame planners all you want, but there is only so much they can do. They cannot end poverty or its root causes. Our charters have very strict guidelines of who is chosen, so they aren't just an entire school of gentrifiers. I have worked with these kids, they are bright and from truly diverse backgrounds. Some are dirt poor and some are quite wealthy. All are impressive.

If options are not offered other than the neighborhood elementary where 75% of students are failing, then nobody who can afford to will raise kids here. If a charter does attract more "choice" residents, then school tax revenue increases, to the benefit of all students.

"Fix the schools" is hollow. Charters provide an option for parents who give a damn. Their existence allows for the improvement of the other schools. It isn't either-or.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Octa View Post
I totally missed that statement made by Katiana earlier about schools. Katiana, if you really feel that way about planners not caring about schools then what do you think about NIMBY'ers who want school districts zoned so that they only include homes with high property values and oppose busing in students from low income neighborhoods? And to clarify something, I very much oppose charters since they've strayed away from their intended purpose of being a temporary school type to test out new teaching methods and philosophies into something that's becoming an industry sucking money away from neighborhood schools.
I'm going to take these two together. I don't know exactly how to "improve the schools". I'm not an educator, although I was very involved with my kids' schools and I am still part of an education study group. If you go over to the education forum, you can find all sorts of "manifestos" about how to improve the schools, usually documents with ten or so points along these lines:

To improve the schools we should:

Have longer/shorter school days
Have longer/shorter school years
Have Saturday classes/have 4 day school weeks
Require students to wear uniforms/have no dress codes whatsoever
Have a more rigorous curriculum/teach trades starting in middle school
Pay teachers more/less
Etc.

When all else fails, they bash the parents. It's all the parents' fault. Parents don't care. Parents don't send their kids to school with the right supplies; don't make them do homework, are just jerks, etc.

OTOH, urban planners have said they don't give much thought to the schools. I can't find that blog I referenced, but an urban planner, someone who was getting paid to do city planning in other words, said he never gave much thought to the schools until his kids got to be school age. That's a comprehensive view of cities, eh? It seems urban planners, on this board and IRL would much rather concern themselves with stuff like transit, be it LR, BRT, car-sharing or whatever, "walkability including having a bar no more than ten paces from one's front door, cultural institutions like art museums, and so on rather than schools. How did these guys (mostly) and women expect to attract people to the cities for their entire life cycles if they didn't give any thought to the schools? School districts in many cities tend to be separate entities from the city governments, perhaps that is why.

The issue with city schools is not poverty per se. When I was a kid, my hometown was full of people of my parents' generation and a little older who did not speak English until they went to school, even though they were born in the US. These people were born approx. 1900-1925. Their own parents were born abroad. Railroad and steel companies used to send recruiters over to places in Italy, Poland, and other eastern and southern European countries to recruit poor people to the US to work in the mills and on the railroads. These people, almost entirely men, got their passage paid to the US; after they had saved some money they sent for their families. They tended to be among the poorest of the poor in Europe, and they weren't rich in the US, either. There were no unions back in the early 1900s. Yet these kids went to school and learned English there; in many cases they were the first in their families to even attend formal schools. Many city schools achieved stellar reputations at educating.

In recent years, educators and lawmakers have seen that the city schools have received a horrendous reputation as h*ll holes, and have tried to rectify that with these magnet and charter schools, despite the fact that the urban planners seemingly don't care about schools. Charter schools were supposed to be as Octa said for experimental purposes, to try new ideas. MANY have failed. Most have no better "track record" than the public schools in re: test scores, which, before anyone starts chomping at the bit, are not IMO totally reflective of a school's quality. In most states, charter schools have to admit students by lottery. However, preferences may be given in the lotteries, as long as anti-discrimination laws are not violated. My district gives preferences in all open-enrollment apps, not just charter schools (Colorado has statewide open enrollment) to children of employees, applicants who are siblings of students already in a school, children of parents of founders of charter schools for a certain number of years, students residing in certain areas, and more. Savvy parents have learned how to game the system; they get their applications in on the first day of OE, they know how to write the app. so their kid falls into one of the preferences, etc.

Do I support gerrymandering attendance areas? No, I do not.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:30 PM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
6,473 posts, read 11,095,690 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
When all else fails, they bash the parents. It's all the parents' fault. Parents don't care. Parents don't send their kids to school with the right supplies; don't make them do homework, are just jerks, etc.
It's not always inappropriate. I don't think you understand where I'm coming from, though. Baltimore is a lot different from Denver. An overwhelming number of students come from households with a lot of problems. Multiple times more than Denver, I promise you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
How did these guys (mostly) and women expect to attract people to the cities for their entire life cycles if they didn't give any thought to the schools?
You said you couldn't say how to fix schools because aren't an educator. Are planners educators? Then why should they be tasked with job? Schools just don't often come under the purview of urban planners.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
The issue with city schools is not poverty per se. When I was a kid, my hometown was full of people of my parents' generation and a little older who did not speak English until they went to school, even though they were born in the US.
Yadda yadda boilerplate "we were poor but we didn't know we were poor." This attitude is American folklore by this point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
These people were born approx. 1900-1925. Their own parents were born abroad. Railroad and steel companies used to send recruiters over to places in Italy, Poland, and other eastern and southern European countries to recruit poor people to the US to work in the mills and on the railroads.

You bet, I come from this stock as well. These jobs don't exist anymore.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Many city schools achieved stellar reputations at educating.
You're right. Suburbs weren't really invented yet. Those eager hard working types moved there once invented. Well, the white ones anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
In recent years, educators and lawmakers have seen that the city schools have received a horrendous reputation as h*ll holes, and have tried to rectify that with these magnet and charter schools, despite the fact that the urban planners seemingly don't care about schools.
This makes no sense at all. What do urban planners have to do with schools?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Most have no better "track record" than the public schools in re: test scores, which, before anyone starts chomping at the bit, are not IMO totally reflective of a school's quality. In most states, charter schools have to admit students by lottery.
What are you talking about? Our schools take the standardized testing. I don't think there are any publicly funded schools that can get out of it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Savvy parents have learned how to game the system; they get their applications in on the first day of OE, they know how to write the app. so their kid falls into one of the preferences, etc.
Savvy parents? Game the system? You sound like a Republican talking about "welfare queens." Aren't you always lecturing us to be more empathetic to parents? What would you do if the option was for your kid to go to a school where barely any learning was going on because of kids from truly terrible circumstances acting out constantly? Would you really call a single mom trying to make the best for her kid "savvy" and trying to "game the system?" Ugh!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Do I support gerrymandering attendance areas? No, I do not.
OK. So you don't support charter schools, you think the rich suburban districts bear no responsiblity for educating poor kids in the city. Your plan is a recipe for the continued failure of schools here.

It's very different here and in other post-industrial cities that have endured decades of codified racism, drugs, violence, etc. You admit that it's not so easy to "fix the schools" but you dismiss something that is working here.

I suggest watching season 4 of The Wire; a good portrayal of what things are really like in some American schools.
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