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Old 06-19-2014, 03:48 PM
 
20,878 posts, read 13,848,600 times
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Think what many either have forgotten or didn't know is that prior to say the 1960's plenty of families with children lived in American cities.

Look at pictures, films or whatever of Manhattan/NYC going up to the 1970's or so and you'll see plenty of kids, mothers pushing prams, etc.. I mean the film "West Side Story" much less the Broadway musical would not have existed if there weren't groups of young teenage "gangs" in the City.

It was the civil rights/race unrest that began in the 1960's and into the 1970's the pushed much of the white flight out of cities. That plus the heavy investment in road infrastructure to suburbs and increased automobile ownership allowed families to get out of our cities, and many did.

New York City at one point was selling off abandoned and or low used public schools all over the place. This went on through the 1980's and now there is the opposite problem. The City desperately needs more schools to deal with demand but cannot find properties.
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Old 06-19-2014, 06:56 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,043 posts, read 102,757,343 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
It seems to me if you want to retain families in cities, the best way to do it would be with a direct cash payment.

Let's face it. In high cost cities, you can basically describe children as roommates who don't contribute rent. So if you're a family of four seeking a three-bedroom apartment, each parent is paying for 1.5 bedrooms. In contrast, three roommates seeking the same apartment are paying for only one bedroom each. And quite possibly, if one or more of them has a significant other (or maybe even, in extreme cases, if they don't) they'll share a bedroom and get costs even lower.

Anything which you do to improve the overall "family friendliness" of a city won't do much if you don't fix the cost question. Lower crime will raise rents. More amenities like parks will raise rents. Improving the local school system will raise rents, which paradoxically will mean less children, except for the really wealthy.

When it comes down to it, it's all about cost. As a parent in an expensive city you have to be willing to either live with a lower standard of living than your childless peers (e.g., be comparably broke, or comparably cramped), or relocate to a lower-cost, but less interesting neighborhood.

Direct subsidies get around this, because they provide parents with an additional source of funds to equalize the cost differential when compared to non parents. If crafted properly, they could eliminate the financial penalty (at least as far as rent is concerned) when having children in a high-cost urban area.

That said, the cost would add up quickly. Say you had a targeted portion of the city you wanted to retain children in. There are 3,000 children there, and you wish to offer $600 per month per child to parents. This adds up to $21.6 million. In a larger city this isn't a unreasonable sum to spend, but it's not like it's a rounding error in most city budgets either.

And ultimately, it comes back to the question of how badly cities actually want to retain families. Sad as it is to say (as an urban parent) cities come out much better in terms of finances with childless persons, as public education is a significant portion of any municipal budget.
Disagree totally. Cities should be able to thrive on their own, not with artificial subsidies. There are too many subsidies now.

And just where is this money going to come from? Why the taxpayers, of course. It does seem totally silly to me to tax and tax and tax to subsidize, subsidize, subsidize.
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Old 06-19-2014, 06:57 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,043 posts, read 102,757,343 times
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Originally Posted by Tallybalt View Post
Education choices are personal for most families.

The truth is that every city will have at least one good charter middle school program and at least one "elite" high school program that can provide a good to excellent education.

Why more people don't stick it out through the city's public sector does have to do with their comfort level with the public/charter options. A lot of it is perspective based, and some of it can be unfair/incorrect, but at the end of the day most parents prefer their children to be in an environment where their demographics constitute the majority of the students. That's very hard to find in the DC public sector once you move out of the zoned elementary schools into the middle and high school levels, but much easier to find in the suburbs.
Charter schools are the devil's work and magnets are close behind. The public schools should accommodate everybody. You shouldn't have to participate in some lottery in order to get your kid a good education.
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Old 06-19-2014, 08:33 PM
 
56,790 posts, read 81,149,048 times
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Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Charter schools are the devil's work and magnets are close behind. The public schools should accommodate everybody. You shouldn't have to participate in some lottery in order to get your kid a good education.
With magnets, it is usually a matter of taking a test or "applying"/trying out for entry. So, it is a little bit different than a charter.
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:39 PM
 
3,271 posts, read 3,013,381 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Charter schools are the devil's work and magnets are close behind. The public schools should accommodate everybody. You shouldn't have to participate in some lottery in order to get your kid a good education.
If you get rid of that lottery without fixing the public schools before doing so all you're doing is consigning everyone whose parents don't have the resources to get them out of the city or into a private to a bad education. Shutting down charters and magnets because they don't reach everybody prior to making the normal public schools an equivalent viable alternative is the real devil's work -- hurting people simply for the sake of others feeling better because at least everyone else in their community is equally miserable.

edit: to circle back to the main topic of this thread, charters and magnets also keep families in cities; families who do have the means to opt-out of the city system by leaving or paying for private schools might stay to a greater extent if their kids can get into a magnet or charter which is more functional than the general system, so not only are you providing opportunities to less advantaged kids who otherwise would be all trapped in the dysfunctional normal public system but you'd also increase socioeconomic diversity by keeping more middle-class families from fleeing the system.

Last edited by ALackOfCreativity; 06-19-2014 at 09:56 PM..
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Old 06-20-2014, 07:18 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,459 posts, read 11,967,021 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Disagree totally. Cities should be able to thrive on their own, not with artificial subsidies. There are too many subsidies now.

And just where is this money going to come from? Why the taxpayers, of course. It does seem totally silly to me to tax and tax and tax to subsidize, subsidize, subsidize.
Frankly, I think there ought to be a national wage for parenting, similar to Social Security, that everyone gets when they have children under 18. For the very low-income, this could replace welfare, but for middle-income people, this would allow more flexibility - everything from allowing a family to get by with only one parent working to being able to afford high cost areas better.

Indeed, one could make a stronger public policy argument for providing a wage to parents than Social Security, given the outcomes of children have a much larger impact on the future economy than what happens to retirees. Of course, not everyone chooses to have children, so the program would not be as universal. And it's pie in the sky at this moment. But I think it's where we need to move as a society, and I don't see why it couldn't be instituted in a limited fashion in some cities where it's currently politically feasible.
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Old 06-20-2014, 08:23 AM
 
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Universal minimum income! Get rid of all that inefficient means testing, just "here's your check, see you next month."
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Old 06-20-2014, 04:43 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,733,004 times
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Originally Posted by ckhthankgod View Post
I also wonder if there are enough other options, whether magnet, private, charter or even homeschooling, that these families could choose from, they would stay. Some may be going the private route anyway and feel that they can stay in the city. So, it may be a matter of the route they determine and the choices available in terms of schooling down the line.

I know of parents that go with the public city schools all the way through and do fine. So, it may even be as simple of taking advantage of things in terms of the schooling, as long as the environment is suitable enough. Where I live there is one urban public HS that in spite of its general stats, still seems to always have a valedictorian that goes to an Ivy League school and other top tier students going to similar to solid private or state/public colleges/universities.
In my city, the common theme is that the public schools look their neighborhoods pretty closely through about 6th grade. Then in middle and high school, parents with means jump ship from the public schools. They send their kids to private schools or move to a new city.

But certain high schools have improved a lot. Not the high school in my neighborhood is the best in the city, and parents want to send their kids there. It was mediocre when I first moved in, and there were less kids in the area. This took 10 years to "transform" my high school in a middle to upper middle class neighborhood, which has a broad feeder range of pretty much all incomes in the 2 mile radius. I imagine, if you have a 5 year old now, the school with be tops in the region by the time your kid is 14. Right now it is middle of the pack for the region, but high for an urban school in the region.
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Old 06-20-2014, 06:48 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,091 posts, read 16,126,368 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Frankly, I think there ought to be a national wage for parenting, similar to Social Security, that everyone gets when they have children under 18. For the very low-income, this could replace welfare, but for middle-income people, this would allow more flexibility - everything from allowing a family to get by with only one parent working to being able to afford high cost areas better.

Indeed, one could make a stronger public policy argument for providing a wage to parents than Social Security, given the outcomes of children have a much larger impact on the future economy than what happens to retirees. Of course, not everyone chooses to have children, so the program would not be as universal. And it's pie in the sky at this moment. But I think it's where we need to move as a society, and I don't see why it couldn't be instituted in a limited fashion in some cities where it's currently politically feasible.
The difference is you pay into social security. While it's largely a wealth redistribution tool as well, you have to work and pay into it to get money out of it (or marry someone when they are working and stay married for ten years). I mean, I'd prefer to just get rid of the income portion of social security entirely and just keep the disability insurance portion for one. More than that, I strongly disagree that paying people to breed is a good idea. World's overpopulated as it is. The people likely to have kids so they can get a welfare check aren't who you actually want to encourage to breed either. Better to expand the child tax credit imo.
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Old 06-21-2014, 07:10 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,043 posts, read 102,757,343 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Frankly, I think there ought to be a national wage for parenting, similar to Social Security, that everyone gets when they have children under 18. For the very low-income, this could replace welfare, but for middle-income people, this would allow more flexibility - everything from allowing a family to get by with only one parent working to being able to afford high cost areas better.

Indeed, one could make a stronger public policy argument for providing a wage to parents than Social Security, given the outcomes of children have a much larger impact on the future economy than what happens to retirees. Of course, not everyone chooses to have children, so the program would not be as universal. And it's pie in the sky at this moment. But I think it's where we need to move as a society, and I don't see why it couldn't be instituted in a limited fashion in some cities where it's currently politically feasible.
They have such programs in many countries. Child benefit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia In Sweden, everyone works to pay the taxes for this and other programs. There's no such thing as stay-at-home mothers (or fathers). You work to pay for your subsidized day care, too.
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