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Old 05-04-2010, 07:38 AM
 
Location: New Orleans
42 posts, read 144,565 times
Reputation: 42

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orestes View Post
Good afternoon! I too appreciate the civility, and I enjoy intelligent discussion even more. Thank you for that.

I'd like to encourage you to try. I think it's important considering the venue. This forum is viewed by people nationwide, if not world-wide. It's apparent from the typical postings requesting inside perspectives that those people have little more than pop culture references to gauge the accuracy of existing stereotypes. New Orleanians, Louisianians, Gulf Coasters, Southerners, etc. and their cultures are poorly represented by The Waterboy. It's unfortunate, but general perception of our region is shaped by ridiculous movies far more than personal experiences, or reasonable common-sense. I don't want to beat up on New Orleans; far from it. I defend her as quickly and heartily as anyone. However, the truth is the truth. People willing to relocate to New Orleans are important to the city's future, and I hope that they flock in droves. But they need to do so with open eyes and informed expectations. I don't want to influence anyone away, unless of course, they're making a decision that will prove to be poor given their own specific set of circumstance. Those folks will eventually do more damage than good.

I'm not asking you to attempt a lecture on historical sociology. But, surely you could accomplish something with a few pithy sentences. As far as staying on topic, I seriously doubt anyone has a complaint. If they do, they should speak up. I have no issue creating a new thread in order to squelch the squawking. You make great posts. I certainly don't mean to insult, much less condescend. I only hoped to chide you just enough to provoke a well thought, logically constructed argument.



First, a couple of easy to find statistics from the LA Dep. of Education:

As you can see, at first glance it may seem that Orleans Parish is a reasonable performer. However, you must consider than a large portion of the public school district in Orleans was taken over by the Recovery District (RSD). The RSD was established to recuperate the poorest performers. While that district does include more than Orleans Parish schools, a quick view of their website shows that 70 of their 84 schools were taken from Orleans Parish. Thus, there are two districts that must be considered when comparing Orleans to Jefferson Parish. Orleans Parish SD now consists of only 16 schools.

The following quotes are from a report in 2008 from The Cowen Institute at Tulane University (also an easy google search away for anyone interested):
While I do agree with you that some of the best and brightest remain in Orleans Parish and are serviced by a few very good schools, a different story is told when comparing Orleans schools, in general, to those in Metairie (or anywhere for that matter). As quoted above, when data is analyzed on all Orleans Parish schools as a district, as it once was, it ranks 65th out of 69. Jefferson Parish, which includes Metairie, ranks 57th. Both are shamefully low rankings. I have a hard time recommending Metairie, in general, over Orleans. However, statistically any school in Jefferson Parish is an improvement over Orleans. Let's keep in perspective here what 17th place means; Orleans Parish (those schools not moved to the RSD) rank in the top 25%. I'm not saying that isn't good, but top 25% is hardly prestigious.

Of the 16 schools remaining in Orleans Parish SD, there are 7 with performance scores over 100. Jefferson Parish has 11 with scores over 100. Of those 11, 4 are in Metairie (with the remainders spread through Kenner, Gretna and Jefferson).

So comparing Metairie to Orleans public schools, in general, shows that Metairie is in a district that outperforms (barely) Orleans, and they have their fair share of high performers. I wish it weren't true, but it is. I think it's important for any new-comers who seek information here to know this before they relocate here. If you have a high-performing child, you can find excellent choices in Orleans Parish, or in Metairie. However, if you have a child that fits in at a level, where most children do, you may want to more carefully consider you choices. Take note that St. Tammany Parish ranks number 2 in the state.

I hope anyone reading this is having a nice weekend. Please to add to the discussion if you have something constructive or informative to say. Or don't.
You needn't have spent all that effort just to point out that public schools in New Orleans are a decidedly mixed bag .

Take this how you will, but the only way to overcome the dilemma of the public schools in a case like New Orleans is to increase the population of the city's white middle class. It's not a matter of racial dominance or even racial equality. It's a question of who holds the reigns of economic power. For there's a Catch-22 at play: good schools require a good economy and a good economy requires good schools. We know good schools attract, retain, and feed higher value enterprises and a good economy provides a stable tax base as well as a system of rewards in the form of meaningful employment. The white middle class holds the key to ending this Catch-22.

But given the history of this country, we're predisposed to see it as a racial issue and sidetrack the goals. Certain of us will roll our eyes and bitterly complain about wasting hard-earned money on "those people," and certain others of us will be mightily offended by the persistence of the "plantation mentality." But the reality is that this is a massive problem that will only intensify and expand and eventually lead to dire consequences for the entire nation unless small steps are taken to see a common purpose while there's still time.

As for insights for newcomers, the public schools here are improving bit by bit. The charter system is expanding and next year will account for 2 out of 3 public schools. It's important to know, too, that there have always been good public schools here. One of the best, Edward Hynes, is now building a large state-of-the-art facility. Newer schools like Audubon Charter and the International School are examples of how the citizenry has taken action to shake up the status quo. It will take time, but given these signs there is every reason to believe that New Orleans will continue to improve, and I'll certainly be doing my part.
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Old 05-04-2010, 12:18 PM
 
Location: New Orleans, LA
310 posts, read 775,649 times
Reputation: 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by thepointykitty View Post
. It doesn't LOOK like very many people are.
I know by the looks of things you wouldn't think anyone cared, but it's really not the case. As I said, it's the matter of getting funding and/or getting the politicians to give 2 hoots.

Many MANY people are proud to call the area(s) home and wouldn't see it anyway else. And I love alot of those people, so I'll definitely go on the defensive for them, even when I move away (even though I know now that you didn't intend to sound mean, I'm just saying).

Even though neighborhoods are generic, most look nice and people care for their property. If you drive around by the airport or around the malls yes, that's ugly. I was actually happy for Macy's to go in to Lakeside Mall, as it caused the city to pretty things up a bit (the neutral ground area with the Blue Dog, in particular). I won't even get started on the atrocity of the constant construction around Causeway.

It's just not my thing. I need a yard, not a 20 by 24 fenced in area. I want my kids to have public schooling for the simple fact that religion isn't in the curriculum. In all honesty, those are the only big reasons I don't want to stay. Oh, and my next door neighbor stinks and he's not leaving in the next 20 years .
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Old 05-04-2010, 02:45 PM
 
Location: Lafayette, LA
245 posts, read 416,633 times
Reputation: 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiten View Post
You needn't have spent all that effort just to point out that public schools in New Orleans are a decidedly mixed bag .
Aw come on now, don't minimize the disparity between the relatively few good and the remaining mass of failure. I wouldn't characterize it as a mixed bag, for me that's a little misrepresentative. It's more like a heaping pile of "fail" with some sprinkles of success on top. I know, I know, i'm just being difficult, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiten View Post
Take this how you will, but the only way to overcome the dilemma of the public schools in a case like New Orleans is to increase the population of the city's white middle class. It's not a matter of racial dominance or even racial equality. It's a question of who holds the reigns of economic power. For there's a Catch-22 at play: good schools require a good economy and a good economy requires good schools. We know good schools attract, retain, and feed higher value enterprises and a good economy provides a stable tax base as well as a system of rewards in the form of meaningful employment. The white middle class holds the key to ending this Catch-22.

But given the history of this country, we're predisposed to see it as a racial issue and sidetrack the goals. Certain of us will roll our eyes and bitterly complain about wasting hard-earned money on "those people," and certain others of us will be mightily offended by the persistence of the "plantation mentality." But the reality is that this is a massive problem that will only intensify and expand and eventually lead to dire consequences for the entire nation unless small steps are taken to see a common purpose while there's still time.

As for insights for newcomers, the public schools here are improving bit by bit. The charter system is expanding and next year will account for 2 out of 3 public schools. It's important to know, too, that there have always been good public schools here. One of the best, Edward Hynes, is now building a large state-of-the-art facility. Newer schools like Audubon Charter and the International School are examples of how the citizenry has taken action to shake up the status quo. It will take time, but given these signs there is every reason to believe that New Orleans will continue to improve, and I'll certainly be doing my part.
I certainly won't disagree with any of this. However, I feel that another issue is just as, if not more important. Parents of problem/at risk children, in general, are putting little or no effort into holding their children accountable for thier performance in school. They are self absorbed in their own problems and spend little or no time focusing on the consequences of their child(ren)'s failure. I'm sure these comments will earn me a thrashing from a number of parents who want to tell me how wrong I am because they think they don't fit my assertion. That's fine. However, one of the two careers I've been fortunate to experience was law enforcement. My first assignment within the Detective's Bureau was Juvenile Detective. I spent all my time immersed in the environment I'm commenting on. I've seen and experienced it first-hand. I've spent my share of time in the school that the district had to open for the worst of the worst because of the influence and disruption they caused. The only solution was to remove them, because the parents didn't care.

One thing I found especially important, that environment isn't like a democracy where a simple majority of good kids will win out. This problem doesn't work that way. Only a few bad apples are necessary to disrupt and influence the entire learning environment. You already touched on the economic challenges. However, no matter how nice, or poor the learning environment is, the children within the environment won't thrive unless it becomes the 'norm' to do so. How do you accomplish that? Look to the Charter Schools. Those children thrive not just because of thier capacity. They thrive, by and large, because they are driven/supported from home.

What's different about the poor performers in public schools, one ones ruining the learning environment for all others? In my opinion, they're the products of self absorbed parents. Those self absorbed parents lead to self-absorbed children. Those children learn to care less about long term accomplishment/success than immediate gratification. Those children watch parents who are dealing with constant stress, alot of which is economic. Those parents aren't teaching their children to plan for future success, rather, they're setting the example to get away with what you can for immediate gratification whenever possible because life will always be this bleak. So don't buckle down and make the most you can of school. Don't burden yourself, it's too hard. Work just hard enough to chase small gratifications, like 24" wheels and a million-watt stereo for your car. Or, better yet, live vicariously through the sports stars you can be on your flat-screen TV and playstation.

So, is a white middle class the answer? I don't think it's the complete answer. Maybe the values that any middle class would bring are the answer. There needs to be more than a simple majority of parents holding their children accountable. Unfortunately, and this brings it back to Orleans Parish and Metairie, that won't change strictly by an influx of middle class. There actually already is a middle class; they're just heavily outnumbered. What's worse, they're working to segregate themselves back out (again, that economic factor you brought up). It'll happen only as a result of a change in the current population. Any additional middle class' biggest contribution wouldn't be economic. It would be the shift in numbers, example and influence in attitude.

Or something like that.
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Old 05-04-2010, 04:37 PM
 
Location: Baton Rouge
1,734 posts, read 5,186,946 times
Reputation: 655
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiten View Post
You needn't have spent all that effort just to point out that public schools in New Orleans are a decidedly mixed bag .

Take this how you will, but the only way to overcome the dilemma of the public schools in a case like New Orleans is to increase the population of the city's white middle class. It's not a matter of racial dominance or even racial equality. It's a question of who holds the reigns of economic power. For there's a Catch-22 at play: good schools require a good economy and a good economy requires good schools. We know good schools attract, retain, and feed higher value enterprises and a good economy provides a stable tax base as well as a system of rewards in the form of meaningful employment. The white middle class holds the key to ending this Catch-22.

But given the history of this country, we're predisposed to see it as a racial issue and sidetrack the goals. Certain of us will roll our eyes and bitterly complain about wasting hard-earned money on "those people," and certain others of us will be mightily offended by the persistence of the "plantation mentality." But the reality is that this is a massive problem that will only intensify and expand and eventually lead to dire consequences for the entire nation unless small steps are taken to see a common purpose while there's still time.
Really ...or the people who live there now can get their act together and fix the schools....till they do that, a majority of people will chose to live elsewhere. Till they are shown a city with fixed infrastructure, fixed crime, and fixed schools, they will not see it as a smart investment in the future of themselves and their children.
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Old 05-05-2010, 05:34 AM
 
Location: New Orleans
42 posts, read 144,565 times
Reputation: 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orestes View Post
Aw come on now, don't minimize the disparity between the relatively few good and the remaining mass of failure. I wouldn't characterize it as a mixed bag, for me that's a little misrepresentative. It's more like a heaping pile of "fail" with some sprinkles of success on top. I know, I know, i'm just being difficult, right?



I certainly won't disagree with any of this. However, I feel that another issue is just as, if not more important. Parents of problem/at risk children, in general, are putting little or no effort into holding their children accountable for thier performance in school. They are self absorbed in their own problems and spend little or no time focusing on the consequences of their child(ren)'s failure. I'm sure these comments will earn me a thrashing from a number of parents who want to tell me how wrong I am because they think they don't fit my assertion. That's fine. However, one of the two careers I've been fortunate to experience was law enforcement. My first assignment within the Detective's Bureau was Juvenile Detective. I spent all my time immersed in the environment I'm commenting on. I've seen and experienced it first-hand. I've spent my share of time in the school that the district had to open for the worst of the worst because of the influence and disruption they caused. The only solution was to remove them, because the parents didn't care.

One thing I found especially important, that environment isn't like a democracy where a simple majority of good kids will win out. This problem doesn't work that way. Only a few bad apples are necessary to disrupt and influence the entire learning environment. You already touched on the economic challenges. However, no matter how nice, or poor the learning environment is, the children within the environment won't thrive unless it becomes the 'norm' to do so. How do you accomplish that? Look to the Charter Schools. Those children thrive not just because of thier capacity. They thrive, by and large, because they are driven/supported from home.

What's different about the poor performers in public schools, one ones ruining the learning environment for all others? In my opinion, they're the products of self absorbed parents. Those self absorbed parents lead to self-absorbed children. Those children learn to care less about long term accomplishment/success than immediate gratification. Those children watch parents who are dealing with constant stress, alot of which is economic. Those parents aren't teaching their children to plan for future success, rather, they're setting the example to get away with what you can for immediate gratification whenever possible because life will always be this bleak. So don't buckle down and make the most you can of school. Don't burden yourself, it's too hard. Work just hard enough to chase small gratifications, like 24" wheels and a million-watt stereo for your car. Or, better yet, live vicariously through the sports stars you can be on your flat-screen TV and playstation.

So, is a white middle class the answer? I don't think it's the complete answer. Maybe the values that any middle class would bring are the answer. There needs to be more than a simple majority of parents holding their children accountable. Unfortunately, and this brings it back to Orleans Parish and Metairie, that won't change strictly by an influx of middle class. There actually alr//www.city-data.com/forum/newreply.php?do=postreply&t=959406eady is a middle class; they're just heavily outnumbered. What's worse, they're working to segregate themselves back out (again, that economic factor you brought up). It'll happen only as a result of a change in the current population. Any additional middle class' biggest contribution wouldn't be economic. It would be the shift in numbers, example and influence in attitude.

Or something like that.
No thrashing from me, but surely you'd agree that we human beings don't abruptly change our lifestyle and habits without sufficient incentive. To suppose (as the poster after you does) that everyone can somehow "get their act together" is facile, naive, and self-serving. As I said before, a good economy provides a system of rewards in the form of meaningful employment. Without the availability of worthwhile jobs there's really no incentive at all for many students and parents to go through the arduous and uncertain task of modifying their behavior.
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Baton Rouge
1,734 posts, read 5,186,946 times
Reputation: 655
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiten View Post
No thrashing from me, but surely you'd agree that we human beings don't abruptly change our lifestyle and habits without sufficient incentive. To suppose (as the poster after you does) that everyone can somehow "get their act together" is facile, naive, and self-serving. As I said before, a good economy provides a system of rewards in the form of meaningful employment. Without the availability of worthwhile jobs there's really no incentive at all for many students and parents to go through the arduous and uncertain task of modifying their behavior.
And you aren't going to see outstanding growth of high-paying jobs in a city that is performing so poorly in the departments mentioned earlier. There are poor cities that manage to have mostly decent-good schools despite poor economic climate.

Again, not many companies are looking to expand into cities with out of control crime, overall poor school performance, thrashed infrastructure, and with such a large percentage of people who do not have alot of education. High paying jobs go where they smell money, and where they see a highly educated workforce. Strategic location and vibrant culture can only get a city so far these days when the fastest growing, highest-paying industries are not as dependent on water. The city is making a move in the right direction by repairing infrastructure, but there is still so much more to do. It is a truly mammoth undertaking to get this city where it needs to be to be competitive, and before you can benefit from growth, you need to show people that you are worthy of their time.
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Old 05-05-2010, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Lafayette, LA
245 posts, read 416,633 times
Reputation: 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiten View Post
No thrashing from me, but surely you'd agree that we human beings don't abruptly change our lifestyle and habits without sufficient incentive. To suppose (as the poster after you does) that everyone can somehow "get their act together" is facile, naive, and self-serving. As I said before, a good economy provides a system of rewards in the form of meaningful employment. Without the availability of worthwhile jobs there's really no incentive at all for many students and parents to go through the arduous and uncertain task of modifying their behavior.

I agree with you in 'bits and pieces'. I think you're overlooking the most important incentives, quality of life. There are a hell of a lot more powerful incentives that have failed to drive behavioral change. How about the ability to read, write and speak English? How about the ability to add and subtract? How about the ability to walk around outside without having to dodge bullets? How about the ability to hold your head up high and be proud that you've earned a reputation for cherishing and respecting what you do have? From the outside, people that could come in and contribute to the local economy can only judge by what they can observe. They ask, "What have the locals done with what they already have?" The shift in values and behavior must come first. People must show that they can be motivated toward a better quality of life before anyone brings the incentives you speak of.

You know, realistically, the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle. Both sides of the equation need to reach out. Unfortunately, I really believe it has to come from those 'poor performers' first. It will be reasonable for them to expect new opportunities as soon as they show that they can be motivated by the things that matter most. Hopefully, there are good things on the horizon that will facilitate another chance at that process. The RSD (Recovery School District) is improving. There's a new shift in local government (I hope). There are good people relocating to New Orleans with hopes of contributing to the greater good. And best of all, there are people like my wife and I moving home.
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Old 05-05-2010, 07:11 PM
 
Location: Baton Rouge
1,734 posts, read 5,186,946 times
Reputation: 655
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orestes View Post
I agree with you in 'bits and pieces'. I think you're overlooking the most important incentives, quality of life. There are a hell of a lot more powerful incentives that have failed to drive behavioral change. How about the ability to read, write and speak English? How about the ability to add and subtract? How about the ability to walk around outside without having to dodge bullets? How about the ability to hold your head up high and be proud that you've earned a reputation for cherishing and respecting what you do have? From the outside, people that could come in and contribute to the local economy can only judge by what they can observe. They ask, "What have the locals done with what they already have?" The shift in values and behavior must come first. People must show that they can be motivated toward a better quality of life before anyone brings the incentives you speak of.

You know, realistically, the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle. Both sides of the equation need to reach out. Unfortunately, I really believe it has to come from those 'poor performers' first. It will be reasonable for them to expect new opportunities as soon as they show that they can be motivated by the things that matter most. Hopefully, there are good things on the horizon that will facilitate another chance at that process. The RSD (Recovery School District) is improving. There's a new shift in local government (I hope). There are good people relocating to New Orleans with hopes of contributing to the greater good. And best of all, there are people like my wife and I moving home.
You are a very realistic person. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link (cliche', but true).
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Old 12-18-2010, 01:27 PM
 
11 posts, read 27,543 times
Reputation: 14
Thank you all for this discussion. It's been an edifying and informative one for me, for the most part. I'll be moving to NOLA for a job at LSU Health Science Center next month. I have kids, so schools are big factor in my decision. I particularly appreciate MetroBTR's synopsis on the state's performance measure system, which I was able to access at the LA Dept of Ed site.

Here's my quandary: Real estate prices in the area of uptown where a couple of very good to excellent schools are- Audubon Charter and Lusher- are very high. You have to spend over $300k to get a house with over 2000 sq ft. And the lots are generally tiny- about 5-6000 sq ft.

For me, it's simply too expensive to move into the city. Whereas over in St. Tammany and St. Charles you can get much more house and lot for the money AND there are very good public schools. Of course, the downside is the commute, which really isn't that bad from Luling and Destrehan.

Going over the causeway bridge from Mandeville, however, gives me pause. I lived in Baldwin County, AL for several years, which is on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, and I worked in a suburb just north of Mobile. So, I had to drive that Bayway everyday. Thing is, there's also a sea level causeway that runs parallel to the Bayway, so if there's an accident or really bad fog, you always had the option of taking the causeway. Not so with the Ponchartrain causeway- you have to drive all the way around the lake if the causeway is shut down. That would suck.

There just doesn't seem to be much incentive for a newcomer to move into the city. There's the issue of crime, which I know depends on exactly where you live;, there's the fear of another hurricane inundating the below sea level areas, which include 80% of the city; there's the cost of real estate (I haven't even compared the differences in property and other taxes in Orleans compared to the surrounding parishes yet, but urban areas are generally higher); and finally the concern that your child, if they're just an average student, won't be able to get into one of the selective charter schools, and then end up in some crap-hole school or you'll have to fork out the cash for a private school.

My wife is pretty set on St. Tammany, particularly Mandeville, but I'm leaning more towards St. Charles Parish- either Destrehan or Luling.

Any advice?

Last edited by JWarePT; 12-18-2010 at 01:30 PM.. Reason: typos
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Old 12-18-2010, 01:55 PM
 
Location: New Orleans, LA
310 posts, read 775,649 times
Reputation: 260
I live in Kenner and drive into LSUHSC almost daily. The drive in on I-10 can get hairy when there are accidents involved. I had to drive from LSUHSC to the Northshore for awhile and was affected twice in 6 months by Causeway closures d/t inclement weather, accidents, etc. I personally feel more comfortable taking I-10 everyday over taking the Causeway.

I believe that it's much easier to circumvent I-10 than it is to re-route yourself around the Causeway. Somebody more familiar with the Causeway feel free to correct me.

To me, that's the only dividing line. Living in St. Charles Parish, you could also use the Huey P bridge (US 90), which will be much nicer once the widening of it is completed. US 61 (Airline Hwy) is another option around the Interstate.
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