Re: Tracking

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the kids of professional parents ends up having tons of parent volunteers and resources, as well as the "good" teacher and the kids with the fewest problems

This situation is vastly more common than not.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 8:18 AM
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Claro.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 8:22 AM
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I suppose you have some sort of problem with the magic of the free market working its magic.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 8:24 AM
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So did you guys play ball?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 8:24 AM
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I'm not really aware of any way to specifically request a teacher, so no. The way it works here is nearly all the professional parents' kids are tracked into the AIG program. Cassie, who just started kindergarten, got into the hippie charter school downtown where they have yoga class once a week and call all the teachers and staff by their first names.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 8:29 AM
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What constitutes "play dirty" in this context?

Threats? Bribes? Murder?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 8:34 AM
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I'm curious what "play dirty" means. Try to convince other people to request a teacher that's now unpopular, so Hawaiian Punch has less competition for the popular one?

My fiancée and I are talking about having a kid, but we love living in DC and are getting close to buying a place here. She's said she's not worried about preschools and elementary schools around here, but after that, would want to look into either private schools or moving to an area with better schools. I was a good liberal and pointed out that schools in the district would probably be better if people like us were more willing to put time and effort into them, but that's hardly a problem we could fix all by ourselves. Who knows what we would do when/if the time comes - it's still very hypothetical.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 8:37 AM
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5: That made me google street view some old haunts. Google's face-blurring algorithm blurred James Joyce's face on the sign of the bar.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 8:43 AM
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Its pretty bad policy for the school to accept such requests.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 8:47 AM
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Related: What happens when an Ivy League university adopts a neighborhood elementary school and turns it into a lab school?

Much debate, including around whether it's class privilege that UMC parents share tips about early registration by e-mail and phone.

And of course, some people have the resources to stand in line in the bitter cold for 24 hours to help their child get in.

(It's a public school, but not everyone in the catchment area can make it in.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 8:48 AM
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Google's face-blurring algorithm blurred James Joyce's face on the sign of the bar.

Heh. Perhaps you should have google-proofed his name as well.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 8:52 AM
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I'd say push to get the school to stop accepting teacher requests (unless they're through an IEP or something) or to aim for race/gender proportionality in the non-ESL classes, assuming the people playing this game are white.

I don't think our local school takes teacher requests, though if anything had gone wrong with Nia's match with her teacher I was prepared to go in and ask that she be moved to the teacher who has adopted a 6-year-old from foster care because that seemed like a reasonable enough request. I'm probably going to try to get Mara into the gifted program in kindergarten next year just to see what it's like and if Nia's still around would push for her to be considered then, too, (2nd grade) once she can read. Most of the parents in our neighborhood pay to send their children to other schools, so I don't think there's any grouping of more affluent kids at least at the primary school level.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 8:56 AM
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7: I'm curious what "play dirty" means. Try to convince other people to request a teacher that's now unpopular, so Hawaiian Punch has less competition for the popular one?

Requesting the 'good teacher' so that your kid will be with only the kids with the savvy parents who know that there are strings to pull is playing dirty -- it's not so much the parents' fault, though, but the school's. One parent unilaterally opting out doesn't do much good, but the school could shut it down by not taking requests for a particular teacher without a serious reason individual to the student affected.

I am genuinely unsure how clear my conscience should be on this sort of issue. The dual language elementary school program my kids were in was a lottery for Sally, and then sibling preference for Newt, and it's possible that friends pulled a string to get Sally off the waitlist (we didn't ask, and didn't intend to, but we did mention she was waitlisted to a friend who was head of the PTA, and then suddenly she was in. Could be coincidence, but might not have been.) OTOH, it was an integrated program that maintained a 50-50 ratio of kids from English dominant and Spanish dominant households, so if we bumped anyone, it was another Anglo kid, who in our neighborhood was probably pretty socioeconomically similar to us.

And now for middle/high school, they're both in a public selective admission school. It's quite diverse, both ethnically and economically, but you do have to have known to apply.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:02 AM
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It reminds me of Rory's first year of park district soccer the summer after kindergarten. I comment to one mom about how tall the kids on the other team were. She told me this is because a lot of parents keep their kids back a year in school so they will be more competitive. (The leagues are based on year in school, not age...) UMC parents can really suck.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:05 AM
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Requesting the 'good teacher' so that your kid will be with only the kids with the savvy parents who know that there are strings to pull is playing dirty

I think my suggestions in 6 were more interesting.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:06 AM
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14: I've seen parents stack youth soccer teams (for six year olds) so that their kid always wins.


Posted by: Gerald Ford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:07 AM
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14: Wasn't there some study about that happening with youth hockey players in Canada, or something like that?


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:10 AM
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14: ! I've heard of people doing this in high school for kids who were hoping to play in college, but that's insane for 5yos for many reasons.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:12 AM
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UMC parents can really suck

Indeed. Back-stabbing ladder-climbing bastards.*

* slight exaggeration, but basically true.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:12 AM
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16: Why presidential? Are you the one who did this, Gerry???


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:13 AM
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20: Not me. Presidential because the information comes through a family connection. The family connection wasn't the one who did it either.


Posted by: Gerald Ford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:17 AM
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I do think that there are valid reasons for certain kids to request a particular teacher, e.g., some kind of special relationship for a kid with autism or a severe learning disability. That's not what we're talking about here, but I do want to distinguish between what heebie's describing and what Thorn is talking about. Thorn's kids may not have autism, but they have trauma histories and deserve to get extra attention.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:18 AM
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On a related note, I've read somewhere that the time of year people are born has a statistically significant effect on being a professional athlete. It's not a matter of parents deliberately stacking the deck, it's just that if you're born right before or after the cutoff to start school, you'll be a few months older than your average classmate, and those months give you subtle but significant advantages in strength and coordination and all that, so you get more experience in sports and attention from coaches and stuff.

13.1: I see what you mean, but I wouldn't have thought of calling that "playing dirty" precisely because everyone else in their social group is doing it, so I assumed she must have meant some way to get an advantage over people already doing that. Wow, isn't that thought process revealing.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:18 AM
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How can it be wrong to be such a caring parent that you never want your child to experience the agony of defeat?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:18 AM
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Of course you'll play dirty. Are you going to be happy when your kids have the worse teacher with fewer resources to prove a point? No. And the only way out of it would be to make it up by providing lots of additional resources at home -- which is also playing dirty. Life's not fair, and you can try to change or ameliorate that generally, but I don't think your obligated to give your kids worse options in the service of pretending that life is fair.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:20 AM
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23: Apparently the older kids do better academically, too.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:21 AM
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25: I recognize that, but, like heebie, it still stings.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:23 AM
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26 con't: The keenerest keener in my high-school class ought to have been the youngest person in the year ahead. Her parents asked to keep her back. Then in high school her parents sent her to live with relatives in Germany for a year, which is cool and all, but they did it because there was less academic competition for her in the following year. So she graduated with a bunch of people who were basically two years younger.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:24 AM
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28: that's just epically stupid.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:26 AM
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How can it be wrong to be such a caring parent that you never want your child to experience the agony of defeat?

If you're referring to what happened to this guy, I think most parents would want to spare their kids that.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:26 AM
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25: Well, you can think hard about whether the extra resources are actually going to make much of a difference to your kid. At the elementary school level, I tend to believe that kids who are going to do fine would do fine writing on the back of a shovel with a piece of charcoal, because of the support they're getting at home. Extra resources in the classroom are a bunch more important to the kids who aren't getting the same level of home support.

So if, by requesting the 'good teacher' and the classroom with the extra resources, you're bumping a kid who could benefit from the extras and not giving your own kid much of anything that makes a difference, there's an argument for not doing it.

And of course there's a huge argument for the school not letting this kind of thing happen, and I expect ttaM to show up and start kicking people in the face over it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:30 AM
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23: Apparently the older kids do better academically, too

Sorta. My friend did that and doesn't understand why her daughter is so big and bored and getting into physical fights at school. I won't say so, but have to think the kid would have done better with age peers.

I'm also hearing about my friends' sons who have been held back and are now pushing seven without being able to read. I suppose they have the rest of their life to read, but it seems late to me.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:32 AM
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30: Thanks for the link! I was thinking of that, but I never knew the name of the guy or the story behind it.

(it's also just possible that I have read it before, but enough time passed that it seems all new to me again)


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:33 AM
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a lot of parents keep their kids back a year in school so they will be more competitive

These people are depriving their offspring of a year of adult life so that they will be more competitive in pee-wee sports.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:33 AM
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I've seen parents stack youth soccer teams (for six year olds) so that their kid always wins.

I coached 7-8 year olds when I was 17 or so. After the first game, our three best players were poached. The people who run the league form a winning team in every age group this way, including the 5-6 year olds.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:34 AM
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Red-shirting your 5 year old is apparently a big thing in the parenting blogs. A lot of SAHMs comment in favor of doing so.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:35 AM
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34: I think the idea isn't so much making them competitive in pee-wee sports as much as training them to be dominant/assholes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:35 AM
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Its pretty bad policy for the school to accept such requests.

This, exactly. I'm so irritated that the principal vocally denies accepting such requests, except that my bookclub mothers are batting 100% for making such requests.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:36 AM
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I have to say that I don't understand it at all. Elementary school isn't graded on a curve -- what's the benefit of being more advanced than your classmates in the early years? Is there really any kind of lasting benefit from having been better able to color within the lines in kindergarten that puts you academically ahead of the pack in high school?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:37 AM
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35: See from the inside of a larger league, there is usually a faction that tries to keep things even and another that tries to pick teams based on the social relationships of the parents. Somebody should drop a social psychologist in for a study.


Posted by: Gerald Ford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:38 AM
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39 to redshirting.

To 38: Maybe your bookclub parents are wrong, and the classes aren't as stacked as they claim?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:39 AM
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39: I bet they do much cooler stuff in the professional classroom, and much less rote memorization. Not necessarily getting ahead, but less time spent drilling the basics.

Arguably, drilling the basics isn't good for anybody.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:39 AM
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A lot of SAHMs comment in favor of doing so

Oh, well, SAHMs. Those people are just weird, right?

Off to swim computational statistics seminar!


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:41 AM
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41.2: The oldest cohort is going into 2nd grade, and it seems, every year, that it works out...There may have been direct responses from the principal, I can't remember. There was definitely at least one case where the kid was assigned Teacher B, and the parent marched in and pled for Teacher A, and the student was switched in response.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:41 AM
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We regret not holding our son back a year before starting kindergarten. We didn't know that it was entirely our choice when he started school, and signed him up for kindergarten when he was first eligible. He was born near the cutoff, and was and still is (now starting fourth grade) small and immature for his grade group. Since many other parents in our district held their boys back (less common for girls), he's usually the youngest in his class and something of a misfit. Most of his neighborhood friends are in the lower grade. He also has some academic difficulties, and whether that would have been avoided if he had been held back we'll never know. We even considered holdign him back in third grade, but that's strongly discouraged here. On his Little League baseball team, where the age group cutoff is a few months earlier, he's big and confident.

There's nothing magic about starting kindergarten at five, or graduating from high school at 18 (There is some expense in an extra year of daycare). I strongly recommend that parents about to enter kindergarten give some thought to whether their kid will fit in better by waiting a year. Different rules for the academically gifted of course.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:43 AM
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Since many other parents in our district held their boys back (less common for girls)

This is something I find weird about redshirting.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:46 AM
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re: 25

That sentiment annoys me, because I don't buy it. It has become the standard get-out-of-morality free card employed by UMC parents everywhere. Fuck that. Sometimes of course, it's not particularly pernicious, and it's well-meant. But some (not all) UMC people think that 'it's for my children' basically justifies every bit of cunty behaviour they engage in.

Pwned by LB in 31 and in 39.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:46 AM
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I've never heard the term 'red-shirting' before. In my experience (of Scottish parents) the only people I knew who tried to bend the rules tried to get their kids into school early, not late. Either because the kids were bright and bored, or because they were financially in shit, and kids in school were more manageable in terms of outgoings on childcare. FWIW, I was (by chance of birth-date) the youngest person in my school year.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:49 AM
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I was consistently the youngest person in my grade growing up (November birthday and skipped 1st grade), but was also a little taller and broader than most boys my age, so I guess it all evened out.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:50 AM
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39 et al: Is there really any kind of lasting benefit from having been better able to color within the lines in kindergarten that puts you academically ahead of the pack in high school?

Yes, there's a huge benefit in being able to easily do the stuff that school expects of you. It's the difference between liking or not liking school. The kids who start school enjoying it are more likely to keep enjoying all the way along.

But whether or not the effect lasts through grad school, there's a benefit during kindergarten of enjoying the kindergarten stuff.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:50 AM
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Principals and school administrators will absolutely cave to get the whining pains-in-the-ass who want special treatment off their backs. Parents will definitely complain to get their kid out of the classroom which has a teacher who is incompetent or which is full of kids who are disruptive.

Beyond sanity-checking yourself for whether the problem in the school is real or not (which is not always easy to do), I do not see an alternative to trying to make small improvements local to your kid's environment rather than trying to fix the whole school or all of society. Ignore the parents who whine about nonproblems.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:54 AM
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I am (not) looking forward to thinking about this, although as far as I can tell the most common local way of dealing with this is to move to the next town out. It's sufficiently common that the ratio of kids 5-9 to kids 0-4 is one of the lowest in the country.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:55 AM
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My friend's kid is starting kindergarten this year. She requested that her kid A be in the same class as her friends B and C. She made this request completely sincerely - she genuinely wouldn't have minded not getting the "good" teacher, but she would like her kid to know two other kids in her class.

Of course, kids B and C are from the same SES as the rest of us, and their parents requested the "good" teacher. So Kid A ended up in the "right" class.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:55 AM
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The kids who start school enjoying it are more likely to keep enjoying all the way along

Is there data showing that redshirted kids do actually do better academically later on? It's not that what you're saying is implausible, I just haven't heard backup for it. And is there even anything showing that redshirted kids are happier in the early grades? You can be unhappy because you're smaller and younger than the other kids, but there are lots of reasons to be unhappy in elementary school.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:56 AM
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Again, purely anecdata, but a disproportionately high percentage of the academic high-achievers in my high school were all born between December and February [which would make them among the youngest in their year at school]. I prefer the astrological explanation for this, of course.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:58 AM
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Tedra never blogged her situation with PK last year, did she. I got snippets from Facebook, but never fully understood what went wrong. (She's home-schooling him this year, for those not following along.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:58 AM
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55: Aquarians rool! (Unless you mean whatever the one before that is.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:59 AM
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More of 54: A really quick google gave me this, which comes out to "Outlook hazy, ask again later.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:01 AM
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55: In my school this put you on the older end of things. I think the cutoff was 15 October -- so the Nov, Dec, Jan kids were the very oldest.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:01 AM
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Is there data showing that redshirted kids do actually do better academically later on?

From wikipedia:

"Proponents of redshirting often assert that there is no definitive evidence to show that redshirting harms children in the long term. Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers (book) is cited to show that the strongest youngsters are older,[15] but much of the evidence cited there pertains specifically to men's hockey, an intensively competitive contact sport that depends on physical size. Such an old-for-year advantage is not seen for many other sports, and appears to depend on intensive coaching attention to larger players in early childhood.[16] The advantage to hockey players appears to arise from increased opportunities.

In the academic arena, advantages are seen not for older students, but for those who are young for their year. In a large-scale study at 26 Canadian elementary schools, first graders who were young for their year made considerably more progress in reading and math than kindergartners who were old for their year (but just two months younger).[17] In another large study, the youngest fifth-graders scored a little lower than their classmates, but five points higher in verbal I.Q., on average, than fourth-graders of the same age.[18] These studies are consistent with the idea that the source of increased opportunity in this case is school itself, with effects that are most favorable to students who are surrounded by children older than themselves.

One 1997 study found that adolescents whose school entry had been delayed exhibited more behavioral problems than their classmates.[19] Moreover, in light of evidence of a higher use of special education services by redshirted youths, it has been speculated that many individuals who were redshirted as kindergarteners may have had special needs that were misdiagnosed as immaturity and that should have been treated by some form of direct intervention other than delayed entry.[5][6]"


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:02 AM
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I definitely believe that kids can be unhappy for being the smallest and youngest, but also think they can be unhappy (as my friend's daughter is) for being the biggest and oldest. Goldilocks had the right of it.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:04 AM
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I was moved up a year, so I was much younger than everybody else. I always thought this was because I was a special snowflake.

Eventually I asked, and my dad said "Your grandmother thought you should skip a grade, and she wouldn't shut up about it, so finally we did it just to get her off our backs." So it's really just how obnoxious my grandmother is.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:04 AM
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never fully understood what went wrong

http://buffalomama.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/rough_story/


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:04 AM
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54: Malcolm Gladwell covers this in Outliers. A ridiculous percentage of U.S. and Canadian professional hockey players were born in January becaue of the way age groups cut off in Little League. Everyone's the same size by the time they're in the pros, but only the ones who were really good from the first day of Little League enjoy it anough and get enough attention to stick with it. He cited some studies involving birth dates in schools that demostrate the same effect, not as pronounced.

As a general point, the stresses that the non-gifted face in early elementary school is very difficult for gifted folks, like my wife and I and most members of this community, to understand.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:05 AM
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but also think they can be unhappy (as my friend's daughter is) for being the biggest and oldest.

Especially girls, because being older has body implications.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:05 AM
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62.2: Ha. Speaking of meddling parents, the school took it upon themselves to skip me, and my mother marched in and had me switched back.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:05 AM
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56: She has a different blog about it -- some of her reasons for homeschooling are here. (I think that's okay to link, but Tedra: assuming you see this, if you want the link taken down, say the word.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:05 AM
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Eventually I asked, and my dad said "Your grandmother thought you should skip a grade, and she wouldn't shut up about it, so finally we did it just to get her off our backs." So it's really just how obnoxious my grandmother is.

Ha!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:06 AM
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And Apo pwned me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:06 AM
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re: 57

Yes! re: Aquarians rooling. All the best people, etc.

It's come up in conversation with friends before, at parties in Glasgow, that about 80% of us in the room will either be Aquarius or Sagittarius, with no rational explanation for this.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:08 AM
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22: I was trying to say exactly what you did, but may not have been clear enough. I don't think the kind of requesting I would have been willing to do is at all the same as what heebie's worried about.

I am really grateful that we have a school system where there's a support group for kids with incarcerated parents (which has been any kid who's ever been in my home at some point) and where it's not all stable two-parent homes, because that keeps my kids from being automatically different and weird. I think it's stupid and racist that most of our neighbors and neighbor-friends aren't sending their kids there. With some quibbles, I've been really happy with the education and attention Val, Alex, and now Nia have gotten there.

In my experience, the preschool programs for kids from low-income homes do not allow for redshirting, though there are probably cases when it would have been a good idea (Mara's sister Trinity springs to mind) and so it's not plausible for those parents to even consider it if there's no place for their old-enough-for-kindergarten kid to go. I'm very curious what the socioeconomic implications of redshirting are going to be.

Having free breakfast and free lunch for all seems to be working well, though the logistics are not totally smooth yet. But I sent Nia in with frozen grapes today and will supplement her breakfast with a fresh fruit daily, since that seems to be missing completely. I think the lunch options are better.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:08 AM
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Multiply pwned. And it's certainly true that since immature-behaving kids are more likely to be redshirted, you would expect that the redhirted have more behavioral problems all the way up.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:08 AM
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69: Finally!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:10 AM
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I wasn't even going to comment about how the pwning usually goes. But since you insist.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:11 AM
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63: thanks!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:11 AM
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Also I'm an Aquarian.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:16 AM
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80% of us in the room will either be Aquarius or Sagittarius

Huh. I'm Sagittarius, but for most of my life my social circle has been completely dominated by Virgos.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:25 AM
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Not for lack of trying, I'm sure.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:29 AM
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Everyone talking about astrology is being silly, of course, but that said Leos (Sally, Newt and I) are clearly superior.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:35 AM
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How is this worse than choosing to live in an area with better schools in the first place?

Better to do well for your and your own, and then separately decide how best to help others.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:35 AM
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O and I are Aquarius. CA is Sag. Winter is best!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:36 AM
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For example, you could get your kid into the "best" class, but be a parent volunteer for one of the other classes.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:37 AM
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re: 82

!*

* take lots of swearing as read.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:38 AM
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Or if you really want to promote equal outcomes in US education, give to KIPP.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:39 AM
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re: 81

FWIW, Mrs ttaM is also Sagittarius.*

* although I don't think Mrs ttaM has given a moment's thought to astrology in her entire life and would probably have to look up what star sign she is.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:40 AM
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Better to do well for your and your own, and then separately decide how best to help others.

Depends on the proportionality between the benefit to 'your own' and the harm to others. I think this kind of 'white flight', economic segregation, and so on, does a lot more harm to the poorer kids than it benefits the richer kids (unless you count crippling the poorer kids as a benefit to the richer kids because it improves their relative, rather than their absolute, educational achievement.)

Certainly, I'd protect my kids from what I believed to be a genuinely bad situation without worrying too much (except at a broader, structural level) about whether everyone else could escape. But if everyone unthinkingly pushes for every little perceived advantage whether or not it's fair, you end up with a much unfairer system than you would if people showed restraint.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:41 AM
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47 -- I hear you, I really do, but this does seem like a situation where "don't hate the player, hate the game" applies. We live in a staggeringly unequal society, economically and socially, and that's the real problem. It's also a society that allocates benefits based on education. Expecting the schools to take care of the inequality problem generally seems like a mistake and more specifically, it seems super unrealistic to expect change to come from individual well educated parents unilaterally deciding to hurt their own kid's chances in pursuit of a broader equality that no other portion of society reciprocates.

The truth is that even in broadly class and racially integrated schools (I went to one for elementary school) the UMC kids end up hanging out together and there's a fair amount of internal tracking. Asking the schools (and parents) to not only provide some social mobility but also social leveling is just not gonna happen in this world. Realistically, I would bet that if the principal at Heebie's school imposed ultra-strict leveling, the UMC parents would start to complain enough that they'd split off and form a private or charter school.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:41 AM
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re: 80.1

Now that you mention it ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:41 AM
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84: Knight Industries Power Program.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:42 AM
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Also, "Elementary school doesn't matter because school doesn't matter anyway ecause my kid is genetically super-smart/we can provide a lot of educational advantages at home" is not actually striking a blow for educational equality; kind of the opposite.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:45 AM
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It's interesting how people choosing not to claw for every advantage, and choosing not to stand all over other people on the way up becomes 'unilaterally deciding to hurt their own kid's chances'. I am just beating a dead horse on this one, though, as most people don't agree with me.

I don't think people should be actively making bad choices for their kids in pursuit of social equality. Some degree of social equality just falls out of not making every fucking effort humanly possible to separate their own kids from the hoi polloi as soon as, and as widely, as possible.

I tend to swear a lot about this one. Sorry.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:48 AM
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86: That wasn't a fully baked policy proposal. I really do think that it's worth trying to optimize the two goals separately (helping your own kids, and helping other people's kids) rather than only considering ways to combine the two. Which would mean that sometimes it's OK to neglect other people's kids a little bit (for example, by not moving to the worst school district there is and working to improve it), especially if you use some of the resources that frees up to do some good.

Folks, we have two years to solve H-G's problem. Generating ideas is the first step, even half-baked ones.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:48 AM
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I'm not following the logic in 90 at all.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:48 AM
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how people choosing not to claw for every advantage, and choosing not to stand all over other people on the way up

So, does this include calling the principal so that your kid can be in the classroom that seems decidedly better, and the one where all of his or her friends are going, or not? What about working part-time as a teacher's aide in that classroom to help out your own kid and others?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:50 AM
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93 -- some people are suggesting that it doesn't matter what your kid's school is like, so long as you provide a lot of first-rate educational opportunities at home. I don't think that's particularly awesome for promoting social or educational equality.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:51 AM
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I think fundamentally it comes down to some sort of deep-in-the-bone individualism versus some sort of deep-in-the-bone communalism/socialism. I just don't buy the very distinction that grounds the idea that i) first you look after your own, and then ii) you do something [vote for some marginally-less-rapacious-capitalist every 4 years or whatever] about the system. This may be why I find myself banging my head against a wall, as there's some deep lying fundamental assumptions about human nature and about society that we don't share.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:51 AM
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re: 95

I don't get what the argument is that leads to: 'I don't think that's particularly awesome for promoting social or educational equality.'

Why not?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:53 AM
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90: I think you're confusing "I don't care if the schools suck globally because I can fix any deficiencies by enrichment at home", which would be strongly anti-egalitarian, I completely agree, with "Kids coming from a strongly academically supported environment at home (which just means books in the house and parents who can help with homework, I'm not talking about hiring tutors or extra classes) need less support from the schools, so those specific kids (that is, the kids of most of the people reading this) will do fine in a not spectacularly wonderful school, and their parents shouldn't worry about scrambling for the best of the best."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:54 AM
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Yes, to 98.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:55 AM
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Because you are just making up for a lack of resources provided by a school and providing it at home, to produce a similar advantage for your kid? Because it's something that only the super-educated and/or people with extremely high resources (i.e., tutoring) will be able to do successfully and not others? Because it implies less, not more, equality of opportunity for any individual kid? I'm not sure what's hard about understanding the argument, but maybe we're just misunderstanding each other. I'm thinking about the kid whose parents send him to an inner-city public school but supplement with home tutoring in math or read advanced books at home or whatever, to make up for the poor quality of the school.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:56 AM
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Kids coming from a strongly academically supported environment at home (which just means books in the house and parents who can help with homework, I'm not talking about hiring tutors or extra classes) need less support from the schools, so those specific kids (that is, the kids of most of the people reading this) will do fine in a not spectacularly wonderful school, and their parents shouldn't worry about scrambling for the best of the best."

That might be a reasonable approach for a parent to take, but it's definitely not "not playing dirty" or being particularly egalitiarian; it's just another means of using resources that you have to your advantage.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:57 AM
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96: Well, you do have to think about the magnitude of the effect in both directions. One person voting doesn't do a whole lot of good on its own, it doesn't compensate for very much harm at all.

It's better to help others by participating in the community than not at all, and there are probably lots of people who mainly help others in that way.

But if you're already at the point where you're explicitly balancing the harms to others with the benefits to yourself of switching communities, then it might be helpful to consider some direct, explicit helping action as part of the balance.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:57 AM
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95: Another way to say what I said in 98 is that if there's a zero-sum battle for public school resources, the kids with more at home need less from school, and will benefit less from extras from school, than the needier kids.

To give a simplified, concrete example: if there were two schools I could send my kid to, and the difference between them was that one had a great library of children's books, and the other had a lousy one, sending my kid to the school with the great library wouldn't be much of a benefit to her, because she's got plenty of books at home. But it might be a huge benefit to a kid with no books at home. If I pulled strings to send my kid to the 'good' school and bumped a poorer kid, I'd be hurting the poorer kid, but probably not benefiting my own kid much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 10:59 AM
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it's definitely not "not playing dirty" or being particularly egalitiarian

If it's not 'not playing dirty', then it is playing dirty. How?

What Heebie's talking to is distributing public school resources unequally to the parents who know how to pull strings for them. That's inequitable.

Having books at home yourself can insulate children from a weaker school, but I don't see how it deprives other children from any of the benefits available at that school. Where's the dirt?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:03 AM
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there's a zero-sum battle for public school resources

Do you think that, in any remotely realistic way, parents of super-well educated kids choosing not to take advantage of public school resources will lead to an improvement in educational outcomes for poorer kids? That seems massively unrealistic to me. The only viable way forward, it seems to me, is to give UMC and well educated parents a buy-in and an incentive to actually improve the public schools for everyone, including the poorer kids.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:03 AM
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105: There was a public transportion debate that broke into those same two lines of argument. I can't remember which side I was on.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:05 AM
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The only viable way forward, it seems to me, is to give UMC and well educated parents a buy-in and an incentive to actually improve the public schools for everyone, including the poorer kids.

Right. And you do that by making the schools equal, so if the UMC parents want their kids to go to decent schools, they have to provide decent schools for everyone. Working the system so that the kids of the UMC parents get the best and everyone else gets shit undermines that goal.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:06 AM
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104.2 -- the "dirt" is using the resources that are available to a well-educated, UMC parent, but not to others, to give your kid an unfair heads-up. In the one case, you might be moving your kid into a different classroom; in another, you're ensuring (maybe, or at least this is what you're hoping) that the poorer kid in the same school won't have the same chance of getting into a good college as your kid will. In both scenarios, you're using resources you have to give your kid a leg up in a race, a leg up that's not available to the other kid.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:06 AM
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I see a pretty firm distinction, in terms of morality, between on the one hand appropriating a larger share of publicly funded resources for my child than they are entitled to, and on the other hand living in a manner that helps them develop to the best of my ability.

You're right that a perfect communism would make the resources available to all children perfectly equal, but I don't think it makes sense to say that because society is not perfectly egalitarian and private property still exists, that there's no moral problem with unequal distribution of what are supposed to be public resources equally available to all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:13 AM
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98: What's wrong with hiring a tutor for your child if he needs one, even though other kids in the same school don't have that resource? If your child has a glandular deficiency and needs an expensive dietary supplement that not everyone can afford, would you refuse to provide it?

You could also refuse to read books to your children or kiss your children goodnight because some other parents in the district can't or don't do those things, and you would decrease societal inequality. Nonetheless, I don't put kissing children goodnight in the category of playing dirty.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:14 AM
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110: Did I say either of those things were wrong? I didn't mean to if I did. Halford's the one who thinks buying your kid a picture book is the same kind of problematic as making sure all the nice kids get to be in the good class.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:16 AM
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LB is doing sterling work.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:19 AM
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Halford, I'm sure you're trolling. For the record, my kid has his own room, has a computer, has a house full of books, and has adequate nutrition at home, and some kids in our district don't have those things, and all of them will help his educational performance. To the extent that living in an unequal society constitutes playing dirty, your definition is useless.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:19 AM
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and has adequate nutrition at home

Does this include grain?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:21 AM
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I think this issue will be clarified if we pursue an analogy about putting your own oxygen mask on first and then assisting others vs putting your own mask on and then disabling everyone else's so there's more oxygen for you.

The question is, on a totally egalitarian airplane, would there be one big mask used by everyone at once, or one normal mask that gets passed around as people take turns breathing?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:21 AM
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115 is more proof of the wisdom of the analogy ban.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:23 AM
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I don't see anything wrong with either one. If you have a nice kid and, in your school system, all the nice kids are in one class, there's nothing wrong with trying to get your kid into the group with the other nicer kids. Ultimately, we would also work towards a more generally egalitarian society, but in the meantime you have to live in the world as it actually exists.

I just think the folks that are saying "hey, I'm not like those bad parents calling the principle, I'm just reading to my kid 40 minutes a night and making him do math problems with me so I don't have to worry about what classroom my kid is in" are kidding themselves about striking a blow for social equality or morality. Actually, it's kind of a pernicious vice of the overeducated -- basically what you're saying is that it's fine for the educationally advantaged to help out their kids at home, but not fine for other parents who don't have that same at-home advantage to seek advantages for their kids at school. Surprise surprise that this allows overeducated egalitarians to have their cake and eat it too.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:23 AM
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Calling the principal. Damn.

To the extent that living in an unequal society constitutes playing dirty, your definition is useless.

Right, I agree with you. The problem is that we live in an inegalitarian society and of course you should give your kid all of those things. I just don't like the hypocrisy of pretending that somehow being super-smart or having a ton of advantages at home is fine, but calling the principal to make sure that your kid is in a better classroom is "playing dirty" and forbidden.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:27 AM
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basically what you're saying is that it's fine for the educationally advantaged to help out their kids at home, but not fine for other parents who don't have that same at-home advantage to seek advantages for their kids at school.

Exactly no. If the kids who were getting into the 'good' class were the ones who didn't have educationally advantaged parents, that'd be pretty much fine. The problem is that the same kids who get lavishly supported at home (that is, yours and mine and heebie's) are also the kids picking every scrap of benefit off the public schools so that what's left for the disadvantaged is the bare minimum.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:29 AM
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I really doubt the difference between two teachers at the same school counts as "bare miniumum'." If it does, that's something to call the principal about.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:31 AM
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Actually, it's kind of a pernicious vice of the overeducated -- basically what you're saying is that it's fine for the educationally advantaged to help out their kids at home, but not fine for other parents who don't have that same at-home advantage to seek advantages for their kids at school.

Ah, there's the problem. You think LB is saying the exact opposite of what she's saying.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:32 AM
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tons of parent volunteers and resources, as well as the "good" teacher and the kids with the fewest problems

It's not just the 'good' teacher. But it's also not just heebie's situation, which may not be that big a deal, but the general pattern of similar situations.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:33 AM
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122 to 120.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:36 AM
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122: Parent volunteers is pretty much the same thing as lavish support from home in terms of social origin. The school can and should keep the other resources the same between rooms.

As far as the kids with the problems, I'd suppose that depends on the type of problems.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:38 AM
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are also the kids picking every scrap of benefit off the public schools so that what's left for the disadvantaged is the bare minimum.

But this is at absolute best an argument from luxury for very few children. That is, the number of kids who really are just fine given any kind of schooling based on home educational advantages is small. Other parents will not be so confident in their own children or their own ability to provide a decent education, and will look to the schools. In that context, the real question is what kinds of programs the public schools will be providing and who will support them. Keeping middle class kids from seeking to preserve perceived advantages in the quality of education (even little things, like hang out with their friends) in public schools will just drive parents to private schools.

Put differently, what you're proposing (in the real world in which we actually live) won't look like a system in which disadvantaged kids get to take advantage of wonderful programs that well-educated parents have generously chosen to forego in favor of the needy. That's not the real world. In practice, what you're suggesting is a world in which middle class people will have largely abandoned the public schools, except for a tiny minority that is so confident in their children or their ability to educated at home that they don't care about public education. The less-advantaged will be left with an even worse system across the board.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:40 AM
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To be clear,

a world in which middle class people will have largely abandoned the public schools, except for a tiny minority that is so confident in their children or their ability to educated at home that they don't care about public education. The less-advantaged will be left with an even worse system across the board.

is basically what we have right now in many US public school districts.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:42 AM
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That is, the number of kids who really are just fine given any kind of schooling based on home educational advantages is small.

At the elementary school level, I disagree, if we're limiting 'any kind of schooling' to 'any kind of schooling likely to be provided in an American public school that isn't grossly worrisome to a lay observer.' I'd draw the 'just fine' line at kids with a safe, stable home environment (adequate nutrition, sleep, security), access to books in the home, and parents who can help with grade school work. That's not all kids, and it might not even be the majority of kids, but it is most kids with parents capable of working the system like Heebie's friends.

Put differently, what you're proposing (in the real world in which we actually live) won't look like a system in which disadvantaged kids get to take advantage of wonderful programs that well-educated parents have generously chosen to forego in favor of the needy.

Nope. What I'm proposing is decent schools equally available to all, and what I'm pointing out is that precisely the same people who are capable of working the system to make it unequal in their favor are the people who have no genuine need to.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:47 AM
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It sounds to me like what Heebs describes is that the categories of
- children in the class that gets special resources
and
- children who would actually benefit from those special resources

do not overlap.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:49 AM
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127.last: Maybe are less likely to have a geniune need to but obviously plenty of very well-off parents have kids with various types of educational special needs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:52 AM
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Sure. I don't think anything I've said denies that. But heebie's friends, and middle-class parents generally, aren't all scrambling for the 'good' school because their kids have special needs. Those who are should keep on doing what they have to.

Most of them are scrambling because they want to grab the best of everything for their kids. A natural impulse, but not one that it's right to indulge in unchecked.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:55 AM
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What I'm proposing is decent schools equally available to all

OK. What situation gets you there. Assume a school district with a majority of kids who are either poor or substantially less well educated than Heebie and her friends.

(a) Heebie and her friends can game the system, within limits, so as to send their kids to a classroom with the "better" teacher, more parent involvement, etc., such that they are reasonably happy with the school.

(b) Heebie and her friends are required to take whatever teacher is assigned to them, no matter how good or bad, each classroom gets exactly the same allocation of resources regardless of which students are in the classroom. Let's assume this is actually a really big deal and makes the educational experience worse for the kids. Oh, and parents can do whatever they want to at home to teach their kids.

We know that given option (b) (or something like it) many middle class people will abandon the public schools entirely, or move to a richer area based on school district, leaving the remaining population worse off, and the school more poorly-funded and poorly-performing, than it was before. Perhaps a small minority of the middle class folks (and I think it will be a small minority) genuinely won't care because they are super-smart at home. But even that small minority can't and won't make up for the loss of the other middle class kids. That's basically the story of almost every major urban school district in the US for the past 50 years or so.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:57 AM
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I mean, the NYC school system is now working again in large measure because they realized that they had to start allowing middle class and UMC parents ways to game and locally-control the system for their relative advantage.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:01 PM
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We know that given option (b) (or something like it) many middle class people will abandon the public schools entirely, or move to a richer area based on school district, leaving the remaining population worse off, and the school more poorly-funded and poorly-performing, than it was before

No, we don't know that. What the hell -- we can't possibly have a school system that treats UMC parents fairly or they'll all strike?

132: Nonsense.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:05 PM
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Let's assume this is actually a really big deal and makes the educational experience worse for the kids.

Talk about begging the question. We could also say, 'Let's assume it won't make that much of a difference to them, but UMC parents, being rapacious bastards, want to get every advantage they can for little Amelia/Joshua.'


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:06 PM
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re: 133

Quite. It's straightforward protection racket stuff.

'Nice school system you have here. It'd be a shame if something happened to it.'


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:08 PM
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we can't possibly have a school system that treats UMC parents fairly or they'll all strike?

So long as we have private schools and the option of moving to towns based on school districts, we have more than ample evidence that UMC parents can and will strike, often at the drop of a hat. That's effectively what's happened to most major public school districts. Perhaps we should ban private schools and have nationalized uniform schooling, but that is very very far from the current system in the United States.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:08 PM
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Nonetheless, I don't put kissing children goodnight in the category of playing dirty.

You're doing it wrong.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:08 PM
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Are "Amelia" and "Joshua" posh names in Britain?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:08 PM
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133: We have lots of very small school districts and you certainly do see all the UMC families clustering in certain districts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:09 PM
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134 -- if it doesn't matter at all, why are you so worked up about it? This conversation only matters at all if Heebie's kid is actually getting some substantial benefit (socially, academically, whatever) from being in the other classroom. Otherwise you should be fine with any allocation of resources; who cares?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:10 PM
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re: 138

Fairly, yeah. It changes ever year, so I'm probably several years out of date.

Perhaps we should ban private schools and have nationalized uniform schooling

Yay! I wouldn't necessarily _ban_ private schools. I'd tax the fuckers until they squeaked though.*

* iirc last time I said this dsquared chastised me for being a milquetoast, although I'm not sure how much he was or wasn't taking the piss.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:12 PM
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139: Saying that they do use influence over the public system to get extra benefits from it doesn't imply that if you stop them, they'll necessarily opt out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:12 PM
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This conversation only matters at all if Heebie's kid is actually getting some substantial benefit (socially, academically, whatever) from being in the other classroom.

I think you are interpreting what something means as the exact opposite of what it means again, but am not sure what you mean by "the other classroom".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:12 PM
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re: 140

Because it matters to other people. See my comment above re: instinctive collectivism/socialism. I'm not kidding about that. There are lenses other than personal advantage through which one can view an issue. I can think of few things that make me more angry than middle-class cuntery on this issue.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:13 PM
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we have more than ample evidence that UMC parents can and will strike, often at the drop of a hat. That's effectively what's happened to most major public school districts.

I do believe this. That doesn't mean that I'm a dirty sellout like Halford, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:14 PM
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142: I'm saying that people didn't get what they wanted and opted out. It happened years ago. I have no idea if there was any reasonable* way to have kept them.

*or even constitutional.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:16 PM
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140: I honestly do believe that Heebie's kid isn't going to benefit much over a system that assigns kids randomly: that when you split the classes into an enriched and a deprived class, you damage the deprived class more than you help the enriched class.

(This all gets more complicated once you get past elementary school. But in elementary school it seems pretty simple to me.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:17 PM
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146: They didn't opt out of public funding -- they're still sucking off the public teat to get their kids educated. They're just working the system so that their kids get a different publicly funded education than other kids do. Opting out would be actually paying a private school, and that's a bigger step.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:18 PM
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Anyone know how many kids are in private schools nationwide? I have the impression that there's lots of suburban public school districts that parents with the resources to move move to.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:20 PM
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148: If you're trying to run a local government, I'm not sure that leaving the district isn't a bigger step. They have moved to a teat that is mostly limited to families that can afford a $1,500/month mortgage payment and have often left behind local governments that are supposed to provide services drawing from a tax base with a per capital income of $12,000 a person.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:23 PM
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I have the impression that there's lots of suburban public school districts that parents with the resources to move move to.

Yes, this is my impression as well -- the most common response to lack of control over schools is to move, not to go private, but with big regional variations. In any event, UMC folks in this country have an opt-out option and are generally unafraid to use it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:23 PM
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149: There are 33,366 private schools in the United States, serving 5.5 millionPK-12 students. Private schools account for over 25 percent of the nation's schools and enroll about 10 percent of all students.

Most private school students (80 percent) attend religiously-affiliated schools (see table 2). And most private schools are small: 87 percent have fewer than 300 students

http://www.capenet.org/facts.html


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:24 PM
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that when you split the classes into an enriched and a deprived class, you damage the deprived class more than you help the enriched class.

Isn't this also what you get, in practice, with public selective admission schools like the ones your kids are in? I know you say they're economically and ethnically diverse, but things like that are always going to select away from kids who aren't already doing well.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:24 PM
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That's basically the story of almost every major urban school district in the US for the past 50 years or so.

You know that your story is missing the chapters about race, don't you?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:25 PM
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154: It was implied in my "*or even constitutional."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:27 PM
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154 -- sure, but I'm going to bet that the classroom Heebie's friends want to go to is more white than the other classroom. Some or much of the UMC "striking" or opting out from the public schools may have been racist; that doesn't mean that parents didn't or couldn't do it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:28 PM
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152:Thanks, that's a much smaller percentage of students than I would have guessed. I thought it was more like 25%, probably because I see private schools all over the place without knowing how many enroll there.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:28 PM
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OT: Also, in other enwhitelement news, does the GOP really think that it can win this election by promising to privatize Medicare? When your political party makes the Democrats look united and well organized, you've got real problems on your hands. And yet, Mitt could win! We live in a very strange country.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:29 PM
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"may have been" obviously s/b "was." But that doesn't really change anything about the reality that UMC people can and will leave poorer school districts if they think they're not good for their kids, leaving everyone worse off.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:29 PM
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Halford is trolling particularly blatantly today. (The biggest problem seems to be an excluded middle in 131, but I can't keep up with this too well, so I'm not going to do any more about it than snipe. I'm sorry about that, but only a tiny bit.)

FWIW, ever since Vermont's Supreme Court ruled about 15 years ago that local funding of education resulted in unconstitutionally unequal levels of funding, there has been a system in place to keep per-pupil spending similar around the state. Not exactly the same, but with a spending floor, and if the town or district votes to spend more than a certain amount, there's a tier to the tax that goes into a pool to fund education around the state*.

That would be very hard to generalize to the national level, and probably even to most states, and I don't even know how well it works**, but obviously, the biggest reason it's not generalizable is politics. Because Vermont is clearly full of a bunch of commies.

* I'm probably not explaining it well, but if anyone is curious, just google "vermont act 60" and/or "vermont act 68".

** I'm pretty sure Vermont spends more on K-12 education than most states, and gets better-than-average test scores to match, but have no idea if their dollar-to-test-score ratio stacks up, or how a school in a poor in Vermont compares to a school in a poor town in another state.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:29 PM
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158: I thought they were only going to privatize it for people who are young enough that they were mostly voting Democrat anyway.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:29 PM
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FWIW, ever since Vermont's Supreme Court ruled about 15 years ago that local funding of education resulted in unconstitutionally unequal levels of funding, there has been a system in place to keep per-pupil spending similar around the state. Not exactly the same, but with a spending floor, and if the town or district votes to spend more than a certain amount, there's a tier to the tax that goes into a pool to fund education around the state*.

Many states have had these kinds of constitutional rulings from their Supreme Courts. They have not even come close to providing educational equality in practice (except maybe in Vermont, which is a pretty damn egalitarian state to begin with).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:32 PM
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Redfox's 153 makes a good point. How are a Hunter or a Stuy so different from "They're just working the system so that their kids get a different publicly funded education than other kids do"? Why fund those schools when that money could be spent helping out the truly disadvantaged?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:34 PM
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156: I'm not talking about now. You said (in 131), referring to the decline of urban schools, that you were talking about "the past 50 years". Given that, it seemed worth noting that skipping the part about white flight and concentrating instead on squabbles over enrichment programs or whatever was odd. I mean, I'm not sure why you did that (other than to serve your argument, which I don't really understand), but it was a very strange way to tell the story you claimed to be telling.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:34 PM
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Here's the thing that has me puzzled: Consider asking to have your kid in the good teacher's class, or freeing a half-day every few weeks to do something in the school for your kid's class rather than a randomly assigned class.

hg, LB or Ttam (or anyone else who is vigorously egalitarian education) do you ever see these as reasonable requests for a parent to make?

There will always be a subpopulation of parents who wants grouping for groupings' sake, but at least where I live now, they're the unpleasant tail of the distribution of parenting styles, not the typical case.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:35 PM
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which is a pretty damn egalitarian white state

Again, I can't quite figure out why you seem intent on ignoring the racial dimension of the story.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:37 PM
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164: The story I'm telling is that UMC parents who don't want what the public schools are selling have, in the United States, a readily available option to leave. UMC parents are very much ready to exercise that option when they feel like they have insufficient control over the system. In the past 50 years, we had a massive flight from the public schools, some of it motivated by pure racism, some of it motivated by racism combined with an (accurate) belief that school systems weer getting worse and that UMC parents had less control over them.

Contrary to what some have argued above, the result of UMC flight from the urban public school system has not generally been better advantages for poorer kids (because now the publicly-funded goodies are available to everyone, not just the UMC kids who had been gaming the system previously), but worse outcomes for the poorest and (generally) darkest.

Do you disagree with any of that?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:43 PM
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Are asian americans treated as any other minority in the discussion of race, or should they be a special case?

What did Hong Kong Brits do about public schools when many of them moved back to the UK, egalitarian or not?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:44 PM
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160: We have something similar in New Jersey, which has actually resulted in the inner city schools psending more than the suburban schools per capita, but has not led to anything close to an equalization in any other measure of school quality. We also have a statewide requirement that "afforable housing" be built in any municipailty where there is any construction, which has the interesting effect of integrating the suburbs while also destroying the inner cities further, since those with initiative can now afford to move out while those who don't give a shit remain in the cities.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:49 PM
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In the past 50 years, we had a massive flight from the public schools,

I should say, massive flight from large, urban, racially and economically mixed public schools, into more economically homogenous public schools and private schools. But the real point is to object to the idea that the UMC won't strike if they aren't given a reasonable assurance of control over their kids' education -- of course they will.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:51 PM
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does the GOP really think that it can win this election by promising to privatize Medicare?

They think they can win because the vast majority of voters do not understand the first thing about policy and only hear "Obama took 716 kazillion dollars out of Medicare to pay for Obamacare (which rhymes with welfare and colored people are getting your medicine)".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:51 PM
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165: I'm going to get a background check done so that I can volunteer in Nia's classroom and go on field trips. She was assigned to a class without any input from me or other parents, but I do think it's natural that I'd prefer to be in her classroom and get to know her classmates and reinforce my support for her rather than just any old classroom, though I'd be willing to do that too.

I don't know if I'd feel differently about this if I already knew any of the children in the class or if I'd been acting in a parental role for more than two months, but it's certainly the case now and I don't think it's inherently unfair to deprive kids in other classrooms of my input or to force it on her classmates.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 12:54 PM
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167: But it wasn't just the UMC parents. After all, for the most part, 50 years ago, UMC kids weren't sitting side-by-side with working-class students of color. The white flight that matters, I would say, is the working-class/lower-middle-class flight to the cheaper, ticky-tacky boxes suburbs, most of which have virtually no amenities besides a white-dominated school district. Certainly it seemed to me, in HS, 20 years ago, that the smallest plurality was lower-middle-class white kids, despite that being one of the larger demographics metro-wide. The kids I went to the well-regarded magnet school with were UMC kids of liberal WASP parents on the wealthy fringes of the city, and working-class kids, most of whom were people of color.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 1:29 PM
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ticky-tacky boxes

Despite its pink bona fides, I've always found that song snooty and classist.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 1:35 PM
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174: There's a reason Tom Lehrer called it "the most sanctimonious song ever written".


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 1:36 PM
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Wait, what? The last 3 verses make it very clear that it is homogenous UMC suburbs that are being critiqued, not Levittown. I mean, sure, you could make a case that there was something aesthetically meaningful about FL Wright's "Broadacre City", and that it's not fair to criticize the initial enthusiasm based on the deleterious effects of car culture on many aspects of US life, but isn't that a little big like calling it "prematurely anti-fascist?" The sidewalk-less, drive-everywhere, big-bland-houses, stultifyingly-conformist, McCarthyite, white-flight, good-Republican-cloth-coat developments were a bad idea right from the start, even if some otherwise astute people took awhile to figure that out.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 1:43 PM
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"little bit like"


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 1:43 PM
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The kids I went to the well-regarded magnet school with were UMC kids of liberal WASP parents on the wealthy fringes of the city

Right -- that's exactly the kind of program that keeps UMC people in the big urban public school system (and I'm guessing that there were few UMC kids of liberal WASP parents at the poor-performing schools in North (?) Minneapolis. But it's not particularly egalitarian, and getting into it (most likely) wasn't that different than Heebie calling the principal to get into the "better" classroom at her school.

How are a Hunter or a Stuy so different from "They're just working the system so that their kids get a different publicly funded education than other kids do"? Why fund those schools when that money could be spent helping out the truly disadvantaged?

It goes way beyond Stuyvesant and Hunter. NYC has now set up its school system more or less across the board to allow UMC parents to control their choices and game the system (I'm sorry "introduce choice and competition"). The public school system is more or less specifically designed to be nonegalitarian, so that students can easily segregate by academic performance and to allocate resources accordingly. I'm not sure what the real accounting of costs and benefits have been, especially for the poorest and most disadvantaged students, but based on public perception I believe there is a general sense that these NYC reforms have been very successful.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 1:44 PM
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163: There's a real question there. A partial answer is that I don't think Hunter and Stuy and the like are funded more lavishly than other NYC high schools, and I'm sure the school my kids are in isn't. So it's not, AFAIK, a matter of competing for financing, but it is still cream-skimming, which can be a problem in itself.

Another partial answer is that the older kids get, the more their academic levels diverge. In grade school, there are very few children being seriously deprived by being given an education aimed at the average student. The brighter kids are bored, I certainly was, but it's not doing them any real damage to be bored a bit. Once you get into secondary school, though, there are much greater differences in what students are ready for academically, and putting them all in the same classes is going to lead to one end of the class or the other not getting anything out of it.

But I'm not sure that public magnets, as opposed to a broader spectrum of available levels of classes within general admission public schools, and active encouragement to kids to find the highest level they can function at, are a good thing, you're right.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 1:45 PM
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I am massively on Ttam's side here. It's like private schools. And I think it's better for your child to bring them up with values of fairness, honesty, and self-restraint, and parents they can be proud of.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 1:45 PM
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Oh urgh. Netflix needs a thing where you can skip the theme song because one does tire pretty thoroughly of "Little Boxes." (Not to speak of Weeds itself, but for some reason I get in a mood and go back and watch a few more episodes.)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 1:45 PM
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175: It was written about Daly City.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 1:46 PM
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167: sorry, I had to run for a bit. Now that I'm back, I see that Nat beat me to the punch. I'm not sure you've got the causation down for the decline -- such as it is -- of urban schools. Again, I think race, rather than a scramble for autonomy and control of the coffers, was the key driver of white flight. Also, I don't have the numbers to know what percentage of whites who left cities over the past half century were upper-middle class, what percentage were middle class, and what percentage were working-class, but that seems relevant.

As for your other point, I'm not sure that I've noticed anyone claiming that the flight of the upper-middle class -- when this has happened -- from cities has been advantageous for those left behind. Finally, was there really a time when upper-middle class parents had more control over their school districts than they do now? I'm not sure how one would measure that, but it does seem like an interesting question -- that would probably pivot, in the end, on what we mean by control, how such control is exercised, and by whom.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 1:46 PM
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181: But it doesn't matter after a while, because the song is playing in your head all the time anyway. Or maybe that's just me.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 1:47 PM
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The last 3 verses make it very clear that it is homogenous UMC suburbs that are being critiqued, not Levittown.

Then it should be called "Big Boxes".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 1:48 PM
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And now I have to go again. I know it's annoying to comment and then disappear. Alas, a day that should have been devoted to the Internet must now be devoted to work.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 1:49 PM
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A partial answer is that I don't think Hunter and Stuy and the like are funded more lavishly than other NYC high schools

I've just skimmed this thread, so this may not be relevant, but it's just been discovered that 40% of variation in per-pupil spending is intradistrict.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 1:51 PM
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Again, I think race, rather than a scramble for autonomy and control of the coffers, was the key driver of white flight.

How were they ever separate? "Autonomy" meant race (i.e. neighborhood schools in an era when housing discrimination was assumed).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 1:51 PM
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Of course the idea that schools for bright kids should be better funded is absurd; the bright kids should be at the back of the queue. ('cause bright kids are easier to teach, and also probs better-off to start with.) And schools for bright kids are pretty bad ideas, I think.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 1:54 PM
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(Morally absolutist claims about other people's kids are the best.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 1:56 PM
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Again, I think race, rather than a scramble for autonomy and control of the coffers, was the key driver of white flight.

These things are very intimately linked. In other words, the (school specific) motivation for leaving the public schools, especially on the part of more liberally-minded professionals, wasn't just hard-core race hatred, although that played a part. It was also a sense that the schools were getting affirmatively worse academically, more dangerous socially for the kids of middle-class families, and less amenable to the kinds of controls that Heebie's friends seem, understandably, to want (things like a "good" teacher and a classroom full of kids from more or less the same social situation).

In places like Natilo's school, where you could offer the UMC these public-school amenities, much of the UMC would stay. That was not the case for places that didn't or couldn't offer such amenities. Ergo, without such amenities, or accomodation to the UMC's need to control the system, the UMC leaves. That's my argument, anyway.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 1:56 PM
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182: A) It sounds more like it was inspired by Daly City -- i.e. the image of the identical houses rolling past as one looked out from the freeway, than it was "about" Daly City.
B) I'm not a big sociologist of California suburbs, but I'm guessing the racial and class make-up of Daly City in 1967 was significantly different than they are today. I mean, does

And the people in the houses

All went to the university,

Where they were put in boxes

And they came out all the same,

And there's doctors and lawyers,

And business executives,

...sound like she's writing about LMC Filipinos?

Fuck a bunch of Christopher Hitchens quoting Tom Lehrer anyway. Creepy old misogynist jerk.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 1:58 PM
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It was also a sense that the schools were getting affirmatively worse academically, more dangerous socially for the kids of middle-class families,

That 'sense', of course, is largely driven by racial prejudice. Maybe not so much by active racial animus, but by racial prejudice.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 2:00 PM
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The brighter kids are bored, I certainly was

At least some of the kids also have a hard time socially and decide young that nothing much inside of school is worthwhile. Tracking has a cost, but avoiding this outcome is a benefit.

Basically, I see the (well-intentioned) egalitarians as having an excluded middle outlook. There are a bunch of small school problems where parents can intervene on their kid's behalf-- principally a few checked-out teachers in every school.

181. ?? streaming supports scene selection, DVD's have scene indexing allowing skip-ahead.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 2:01 PM
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I kind of love the architecture of Daly City, specifically. How is this not beautiful? Also, a nice amount of density, equivalent to an urban townhouse.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 2:07 PM
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I drive through/past Daly City every day now, and I am always amazed at how lovely it is. The photo in 195 doesn't even quite capture it. Miles of neatly arrayed little boxes, in the prettiest rainbow of colors. It's like driving through candyland.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 2:14 PM
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Right. And you do that by making the schools equal, so if the UMC parents want their kids to go to decent schools, they have to provide decent schools for everyone. Working the system so that the kids of the UMC parents get the best and everyone else gets shit undermines that goal.

I grew up in a country where there weren't huge differences in the quality of the public high schools and they were all generally quite good. Buy in from the UMC was very strong, but that's not surprising - most of their kids went to public high schools, most working class kids didn't due to a very rigid tracking system. In communist Poland it was that plus a competitive exam to get into the top schools. In both places the right connections could get you in even if your results didn't warrant it.

NB One of the things that shocked me when I was studying modern German history was that they only made public secondary education free in the late sixties.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 2:16 PM
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I'm still wading my way through the comments (LB & ttaM are correct), but in terms of the specific decision heebie and Jammies need to make, which is HP's placement in her first year, there's a case for hoping HP is placed in one of the "regular" classes.

Assuming those classes are adequate even if not stellar, putting HP with classmates from varied SES backgrounds (and, concomitantly, expanding heebie & Jammies's parent circle) is an unalloyed good.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 2:16 PM
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And those houses weren't, in fact, built for rich people. Their failing, from the point of view of "Little Boxes," is being insufficiently bohemian. Just because the song imagines that the little box houses go with growing up to be a business executive doesn't mean that they actually do. It's nice to imagine that all the kinds of conformity one doesn't like all go together, but it's a folk-song fantasy.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 2:18 PM
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It's not just race. Class issues have always played a big part in things like this. My read of the OP sounded a lot more like class than race, and no one should be surprised by that: what is being in a higher class even for, if not helping your children?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 2:26 PM
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200: You can't kiss up and kick down if you don't which way is which.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 2:43 PM
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(Also: Aquarians, represent!)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 2:46 PM
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|| I'm getting kind of tired of breathing Idaho, and of wiping its ashes off every outdoor surface. Can we get some Arctic air in here . . .|>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 3:01 PM
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Actually, being a smart, UMC kid can be really helpful in a class with lots of struggling students, because you can learn how to help other students. I spent K-8 as an official and unofficial tutor to my classmates, generally with the guidance of the teacher. Hopefully I helped my peers, and the communication skills, patience, ability to interact with others not like me in a respectful way, and the general mastery which comes from teaching, rather than learning, material were really invaluable for me as well. I feel like my experiences gave me a much better early education than had I just gone to a tradition white, UMC "good" school.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 3:28 PM
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These people are depriving their offspring of a year of adult life so that they will be more competitive in pee-wee sports.

Red-shirting your child can sometimes cost them much more than only one year of adult life.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 4:32 PM
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204 makes a great point. I've been segregated away from my intellectual inferiors since age 13 or so. The prospect of being a teacher, a teacher to the hoi polloi instead of to a self-selected cohort of hard-working and/or quick-witted people from non-destitute families, fills me with dread.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 4:36 PM
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People born in 12 of the signs of the zodiac: cool.
Aquarians: cooler.
3Febbers: coolest.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 5:07 PM
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207 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 5:07 PM
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206: They're more afraid of you than you are of them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 5:21 PM
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205 was me, but I had to catch up on the thread to make sure I hadn't been pwned before I claimed it.

Their failing, from the point of view of "Little Boxes," is being insufficiently bohemian.

Well, and also for living in a restricted covenant, whites-only development, at least according to the link Halford gives in 195.

Which goes back to Von Wafer's point: white flight was hugely about race, and about racialized perceptions of violence (and the very real and very large increase in crime from the 60s to the early 90s); didn't the urban riots in the late 60s have a huge effect on kicking things into gear? Though I suppose each city has its own story.

This matters because Halford's claim is that the historical lesson of white flight tells us the UMC's educational prerogatives are untouchable; but if the kinds of egalitarian remedies that LB et al. are talking about are, in fact, quite different from what scared away the UMC whites back in the 60s-80s, we can't be nearly so sure that they'd go Galt, so to speak.


Posted by: trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 5:26 PM
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NB One of the things that shocked me when I was studying modern German history was that they only made public secondary education free in the late sixties.

Holy shit, really? Before that, was it only the Gymnasium that had fees, or did all three levels cost money?


Posted by: trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 5:31 PM
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Speaking of white flight, the letter from Robert Heinlein to F.M. Busby in this PDF is apropos. And will make you never want to read anything by the man ever again.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 5:33 PM
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BTW, if folks' haven't read this article, about a low-scoring but apparently very good (on other metrics--graduation rates, college acceptances, suspensions) high school in the Mission, is worth your time.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 5:36 PM
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Along the lines of 153/163, several weak school districts in which I have lived have developed IB programs largely in the hopes of attracting faculty brats and thus getting more UMC involvement in their districts. The alternative is pretty clearly the private school system. From what I know of NYC, the game is similar -- let the UMC parents get their kids placed in nice schools, and they won't check out of the public school system.

I don't think the normative claim follows at all -- one must decide to be a dick, and whether these preferences should be catered to is a separate question -- but the descriptive claim, that UMC parents will seek other options if the public schools aren't good, seems to be right.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 5:39 PM
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Though I suppose each city has its own story.

Yet they're all shaped like 7s!


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 5:52 PM
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120

I really doubt the difference between two teachers at the same school counts as "bare miniumum'." If it does, that's something to call the principal about.

That isn't the point. It doesn't matter which teacher the UMC parents decide they want. Once you put all the good kids in one class that becomes the good class.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 6:04 PM
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109

... that there's no moral problem with unequal distribution of what are supposed to be public resources equally available to all.

Many UMC parents object to the idea that their children are public resources.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 6:07 PM
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Your mom is a public resource.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 6:10 PM
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133

No, we don't know that. What the hell -- we can't possibly have a school system that treats UMC parents fairly or they'll all strike?

As long as you have numerous separate school districts (which isn't going to change anytime soon) they are competing for good students. If UMC parents don't like the way one district treats their kids they can and will move into a different district. This is not a purely theoretical effect, if you shop for housing in suburbs you will see big differences in prices based on school district.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 6:18 PM
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211 Just the gymnasiums. And there were a few programs in place to subsidize those poor kids that were outstanding academic performers. But the basic idea was that working class and peasant kids should go to technical schools or enroll in apprenticeship programs. Abolishing the fees was a major plank in Brandt's program.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 6:19 PM
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154

You know that your story is missing the chapters about race, don't you?

What's missing? You want Halford to explicitly say one of the things UMC parents (among others) object to is too many black classmates for their kids and that they will avoid this when they can?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 6:25 PM
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214 The growth in the popularity of the IB program amazes me. When I was in it it was mostly confined to a small number of 'international' schools, i.e. English language schools aimed at expats who needed some standardized system that would both be the same if the parents moved to another foreign country and would be recognized by multiple university systems.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 6:27 PM
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127

Nope. What I'm proposing is decent schools equally available to all, ...

Hard to achieve if the definition of a decent school is one without (or at least with very few) bad kids.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 6:28 PM
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I graduated from an IB program. It was pretty unusual at the time, especially for being so large, and arose for precisely the reasons that Cala outlined.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 6:29 PM
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James, you misspelled "black."


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 6:29 PM
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Where I went to high school, they had always offered AP classes, but they started up an IB program, largely because anxious UMC parents demanded it. It wasn't that different from AP, or any better really, but it was viewed as more exclusive. (It was taught by the same people who did the AP courses; but whereas anyone could sign up for any AP course, the IB was more of a separate program.)


Posted by: YK | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 6:41 PM
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Also, I think the conventional wisdom about who are the "good" teachers at a school can be unreliable. There are definitely lousy teachers. But when comparing non-lousy teachers, I don't think you can say that one teacher is universally better than another. At most you can say that this teacher is a good choice for this particular kid.


Posted by: YK | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 6:47 PM
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199: Their failing, from the point of view of "Little Boxes," is being insufficiently bohemian.

I don't see what the justification for this could be. Again, the last 3 verses make it explicitly clear that what is being criticized is the conformity of UMC people, and its reproduction. There's nothing about bohemianism or lack thereof. Furthermore, I think it's obvious, when you read about the origins of the song (saw layout of subdivisions while driving by on the freeway) that what is being criticized here is not the actual particulars of life in Daly City, but rather the whole project of suburbanization, and the idea that everyone there should aspire to UMC values and modes of conspicuous consumption. There's nothing there to suggest that Reynolds is disgusted with LMC or MMC people, or the residents of Daly City in particular. Quite the contrary, the song is painting UMC desires with a broad brush, satirically, and with at least a nascent class consciousness that opposes the singer's values to those of the UMC burghers it derides.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 6:58 PM
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I think the conventional wisdom about who are the "good" teachers at a school can be unreliable.

I've definitely questioned whether or not I would agree that the good teacher was the best teacher.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 6:58 PM
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229

I've definitely questioned whether or not I would agree that the good teacher was the best teacher.

It doesn't matter, peers make more difference than teachers.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 7:19 PM
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It doesn't matter, peers make more difference than teachers.

I'm not sure whether or not that's definitively known; certiainly it's plausible but I don't know that it's definitively known. Certainly the perception that peer groups are critically important drives a lot of work by parents in making sure that their kids hang out with other "successful" kids.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 7:26 PM
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That's sort of, but not necessarily, the opposite of the redshirt philosophy. Keeping them with successful, but not too successful, peers would seem to be a very stressful job for a parent. (Not that I have not seen what sure looks like that in action.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 8:10 PM
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It doesn't matter, peers make more difference than teachers.

I dunno, have we had a positive influence on you, James?


Posted by: YK | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 8:10 PM
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231

I'm not sure whether or not that's definitively known; certiainly it's plausible but I don't know that it's definitively known. ...

Nothing is absolutely certain but I think that is currently the weight of the evidence, there are dissenters. Here is a relevant (although a bit old and British) paper which supports peer effects. I found the paper googling and have not read it in detail.

There is a view in the literature of the economics of education that, to a first approximation at least, the academic attainment of children in schools is completely explained by the education, income and social class of their parents, and by the levels of these factors in the child's peer group; school quality as measured by conventional inputs such as class size, teacher experience and general school expenditure are typically found to have only minor effects. This view originates with the work of the Coleman Report (Coleman et al. 1966), and is extensively reviewed and discussed in Hanushek (1986). The Coleman report emphasised the pre-eminence of peer group effects on educational attainment. More recent studies are Summers and Wolfe (1977), Henderson et al. (1978), Borjas (1992), Hoxby (2000), Sacerdote (2000) and Epple et al. (2000). One expects peers to affect achievement directly (e.g. helping each other with course work) and also via values, though it seems to us likely that the latter effect predominates.

...

All in all, we believe the calibre of these new estimates of the peer group effects is higher than that in the existing literature. Our evidence points towards the parents and peers theory of educational attainment in children, giving only a minor role to school inputs. ...


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 8:33 PM
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233

I dunno, have we had a positive influence on you, James?

Positive?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 8:45 PM
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The junior high my wife teaches at is mostly low income hispanic kids with a few middle and upper middle class kids due to it also housing the gifted/advanced program. Really though the gifted program is just a bunch of kids who will behave without being ruled with an iron fist and they'll actually do homework.

My daughters have been attending the regular old non advanced track of that school with my wife for three years and they've done great. Unless the school is so far gone as to be physically dangerous UMC people should quit being such a bunch of pansies.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 9:41 PM
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What happened to David Brooks?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:06 PM
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Unless the school is so far gone as to be physically dangerous UMC people should quit being such a bunch of pansies.

High five!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-27-12 11:44 PM
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237: Simplest explanation: NYT was hacked.

236: James has conclusively shown your daughters will grow up to be hobos.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 3:07 AM
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237: he seems to have turned into middle-period Woody Allen. Hurrah!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 3:14 AM
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197, 211; same in Ireland. http://www.irisheconomy.ie/index.php/2009/10/06/donogh-omalleys-1966-announcement-of-free-education-the-hidden-history/
My father's family either went to the "tech" or got scholarships for native Irish speakers to go to special secondary schools for future primary teachers.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 3:50 AM
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Scotland introduced universal education (paid for by landowners) in the early 17th century. Although I think that only covered up to about age 13. Free universal high school education from the 1890s, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 4:15 AM
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Although some form of free or assisted education for the poor dates back to the 1560s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_education#Scotland


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 4:17 AM
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Your mom is a public resource.

Your mom is a non-excludable good funded directly by the central government.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 4:24 AM
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I saw the David Brooks column online around 4am and assumed something had been hacked, but now I've gotten the actual print edition and it's in there, too. I'm not really sure whose expense the article is at, though.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 5:05 AM
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The Brooks column is something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 5:12 AM
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Either he had a newfound respect for human life or he's fallen in love with Dave Barry.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 5:20 AM
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247: they so often go together.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 5:40 AM
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Although I think that only covered up to about age 13

That's OK. Compulsory education in Britain as a whole was only to 14 until 1944. In the 19th century it was 11 in England and Wales. Scotland was always ahead.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 5:44 AM
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Actually, being a smart, UMC kid can be really helpful in a class with lots of struggling students, because you can learn how to help other students. I spent K-8 as an official and unofficial tutor to my classmates, generally with the guidance of the teacher.

I did a little of this sort of thing through fifth grade (after which I was at a middle school with tracked classes), and maybe my teachers didn't guide me as well, or maybe I was just a snotty little twit, but I detested it. It wasn't so much that I minded helping other students as that I could tell the teachers really had no idea what else to do with me.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 5:51 AM
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240 is both exactly right and totally weird.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 6:13 AM
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240, 251: Yes, putting aside the political sympathies (he could claim plausibly that he's not making fun of Romney, he's making fun of the Democrats' caricature of Romney), the shocking thing is that it's really funny. I didn't think he had it in him.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 6:24 AM
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My children go to an ethnically mixed inner city school, but me and the wife make sure to act extra white at home.


Posted by: derauqsd | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 6:27 AM
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247: you are not the only person who loved "Grosse Pointe Blank", you know.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 6:30 AM
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but me and the wife make sure to act extra white at home.

It must be an effort to drink all that artisanal beer when you'd rather be cracking a Coors lite.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 6:38 AM
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re: 253

If Welsh counts as white .... [runs away]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 6:42 AM
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None whiter. Now he's left the valleys he has a bath almost every week, look you.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 6:47 AM
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My dad said that growing up they used to have a bath every Saturday whether they needed it or not. He wasn't (just) joking.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 6:49 AM
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To be honest, I think he should make more of an effort to integrate into London's indigenous culture, and speak a lame effort at Jamaican patois with his kids, when he's not calling for a debate on the nature of Britishness or referring to a "yard" of this or that financial security.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 7:04 AM
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250

Yeah, it probably could have been drudgery, but luckily I had good teachers who let me do lots of independent work and tried to challenge me separately, and also were pretty good about framing it as something I could do as a good citizen. I remember doing a book report on Dante's "Inferno" in 7th grade, and I made a very elaborate chart of the layers of hell. The teacher's only comment was something like, "unusual choice for a 13 year old." By 8th grade, budget cuts were starting to kick in, and I did a lot of it out of solidarity for our social studies teacher, the former school librarian who was suddenly forced back into classroom teaching in a class where at least half the class wasn't proficient in English, and many were illiterate in their native languages. Overwhelmed would be an understatement to describe his attitude. In return for being a mini-ESL aide and being good natured about jumping through some of the hoops and doing some of the busy-work, I got to do pretty much whatever I wanted whenever I wanted for about 50 percent of the day.

253
Oh, on being really white, this is not quite your point, but pretty much all of my early-childhood behavior policing came from my overbearing Norwegian grandmother, who went with a practically parodical "non-American's idea of how to seem American," with predictably unsuccessful results. Like, she prohibited anything she thought was slang, 'mumbling' (i.e. not enunciating every syllable) and even contractions because she thought speaking "improper English" would give ESL status away, meaning that to this day I have a weird accent and speak English like a non-native speaker. The clothing she got for me was either straight from the old country (sweaters, wooly tights), or drawn from 70s era American TV shows (going to school in magenta bell-bottoms was the height of embarrassment in the early 90s). To top it off, I looked basically albino as a kid, to the point people would stop my parents in the street and ask. Fortunately, at my mostly African American elementary school I was just so bizarre and unlike anyone else, including all the other white kids, that I was beyond real teasing and mainly the object of good-natured puzzlement. I remember a fun recess activity was getting me to say phrases of BVE in my over-enunciated English, which even I knew sounded pretty hilarious.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 9:18 AM
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Re: Brooks, at the end of the column it says "Joe Nocera is off today." I'm not familiar with him but cursory Googling makes him seem more liberal and/or more jocular than Brooks, so maybe Brooks' column was a deliberate homage.

Definitely funnier than I would have guessed. But you know, I wouldn't say I'm surprised to see a column mocking Romney. (Have to admit I wouldn't have predicted it, either, I'm just saying it's reasonable in hindsight.) The really annoying things about Brooks are his tone and his faith in bipartisanship for its own sake, but if you look at his stated political beliefs he's not as bad as the average Republican. Maybe even he's having doubts about Romney. Reasonable conservatives these days are Democrats.

But then, I read it as mocking Romney. It might be mocking Democrats' methods of mocking Romney, per 252, or if there's some other motivation involved, then who knows what's going on.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 9:26 AM
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I read it as Brooks knowing he can't humanize Romney, so he would try to get the readers to build a connection to him and to diminish the impact of common criticisms through comedic exageration. But then, I'm a suspicious sort.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 9:34 AM
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260.2 is great.

One thing about the school choice stuff in public schools, at least here, is how much segregation it's producing. The local public middle school closest to my house is a magnet, and it's pretty good. It's also 85% African American, largely kids of middle class parents who hustled to get their kids in there. Meanwhile the local general draw middle school is about 85% Latino, and the ambitious latinos go for different middle schools. The white kids either go private or go for a second tier of magnet schools in other areas. I was talking to a public school teacher about this who says it's sad but on the other hand when she taught in more mixed schools most kids weren't hanging out much across racial boundaries anyway.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 9:37 AM
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I remember a fun recess activity was getting me to say phrases of BVE in my over-enunciated English, which even I knew sounded pretty hilarious.

See Armstrong & Miller:
http://www.armstrongandmiller.co.uk/video_raf_pilots.html


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 9:41 AM
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263: I was talking to a public school teacher about this who says it's sad but on the other hand when she taught in more mixed schools most kids weren't hanging out much across racial boundaries anyway.

I feel like Pollyanna, but Sally's school is really surprisingly unlike this. I think part of it may be that the racial boundaries are very fuzzy -- the Latino population isn't strongly dominated by one nationality, and say, a second-generation Dominican kid with native-speaker English and a lot of African ancestry can identify as black or Latino whichever depending on how they feel that day. I'm sure there's some preferential socializing with people of similar ethnicity, but not enough that you'd think of failure to do so as crossing a racial boundary.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 9:49 AM
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Scotland was always ahead.

If it weren't for the weather, I would totally move to Scotland. They've even resisted and rolled back the whole fees-for-university thing.

Well, maybe global climate change will fix the weather issue. Although I suppose the Gulf Stream / North Atlantic Drift shutting down, and thus freezing Europe, is also a possibility, right? Fucking climate.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 10:05 AM
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I didn't spend much time there, but I liked the weather when I was there.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 10:14 AM
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I'm not much for extreme cold or extreme heat.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 10:15 AM
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I'm not much for extreme cold or extreme heat.

Me neither--hence San Francisco--but I also like sunshine (Edinburg: 5 1/3 hrs; SF: 9 2/3, although that last seems very off), and I dislike rain (SF: 67 days, Edinburgh: 167).


Posted by: trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 10:26 AM
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I don't mind the rain. I've always wanted a reason to get a very nice umbrella.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 10:28 AM
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Or maybe some of that fancy rain gear they sell at REI.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 10:29 AM
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Doesn't SF get a lot of sun in the fall? That could bring the average up.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 10:30 AM
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For reasons of latitude, Scotland gets very little sun in the winter. That would probably wear on me after a while.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 10:34 AM
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Doesn't SF get a lot of sun in the fall? That could bring the average up.

Yeah, but this site was claiming 14 hrs/day in July, which is insane, since the days are only a bit over 14 hours long, and, hello, there's the fog (though not much of that in my neighborhood). I didn't feel like looking up more respectable numbers, though.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 10:34 AM
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San Francisco sounds nice until I remember the feces escalator and the fact that I'd be unable to rent a studio apartment on my current housing budget.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 10:43 AM
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Buck's out there for a tradeshow this week and is being all wistful about how nice it is. Maybe when the kids are in college I'll pass the CA bar, we'll sublet the apartment for a year or two, and we'll find a refrigerator box in the Bay Area to huddle in for a bit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 10:46 AM
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Wear closed shoes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 10:47 AM
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You should do that! There are very nice parts of the Bay Area.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 10:50 AM
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I understand fleeing mudslides, wildfires, and mountain lions is very healthy, in a paleo kind of way. This would be a decade out in the future, if ever, of course.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 10:53 AM
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274 - 276: This is why I live in Oakland, not SF. Cheaper housing, better weather, and less feces.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 10:55 AM
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I would love to be able to move back to the east or south bay. Or lots of other places in the Bay Area, but those are the ones I liked most.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 10:59 AM
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If it weren't for the weather, I would totally move to Scotland.

This just in: Scotland still ahead on education.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 10:59 AM
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and less feces

New idea: Feed cheese to the homeless to slow things down a bit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:01 AM
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280 -- Yes yes yes. The East Bay is by far the best place to live up north. Unless you're ludicrously wealthy, I suppose.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:05 AM
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Sausalito has the best weather in the SFBA, and it's not that expensive if you're willing to live on a leaky dinghy anchored in the bay.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:08 AM
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Eh. I love the East Bay, but they're proposing to be a mobile couple without kids and could potentially do a house-swap or something. If they want the full force San Francisco experience (which might still seem relatively not-urban to New Yorkers), they're in a good position to get it.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:10 AM
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No matter where you choose in the Bay Area, you should stop in Sacramento for a meal on your way to Tahoe.

(Except that, honestly, do not go to Tahoe. It isn't that great and traffic makes the trip from the Bay Area terrible.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:12 AM
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The south/southeast corner of SF is quite sunny, but also pretty windy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:13 AM
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If they want the full force San Francisco experience

They should live in a closet surrounded on four sides by super-preppy white people, ultraannoying rich hippies, 28 year olds who are pretending to be six year olds, and defecating homeless people, while being not quite able to walk to anything but also not able to drive to anything and also it's always too cold and also Giants fans?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:15 AM
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It's much better to approach Tahoe from Winnemucca.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:15 AM
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Addendum to 289: All of whom will tell you it's the BEST PLACE ON EARTH.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:16 AM
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But all that said I actually kind of like San Francisco in its way.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:16 AM
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while being not quite able to walk to anything but also not able to drive to anything

Luckily, LB's got a bike.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:18 AM
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Well, that is looking good to Buck this week. This is a couple from New York. They are familiar with city living. It makes sense that someone who lives in a old suburb would recommend an old suburb to someone else (mind you, that is the choice I made), but it isn't like they don't know what living in SF would be like.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:21 AM
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I'm just trying to lure the Breath couple out of the Bay Area and into my compound in Riverside, instead.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:23 AM
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They would probably fall for pictures of orange trees.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:25 AM
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Where you will hunt, kill, and eat them.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:26 AM
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You just want to deprive us of grains.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:26 AM
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296: I would. Or any kind of citrus, really -- the idea of citrus fruit growing on a tree, in your yard, is completely fantastic to me. It's like having a pet unicorn.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:27 AM
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Trapnel, shut up dude. This is working.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:28 AM
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That is how I felt about apple trees growing up.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:29 AM
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Don't people come to Riverside for the waters?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:29 AM
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I thought that was Casablanca.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:30 AM
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Did you know that Riverside was the wealthiest city, per capita, in America in the late 19th Century? It totally was. No longer the case.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:33 AM
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299: There's a lemon tree in my back yard, you know. Citrus isn't only for the south. Well, okay, my next door neighbor's back yard, but he let my housemate take a huge bucket of lemons the other day. I'm sitting on sunny roof right now, where I can look across the cloudless sky south to San Bruno Mountain, west to Twin Peaks, northeast to the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin hills, and northeast to the lovely downtown skyline and the Bay Bridge. (And east up to the leafy Hunter's Point ridge, but that's not quite as lovely.)

Bayview really is great in a lot of ways.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:36 AM
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I could imagine moving to Riverside for certain reasons. But I didn't realize just how far east it is until I drove up I-15 from San Diego a couple of weeks ago.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:37 AM
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San Francisco is great, but holy cow, the number one favorite hobby of everyone here is standing in line. People, in the time it takes you to find parking in the Mission and stand in line at Tartine, you could learn to bake your own scones.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:37 AM
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Riverside is great. By which I mean, margaritas at the Mission Inn is reliably a good time.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:40 AM
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I actually liked the Richmond a lot the few months I was there, but I rarely saw the sun. I took up hiking again partly just to keep moving during the day so I'd stay warm.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:41 AM
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I love the Outer Richmond, where I'm staying now (outer Outer, like a block in from the ocean), but yeah, it's freezing, and I'm starting to get a little out-of-season seasonal affective disorder.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:43 AM
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I've liked Pasadena when I've visited. Plus, it, unlike Riverside, gets a shoutout in Dre & Tupaq's "California Love." Then again, as shout-outs go, it's not exactly the most ringing endorsement: "Pasadena, where you at?" I guess Pasadena got lost somewhere? Still, it's something.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:45 AM
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That's a very important consideration. Sacramento gets some California love too.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:47 AM
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If anyone wants to move to Inglewood, I'm all for it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:48 AM
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I don't think I've used up a bucket of lemons over the last five years. I can't imagine what I'd do with a tree. Similarly, unicorns are expensive, shit a lot, and are only rideable by virgins.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:50 AM
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Pasadena is truly wonderful. It's this lovely confluence of elderly white ladies who dress up in Chanel suits and gloves to do their grocery shopping at Trader Joe's, scientists from CalTech and JPL, middle class African American families, and young stroller-pushing Taiwanese couples.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:50 AM
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I prefer my strollers pushed by elderly white ladies.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:57 AM
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It's good for their bone density.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:57 AM
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Any reference to Doug Henwood always reminds me of that song. "Henwooood? always up to no good..."


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 11:59 AM
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there are plenty of books you can read about the experience of moving to California, and the open, welcoming and socially liberal attitude of the natives. My favourite is called "The Grapes of Wrath".


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 12:00 PM
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319: Plus, that book has an early mention of the treatment for male homosexuality.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 12:04 PM
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320: Heh. Indeed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 12:07 PM
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I've never known how accurate it is, but I enjoyed a Joan Didion (?) essay tracing elements of my accent to the Okies. Living in San Joaquin Valley, there's no denying the heritage.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 12:07 PM
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When did she ever hear you talk?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 12:35 PM
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re: 282

National resources: rain, more rain, a certain bleak sense of humour, scenery, stabbings, educated people.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 12:54 PM
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People, in the time it takes you to find parking in the Mission and stand in line at Tartine, you could learn to bake your own scones.

This is why the upcoming weekend is going to be The Greatest.

(Parking in the Mission is totally fine as long as you're willing to spend ~$10 for it. Street parking is a mug's game.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 1:08 PM
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314: lemonade. Whisky sours and Tom Collinses from scratch. Use it in place of white wine when cooking. I could probably go through a lemon tree in year.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 1:17 PM
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[We had a little orange tree in Lafayette that was ok, but the real prize was an apricot tree. And a bunch of 'chokes.]


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 1:25 PM
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My lemon tree has a pretty weak yield but produces fruit almost year-round; about 5 lemons a month or so. You pretty much never have to go to the store for lemons, but it's not like lemon bonanza.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 1:28 PM
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I use lemon and salt a lot. On veggies. In plain yogurt. I absolutely hate buying lemons because I grew up with three trees, but if I don't have any (my Dad brings me five gallon buckets full), I'll buy them.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 1:29 PM
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Do you fertilize it, Halford? Citrus are heavy feeders.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 1:29 PM
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Nope. It just sits out in the dog run in some mulch and hangs out. I do nothing but collect the lemons.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 1:31 PM
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lemon bonanza

They filmed that show near Riverside.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 1:34 PM
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Should you want more lemons, there are avenues available to you.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 1:36 PM
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Like buying a used Volkswagen?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 1:38 PM
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I miss having my little lime tree out back, but even more I miss having all the lovely citrus of many glorious varieties available right at the farmer's market.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 1:41 PM
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||

This is taking a local in-joke too far.

|>


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 1:47 PM
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The most citrus I can remember eating in a brief period was when I got a shipment of miracle fruit. Limes have an amazing flavor, but the miracle doesn't extend to neutralizing the acid in your stomach.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 1:53 PM
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I had a little Thai lime tree (it did grow limes, but one mostly uses the leaves). It lived outside in the summer until CA killed it.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 1:55 PM
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336: Lurkers are every where.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 2:02 PM
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||

I just met with the president of the university. I'm trying to get him to teach a class. He has expressed interest in this idea.

I show up with a document I prepared - possible classes, different amounts of commitment from him, which courses are offered which semester, etc.

He takes it from me first thing, and starts marking it up - which courses he's interested in, etc. Then he talks for a minute or two.

While he's talking, he absentmindedly starts folding the paper. And then tearing it into smaller and smaller pieces. Then he says "So I'll email the various departments from here...is there any reason you need to be involved?"

I say "...I guess not." Because not really? It was my idea, as part of the program I run, etc, but it needs to be scheduled within a department.

The whole meeting is over in 5 minutes. I leave, and he is now supposed to take the next step, and his source of information is torn into little bits. WHATEVER.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 2:13 PM
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340: When you left, he ate the now-bite-sized scraps of paper, thus absorbing all the information contained thereon.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 2:28 PM
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328: If the lemon yields are that paltry, I don't see the point of living in California.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 2:31 PM
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They aren't, as a rule. But Halford is starving his tree.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 2:40 PM
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Maybe the rats get most of the lemons?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 2:42 PM
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Nonsense! Trees love fresh bison!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 2:42 PM
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Dude I'm fine with my low lemon yield. The lemons provided suffice for the lemons needed, and I'm not trying to take a crop to market. I am not a lemon capitalist.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 2:44 PM
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I think that means Halford's collecting a farm subsidy for suppressing his yield.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 2:48 PM
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This is why the upcoming weekend is going to be The Greatest.

I'm so confused. What's next weekend?


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 3:11 PM
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I assume that that's offered in this spirit.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 3:20 PM
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Oh, right. I guess I figured most Burners would be too busy packing last weekend, too.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 3:23 PM
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While he's talking, he absentmindedly starts folding the paper. And then tearing it into smaller and smaller pieces.

Maybe you were supposed to pick up one of the papers on his desk and do the same? (I'm just guessing, I've never been to Texas.)


Posted by: YK | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 5:30 PM
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Also I really miss California. I'm still trying to like Maryland and Virginia. I just didn't know it would be this hard to let go.


Posted by: YK | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 5:35 PM
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352: Nobody likes Maryland, YK. Their flag is confusing and all their denizens cease to know how to pilot a vehicle once they enter the District. It's uncanny.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 6:24 PM
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Jousting is the state sport. They've got thai.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 6:25 PM
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Stupid phone.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 6:25 PM
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Does Maryland have thai? If yes, does it have more than Virginia?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 6:46 PM
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356: If Marylanders claimed to have more Thai, I'd suspect they were padding the numbers.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 6:49 PM
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VA has Vietnamese, but definitely MD has Thai. The problem with MD and VA is that government and contracting work gives people a hierarchical outlook. This place is extremely uptight.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 6:52 PM
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I know people in both Maryland and Virginia, the DC suburb parts. The couple who live in Virginia moved Belgium but the say they'll return. The Maryland people are still there.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 6:53 PM
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At the bar next to a twenty-something man dressed just like my history teacher in 1984. Is he being ironic?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 6:57 PM
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He's drinking Pabst if that helps.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 6:59 PM
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There's a passive-aggressive fight going on right now on my neighborhood email group about whether or not people in the neighborhood should send their kids to the public school. I just joined in.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 7:01 PM
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Can we all join the group? I think I have some thoughts that your neighborhood email group needs to hear. It would be irresponsible not to.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 7:05 PM
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He's just mentioned Dyanetics and breaking away from it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 7:10 PM
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361: What's he drinking if it doesn't help?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 7:11 PM
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I don't know. He left before I could ask if his clothes were ironic. Who wears a tie and polyester dress pants to a bar?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 7:18 PM
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The Last of the Hipsters.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 7:23 PM
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His parents never called the principal to get the good teacher, and now look at him.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 7:25 PM
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362: Thorn! I thought of you this morning when I heard a story on NPR* about how foster families can benefit from supportive services and counseling when they adopt older kids who may have suffered trauma. It wasn't awful, for a radio short.

*I was trapped in the car. Normally I only listen to music or silence because talk radio tends to make me ferociously angry.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 7:27 PM
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Maybe he was corporate IT?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 7:28 PM
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The Last of the Hipsters.

After ironically doing cocaine, a man walked into a refrigerated freezer truck in Silverlake on September 10, 2001 and collapsed. Due to the chaos the next day, the cargo was not delivered for more than ten years -- until it finally reached a small Pittsburgh bar in 2012.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 7:41 PM
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I think you've got your winning screenplay plot right there, Halford. Go for it!


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 7:45 PM
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It's good luck to see the corpse of a baby mouse, right?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 7:51 PM
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369: I will look that up. There should definitely be more support services in place, but in a lot of places there really aren't. Early trauma is no joke. Nia and Mara are both smart, beautiful, funny amazing, but they are deeply impacted by things that happened to them as littler ones (as is Lee, even) and I work hard to help them mitigate that and learn to live with it and overcome it, but there are some really sucky things they have to deal with and I hate that.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 8:01 PM
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289 28 year olds who are pretending to be six year olds

Actually advice recently given to new college faculty from undergrads who are, in principle, close to 20 years old than to six:

- Hold class outdoors in the spring
- Bring cookies!
- Take the class on field trips
- Show movies in class
- Don't publicly criticize a student for not doing the assigned reading
- Ban laptops in the classroom because otherwise everyone will always be on Facebook
- Did we mention cookies?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 8:02 PM
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r


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 8:03 PM
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Banning laptops in the classroom is a good idea unless the professor doesn't mind students being on Facebook.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 8:03 PM
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-ly. Christ. Why can't I type anymore?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 8:05 PM
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Christly.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 8:05 PM
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Other memorable advice given in the past two days included "take your grad students out and drink a lot of wine with them" and "feel your spine". I still don't know what the latter means, despite having someone grip the back of my skull and pull me into an unnatural posture to demonstrate.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 8:06 PM
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377: Yeah, I mean, I know what I do with my laptop when I go to conferences, at least if no one can clearly see over my shoulder. (Hi, Unfogged!)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 8:07 PM
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375: Hilarious. I was glad to see that all the advice for new faculty from students here was along the lines of "Up to a certain point, we can take it. We'll be pissed if you aren't totally demanding all the time." I have joined a cult, apparently.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 8:10 PM
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I have seen people check their bank account balances in class, which would feel to me more private than stripping naked. People also shop for shoes a lot in class, which seems less personal.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 8:13 PM
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Have you seen people stripping naked in class, for comparison?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 8:16 PM
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382: Well, I'm cherry-picking. There was also the student who answered someone's question of "how much assigned reading is too much?" with a story about how one of her favorite classes assigned 1000 pages of reading a week. Which sounded exaggerated to me? But, yeah, there was definitely a lot of commentary about how massive amounts of work are okay as long as they feel like they understand what motivates it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 8:16 PM
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I personally would rather strip than check my bank balance in a room of 80 people. Which is irrational, since at least some of these people have bank balances similar to mine, but they're all in their 20s and have better bodies.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 8:19 PM
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Shoes, in particular? Huh.

Reminds me of the guy I went to college with who stood up in the middle of a lecture, loudly announced "I need new shoes!", and then left the room and walked all the way downtown to buy a pair.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 8:19 PM
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But, back to the topic. Seeing a dead mouse, especially a baby, on the sidewalk in the dark seems to require some luck, especially since a cat or something is certain to come eat it soon. So, seeing a dead baby mouse must therefore be good luck.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 8:21 PM
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Seeing a dead mouse, especially a baby, on the sidewalk in the dark seems to require some luck, especially since a cat or something is certain to come eat it soon.

It's just like that old saw about economists, only with more gore and ickiness.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 8:23 PM
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It wasn't a gory mouse. No obvious cause of death.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-12 8:27 PM
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It's a bit late for this maybe, but Coates has a topical post.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 8:42 AM
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375.cookies: well, they do have a point
380.wine: well, they do have a point


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 9:00 AM
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Other memorable advice given in the past two days included "take your grad students out and drink a lot of wine with them"

This seems very sound.

I don't think I've ever had wine with my adviser but I have played beer pong with him and I'm buying a bunch of beer with his money this Firday, both of which probably count.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 9:09 AM
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389: I have (more than once?) purchased new pants in the middle of the workday due to total failure of the pair I was wearing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 9:10 AM
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Yes, beer for the grad students!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 9:11 AM
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388: Is "dead baby mouse" the new "five dollars"?

If so, those urging a return to the gold standard may be on to something after all.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 9:14 AM
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Sufficient unto the day are the lemons thereof.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 9:18 AM
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My advisor doesn't drink. He did serve some really horrible Hungarian wine at a party at his house once.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 9:19 AM
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I have (more than once?) purchased new pants in the middle of the workday due to total failure of the pair I was wearing.

My sympathies. I once suffered terminal pants failure in the middle of the Frari in Venice, while I was admiring the Titians. Unfortunately, so were several hundred other tourists.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 9:20 AM
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There was also the student who answered someone's question of "how much assigned reading is too much?" with a story about how one of her favorite classes assigned 1000 pages of reading a week.

I can think of at least one professor who would do things like assign two chapters of Adorno for a class session, and then list as "suggested supplemental background reading" all of Either/Or plus one of Kant's critiques. I took this more as her saying "think about these things as informing the Adorno" rather than "go read these things too," but she insisted it was the latter. Which just makes me roll my eyes. Yes, by all means, go absorb all of that in one week.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 9:23 AM
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I have (more than once?) purchased new pants in the middle of the workday due to total failure of the pair I was wearing.
I think this kind of thing accounts for 99% of the collegiate-logo clothing I own.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 10:05 AM
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Unless you can have partially collegiate-logoed clothing, this means that you have 100 articles of collegiate-logo clothing and have seen your ass burst through 99 pairs of pants.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 10:08 AM
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At least 99 pairs of pants.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 10:09 AM
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Nathan has an uncontainable ass.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 10:09 AM
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That lab accident with the gamma rays was a bitch.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 10:10 AM
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Dammit. I'd like to retract 405 in favor of "You wouldn't like him when he's angry."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 10:10 AM
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He could also have, like, a time-share in a college hoodie.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 10:28 AM
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Gosh. I'm glad I didn't include that last decimal point.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 10:28 AM
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||
Why is the public library in San Francisco so bad? I'm not even talking about the lurking pervos thing. There are like almost no books. Can it be that people in Los Angeles just read more?
|>


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 10:34 AM
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Is there poop?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 10:35 AM
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There are like almost no books.

Isn't it like entirely composed of a giant atrium? 1990s library architecture (renovation, whatever) at its silly apogee.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 10:36 AM
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Yes of course, but it's all mashed under the escalators no problem.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 10:36 AM
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Yes of course, but it's all mashed under the escalators no problem.

xox.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 10:37 AM
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412 to 410.

411. Yes, with just computers and magazines in the main floor space, but even using the online library catalogue, I can't find half the books I want (neeeed).


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 10:38 AM
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It must be rough not having the main branch of the local public library system and the various libraries of an R1 university at your disposal and just blocks away.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 10:56 AM
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SFPL selection didn't seem so bad to me, but I don't read like I used to. I often ended up using the holds/request option instead of finding the books on the shelves. Also, lots of older/low-circulation books are in closed stacks so if you're there in person, you have to make requests at the desk on the appropriate floor.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 11:00 AM
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Bobst (NYU) is just a giant open Atrium. Or, er, used to be.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 11:01 AM
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There are like almost no books. Can it be that people in Los Angeles just read more?

Hmm--Wikipedia says that the SFPL's collection is 7,227,532 volumes, whereas the LAPL's is a mere 6,393,429; strangely, however, the LAPL has twice the SFPL's circulation, 18m vs 9.5m. So, uh, they have more books, but the wrong ones?

Though it's worth remembering that LA has almost 5x SF's population.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 11:02 AM
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I find that weird escalator/stairway section of LAPL really ugly, but I've only visited once and never had a library card. There are some nice rooms in the main branch, though.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 11:07 AM
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One of the main perks of my department is the expensive alcohol, which is apparently a lot less expensive than it used to be, according to the grumbling of senior faculty. And if you have the right members on your committee, semi-regularly you can get treated to $20 cocktails.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 11:10 AM
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409: I really liked the Chinatown branch, but yes, the main branch got hit by the starchitecture insistence on protecting patrons from the books and expert librarians. As Koolhaus boasted of doing! Though the SPL librarians have doggedly fixed a lot of that, & the giant atrium is a nice public square in a rainy city.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 11:18 AM
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Somehow there's no norm here that grad students go to dinner with seminar speakers, which is how I got my free food and alcohol with professors when I was in grad school. (And still do.) Whenever I ask grad students to come along it's always "oh, I have to go have dinner with my girl/boyfriend" or "I can't, I'm too busy". I should try to figure out how to change that norm.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 11:36 AM
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At least you don't have to use the Austin library. After years of griping about it, being told that our local library is awesome, and that I should stop complaining do X, where X is something that anyone who actually sets foot in a local library would realize is impossible here, I looked up some library ratings and found that Austin's library is in the 10%ile.

They recently decided to spend a huge amount of money to replace the central branch library with another building, instead of buying more books. And, (I assume) they spent money getting the new online catalog system, which was worse than the previous one, which was worse than the previous one. Argh! Why?


Posted by: sral | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 1:14 PM
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There always seems to be more money for so-called capital improvements than for other things. (This is true outside of libraries.) As for the catalog, one thing that seems to true of almost all libraries in all times is that most people hate the catalog.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 2:00 PM
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Seen in full sun, the dead mouse wasn't a baby. Also, nothing ate it yet. Maybe cats don't scavenge.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 3:02 PM
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My grad seminar only has five students in it, so I'm debating whether to adjourn early tomorrow and treat them all to a round of beer. I did assign reading for the first class, so they probably deserve something nice in return.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 3:34 PM
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426: Jesuit schools have a first-class-of-the-semester tradition known as the scholia brevis: you get to leave early that day. So quote some Latin and go for it.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 3:39 PM
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-i


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 3:40 PM
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||

On my personal blog, I posted some pics, and Hawaii happens to be naked in them. Is that a bad idea? I got a comment to the effect that it is.

I can't imagine it actually makes her unsafe in any way, even if it fell into the hands of someone creepy. Am I failing to think this through thoroughly?

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Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 3:54 PM
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This is an off-the-cuff reaction, but while I wouldn't worry about her safety at all, I might worry about yours -- that if some idiot saw them and took exception, they might call the authorities and you'd have an unpleasant interaction.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 4:00 PM
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True. In that case, it should be sufficient if I just lock it in a few days, so that it's not available for the eternal future.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 4:07 PM
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430: I'm with LB. Depending on *how* naked, that might count as child pornography [which is stupid, but whatever].


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 5:29 PM
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It is super cute, in any case.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 5:32 PM
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432

430: I'm with LB. Depending on *how* naked, that might count as child pornography [which is stupid, but whatever].

And that is (IIRC) a federal crime with a ten year mandatory minimum. Personally I take no chances whatsover about that sort of thing.

As for ignoring busy bodies consider this cautionary tale .


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-29-12 5:46 PM
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Dead mouse still there, but very nearly flat. My street is inefficiently scavenged.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-30-12 3:11 PM
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Nearly 24 hours later, no change in the status of the mouse.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-31-12 1:31 PM
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You should feed the dead mouse to the snake in parsimon's closet.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-31-12 1:42 PM
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434: Another cautionary tale.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 08-31-12 1:55 PM
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Mouse still dead but more decayed. Pretty much flat.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 6-12 1:48 PM
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