Re: #housingsegregationiseverything*

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Did I post about this? Or maybe just comment about it? I guess posting is unlikely.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 9:20 AM
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But anyway, as everyone knows, I have strong feelings about school integration.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 9:45 AM
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IIRC, you were in favor of it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 9:49 AM
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Strong racist feelings?


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 9:50 AM
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If that description of the benefits of integration is correct then it seems like busing black kids into white schools will work much better than busing white kids into black schools. Otherwise, you would have to send enough white kids into the black school to turn it into a good school. And that level isn't clear, but it could be pretty high. Plus it clearly is a bad thing for the white kids to go to a black school until it reaches the good school tipping point.

Plus you would have to bus a lot fewer black kids than white kids to get the benefits described in the article.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 9:53 AM
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While I'm going on about this stuff, and looping back to Ta-Nehisi Coates' book, I find myself fascinated by how much of white supremacy is white people cutting off their noses to spite their faces. Like, in NYC, integrated schools are the equivalent of the economist's $20 on the ground (it can't be real, or someone would have picked it up) -- it's not that there aren't any bad schools, but if you're not trying to keep your kids in a majority white school as a proxy for school quality, it's really not hard to find good public schools.

That's what it sounds like is going in the article about the DUMBO school -- that the 'bad' school has plenty of resources, and the rich white parents whose kids might be zoned into it would do just fine there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 9:57 AM
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Plus it clearly is a bad thing for the white kids to go to a black school until it reaches the good school tipping point.

So? I say fuck 'em. They probably have the cultural capital to get by anyway.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 9:58 AM
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Anyhow, this sounds very interesting but I hate listening to things. Is it available in written form?

As I've said here before, it is totally stunning how non-integrated the schools are here and there is, effectively, an elaborate de facto system for keeping them that way (to the point that there are not specific schools for specific ethnicities, ie a (good) gifted magnet public school that is effectively for the gifted black kids, similar for Korean vs Chinese, etc.). White people have effectively opted out of the public system except for a few places that are majority or plurality white. And charters are making this worse. We took my kid out of the local public school that she'd been at, which was academically just fine as a school, because it was just getting way too unbearable and isolating for her to be the only white kid in her grade. She's now a lot happier but it's a shame.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 9:58 AM
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There's an extra "not" there.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 9:58 AM
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8.1: That's actually mentioned in the OP.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:00 AM
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5: (a) What Thorn said in 7, and (b) I wouldn't assume that a minority white school is necessarily going to be bad at all. My direct experience is with schools that are plurality immigrant Latino, minority black, non-Latino white, and Asian in that order, which is obviously different from all African-American schools. But still.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:02 AM
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We took my kid out of the local public school that she'd been at, which was academically just fine as a school, because it was just getting way too unbearable and isolating for her to be the only white kid in her grade.

This must have been lousy for her, but I bet the tipping point required to make it non-unbearably isolating would have been pretty low -- you wouldn't have needed a totally integrated school, just a few more white families.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:04 AM
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But if we just give everybody vouchers the free market will take care of everything.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:05 AM
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Argh. Our local school district is so racist, unremarkably so but still frustrating. Currently, Hawaii's school is full, and so any kid that tried to enroll late is being bussed across town. The reason that it's full is that too many parents have applied for transfers there. So kids that are actually zoned for the school, but are later enrollers are being displaced. Guess which races tend to apply for transfers and which races tend to be late enrollers.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:07 AM
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IIRC, Laura at 11D was saying (years ago) that what killed vouchers was middle class white parents realizing that a working, universal voucher system would integrate the private schools. Or something like that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:07 AM
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The second hour of the TAL program was almost more enraging than the first -- it was talking about an integration program in New Haven that was working okay, bringing white kids into the city schools from the suburbs by, essentially, bribery. They set up magnet schools with fantastic resources to bring in the white kids, so all the white kids get to go to these amazing schools, and about a third of the minority kids from New Haven, while the rest of the city kids are still in segregated and badly funded schools.

And I can't really disapprove of the program, it's working better than most things do, and those of the city kids who get to go to the amazing integrated schools are better off. But I still want to burn shit down.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:09 AM
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8: Preach it, brother. If the written word was good enough for Moses, it's good enough for me.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:10 AM
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I think around 25% white would have been fine, and the more important thing isn't really "white" but just a higher percentage of socially-similar professional parents (though we also thought about the gifted magnet that's de facto for gifted black kids and has more professional parents, but heard from another family that the non-black kids there are really isolated). The racial isolation/social class thing just made it unbearable for her in particular. Also she's a pretty sensitive kid, one could imagine a different kid as an exemplary racial integration pioneer but that wasn't for her. The learning and teaching part of the school was just fine.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:11 AM
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what killed vouchers was middle class white parents realizing that a working, universal voucher system would integrate the private schools.

This shows a lack of vision. Sure maybe a working voucher system would do that, but a broken one might facilitate even more extreme segregation than we have now, probably while allowing a bunch of con artists to get rich at the same time.

Win win!


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:12 AM
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I think the charter schools system is pretty much that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:13 AM
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The "cultural capital" point is routinely trotted out whenever I try to refer to our very positive experience in the Chicago Public Schools.

As in "Well, with their cultural capital your kids would prosper anywhere..."

And I'm always surprised by the difference this implies between their kids and mine.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:14 AM
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For exactly con-artist reasons.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:14 AM
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- it was talking about an integration program in New Haven that was working okay, bringing white kids into the city schools from the suburbs by, essentially, bribery.

This was exactly my high school, except the bribery program was completely segregated off within the badly funded school and basically none of the zoned kids participated in the IB program. But according to the performance statistics, it's no longer a struggling school. Look at that SAT average among kids who took the SAT!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:16 AM
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The SAT average among kids who took the SAT at my high school was my SAT score.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:17 AM
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21: Yeah -- I think there's something to be said for 'cultural capital', but I also think that any kid with middle-class parents who had a bookshelf in their room with books on it has plenty to thrive in pretty much any physically safe school.

Emotional stolidity is a thing, admittedly; when I talk about how great the schools my kids have gone to are, I'm talking about kids who are temperamentally hard to bother, so I could imagine different kids disliking the minority position more than mine do, and if it had bothered them, that would bother me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:18 AM
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23: Oh, god. That kind of in-school segregation makes me almost angrier than the school-to-school segregation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:19 AM
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IB-IBS.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:22 AM
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International Baccalaureate - Irritable Blogger Syndrome.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:24 AM
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AIHPMAN, I was a white MC kid bussed into a majority black school in a low income area. The school was probably about 65% black, 30% white, and 5% Hispanic. The neighborhood students were probably 80% black, 5% Hispanic, and 15% white (it was Portland so even the poorest most concentrated minority areas still had white people). About 2/3 of the bussed-in students were white, and about 1/3 were MC black kids whose parents wanted their kids to go to a majority black school with a African-American history/culture focus.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:40 AM
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24: Moby is our perfectly average representative from the Heartland.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:44 AM
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To make that explicit, I was the only person from the school to take the SAT. The ACT was enough for all local colleges.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:46 AM
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24: If I'm remembering what you've said about your high school, the math to figure out that average wasn't particularly difficult.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:47 AM
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My elementary & middle school (neighborhood school, plurality, maybe majority, white but "hyper diverse," also title 1) were both specifically anti tracking, with teachers trained in teaching across a spectrum of levels. As a MC kid I got some services for poor kids (free in school dental work, free books), to avoid singling out kids. The elementary school also micromanaged our social relations and pushed/mandated cross-racial friendships.

While race was a salient social category, class was too, with the MC white and black kids hanging out vs. the neighborhood kids. It also resulted in a weird hierarchy (to the extent one existed, which wasn't much) with MC black kids at the top, and poor whites at the bottom.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:48 AM
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Speaking of Ta-Nehisi Coates, check out the latest news, he's going to be writing the Black Panther for Marvel Comics.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:48 AM
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Everything is turning up nerdcore.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:50 AM
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I get that comics were horrible at representing minority characters, but why try to fix them instead of just closing them down?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:52 AM
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The elementary school also micromanaged our social relations and pushed/mandated cross-racial friendships.

And once you get to high school, the administration simply informs you on the first day of school of who you'll be dating that year.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:52 AM
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Thinking about it, my own (very good, public, 3 miles from where I live now) elementary school was, in roughly 1979-1985, probably about 30% white, 30% asian, 30% hispanic, and 10% black. It's now 95% Asian and almost exclusively Korean. So massive anti-progress on racial integration in the public schools in 35 years or so.*

(My kid's school mentioned above was 80% latino, 20% black, one white kid, no Asians, 85% of kids on school lunch program. As I say, academically a very very good school woth good teachers, though of course its test scores were low).


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:53 AM
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||
Guess who's writing Black Panther next year...
|>


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:58 AM
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Darnit.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:58 AM
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Do Koreans go to bars? I worry about the effect of my neighborhood's increasing population of people from Asia on the long term viability of bars.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 10:59 AM
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Do Koreans go to bars?

Oh, dude.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:02 AM
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That's what I'd heard. We must be getting people from the less useful parts of Asia.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:03 AM
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Oh man. That's like asking if Irish people are sexually repressed. Probably the most intense going to bars culture in the world.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:03 AM
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I'm always surprised by the difference this implies between their kids and mine.

Right, but of course their point is to try to stop you from being smug your way, and to get you to be smug their way.

I have zero personal insight here, and the following has nothing to do with policy but is a parenthetical tangent. I was delighted when new kids were bussed into my relatively affluent elementary school and devoted myself to befriending most of them, but because I was awkward and annoying this may have been perceived as hazing. (I'm half kidding. I did make real friends.) I myself would have tanked and flamed out at a bad school because I fought relentlessly with bad teachers. I've never been able to tease out all the distinct threads of racism, privilege, and being a disastrous self-hating fuckup, but I am increasingly convinced that the first two bolstered and sustained the latter to a pretty big degree. No one in a less protected social position could have gotten away with that particular sort of bad behavior. At least, it's a different thing, with different motives and different consequences, to proclaim yourself loudly to be worthless when the world manifestly agrees.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:07 AM
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Given the role extreme drinking plays in Korea I wonder of being a big fat westerner with fully functioning aldehyde dehydrogenase would count as a kind of (local) superpower.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:11 AM
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So my kid'll be starting kindergarten next fall and he obviously has enough "cultural capital" that he'll be academically fine in any physically safe school, per 25. But related to the bookshelf in his room is the fact that he was reading before he was 3. And he likes math: he can multiply 2- and 3-digit numbers, and thinks factorials are cool, and is interested in division, though he's not quite there yet in terms of doing it on his own. Again, with another full year of pre-school ahead of him (thanks, September birthday!).

The public schools where we live are perfectly okay! but we don't want him to be bored. He has a tendency to spend time in his own head, and we worry that his social skills -- not a natural strength for him as it is -- will really suffer if the other kids are Meeting Mister M while he'd rather be reading a chapter book, or starting arithmetic while he's doing long division at home. Obviously there's no way to eliminate that risk entirely, but it feels like private schools with fewer kids and more resources are more likely to be able to meet him where he is.

So I don't know. Do we go with the public school and trust that it'll be fine? Or aim for what looks like the best place for our special snowflake (he's an "orchid," I've heard, as opposed to a "dandelion," in what seems like the new incarnation of that metaphor), and accept that we're part of the problem, a privileged family taking our privileged kid out of our urban public school system because we can?

sigh.


Posted by: Osgood Yousbad | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:12 AM
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My guess is that genetics won't overcome a lifetime of training.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:12 AM
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and accept that we're part of the problem

I've gotten really good at that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:13 AM
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Maybe it's like the Scots - the ones who immigrated are the most restrained/religious.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:15 AM
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IIRC, you're in California. So you can demand an IEP for your gifted kid no matter where he is and I'm sure your piblic schools will all have gifted programs. In fact he's almost certainly better off there as a gifted kid than in most private school programs, where there is in general more emphasis on learning with the class, everyone does the same thing. There are private school exceptions of course and I'm sure that the Bay in partcular is littered with genius private schools for the kids of geniuses, but you need to pick carefully and strictly for academics your kid may be better off and less bored in a public school.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:18 AM
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37

Basically. We had mandated hand holding in line, where the partners were random or chosen by the teacher. We also had assigned seats at lunch. This sort of big brotheresque social control really did encourage meaningful cross race/class friendships where otherwise they would not have occurred.

We were also pretty naive/insulated from mainstream class hierarchies. It was considered a bragging point to get free breakfast and lunch at school. I always had a bagged lunch, but I remember being jealous of the school cinnamon rolls and presealed orange juice cups. Wearing the same thing to school everyday didn't affect social status, and neither did getting free school clothing. Being visibly dirty was only bad if you also smelled like urine. If you were otherwise well liked, a bit of dirt or a slight urine smell was overlooked.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:18 AM
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47: Honestly, he sounds bright enough that he's not going to fit in academically anyplace plausible: a private school isn't going to get him a peer group of kids functioning at the same level. At which point I don't think it's a safe assumption that the private school is going to be a nicer place to be an academically advanced weirdo -- might be, but easily might not be.

This is not helpful advice, admittedly, I just don't think there's an obvious better direction to jump in.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:18 AM
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51 to 47. In any case, don't assume that even a "good" private school will automatically have more and more individualized stuff for your gifted kid than a public school. Some private schools might well, but most won't, even fancy ones.


Posted by: RT | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:21 AM
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he was reading before he was 3. And he likes math: he can multiply 2- and 3-digit numbers, and thinks factorials are cool

This is a smart kid. I think it depends very much not just on the school, but the teacher. I was a smart kid (not as smart as yours) and some teachers appreciated it and nurtured it, and some teachers were dicks about it.

It's probably helpful to break the problem down into parts: social isolation/academic boredom. The first seems like the bigger problem. Lots of very smart people went to crappy schools and learned on their own outside of school. But feeling like a freak and not having a community of true peers can make a kid miserable. Going to private school doesn't necessarily solve that, especially for a kid as advanced as yours. There are gifted camps/programs in most places; maybe the best option is for him to go to regular school but have a haven at some afterschool gifted program.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:22 AM
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Having been a smart kid hasn't helped avoid being pwned in later life.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:24 AM
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Conversely, being rich was a bit shameful. "Rich" was defined as having at least one parent with a job that paid well enough that you didn't have to live with your entire extended family. I was "wealthy beyond compare" by local standards, my rich friends included a girl with a single public bus driver mom who lived in a two bedroom apartment w her sister and a girl with hippy parenrs whose dad was a Greyhound bus driver and whose mom was a retired stripper.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:26 AM
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You can't really retire from stripping. You just resume amateur status.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:27 AM
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What people sometimes don't understand is that the point of good, fancy private schools isn't, in general, to provide resources to geniuses, it's to make sure that average and above kids have tons of opportunities to blossom and few opportunities to fail. It's all about building the safety net as bigh as possible.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:28 AM
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"High as possible."


Posted by: RT | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:28 AM
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Big mistake to assume private elementary school will treat your kid differently. El Tigro is correct that if anything there is an even greater emphasis on everyone togetherness in your average tony private school.

We had great success plopping the kid age 5 into total immersion in a foreign tongue, where he was handicapped vis a vis native speakers. Kept him on his toes for at least a few years! There are lots of options around the SF Bay Area to do that.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:31 AM
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I was an advanced weirdo like that (later I regressed to the mean, obviously) and private elementary school sort of blew for me.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:33 AM
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51: Alas, we're on the other coast, and I've never heard of an IEP for a gifted kid [ETA: huh, looks like around here they call them "Enriched Learning Plans," though you can also get an IEP if you have social/emotional needs relating to being too advanced].

But you're all making a fair point that we shouldn't assume any private school will be a magic bullet. What we're looking for isn't a place that will keep him challenged every day so as to maximize what he gets out of his gifts. It's a place where the classroom is a flexible enough environment that he can be doing something different from what the other kids are doing without being obviously left out or singled out as the weirdo.

Which makes the search in that direction that much more complicated. We are, of course, not assuming anything about private schools as a class, but rather trying to learn what we can about specific private schools to see if they'll be what we're looking for. Our attention has been focused on the very early grades, but it may be that we need to think about how if he stays on this trajectory by the time he's like 9 all the kids--including ours--will be aware of the differences and we'll just have to cope. On the other hand, that's a big "if."


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:34 AM
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We had great success plopping the kid age 5 into total immersion in a foreign tongue, where he was handicapped vis a vis native speakers

Same here, and I should have thought of that as a way to challenge an advanced kid.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:34 AM
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I had to go back and check but, jesus, my high school had ~30 black-or-biracial kids in it (total) when I was there. That's for a moderate-sized-SLAC population, so that's like 2 percent. Honestly I would have guessed even lower. The number of kids whose parents had immigrated from India was higher.

The nasty bit was that the adjoining school district may well (I mean, I don't have a yearbook from there or anything) have been majority minority. It was really clear what had happened there.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:35 AM
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There's a good chance the local private schools were even worse though, honestly, I'm not sure how.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:35 AM
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The public schools in our town have been integrated since the early 1970s (the town is about 60% white, 30% African-American, 5% Hispanic, 5% Asian).

In recent years the achievement gap has widened quite dramatically, and nobody seems to know what to do about it.
I suspect it has something to do with a widening income gap; but I also wonder if the measures/definition of "achievement" are changing -- with achievement now requiring a level of parental investment that lower-income families cannot provide.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:36 AM
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without being obviously left out or singled out as the weirdo.

Seriously, give it up. I'm not saying resign yourself to social isolation, but the kid you've described is going to be an obvious outlier in pretty much any class -- he's not going to fly under the radar. There are schools who will manage that well or badly, but I wouldn't be hoping for inconspicuous.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:36 AM
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immersion in a foreign tongue

Not to pass judgment (or derail the thread) but when native English speakers learn a foreign language, mostly I think, "Why? You won the native language lottery; go do something useful with your time!" Obviously there are pleasures to be had, etc., but some people think it's important that American kids learn a foreign language, and I think, no, it's not.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:37 AM
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69 is right. The better you get at English, the more puns you can make. I've spent more time making puns and usefully using a foreign language.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:38 AM
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Eventually it has to get obvious enough for someone to lodge a complaint, right? The minority heavy one was School District of Lancaster right there in the middle looking like someone dropped some paint right in the middle of an otherwise normally drawn map.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:40 AM
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"It's a place where the classroom is a flexible enough environment that he can be doing something different from what the other kids are doing without being obviously left out or singled out as the weirdo."

I had this some years in elementary school, and other years not. Was totally down to the intelligence, tact and skill of the teacher. Public school all the way. Remember in a private school there'll be all those other parents jockeying for special treatment too. If you think they won't notice your kid getting "favored" treatment - hahahahahahaha!!!!!

I'd keep the foreign tongue option in mind. And for a few years from now, we added music theory and comp lessons with a recent conservatory grad. Lots of intellectual challenge and with a young guy he could relate to. So keep something like that in mind too.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:43 AM
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68 is probably true, but you can look for some private schools that really emphasize individualized instruction (nb, this is not the same as the "best" private school wherever you are) or for public school gifted programs that do the same thing, of which there are likely at least some. My daughter is less outlier-smart/precocious than your kid but individualized learning was very important for her for a number of reasons, so I looked at this issue carefully after a bad experience with a very fancy private school, and the public system was (in general) way more accomodating than all but a handful of private schools for kids who benefit from an individually-modified academic program. Eg at the officially "terrible" majority low income school described above, they were happy to let her go into a more advanced classroom for reading and had special break-out groups for math and reading where the more precocious kids could do things at their own pace.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:44 AM
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73 was me.


Posted by: RT | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:45 AM
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I like the idea of foreign language immersion, but I'm not sure it would work for us. Kiddo's gotten much better about responding to questions from people who aren't his parents, but his social anxiety and fear of failure make me think that putting him in a place where other people all speak a language he doesn't will just make him withdraw completely. Yes, these are things we are working on as well, but probably not in the deep end right away.

And I didn't exactly mean he should fly under the radar, exactly, but as you say that situation can be managed well or poorly, and that's where we're focusing our attention.

This has been a useful reminder that the level of flexibility that he'd need to stay at all challenged is going to be highly teacher-specific, though. I continue to believe that lower student-teacher ratios will help the odds, but it'll be a new project every year.


Posted by: Osgood Yousbad | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:45 AM
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Eh don't think there is some inherent pixie dust in learning a foreign tongue, just there was a reason to do it in our family, the particular school has been great for him and it turns out he's like a language loving maniac.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:46 AM
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Oh and there's no question that the "fanciest" and "best" private schools in the area are not going to be the ones for us, for several reasons. I need no persuasion on that point.


Posted by: Osgood Yousbad | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:47 AM
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And depending on where you are on the East Coast, there might be a lot of free-form "unschooling" schools, which might be worth a look (but which are a bit too hippy-dippy for my taste).


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:48 AM
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Thinking about learning other languages, I think of Joseph Conrad. English was his third language? Fourth? I think it if were his first, he would have had the courage to be a bit brief.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:50 AM
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But if you're in DC, or NY, or Boston, just talk to other parents until you find the one who has already done all the research for you (s/he exists, I promise).


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:50 AM
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I'd send my kids to an Old English or Old Norse immersion school, but the only people who would set one up would likely be neo-pagan racists. Still, that would be rad.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:51 AM
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Except that in keeping with the theme of the thread, there's a good chance that parent is thoughtlessly racist, and is missing some good options.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:52 AM
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English was his third language?

I think that's right. I remember being told that he spoke it with a very thick accent, pronouncing the final "e" in words like "these."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:52 AM
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It is pretty funny that thread has gone from the perfidy of school segregation to what to do about the exceptional child of smart parents.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:54 AM
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It's actually stayed pretty much on point, I thought, in terms of the advice he's getting.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:55 AM
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Somehow that prolixity is how Conrad casts the spell he does. Uncanny, and I can't think of another example at all similar.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 11:56 AM
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Like, at Thule Old Norse Academy Immersion Charter, they couldn't even *talk* about how to "code" because there is literally no word for a computer. And the only "disruption" would be tales of disrupting settlements with seafaring raids. Goddamn Norwegian black metal racists making my awesome idea seem like some kind of white supremacy thing.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 12:00 PM
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The irony in 84 was not lost on me when I broached the subject. And of course we're talking to other parents (around Boston, fwiw), but haven't heard anything that sounds like a good solution. Through preschool we've talked to two other families with very advanced kids; one is at a super-tony private school and finding exactly the raise-the-floor mentality that RT warned against up-thread; the other has just started at a school that a) will likely, based on our impressions, have the same problem, and b) is too lily-white and preppy for us anyway.

We really thought a local Montessori school might be a great fit, but, well, it wasn't.

Thanks, all, for the advice. I don't feel any closer to an answer, necessarily, but added perspectives have been helpful.


Posted by: Osgood Yousbad | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 12:00 PM
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Huh. baa has a very smart kid that just started school somewhere in Cambridge/Cambridgeport. They seem happy with it. You want me to get the name?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 12:02 PM
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You would think that would be a region that has solved this particular problem in spades, but what do I know.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 12:05 PM
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Right. Now I wonder, OY, if you're worrying needlessly. Your kid hasn't started kindergarten yet, so has something already manifested that has led to your concerns, or are you more abstractly worried that a smart kid will have a hard time (not an unreasonable worry, surely)?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 12:13 PM
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I was a much smarter kid than I am an adult, and, while the Oakland public schools didn't do jack shit for me, as a parent I'd be much more concerned about socialization than curriculum. I was never really challenged by anything in school until my chem classes I took when I was 26, but dealing with people took a toll.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 12:16 PM
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Some other thoughts that may be helpful -

Could be that the most important skills for your kid right now are social skills, and I know you are thinking about social isolation through the lens of a large gap in knowledge / intellect. Good teachers handle that well all the time. Perhaps not as large a gap, but definitely this happens all the time. Per Buttercup's experience, public school teachers in schools with varied student bodies probably have more experience with this than most.

If boredom is an issue teach your kid (or have them taught) things not on the school curriculum so they get the stimulation and fun but it isn't a further point of differences present in the classroom. I deliberately avoided the kid learning reading or math ahead of school, but music was fair game.

Don't underestimate kids' ability to fashion a new identity, including in a new language. Can give them the freedom to leave behind patterns of behavior entrenched in other areas of their lives. If you basically trust the teacher and school let them get on with it and give your kid some space.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 12:17 PM
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I think the real answer is just to turn the kid loose in the nearest wooded area and let them learn how to fend for themselves and live off the land. Oh sure, people will criticize you now, but once climate change causes the collapse of all human civilization they'll be laughing out of the other sides of their faces. Or dead. Probably dead, really.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 12:18 PM
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but dealing with people took a toll

That's a great idea. Can I just put sign with the rates on the door to my office?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 12:18 PM
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91: Oh it's clearly the latter -- there are no specific problems right now, just a choice to be made about what to do next year. Anxiety over which is exacerbated by the very bad experience we had at a prior preschool, which seriously undermines the general advice (which I accept, intellectually, as probably right) that things will be basically fine wherever. I mean, we try to accept that what we saw there was an anomaly, but when n=2 in our experience, it's hard to discount one of them too deeply.

This seems encouraging, though. Local school district hired someone a couple years ago to work full time on advanced learning...

And to 93.1, yes! Socialization is absolutely what we are worried about right now, and I'm probably getting distracted from what's important by all this talk about advanced learning (which, I know, I instigated). In truth, the academic curriculum up to about 5th grade, at least, is of zero concern to me except as it provides a context in which social-skills learning will be happening, a context in which my kid may or may not fit. Not in the sense of finding a room full of kids like him, but just finding a place where he can be engaged and comfortable.

It's true that public-school teachers will have more experience with more kinds of kids, but I return again to class sizes. My worry is just that since mine is generally a quiet kid, in a big room he'd just go unnoticed by teachers -- or peers! -- for years at a stretch.


Posted by: Osgood Yousbad | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 12:29 PM
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One thing worth noting is that public schools have to deal with your kid (and every other kid) no matter what, at least in some way. Private schools (and preschools) generally don't, there's always the option of asking you to look somewhere else. This inflects a whole bunch of student-teacher and parent-school interactions. Given 96.2, I'd at least give the public system a shot, since they're going to be attentive to the needs of gifted kids (and also, come on, in Cambridge MA there will be at least some other gifted weirdo or other variant of weirdo kids, even in a general cachement public school). I'd only look at private schools if you have a really specific place in mind where you have a high level of confidence that socialization will be better.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 12:38 PM
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I would also kind of push back on your theorizing too much about how your current 3? 4? year-old is likely to interact socially in a classroom a year or two from now. They change an awful lot, awfully fast, at that age. Not that he's not going to be recognizably the same kid to you, but ordinary maturation is going to make such a big difference over that period that I think it's borrowing trouble to worry in detail over how a specific (grossly adequate) classroom will be for him.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 12:40 PM
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Whatever happened to baa anyway? Had a kid, apparently. What a country.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 12:42 PM
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"IIRC, you're in California. So you can demand an IEP for your gifted kid no matter where he is and I'm sure your piblic schools will all have gifted programs. In fact he's almost certainly better off there as a gifted kid than in most private school programs, where there is in general more emphasis on learning with the class, everyone does the same thing. There are private school exceptions of course and I'm sure that the Bay in partcular is littered with genius private schools for the kids of geniuses, but you need to pick carefully and strictly for academics your kid may be better off and less bored in a public school."

I had my kid who seems a lot like Osgood Yousbad's kid in a public elementary school in San Francisco for a while. It worked well. They were able to give him interesting work plus they were not anal about his weaknesses. Much better than catholic school that he did for a year.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 12:44 PM
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Osgood, for what it's worth, your kid sounds like me at that age. I went to a good public school, and I remember elementary school as being fun, because the teachers I had were smart enough to let me do my own thing when I finished work early and was bored. (Oregon Trail while everyone took the spelling test! Chapter books on the sofas in the back while everyone did workbook exercises.) If the public schools are fine and safe, I'd save the money and put it toward other things (vacations, museum trips, toy robots that you can program, whatever), and be prepared to talk to the teacher about accommodations for bored kids.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 12:55 PM
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More arguments for public school:

1. If you have to chose between A and B, and you really can't tell in advance which will be better, start with the one that's free.

2. Public schools generally pay better, especially if they're unionized, so they get the better teachers. There are exceptions.

3. If your public school is in your neighborhood, or if it isn't but the kids in the neighborhood go to the same public school, your kid will have much better opportunities to socialize without being driven around, especially in the upper elementary school/middle school age range. Even if you end up in a private school later, it's a plus to meet the kids in the neighborhood in the early years.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 12:57 PM
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My worry is just that since mine is generally a quiet kid, in a big room he'd just go unnoticed by teachers -- or peers! -- for years at a stretch.

I don't think this can really happen in elementary school. They have the same teacher all day long. The teacher knows each one well enough to chat about them individually to their parents at Teacher-Parent conferences within a month. Early communication with your teacher about your socialization fears and his advancedness, and I think a public school teacher should do great.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 12:58 PM
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Also, the kid might change a bit, personality-wise. Your kid is older, so what do I know, but the Calabat went from being the wallflower who wouldn't do anything with other kids his age and who preferred the company of adults to the social butterfly of preschool in about two months. I have no idea where his social IQ came from or how it turned on, but it did.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 12:59 PM
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98: Yeah, borrowing trouble is a big part of what we do.

I went into this feeling like private school was basically inevitable, and now I'm back to worrying about the public school lottery and the high likelihood that we wind up assigned to a school way the hell across town (3 miles, 45 minute drive, sigh). See? Borrowing trouble.


Posted by: Osgood Yousbad | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:00 PM
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If you're actually in Cambridge I thought you had a higher chance of getting assigned to your neighborhood school if you wanted. Also, if you're in Cambridge, much faster to ride a bike there.

(Yes, of course I ban myself. Why do you ask?)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:03 PM
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47

I agree with 93. A good teacher can work with really disparate abilities. IME it usually involves periods of self-directed work combined with periods of collaborative work where the emphasis is on the process of collaboration rather than a final product. Also, it really helped having teachers acknowledge that there were times I would already know what they were saying but I had to sit quietly for the sake of my peers. It also was super useful, because it taught me that life is sometimes filled with periods of boredom and you have to learn how to deal with it. It also taught me I wasn't a special snowflake whose every need would be catered too. "You got yours, now shut up, sit back, and let people who have a lot less than you get theirs too" is a lesson more UMC kids should be getting.
Another helpful thing was that my parents were really explicit that school was for learning how to get along with people different from oneself and for learning to be a good citizen, not necessarily for learning academic stuff. I learned from a young age that one can still be really obviously different (I also was mistaken for being an albino and sometimes was dressed in a dirndl, so really no chance of fitting in on top of the precocity) but still make friends, and, more importantly, to learn that one can be popular through being nice. I also learned that people tend to be fine with really smart kids as long as they're not jerks about it. I used to informally and formally tutor my peers starting in kindergarten and kept it up through high school, and it actually added to my popularity, even in vastly different settings. How to have good social skills while still being a weirdo + you're not inherently special were by far the most useful things I learned in elementary school and have served me well ever since.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:06 PM
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Higher chance, yes. But that helps less when your two proximity schools are the two in the system that are most oversubscribed. We did the public school lottery for pre-K last year and got none of our three choices, despite listing our two proximity schools first and second. Which is fine, as the current (private) preschool is great, but it speaks to the process.


Posted by: Osgood Yousbad | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:06 PM
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Caveat that my public school teachers were all mostly Marxists and/or former hippies, none of whom had a sadistic authoritarian streak. I can imagine being the smart weird kid is much harder if you have a teacher-backed program of bullying directed your way.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:07 PM
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Also: your kid will understand everything immediately, but a whole lot of kindergarten is for kids who can't read yet, so there's a lot of "Draw a picture and label the people" which scales as the year progresses to "Draw a picture and make up a story to go with it". Lots of kindergarten scales with the individual child, ime. Coloring takes everyone a long time when the rule is no white space.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:10 PM
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Ideally, there would be open-ended exploratory math problems that scale well, too. No idea if that is done well or not, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:13 PM
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96

But anyways, if my self-absorbed ramblings are too much to read, I would agree with everyone who says try public school, and private school only if public school is a failure.

Another thing I've noticed, having been a student but also having taught or worked in classrooms at a variety of SES levels in both the US and China, is that at the elementary school ages, lower SES kids tend to be nicer, less judgmental, less materialistic, and more accepting of difference. If you're worried about your kid getting picked on, I'd be more worried about him being an outsider or eccentric in the wrong way at a more elite school.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:15 PM
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108: oh, that's frustrating. We (a town over) get automatic admission at the closest school. Of course, the closest school is arguably the shittiest, and our town's schools are sort of notably shitty according to the (shitty) standard measures, but it sure would be handy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:16 PM
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Ideally, there would be open-ended exploratory math problems

"A gold star and a cookie for anyone who can prove the Riemann hypothesis!"


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:16 PM
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LB and Roberto are completely right. My kid is a definite odd ball and pretty far out on the quiet reserved spectrum, at age 5 he was absolutely a candidate for being run over or socially isolated. Some teachers were better with this than others, but in general the school did great at bringing all the kids along as a group.

When we were looking at schools we were specifically looking for teachers and administrators we thought would be resistant to pushy parents, but rather the teachers would have a strong sense of professional dedication and knowledge. Trust me - unionized French teachers do not understand let alone care what all those over anxious US parents were buttonholing them about.* But it wasn't because they didn't care about the kids, and didn't have very specific goals they wanted to achieve academically and socially. Including keeping in the school a couple of very difficult kids I suspect most other private schools would have jettisoned. So maybe consider adding "firm sense of professional worth and autonomy among teachers" to your criteria!

*In very marked contrast to the other private schools around here.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:17 PM
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Coloring takes everyone a long time when the rule is no white space.

We never had any of that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:18 PM
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Coloring isn't universal in kindergarten?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:20 PM
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Also Buttercup is completely right.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:21 PM
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No rule about filling the page until there is no white space.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:22 PM
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119: Because white pride was big in Nebraska.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:24 PM
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1. No white space
2. Only true colors
3. Inside the lines.

I think I posted about it here last year. Some of our anarchists died a little.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:25 PM
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121: Please list the true colors.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:27 PM
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The ones that shine through.


Posted by: Opinionated Cindi Lauper | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:28 PM
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You can't see them shining through?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:28 PM
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122: Does this have something to do with your gang affiliation?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:28 PM
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I win.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:30 PM
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You always do, time after time.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:31 PM
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112.2 matches my (way) more limited experiences. I don't really know why, but it seems true to me (and not necessarily only at the lower age levels either).


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:33 PM
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The important question is whether or not the teachers will make sure that the children in the class don't learn any bad habits that will haunt them in later life.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:40 PM
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I don't really know why

Because rich people are assholes.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:44 PM
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I was just going to say what 130 said in a less succinct manner.

I remember the first time I saw parents encourage rude, entitled, antisocial behavior in a small child, and it boggled my mind.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 1:48 PM
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Also agreeing with Buttercup, because my parents had a similar view of being smart - for one thing, if you're born that way, no virtue redounds... Also, my mother put a lot of the time she saved by not working to pay for private school into volunteering at my public school, to make it a better school and keep an eye on me. No dirndl, though.

Handwaving, but thinking of your kid as A Smart Kid is what some psychologists think helps set off the crippling fear of bring wrong on the kid, yeah? Don't think about that elephant.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 2:27 PM
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Mmm. I'm going to toot my own horn as an awesome parent here, but I was raised as a Smart Kid, and was very screwed up in all the ways that all that research suggests kids get screwed up by it, so when I started reading about the negatives of overemphasizing smartness, I was primed to take it very seriously, and did.

And wow, are my kids less crazy than I was on that front. I mean, I didn't tell them they weren't smart, just that it wasn't particularly important and that it wouldn't help them get anything useful done if they didn't work at it.

I'm not dead sure that that's why they're less crazy than I was -- it may be because they're related to Buck as well as to me -- but I'd believe it helped.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 2:32 PM
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Also useful was being around immigrant and refugee kids who had the goddamn fire. I wish I had picked up more of their drive and organization.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 2:37 PM
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Creepily instrumentalist, that, as our discussions of schools sadly tend to be.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 2:40 PM
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if you're born that way, no virtue redounds

I didn't figure that out until I was 17. I've started wondering if this applies to kindness as well.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 2:54 PM
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Kindness frequently gives something up to someone else's benefit, though. No credit for the kind nature, continuing credit for works done?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 3:06 PM
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Turtles! Turtles! You're probably not responsible for your diligence or willpower, either.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 3:19 PM
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Just giving up on the idea of getting credit for stuff is probably the way to go.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 3:35 PM
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That's how raises are handled here.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 3:36 PM
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I have observed, throughout life, that a man may do an immense deal of good, if he does not care who gets the credit for it.


Posted by: Opinionated Father Strickland | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 3:58 PM
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re: 104

That's the normal developmental process, I think. Certainly all of the sheets we get sent home from nursery on developmental stages emphasise that somewhere between the age 2-3 age group, and the age 3-4 age group, kids stop playing alongside each other (and preferring the company of adults) to playing with each other, and beginning to from friendships.

xelA is in that phase at the moment. It's only recently he's started talking about friends at nursery, and actively seeking out the company of other kids for play.

My wife is constantly worried he won't make friends or fit in, because, I think, she struggled a bit from pre-school until she went to high school, and made a different circle of friends. Much less of a worry for me, as I was neither a social outcast or the centre of things as kid, but just one of the averagely social, averagely liked/disliked kids.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 4:04 PM
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re: 131

xelA was waiting in line for a ride on a tractor at a farm thing* we were at recently, and other kids, encouraged by their parents kept pushing in front.

I kept waiting for one of them to say, 'no, wait, this little boy was first', but no. Quite the opposite. Several of the parents actively encouraged their kids to push in, or go ahead. After he started getting upset I had a quiet word with one of the dads, and his response was that I should just encourage him to push in (bearing in mind he's 2 and some of these kids were 4 or 5). Eventually, I told one of the dad to move his fucking kid.

Absolutely, rich people are fucking arseholes.

* in a nice rich bit of Surrey.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 4:08 PM
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143.last: The fringe on top of Surrey.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 4:12 PM
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Whatever ability that is, I'm claiming it as coming from effort of my own.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 4:13 PM
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We've all been thinking of it as more of an affliction, Mobes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 4:16 PM
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Punfluenza.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 4:22 PM
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Linking the topic to 144, the parochial school I attended had a major donor who was very big on musical theater.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 4:23 PM
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143: It's never too young to learn about glassing assholes...


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 4:29 PM
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English people have stopped queuing??!?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 4:32 PM
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Re: 149

Ironically, I'm a polite non-pushy person, in real life. So it's always annoying to feel backed into pushing back, although I can ramp it up when forced. xelA is very strong minded but, so far, he isn't pushy or selfish (beyond usual toddler assholery) and I hope he stays that way. He is physically very strong and able, so he could throw his weight around, I suppose.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 4:35 PM
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Such loathsomeness! Exactly what we were out to avoid. And by god it was satisfying when dropping off the kid at school to see the look of bored incomprehension on the faces of the French teachers as some pushy American parent tried to wrangle an advantage for (usually her) kid. Those families tended to leave the school, yay.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 5:50 PM
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Maybe because we're in the Midwest, I find the other parents are generally pretty good about keeping their little kids in line. It's the slightly older kids who can be shockingly snobby and materialistic that I worry about.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 5:58 PM
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129: Well, it is sinister. There's no arguing about that.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 09-22-15 6:29 PM
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English people have stopped queuing??!?

My thoughts exactly. That's amazing.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-23-15 7:11 AM
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English people have stopped queuing??!?

Thatcher's fault (mostly).


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-23-15 7:56 AM
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Now I want to piss on her grave, in memory of my dead grandparents who would have been even more horrified by the news.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09-24-15 1:20 PM
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overemphasizing smartness, I was primed to take it very seriously, and did

Something my wife and I had in common was parents, themselves intellectuals, who were not awed nor solicitous of our abilities. They wanted us to think of ourselves as normal, and not special. My MIL told me she'd taken my wife as a little girl out of a class where the teacher seemed to be making to much of her, and holding her up as an example to others.

I think that common background made passing it on to our kids second nature.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09-24-15 1:52 PM
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