did someone muck with the backend here

Re: Segregated Schools In NYC

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I'm glad you linked this. It is a great piece. I also highly recommend Nikole Hanna-Jones's radio piece about the accidental desegregation of a school district outside St. Louis. The segment where white parents attend a community meeting and express their fears about black children is stunning.

Much more powerful in audio (starts at 23:55), but here's the transcript. Just search for "a sea of 3,000 mostly white faces" to find the part of the transcript where the meeting starts.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-11-16 1:39 PM
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Wait, doesn't that leave only... 16% white? That's way way lower than I'd have thought. Never would have occurred to me that Asian kids are as common in NYC public schools as white kids. Also means the 10% white cutoff for "intensely segregated" is really not that far off from the average school, and so of course most students are in "intensely segregated" schools.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-11-16 1:39 PM
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Except for a few local elementary schools that are in what are deep suburbs or very rich areas, its hard to find any school in LA that's even plurality white. The "good" schools are like 25% white, max; most are under 5% or 1% white, like the school my kid was at where she was the only white kid in her grade and maybe the whole school.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 06-11-16 4:00 PM
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3 s/b LAUSD, not LA. Obviously there are tons of plurality white schools, just not public noncharter ones.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 06-11-16 4:02 PM
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sorry if i skimmed and missed: tal and this by same person.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-11-16 4:56 PM
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My NJ town has a public school 'magnet' system that is often held up as a model of public school integration. The system was implemented in the 1970s in an attempt to desegregate the schools (which had never been formally segregated, but which had been de facto segregated by race because of income/neighbourhood). The idea was to put an end to 'neighborhood' schools, and to offer the alternative of thematically-based 'magnet' schools as a way of getting white parents on board. So kids are bused all over town in an attempt to ensure racial diversity. It mostly works well at the elementary and middle school levels, but:

This is a small town (about 39,000 people), and also an unusually liberal town.

At the high school level, you can really see an opt-out, 'white-flight' effect.

The demographics of the town: 62 percent white; 27 percent African-American; 8 percent Latino. At the elementary and middle school levels, there is already an under-representation (relative to the population of the town) of white students: the elementary and middle schools are about 45-55 percent white, 25-35 African-American, 7-8 percent Latino. At the town's only public high school, which my son currently attends, the white percentage shrinks to just under a majority (about 48 percent), even though whites (at 62 percent) make up a majority of the town's inhabitants.

The parochial RC school that my son attended in Astoria, Queens was majority white, but with a significant (possibly 25-30 percent?) Latino minority (because Catholic). There was a tiny minority of African-American students at his school who were not even Catholic. This seems to be an NYC thing: the Catholic parochial schools as an affordable alternative to the public school system.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 06-11-16 5:34 PM
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3: Your kid was in a fancy rich school, was falling behind in math, and then went to public school. Has she gone somewhere else since?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-11-16 7:29 PM
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I'm not sure about going on the patio any more. I'm getting a new neighbor.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-16 8:14 PM
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7 - back to another fancy rich school! But a nicer one. I don't think the quality of education is any better in any obvious way, but the socialization and chance to have friends is off the charts better.


Posted by: RT | Link to this comment | 06-11-16 9:08 PM
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That's "nicer" compared to Fancy R.S. #1, and "not any better" compared to "80% low-income public school." Also she was always ahead in math, Fancy R.S. #1 was just a den of dicks in other ways.


Posted by: RT | Link to this comment | 06-11-16 9:11 PM
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Also potentially relevant and from this weekend's Times.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-11-16 9:11 PM
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RC schools as relatively affordable alternative to public schools is common across pretty much all N Am urban areas, I believe.

Diversity pretty abysmal in child's school, although there are some kids from former Fr colonies and from the hexagon with N African family backgrounds, also lots and lots of Russians and East Asian immigrants. Nothing anywhere near the richness of the mock trialers' school but then that is probably one of the most diverse in US. Love those kids sooooo much, am still boring colleagues with awesome photos from graduation weeks later. ❤❤❤ Judging from college acceptances they are getting a very solid education too.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 06-11-16 9:27 PM
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I will say that the current Fancy Rich School is very diverse (actually, much more "diverse" than the super-low income school, which was 85% hispanic, 15% black and that's it). Lots of rich black people and rich others of all hues.


Posted by: RT | Link to this comment | 06-11-16 9:33 PM
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Do the NYC schools' demographics categories follow the Census? Do they have Hispanic as its own axis and allow multiple choice on the other set of questions? So there are Non-Hispanic White, Hispanic White, Hispanic White & Native American, &c. If they do track this way do they have common roll ups to simplify (and do they call out any drawbacks)?


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 06-11-16 10:24 PM
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Is Fancy Rich School diverse in the sense of having poor children as well?


Posted by: Trivers | Link to this comment | 06-11-16 10:57 PM
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Nope! There's a decent scholarship group but the kids who get it are, like, ordinary for-real middle class kids (like, kids of low-level civil servants with jobs). Nobody actually poor, that I'm aware of.


Posted by: RT | Link to this comment | 06-11-16 11:07 PM
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That's a shame, but having gone to school in an extremely poor district and having gotten in most quantifiable ways a poorer education for it I understand that it's important to get the best education for your kids you can early on.


Posted by: Trivers | Link to this comment | 06-11-16 11:21 PM
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Like I say I'm not sure that there's much difference that I can see from a strictly academic point of view. But the social situation (both in terms of friends and socialization) was unbearable at the low-income public school. And of course lots more music, art, etc etc that rich people want for their own kids but for some reason not for anyone else's.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 06-11-16 11:24 PM
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I had a lot of social problems at my schools, definitely. But somehow we had incredibly good arts programs despite no funding whatsoever. But socializing really is hard. I'm glad I did it in hindsight but I was not a happy child.


Posted by: Trivers | Link to this comment | 06-11-16 11:39 PM
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Anyhow, I grew up going to school with the wastrel children of minor celebrities and want my kids to at least have the same advantages I did.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 06-11-16 11:48 PM
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18: Why is it so different at the new school?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 12:21 AM
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1, 5: Thanks -- I had missed that, and I thought the TAL pieces were very good.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 6:03 AM
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My kid's international school has basically devolved into a civil war. A bunch of local parents and staff managed to harass the new director into resigning. She'd been brought in to improve standards, but after she fired the long-tenured high-school principal for being a drag on the process of implementing the IB program, all hell broke loose.

A group of parents allied to the principal declared that this was a "crisis" and started agitating, calling a meeting discuss the issue with the board that got shut down after getting out of hand. The campus started going nuts, with staff coming into work wearing all black. At one point the director got trapped in her office by a mob of angry high school students. The worst was that the director's kid, who was in the middle school, started getting bullied and left the country as a result. The rumor is that staff were acquiescent, if not encouraging the bullying.

The school's board should have had the director's back on this, but instead they totally caved. So now the principal stays and the director is leaving. Once that was announced, all the international people woke up and said WTF? So now the US State Department (which owns a 40% share of the school) is sending in independent investigators.

Meanwhile, I'm not feeling good about sending my kid to this place any more. But the plan is, one more year. If the Company doesn't find me a new job by then, I'm going to go find one on my own so we can get the fuck out of here.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 6:08 AM
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It really is maddening when your school deteriorates while your kids are in it. I've been very enthusiastic about my kids' high school in the past, and am less so over the last couple of years (administrative incompetence, including hiring a number of grossly incapable/otherwise problematic teachers). I'm still generally happy with how their high school experience has turned out (I still like the student body; those of the teachers who are good are excellent; the access to classes at Columbia remains a great thing; I have been successful in bullying the administration into fixing screwups insofar as they affect my kids particularly), but until say, a year and a half ago I'd have been selling the school hard to anyone thinking about where to send their kid, and now I'd be ambivalent.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 6:15 AM
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Yeah, up until about 3 weeks ago I was generally happy with the place.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 6:26 AM
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This all hits very close to home. "In a post-racial era, we don't have to say it's about race or the color of the kids in the building," Wells told me. "We can concentrate poverty and kids of color and then fail to provide the resources to support and sustain those schools, and then we can see a school full of black kids and then say, 'Oh, look at their test scores.' It's all very tidy now, this whole system." I have this conversation in my current neighborhood ALL THE TIME and I hate it.

My kids go to a high-poverty school in part because they are miserable when they're the only black kids or part of a token minority and the "good" schools are all much more white than I believe they can handle. Their classes are generally a slight majority white, large group of black and black-white biracial kids, and then different classrooms have different concentrations of Latino depending on how many are English language learners, since almost all Latino families here are recent immigrants from Guatemala and groups of students get removed for ELL classes together and so stay in the same class but children who've graduated from ELL are distributed evenly through the classes. Mara's K and 1 class ("looped" as a group with the same teacher, extremely emotionally close and academically successful) was equally divided between black/biracial, white, and Latino students and her best friends are Latina and from that class and they kept up through art club in second grade.

The argument I've been making successfully is that people in our neighborhood can try kindergarten and the worst that will happen is their child will have gone to all-day kindergarten for free. If they're unhappy with the school, they can transfer somewhere else, but if they're happy they'll be settled. So far the people who've been willing to try this have stuck with it, with two exceptions of teachers at other schools who ended up transferring children to the districts where they teach in both cases in Ohio. Other than parents who teach elsewhere and bring their children to those schools, all parents of children of color in our neighborhood send their children to the public schools. There are white families who do too, but I had no idea how emotionally isolating it would be to be a visible part of a minority for that reason, because I actively support the schools. It's weird and awful.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 6:37 AM
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Our town of 15,000 also switched away from neighborhood schools in part to end (primarily economic, in our case) segregation but instead switched to age-based schools. As of next year, preschool-2 is in one building, 3-6 in another, and middle school and high school are on the same campus near our current home but in self-contained buildings. I think I'm going to try to buy a house on a block that dead-ends into the 3-6 school, where Nia and Mara will start 4 and 3 next year. Selah has one more year before kindergarten, but that's only three more blocks up and one street over, so very walkable if we do that or an easy drive if I'm in a rush to work.

Yesterday one of their daycare friends came to Nia's party. She is black and goes to the "good" wealthy public school district where many of my neighbors pay 5K/child/year to send their kids but was talking a lot about how she "only" lives in an apartment in a way that made me think other kids are mean about it and she was visibly thrilled to be in a park where almost everyone was black. When it was time for me to drop her back with her mom, her mom suggested we meet at the parking lot of the check-cashing place across from the casino, which struck me strongly as a class marker but worked fine. I look forward to having the girls spend more time with her and I like her mom a lot and love that she encourages the girl's love of making little necklaces out of cut-and-tied-together yarn. But I'm interested to see how things work out for this smart and sweet black child in that school. I hope it will be a good fit, but the things I've heard lately from other parents who've tried still worry me. (This is the suburb where I grew up and attended Catholic school, so I do sort of take it personally.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 6:38 AM
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All of this to say that I don't know what the hell I'm doing, but at least it's an ethos. I suspect if it turns out I've messed up my kids' lives forever school will be only one of many options for blame over my choices. I do think getting out of this more gentrified neighborhood will be good for all of us.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 6:41 AM
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check-cashing place across from the casino

That's some fine zoning right there.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 6:42 AM
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29: It long predates the casino, for the record. I would have chosen the Staples across the street in the other direction, but once I got to the intersection and was reminded of it, I had to agree it was a good landmark.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 6:50 AM
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6.1 is what Pittsburgh did, and then in the late '90s there was a backlash (mostly in the southern neighborhoods that are, well, backlashy) in favor of neighborhood schools. We've ended up with a sort of hybrid system, where there are magnet schools, neighborhood schools, and neighborhood schools with magnet programs in them. It's broadly successful, in that the district has better outcomes than typical urban districts, and it's completely normal (if not nec. the norm) for UMC whites to send their kids to the public schools.

But there's no denying that quality of education varies widely from school to school. I don't know enough about other parts of the district to say for certain, but I'm pretty sure that, while there are majority-black schools that are very good (ours is 2/3 black, and afaic the best school in the city, full stop), most if not all of the failing schools are majority black, and probably intensely segregated.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 6:56 AM
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Other than parents who teach elsewhere and bring their children to those schools, all parents of children of color in our neighborhood send their children to the public schools. There are white families who do too, but I had no idea how emotionally isolating it would be to be a visible part of a minority for that reason, because I actively support the schools. It's weird and awful.

I was nodding along until I got to this passage, and then you lost me. Spell this out a little more? I mean from everything else you said, it sounds as if your school situation is pretty good, and that the only problem is white people in the neighborhood without the sense to send their kids there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 7:07 AM
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There's no connection between the first sentence and the others, which is my fault. I meant that the only middle-class parents of children of color (mostly but not entirely people of color themselves) who don't send their children to the local public school instead take their children to the school where a parent teaches, which seems totally reasonable to me since I'm all about minimizing commutes. Unconnected from that, there are white families who send their children white children to the public school, but they're very much a minority within the neighborhood. And even knowing that and knowing that none of my white friends from before we moved to the neighborhood did use the public school, I had no idea that there would be people who'd refuse to speak to me because I'm PTO president and stuff like that. There are also a lot of people who are fine, but it's incredibly depressing. And everyone is opinionated about this topic, so I have to hear stuff all the time.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 7:11 AM
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And even knowing that and knowing that none of my white friends from before we moved to the neighborhood did use the public school, I had no idea that there would be people who'd refuse to speak to me because I'm PTO president and stuff like that.

You mean other parents of kids in the school who are mad at the PTO about internal disagreements, or neighborhood people who don't send their kids to the school who are uncomfortable that the school exists and you participate in it?

It's funny, we've always been in the minority in our schools (non-Latino white maybe 25-30% in the elementary school, maybe the same in Sally's year in the high school, but Newt's year is whiter), but it really hasn't been uncomfortable hardly at all: a little awkward for the kids sometimes being not-Dominican, but nothing serious.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 7:26 AM
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The latter. There's an assumption I'm judging parents who send kids elsewhere and some of them will no longer talk to me, which is awkward at the moment because Nia is friends with the daughter of one of them and wants to set up a play date. I guess I could go through the dad, but he's a little weird in different ways. And I've been very careful to never say anything negative about the neighborhood parents who go elsewhere and only say guarded, factual positive things about the public school. It's ridiculous.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 7:29 AM
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Nobody in the school cares at all about PTO, but now that I'll never have to run it again I don't have to care about that!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 7:34 AM
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I care about paid time off.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 7:44 AM
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Yes, other problems are that it's the same acronym rather than PTA and that the people at the state level who created the School-Based Decision-Making committee don't actually understand which order those letters are really supposed to go in either.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 7:48 AM
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35: Wow.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 7:49 AM
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I care about POT also.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 7:50 AM
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26: transferring children to the districts where they teach in both cases in Ohio.

I couldn't fault anyone for this. It's seems like the morning routine/commute would be much less stressful that way.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 7:54 AM
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Ok, just reread the comments and see that Thorn already made the comment I made in 41.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 7:59 AM
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goes to the "good" wealthy public school district where many of my neighbors pay 5K/child/year to send their kids

Can you explain this? I don't understand what's happening in this situation.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 10:13 AM
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Portland OR also created magnet high schools in the 70s to combat segregation. It might have worked for awhile, but by the late 90s it wasn't doing all that much. I used the magnet system to get into (at the time) the only IB HS in the PPS, which wasn't the purpose of the system.

Slate has an article about my elementary school and segregation, since the school is getting blacker as the neighborhood gets whiter. Being slate, they did a really shitty job on it, to the point you have to wonder if they have some political motive for basically portraying it as having always been a run-of-the-mill crappy majority black school, rather than noting 20-30 years ago it was a nationally-recognized successful school getting high test scores with a creative, multicultural curriculum, and drawing in MC white and black kids from around the city as part of a desegregation program. The current dynamics are fairly accurately portrayed, which is why spending time in that neighborhood as an adult gives me an overwhelming urge to punch a white hipster.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 10:30 AM
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43: a friend of mine had s brother who did this. They lived in DC and they paid the per pupil budgeted amount to send him to public school in Maryland. One isn't entitled to go to a neighboring town's school since the parents aren't contributing to the tax base, so those parents are paying tuition to a state-funded school.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 10:41 AM
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Yes, sorry just about everything I've written has been borderline incomprehensible. Exhaustion and fury are not a good combo for me.

Basically what Bostoniangirl describes is what's going on. Urban and suburban school districts here are often quite small, though more rural districts may encompass a whole county. Parents in my city who don't want to send kids to our city public school district (free, tax-funded) will have to pay to send them somewhere else. That can mean one of a few secular private schools in the area (Montessori, Waldorf) or typically one of many Catholic (but I don't know anyone in our neighborhood who goes to the one that's actually in our neighborhood covering three poor river towns including ours) or fewer Protestant schools or else they pay a fee to go to a public school.

The town where I grew up, one or two south of us depending on how you want to measure, has a public school that's typically ranked as one of the best in the state. If there are extra spots once all that town children are registered, people from other towns like ours can register their children there too for $5000 a year. The state pays every public school something like $240/child/year on top of that, which is the money that people like me on the school council then get to allocate for library books and copying fees and technology and playground equipment and so on. That money goes to the school a child attends on I think October 1 regardless of where the child lives and whether the child moves during the year, which many of the poorer kids in our district do.

I'm a little biased against the other school district because I grew up there and saw the racism and classism proudly displayed (for instance lots of t-shirts proudly playing on a catchphrase related to "let them eat cake" that poorer schools had used in response to their perceived snootiness) and I had a neighbor who, with the rest of the kids in her special ed class, was told every year when we were growing up that she could stay home on certain days because it was just state testing and she didn't need to bother with that. The police let football players get away with crimes even when the crime victims wanted to press charges, things like that. But also they sued the state saying it was unfair for more money to go to schools with poor kids than successful schools like them. Except even now they're not actually meeting the educational needs of the poor kids who are enrolled there, which is one reason besides racism I worry about my daughters' friend.

This has gotten more urgent at the neighborhood because their school is getting full and they're now turning away people from my neighborhood who want to enroll kindergartners, and so families are moving away from a neighborhood they love to smaller houses in "nicer" suburbs rather than try the free public school right here, which would be a whole lot more diverse if all these middle-class/UMC/rich families would send their kids there and send some money there and volunteer and all the things they're doing for the kids at the schools where their kids go. They also throw out any out-of-district kids who need IEPs or start bringing down test scores or having behavior problems, including the son of the guy who's been working like crazy to organize an overthrow of our school district so we can instead start charter schools (not currently even legal in our state, thank heavens, though I'm sure that will change soon) and a magnet program. Or merge with the rural county schools and bus my kids 20 miles away to schools in the cornfields. Whatever, anything so his kids don't have to walk to school and interact with kids who are poorer and darker-skinned than they are.

And I got back from the grocery about an hour ago. The mom who doesn't talk to me was there with her children, though her daughter had told Nia she'd be unable to go to Nia's birthday party yesterday because they'd already be on the road. Apparently they leave this evening, which I know from the daughter because the mother smiled wanly and waved but didn't talk to me, as usual. I don't fucking know, man.

I'm at a point where I really should care about all schools but I don't. I want to see how well the kids with the toughest lives and the worst odds against them are faring in various systems. I want to see teachers like the amazing art teacher I helped hire who's transformed our primary school for the better. I want to see progress and people who care, and I'm sure my friends in the rich district who proudly post test scores and talk about the sacrifices they've made to live in that district are doing the best they can for their kids. I want to do the best I can for my kids, too, but I think that means paying attention to the kids who have it worse than they do. (Just kidding; there are none of those. Did you know right now I'm making them have QUIET REST TIME and they have to be QUIET? On a SUNDAY? This is obscene! No worse mother exists!)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 12:48 PM
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Did you know right now I'm making them have QUIET REST TIME and they have to be QUIET? On a SUNDAY? This is obscene! No worse mother exists!

Thorn is the worst.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 3:28 PM
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46: I also know of towns that were too small to support a high school which had arrangements with a few different towns, so kids could choose where to go.

We have something here where kids from the city - minority kids, mostly low-income can get bused out to the suburbs. Arguable whether it's good for the kids, probably bad for their urban schools. It's also supposed to add diversity to the white suburban districts.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-12-16 4:11 PM
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and volunteer and all the things they're doing for the kids at the schools where their kids go

This is one of the things that has baffled me in adulthood: I thought the point of sending your kids to "good" schools was so that you didn't need to expend a lot of time & energy making sure they're getting a good education. But it turns out these parents still expend the time & energy, it's just wasted on stupid shit like which class mom creates the best slideshow at the teacher appreciation luncheon (and hectoring said teacher into inflating your kid's grade).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-13-16 3:16 PM
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the point of sending your kids to "good" schools was so that you didn't need to expend a lot of time & energy making sure they're getting a good education

I think that's only true if you're sending them to boarding school. The general case is to maximize your child's future status.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-13-16 3:25 PM
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If you want to minimize effort per unit of status, you move your family to a nice school district and then abandon them. It seems wrong, but you can't argue with economics.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-13-16 3:32 PM
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The point of private school is that you've got endless class anxiety and you can't calm down.


Posted by: Heebie | Link to this comment | 06-13-16 3:34 PM
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Those service project wells in Ecuador aren't gonna dig themselves.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 06-13-16 3:37 PM
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You are never more real than when a poor brown kid is trying to befriend you.


Posted by: Heebie | Link to this comment | 06-13-16 3:50 PM
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I just learned today that the exact same public-to-private-flight dynamic you saw post-Brown is apparently now happening in some areas of Austria, where the flight is from immigrant-background children (and despite Austria not having much history of private schools). Depressing.


Posted by: X.Trapnel | Link to this comment | 06-13-16 4:09 PM
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That wasn't in proper Trump-twitter format. It should read like this:

Same public-to-private-flight dynamic you saw post-Brown is apparently now happening in some areas of Austria. Flight is from immigrant-background children. Austria does not have history of private schools. Depressing!


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 06-13-16 4:13 PM
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Hah. I considered ending with 'Sad!'. In other news, I used to think I wouldn't be impressed by governmental pomp and ceremony, but I've realized in the last couple months that I'm totally a sucker for that stuff. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Posted by: X.Trapnel | Link to this comment | 06-13-16 4:20 PM
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would Jorg Haider have tweeted like Trump


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-13-16 4:25 PM
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51 is the JRoth family crest. I mean, the first part is; we've obviously not done the second part.

Actually, it just occurred to me (pardon the preening): approximately non of the volunteering we've done at the kids' school has been to further their fortunes, except in the most vague, rising-tide sense. We've never done classroom volunteering, haven't worked on any sort of Club for High Achievers effort, etc. We've done stuff related to student hunger and the PTA, the latter of which expends most of its resources on leveling the poor kids up to the middle class ones.

Again, my kids are smart and academically engaged; other than sending them to a functioning school and helping with as little homework as we can manage, why should we be expending effort on their education? This lax isn't going to grav itself.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-14-16 8:06 AM
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I went to an IB high school which drew from a UMC successful student base. My mother was a single mom who worked 60 hour weeks plus did a bunch of other stuff, and was pretty absent on all levels after age 16. (e.g. Sometimes she wouldn't be home by midnight, and I'd sit there wondering if she were at a meeting nor dead in a ditch, only to rifle under the newspapers and find a $20 bill and a note reading, "In Idaho until Tues. If there is an emergency call [Idaho telephone number]." She had no idea what my teachers were named, if I went to school, or what I did in my free time. She also told my sister and I if we wanted to fail out of HS and become homeless that was our choice, but she would provide zero safety net, and DGAF about our success. She also told us she wouldn't pay for college and didn't really care where or if we went to college. It probably wasn't actually true, but since she didn't seem to GAF about our present welfare, it felt pretty real to a teenager that she wouldn't DGAF about our futures.* My sister and I worked very, very hard, and we were unusually driven and involved in extra-curriculars in a way that stood out in a school where most kids were pretty involved and driven. Part of that is we're constitutionally neurotic overachievers, but part of it was I kind of hated my mom back then and going to an elite WASPy place on the East Coast seemed like the best way to get away from her.

*She also did help pay for college, although I think she ended up contributing about $3,000-4,000/year for my total college costs. She definitely pointed to the estimated family contribution # and told me I was paying half of that myself, on top of the amount the school figured I would earn working through the year. We were temporarily somewhat low income at the time so 1) she actually didn't have much in the way of liquid assets, 2) she did all the fafsa stuff so I could get a full tuition need-based scholarship, which meant I didn't have to pay too much either, and 3) starting at 12 she'd put half the social security amount she got for each of us in a savings account in our name. The amount didn't cover one year of tuition at a private school, but it definitely wasn't nothing.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-14-16 9:53 AM
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The point of my long comment is that if you want your kids to succeed with minimal effort on your part, just tell them that the world is cruel and you don't care if they fail. It's perhaps a bit psychologically damaging, but it will produce successful children even if they hate you a little as adults.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-14-16 9:55 AM
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I also had the weird experience of moving through the ranks and going from being, relatively speaking, wealthy-beyond-imagination in elementary school, top 20th percentile in middle school, bottom 40th percentile (this is a guess, it's hard to tell) in HS, and bottom 15th percentile in college. It was a pretty eye-opening look at class in the US, and it also made me realize that at the time, even wealthy Portlanders would have been status unaware giant hippies on the East Coast.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-14-16 10:03 AM
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