Date: Oct 30, 2012 9:52 PM
Author: Louis Talman
Subject: Re: An Educational Mystery

You sound like an expert on the Ptolemaic system who has been confronted
with Copernicus' work. Naturally, he rejects it.

On Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 9:44 AM, Haim <> wrote:

> The item below, in The Paper of Record, caught my attention. As it
> happens, this elementary school is my son's alma mater and I know it inside
> out.
> First, a light-hearted moment. So, the gist of the NYT article is that
> people far outside the catchment will lie, cheat, and steal to get their
> children into this school. Yet, the DOPE's ("Dept of Public Education")
> progress report on PS 321 gives the school an overall grade of "B" mostly
> because of its Student Progress grade of "D". How to understand the
> seeming paradox of families desperate to gain entrance to an okay school?
> Maybe somebody can help me out, but I see only three possible
> explanations. Either the Education Mafia are morons and they produce a
> report that is mainly worthless, or people are stupid and do not understand
> the value of the report, or the report is a tangible measure of the
> disconnect between Education Mafia ideology and the hopes and aspirations
> of the common citizens.
> But now, there is a deeper mystery. So, here we have, in PS 321, a
> school that is highly desirable to very many people. What is it about PS
> 321 that is so desirable and, if it is so desirable, why do the Education
> Mafia not duplicate these desirable elements in other NYC elementary
> schools? I can tell you that the desirability of PS 321, if not unique, is
> certainly rare and of very long standing: the school was highly desirable
> years before my son attended and it remains highly desirable some eight yrs
> after he "graduated".
> That the Education Mafia has not replicated this school, many times, is
> plainly evident from the NYT article. So, I am racking my brains figuring
> out what about PS 321 is so hard to replicate. In The People's Republic of
> Brooklyn, in The Church of The Democratic Party, in the very Mordor of
> American liberalism, in a borough that voted for Obama in 2008 at a rate
> north of 90% (and will most likely do so again next week), could this be
> the explanation:

> >Demographic Factors
> >White: 72%

> in a public school population that is about 14% white?
> Haim
> No representation without taxation.
> - -----------------------------
> October 29, 2012
> At an Overcrowded School in Park Slope, No One Wants to Leave
> As the day draws to a close at Public School 321, the school that launched
> a thousand strollers toward Park Slope, Brooklyn, the grown-ups begin to
> assemble outside. Bus drivers pull their long yellow ferries up out front.
> Parents and caretakers hover near doorways and perch on benches.
> Some adults wait in cars, ready to shuttle their little students to homes
> far away, even far outside the school?s prescribed zone.
> They are beneficiaries of a longstanding regulation in New York City that
> says that once children are registered at a public school, they can remain
> until they graduate, regardless of where in the city they live after
> registration day.
> But Park Slope has seen a lot of development in recent years, especially
> in family-size apartments, and the Education Department is pushing forward
> a plan to redraw several zones in the area and add a new school, in an
> effort to keep overcrowded institutions from becoming even more tightly
> packed. If the plan is approved, the zone devoted to P.S. 321 will shrink
> by the equivalent of about 10 city blocks. The catchment area for another
> crowded and popular Park Slope school, P.S. 107, will be slimmer by about
> five blocks.
> Suddenly, this longstanding regulation for children who move has slid
> directly into the eye of a fraught fight. Many parents on blocks facing
> rezoning, who bought their homes expressly so their children could attend a
> particular school, are furious and panicked. And there is a sense among
> many of them, who pile into community meetings and online forums, that
> families who touch down in the neighborhood just long enough to register
> their children, sometimes for just a year or less, may be following the
> letter of the regulation but are not following its intent.
> ?They?re safe,? said Leslie Uretsky, a parent of two young children who
> are being zoned out of P.S. 321 and into a new school. ?My daughters would
> be an experiment.?
> School officials say it is primarily the new construction that is creating
> the untenable trend of overcrowding, not the children who attend P.S. 321
> but live far away. Nonetheless, parents living in the zone say that the
> children who live elsewhere are taking up precious seats, and that families
> who come to the area without plans to stay long are taking advantage of the
> rules.
> Though the circumstances surrounding those families who do not stay vary
> widely, more often than not it was the school that drew the parents in, and
> it is economics that forces them out.
> When it was time for Stefan Fredrick?s daughter to start school, he and
> his family moved from their rental in Park Slope, just outside the P.S. 321
> zone, to another rental within the zone. The apartment was not ideal.
> ?It cost a fortune,? Mr. Fredrick said, ?and to spend that and having mice
> running around wasn?t great.?
> After years of looking for a home to buy, and putting down a few bids on
> apartments in the P.S. 321 zone, Mr. Fredrick said his family found a place
> in Gowanus, just a few blocks away from the school but outside its zone. So
> they took it.
> ?It was not our intention to zip in and zip out,? he said. ?We would have
> stayed if we could have.?
> Francesca Pope, who was retrieving two of her four children from P.S. 321
> last week in a gray minivan, said it was economics that forced her family,
> as well, to move out. Ms. Pope grew up in Park Slope, in the house where
> her father was raised, she said, but when she was pregnant with her third
> son, the apartment where she and her husband were living was sold. The
> apartments they could afford in the area were untenable for a family with
> more than two children.
> ?Even our bed wouldn?t fit in some of those places,? she said.
> They moved to Flatbush, but she did not want to take her children out of
> the school they knew. Ms. Pope has two sons there now ? if a school has the
> room, siblings of students already in the school can enroll, even if they
> do not live in that zone ? and she continues to volunteer at coat drives,
> class trips and fund-raisers.
> ?Families are really truly invested in the school, even if they leave the
> neighborhood,? Ms. Pope said. ?It?s a source of stability.?
> The relocation rule, which has been on the books for at least two decades,
> provides children with an important modicum of stability, even if their
> families move around, educators say.
> ?Switching schools disrupts education,? said Carrie Marlin, a planning
> official at the Education Department. ?We think all students deserve
> continuity.?
> None of that, however, is of great comfort to the families being squeezed
> out of the zone, who say they are being blindsided, with little warning and
> less opportunity to be heard. The plan will be put to a vote in the coming
> weeks by the district?s Community Education Council, which controls
> rezoning; if passed, it will go into effect for the next school year.
> At a community meeting this month, Elizabeth Phillips, the principal of
> P.S. 321, said that while the majority of students who live outside of the
> zone lived within it at some point, there were those who never did.
> ?Are there people who lie about their address? Of course,? she said before
> a roomful of jittery parents. ?We check as much as we can. We do home
> visits. But there is a limit.?
> One official said schools sometimes had success rooting out parents who
> were lying about their address simply by asking for more documentation when
> they went in to register, which led some parents to stop trying.
> Another factor in this very expensive neighborhood is property values.
> Ruthanne Pigott, president and owner of Brenton Realty, a local brokerage,
> said there was a premium built into prices of apartments in the P.S. 321
> zone. And though prices in the neighborhood are extremely high even outside
> the zone, many families are anxious about the prospect of losing that
> premium.
> Jean-Francois Collard, a parent in the neighborhood that is being redrawn
> out of that zone, said he and his wife planned to sell their apartment to
> pay his children?s college tuition; now he fears that they could end up
> $100,000 short.
> One thing most of the neighborhood?s parents can agree on is that there is
> no perfect solution to P.S. 321?s crowding problem. Another is that when it
> comes to children, a primal rule applies. Said Katie Keating, a P.S. 321
> parent: ?You can?t really fault a parent for trying to get their kid the
> best situation they can.?
> Randy Leonard contributed reporting.

--Louis A. Talman
Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Metropolitan State College of Denver