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  1. #161
    raider.adam is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geno View Post
    I don't totally disagree with this. However, I am aging that the sheer numbers of "marginalized" people in the US are a problem. The rest of us can't really get away from them. We should somehow try to address the root causes.
    And of course I am not saying to just forget about the other kids. I just don't think it is smart policy to not give avenues of achievement to some because of concerns of the ones that don't. They are two different problems that will require different solutions.

    Quote Originally Posted by OffenseTaken View Post
    It may not be. The two factors that I know to be the case at magnets in other cities—(1.) higher salaries due to more terminal degrees and (2.) lower faculty-student ratios—apparently don't apply to Masterman and presumably wouldn't have to in "regional" magnets. (Masterman's class sizes are actually higher than at Overbrook or SPHS.)
    Yeah, but those teachers are in the system so the SDP would be paying them regardless of them being at the Magnet or not. In fact, isn't it law that schools have to have a relative equal levels of experienced teacher staffing? I thought it was illegal to stuff all the senior degreed teachers in some skills and all the new ones in others.

    Of course. But I think the danger is that as you pick off greater and greater percentages of the brighter students, the less-accomplished ones have less exposure to peers who are brighter than they are (both inside and outside the classroom). The neighborhood schools would look more and more like juvie, only they get released onto the streets at 3 pm.

    I'm not arguing against your idea about expanding magnet programs by any means. I just think that as we open pathways for brighter kids, we have to address the needs of less-bright kids as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Naveen View Post
    +1.
    Quote Originally Posted by Geno View Post
    Ah, this is exactly what I was saying. This is already somewhat the case.
    And I think this is a really bad position to have. Again, it is essentially saying "we know you could do better elsewhere, but you have to say in an inferior setting because the 10 kids sitting around from you can't go somewhere else". The policy can't be to hold down to the lowest denominator. Plus, I think the effect is greatly exaggerated. Heck, in the black community, one of the main problems is that academically oriented kids are viewed with contempt by other ones. It is very possible the influence is actually in the other direction.

  2. #162
    billy ross is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by raider.adam View Post
    And of course I am not saying to just forget about the other kids. I just don't think it is smart policy to not give avenues of achievement to some because of concerns of the ones that don't. They are two different problems that will require different solutions.



    Yeah, but those teachers are in the system so the SDP would be paying them regardless of them being at the Magnet or not. In fact, isn't it law that schools have to have a relative equal levels of experienced teacher staffing? I thought it was illegal to stuff all the senior degreed teachers in some skills and all the new ones in others.







    And I think this is a really bad position to have. Again, it is essentially saying "we know you could do better elsewhere, but you have to say in an inferior setting because the 10 kids sitting around from you can't go somewhere else". The policy can't be to hold down to the lowest denominator. Plus, I think the effect is greatly exaggerated. Heck, in the black community, one of the main problems is that academically oriented kids are viewed with contempt by other ones. It is very possible the influence is actually in the other direction.
    The goal needs to be to facilitate every kid realizing their potential no matter what that potential is. That's why having a diverse, robust system that allows every kid to find a home - whether it be arts, academics, sports, science, landscapes, animal husbandry, computers, journalism, community building, what have you - is great. Every kid should have an opportunity to get plugged in, and not be in a situation where they'll be alienated. Do this and our scandalous murder rate plummets. Right now we don't have enough buy in.

  3. #163
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    Quote Originally Posted by raider.adam View Post
    And I think this is a really bad position to have. Again, it is essentially saying "we know you could do better elsewhere, but you have to say in an inferior setting because the 10 kids sitting around from you can't go somewhere else". The policy can't be to hold down to the lowest denominator. Plus, I think the effect is greatly exaggerated. Heck, in the black community, one of the main problems is that academically oriented kids are viewed with contempt by other ones. It is very possible the influence is actually in the other direction.
    I think we are essentially agreeing here. I am just warning that more magnets won't solve the problem for everyone. It would help my family and many others. I am simply saying we need to also have a way to reach the bottom percentiles too. Prison is also very expensive.

  4. #164
    NJbound is offline Guest
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    That's the wisest thing you have said inna while billy


    Quote Originally Posted by billy ross View Post
    The goal needs to be to facilitate every kid realizing their potential no matter what that potential is. That's why having a diverse, robust system that allows every kid to find a home - whether it be arts, academics, sports, science, landscapes, animal husbandry, computers, journalism, community building, what have you - is great. Every kid should have an opportunity to get plugged in, and not be in a situation where they'll be alienated. Do this and our scandalous murder rate plummets. Right now we don't have enough buy in.

  5. #165
    billy ross is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJbound View Post
    That's the wisest thing you have said inna while billy
    Thanks. Just remember that Masterman fits in with my program, as does vo-tech. My dad took classes at Dobbins, and it led to a good middle-class career for him until the world changed thirty years ago and he couldn't change with it. One of my brothers is non-academic, and he went to Mercy Tech, the only Catholic vo-tech high school in the USA, and it's brought him into the middle class from the lows we fell into when US Steel fell apart. I firmly believe that the USA is far too unenthusiastic about vo-tech, among other things.

    Give these kids a smorgasbord to choose from and let them find their strengths. I'm very much opposed to a one size fits all approach.

  6. #166
    AsYouWere is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by raider.adam View Post
    And of course I am not saying to just forget about the other kids. I just don't think it is smart policy to not give avenues of achievement to some because of concerns of the ones that don't. They are two different problems that will require different solutions.
    Agreed. It's just a shame that regarding SDP students the parents seem to maintain a distance. Even here it appears only one parent engaged and that's for an already achieving school.

  7. #167
    Geno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy ross View Post
    I firmly believe that the USA is far too unenthusiastic about vo-tech, among other things.

    Give these kids a smorgasbord to choose from and let them find their strengths. I'm very much opposed to a one size fits all approach.
    No kidding. The idea that EVERYBODY must go to college is not practical.

  8. #168
    raider.adam is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geno View Post
    I think we are essentially agreeing here. I am just warning that more magnets won't solve the problem for everyone. It would help my family and many others. I am simply saying we need to also have a way to reach the bottom percentiles too. Prison is also very expensive.
    I agree. Sadly the bottom percentiles are the difficult issues on how to address.

  9. #169
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy ross View Post
    I firmly believe that the USA is far too unenthusiastic about vo-tech, among other things.
    I agree with this. The people who build, maintain and fix stuff can not be outsourced to India or China. They make good wages now and I think their wages will always increase. Unlike 50 years ago, more and more people nowadays can't 'fix' anything themselves - very good for current and future skilled laborers.
    Like PS on Facebook!

  10. #170
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    I've stayed out of this thread until now because the SAT has to be one of the more juke-able stats out there, especially with the prevalence of prep classes and tutoring these days among the more affluent communities. Back in the early aughts, I took a prep course and my math score went up 200 points from the diagnostic. Don't think it was because my school's math teachers taught me so much better in the intervening weeks.

    College acceptance rates are juke-able as well. Some Philly schools can get a close to 100% acceptance rate by hunting down every senior and making them at least apply to CCP. Nice for donor appeals but I don't know if I would call that real progress. What can be more telling is the number of graduates that return for their second year of college. But even that is highly-susceptible to being more an indication of socioeconomic status than anything. Philadelphia's pipeline to college | Philadelphia Public School Notebook

    And I'm glad people are bringing up the importance of vocational education finally!

    Quote Originally Posted by raider.adam View Post
    But public school advocates would freak out (and do) if charters, which are also free of tuition, used the same selection and filtering process as Masterman.
    You are conflating special admission high schools with city-wide admission high schools. Charter high schools, with the exception of the Renaissance charters, are city-wide admission. The complaint is that they use their lottery application to become de facto special admission. That's not what they agreed to in their charter and it is correct to criticize the practices.

    Quote Originally Posted by BarryG View Post
    Central admits students that don't even live in the city.
    All district schools are allowed to admit out of district students provided there is room and the parents are willing to pay tuition.

    Quote Originally Posted by raider.adam View Post
    Again (and again) as I have said before, Masterman (and Central and other magnets) are reasons why I think they should have more regional magnets that are fed from public schools.
    You all need a history lesson so I'll give it: Northeast High and Washington High don't have the only neighborhood internal magnet programs, they have the only remaining neighborhood internal magnet programs. Vallas (the superintendent before Ackerman) greatly expanded the number of special admission and city-wide high schools. At the same time, he took magnet programs out of the neighborhood high schools. Students who might otherwise been content with the magnet program in the neighborhood school have in recent years had to compete for space in the special/city-wide admission process.

    Quote Originally Posted by raider.adam View Post
    Why are magnets more expensive than cachement schools and on average how much more per student are they spending?
    They're not. The per pupil instructional spending for Masterman and Central are just north of $6,000. And it make sense as they have few of the very costly special education students. They can pack the class sizes to the union maximums and the classes will still be relatively manageable for teachers. Neighborhood high schools, having been emptied of their magnet programs, now have lower enrollment and very high rates of expensive special needs students (special education and English Language Learners). It's going to cost more money to educate those kids regardless of where they enroll. However, the situation is exacerbated by Vallas's movement towards small district high schools. It was always unwise financially but that was Bill Gates's fad at the time and Philly chased that money hard. Now both Gates and the district know that small schools, especially small high schools, are difficult to fund ongoing. Gates walked and has latched on to a new great idea leaving behind a lot of districts with small schools they can't fund properly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dolemite View Post
    I wouldn't take that number from the SDP as gospel. There is a thread on here where we challenged those ED numbers coming from the SDP. They are not true counts of students but some kind of calculated number the SDP feeds to the State based on some black box number crunching. I don't trust it one bit. It seems to me they are based more on the zip codes the students come from and the demographic make up of the zip code as opposed to the actual students.
    Under Ackerman, the district started using a USDA-approved area estimate for economically disadvantaged which is a family making 180% of the poverty guidelines for the area or less. This policy change enabled some schools to go to a universal feeding program as the area's poverty rates were such that it's cheaper to feed everyone for free than pay people to administer free/reduced lunch programs. It probably helps in grant applications as well. In schools where the economically-disadvantaged rates are lower though, it's resulted in inflated numbers. The Penn Alexander community clings very, very hard to its rate of close to 50% to ward off any critique that the school is successful because it is significantly less poor than other neighborhood schools. However, the economically-disadvantaged rate reported to the state is more like 24%. This is the same for Masterman and I have no idea how they do an area estimate for a school that admits students from across the city. (Alternately, this has hurt schools like J.S. Jenks where Chestnut Hill parents often cite the inflated disadvantaged rate as a reason the school is "not an option" for them)

  11. #171
    raider.adam is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by annie View Post
    You are conflating special admission high schools with city-wide admission high schools. Charter high schools, with the exception of the Renaissance charters, are city-wide admission. The complaint is that they use their lottery application to become de facto special admission. That's not what they agreed to in their charter and it is correct to criticize the practices.
    I don't disagree with you that is what the charters agreed to and what they should be held to. My point was that if charters turned into, essentially, a bunch of magnets with admissions like Masterman, public ed advocates would obviously have a problem with it. I am not criticizing the current system (I am ok with them having to be general admission).

    Thanks for the rest of your post. You also point out part of the problem discussing this stuff. Stats and qualifications get easily fudgers and aren't necessarily apples to apples.

  12. #172
    BBQ KING is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldMama View Post
    Where is Lower Merion's equivalent of Abbottsford Homes? Or any housing project? Or burned out areas of North Philly? In terms of "low income," you are comparing apples and oranges. If this is what passes as poor in the suburbs, it's obvious that comparisons with most city schools are ludicrous.
    I would agree that a $157k house is not the house of a poor family; I think the point might be that a good bit of lower economic status 30% or greater?) people could swing the above. Its a 3 bed, so works for a family of 4; maybe 5 (I shared a bedroom as I child of the lower middle class).

    I get your point about selection at Masterman and selection in the "good" burb districts. But I think we disagree as to the degree. And I am confident I will not change your mind.

    Home invovlement drives a ton of success. Are there not papers written on school lotteries that suggest that the simple act of applying is correlated with success? I would bet that families in "good" disctricts in cheap houses have kids that do well (As they put in the effort). I would also bet families that apply to Materman and do not get in do better than those that do not. And kids with parent on the PTA at bad schools do well.
    Last edited by BBQ KING; 01-25-2013 at 04:43 PM.

  13. #173
    billy ross is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBQ KING View Post
    I would agree that a $157k house is not the house of a poor family; I think the point might be that a good bit of lower economic status 30% or greater?) people could swing the above. Its a 3 bed, so works for a family of 4; maybe 5 (I shared a bedroom as I child of the lower middle class).

    I get your point about selection at Masterman and selection in the "good" burb districts. But I think we disagree as to the degree. And I am confident I will not change your mind.

    Home invovlement drives a ton of success. Are there not papers written on school lotteries that suggest that the simple act of applying is correlated with success? I would bet that families in "good" disctricts in cheap houses have kids that do well (As they put in the effort). I would also bet families that apply to Materman and do not get in do better than those that do not. And kids with parent on the PTA at bad schools do well.
    I think you're leaving out the level of expectation that the parents set for the kids. There are immigrant families which live in 'bad' school catchments as overwhelming minorities and send their kids to the local schools, where the kids are like oranges in comparison to the culture of the apples at those schools. It happened with my upbringing. I'll never forget when two brothers showed up from China in fourth and fifth grades and my teacher was trying to teach him how to pronounce 'pencil'. Pen-shul was about all he could do. Both boys flunked that first year, the older one into my class and the younger one (who couldn't pronounce pencil) into the class below mine. Oddly he followed me to my high school, staying a year behind, and then he went to Harvard. I don't remember their parents being involved at all. I don't even recall having met them at all.

  14. #174
    BBQ KING is offline Senior Member
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    fair point.

    Although your "bad catchment" could have been them stretching into the best they could swing. Regardless, effort, parents caring, setting expectations high are all important.

  15. #175
    billy ross is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBQ KING View Post
    fair point.

    Although your "bad catchment" could have been them stretching into the best they could swing. Regardless, effort, parents caring, setting expectations high are all important.
    There's a parent in my son's class who is a physician and an immigrant from India. She is married to another physician and works in his practice part-time. She has a great life, actually. She grew up in the hood in West Philly, above her parents' store (I'm pretty sure), and went to the local (lousy) grammar school. She received her entire education, from grammar school to medical school, inside of the city of Philadelphia, and she lives in a very nice neighborhood in Philly now in a very nice, fancy new construction house. She sometimes goes back to that school to give talks to the students so that they can see what the possibilities for them are. And another one in my son's class whose mother is in immigrant from Cambodia, living in refugee camps as a child, then moved into the Cambodian ghetto in South Philly. Neither one of these mothers has a bit of ghetto in them, despite growing up in rough neighborhoods and attending inferior public grammar schools. They are perfectly pleasant, decent, empowered, and happily married people who are in successful family businesses. I attribute their lack of evident scars despite their disadvantageous educations to the fact that their parents must have instilled better values in them that enabled them to rise above their classmates. I certainly don't attribute their healthy dispositions to their crappy Philly grammar schools.
    Last edited by billy ross; 01-26-2013 at 06:13 PM.

  16. #176
    AsYouWere is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by raider.adam View Post
    I just don't think it is smart policy to not give avenues of achievement to some because of concerns of the ones that don't..
    I still suffer a problem comprehending this quip and beg for an interpreter!

  17. #177
    BBQ KING is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy ross View Post
    There's a parent in my son's class who is a physician and an immigrant from India. She is married to another physician and works in his practice part-time. She has a great life, actually. She grew up in the hood in West Philly, above her parents' store (I'm pretty sure), and went to the local (lousy) grammar school. She received her entire education, from grammar school to medical school, inside of the city of Philadelphia, and she lives in a very nice neighborhood in Philly now in a very nice, fancy new construction house. She sometimes goes back to that school to give talks to the students so that they can see what the possibilities for them are. And another one in my son's class whose mother is in immigrant from Cambodia, living in refugee camps as a child, then moved into the Cambodian ghetto in South Philly. Neither one of these mothers has a bit of ghetto in them, despite growing up in rough neighborhoods and attending inferior public grammar schools. They are perfectly pleasant, decent, empowered, and happily married people who are in successful family businesses. I attribute their lack of evident scars despite their disadvantageous educations to the fact that their parents must have instilled better values in them that enabled them to rise above their classmates. I certainly don't attribute their healthy dispositions to their crappy Philly grammar schools.
    Fantastic. I think we are in agreement? Living above the store sound like sacrifice; a stretch; for that crappy school instead of one more crappy.

  18. #178
    billy ross is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBQ KING View Post
    Fantastic. I think we are in agreement? Living above the store sound like sacrifice; a stretch; for that crappy school instead of one more crappy.
    I guess even lousy Philly schools are better than lousy Chester schools or lousy Camden schools. Even in Philly's worst schools you have a chance of getting identified as not belonging there and being placed elsewhere, like in a magnet program, which is what eventually happened with her.

    Something hit me today, though. Three of our past four Presidents (i.e. including Barry) went to fancy private prep schools, as did our present mayor and former governor. The one President of the past four who didn't go to a fancy private school? He went to a local podunk small town high school. His name is William Jefferson Clinton. I know it's the conventional wisdom that it's best to live in a 'good' school district so your kids can go to 'good' public schools and have all of the advantages, but it strikes me as a fairly new phenomenon whose track record is quite thin. I like to trace back the CV's of people for whom I have a great amount of respect (e.g. Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Henry Morrison Flagler, Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, Richard Branson, even Josef Stalin in a twisted way), and see how they got to be who they became. Precious few (maybe zero?) had parents who moved into a 'good' public school district so that they could attend high-scoring public schools. That more than any other reason may be why I haven't followed the conventional wisdom in this regard. The overwhelming thing that I've seen common among these people? Not their schooling. Their parents made them driven human beings who fundamentally didn't give a crap about what people thought about them and doing things 'the way they are done', and were willing to be different. Generally their parents were weird, and they raised weird kids, but the parents supported the kids emotionally also.
    Last edited by billy ross; 01-28-2013 at 06:01 PM.

  19. #179
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    OK, now you're not making any sense at all.

    In the last 50 years, public education (which is what Bloomberg and Carnegie had, not to mention people like Jobs and Woz) has deteriorated considerably, as anti-tax movements have reduced school budgets (and here I'm thinking particularly of the effect of, for example, Prop 13 in CA), as bureaucracies have developed that eat up more of those budgets (and here I'm thinking of PSD), as more money has been diverted to special needs programs as a result of the IDEA (not that I'm complaining, just that it is reality), and as more middle class and upper middle class families started sending their kids to private schools both to avoid forced busing of the 1970's and as a result of the wealth creation of the 1980's. So, sure, in 1970, moving into a "good" catchment wasn't a phenomenon, because most schools were good, or at least good enough. But that's not the case now.

    As for your list, you seem to have picked some of the most well-known drop-outs (e.g. Gates; Ford and Flagler probably never made it to high school). And for the brilliant and obsessively driven among us, maybe a good high school and a good college education are immaterial. But that's not most of us -- nor do I believe you think it is, otherwise you wouldn't be sending your kids to a private school. Indeed, you'd have them out working in the family store at age 14 (which is what Flagler did) or apprenticing as a machinist (Ford).

  20. #180
    billy ross is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShoshTrvls View Post
    OK, now you're not making any sense at all.

    In the last 50 years, public education (which is what Bloomberg and Carnegie had, not to mention people like Jobs and Woz) has deteriorated considerably, as anti-tax movements have reduced school budgets (and here I'm thinking particularly of the effect of, for example, Prop 13 in CA), as bureaucracies have developed that eat up more of those budgets (and here I'm thinking of PSD), as more money has been diverted to special needs programs as a result of the IDEA (not that I'm complaining, just that it is reality), and as more middle class and upper middle class families started sending their kids to private schools both to avoid forced busing of the 1970's and as a result of the wealth creation of the 1980's. So, sure, in 1970, moving into a "good" catchment wasn't a phenomenon, because most schools were good, or at least good enough. But that's not the case now.

    As for your list, you seem to have picked some of the most well-known drop-outs (e.g. Gates; Ford and Flagler probably never made it to high school). And for the brilliant and obsessively driven among us, maybe a good high school and a good college education are immaterial. But that's not most of us -- nor do I believe you think it is, otherwise you wouldn't be sending your kids to a private school. Indeed, you'd have them out working in the family store at age 14 (which is what Flagler did) or apprenticing as a machinist (Ford).
    Bloomberg was in today's or yesterday's Times. He went to Medford High in Mass, where he was totally alienated. Read the article. My roommate in college was from Medford, and I've been there. I would say it's very middle class, maybe even middle to working class. Neither Billy Joyce nor his town struck me as upper class at all. He was a very intelligent guy, but he couldn't pronounce the word 'iron' to save his life. I already pointed out that Bill Clinton went to the town public school. I never said that town (i.e. inclusive) public schools are limiting - they've produced some really great Americans IMO. It's the 'exclusive' public schools that I think are a crock, the ones with the high test scores that people crowd into and only the wealthy can afford for their kids. I intentionally didn't mention Jobs, because I don't know his background, aside from the fact that he knew David Packard from the neighborhood and bought and traded fancy electrical components as a kid (at swap meets?). I think what you're saying is that 'public' education has become less public, and, if so, I agree with you. This scary new world of the haves and the have nots repulses me. My wife's brother and wife moved to the North Shore suburbs of Chicago 'for the schools' because they want to send their kids to 'public' school and not participate in elitism; meanwhile my wife and I question how 'public' their schools are. Schools for the haves only aren't all that public. In our opinion better to support private schools that give scholarships to needy kids so that the have nots can get a chance of ruling our world (like the present POTUS and our present mayor, just to give two really, really good examples).

    My kids come to work with me now, at the ages of 12, 9, and 2. Saturday morning the 2 year old and I fixed our neighbor's heater. Yesterday the 2 y.o. and I collected quarters from washing machines and diagnosed a complaint about a malfunctioning machine. Last night the two older ones and I collected quarters from another location and diagnosed another complaint about another machine. They help open and stamp envelopes. They help deposit checks (and quarters, which is a tremendous amount of work). They hold my tools when I fix things. My neighbor took a great picture of the 2 y.o. holding tools after we fixed her boiler, which she emailed to my wife. He had a bad thermocouple in one hand, and an adjustable wrench in the other. They're learning the family business, even if they choose to not work in it. I went to work when I was 9, as did my little brother, who I might add is doing me very proud, despite his not having grown up in a prestigious public school catchment, which my parents' couldn't have afforded. That's the joke of it all. My cousin swears that he doesn't want his kids to do what his dad's family's kids did, which is to leave them, never to be seen again after they got their fancy educations. His mom's family (my side) is still around, and the centrifugal forces are only now starting to affect us as they get educated and scatter to the four winds as the educated class tends to do. Fortunately, most of my mom's family is still around, say, 'Greater Kensington', which is where her people are from. He and I laugh at the so-called 'progress' of most of the people we interact with. The old model of living in your hometown, while trying to make it a better place, and interacting with your relatives as part of your day to day life, and having aunts, uncles, grandparents nearby to help in a pinch, has been dumped in the wastebin. I really think we've made a wrong turn as a society, and I choose to not go down that path.

    Note that I'm not against finding a new home. It's just that the whole idea of constantly finding a new homestead strikes me as spinning your wheels. Yes, our ancestors came across the seas, but once they got here they established homes for themselves and their families. I would have no problem if one of my kids opened a branch of the family in Florida, or Texas, or some other place. But then I would want them to put down roots where their families could prosper and help their community, and hopefully they wouldn't pick a place where they'd be carpetbaggers, ready to move on to the next non-home that they could exploit, and hopefully it wouldn't be a place whose premise is based upon concentration of wealth and exclusion of the non-wealthy. Then I'd be really, really disappointed.
    Last edited by billy ross; 01-28-2013 at 07:28 PM.

 

 

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