Surprise — People Who Live in the Burbs Like Living There

Suburban living -- people seem to like it.
Suburban living — people seem to like it.

Americans living in the suburbs are more satisfied with their communities overall than their counterparts in urban or rural areas, finds the new Atlantic Media/Siemens State of the City Poll. Eighty-four percent of suburban residents rated their communities excellent or good, compared to 75% of urban dwellers and 78% of rural residents.

That finding seems all the more significant given the strong pro-urban bias of Atlantic Media, which publishes the Atlantic CityLab. A major theme of CityLab is how city centers and downtowns are undergoing a renaissance, reflecting a profound shift in American preferences for urban living over suburban living. It cannot have been easy for CityLab to conclude, “When it comes to overall community satisfaction, the suburbs are still king.”

But a closer examination of the data shows that conclusion to be almost meaningless — and that’s before considering the methodological issues related to divvying up the country into “urban,” “suburban” and “rural.” (CityLab acknowledges that some “suburban” areas are hard to distinguish from “urban” and others hard to distinguish from “rural.”) The poll results released yesterday don’t tell us what it is about “suburban” versus “urban” that people like or dislike.

Urbanism advocates generally argue that the preference for the urban way of life resides in its human settlement patterns — more compact development, walkable streets, transportation options and availability of amenities not found elsewhere. I would argue that those urban advantages were overwhelmed by unrelated issues such as inner-city poverty, crime, troubled schools and higher taxes, which drove whites and middle-class blacks into the suburbs. Any analysis needs to distinguish between the human environment and the built environment.

According to the Atlantic Media/Siemens data, white people, college-educated people, homeowners, older people, people with higher incomes — all categories with a high degree of overlap — tend to be happier with their communities than non-whites, less-than-college educated, younger, lower-income Americans. What a surprise. People with greater financial resources gravitate to the more desirable neighborhoods and are happier as a result. Who would have thunk it?

In coming weeks, CityLab will explore its findings relating to crime and policing, transportation, education, housing, energy and infrastructure. I expect those findings will be more revealing.


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28 responses to “Surprise — People Who Live in the Burbs Like Living There”

  1. I think you missed an important aspect, one that I can’t believe you missed:

    ” Conservatives are from McMansions, liberals are from the city”

    ” With disquieting predictability, 10,013 adults — respondents in the largest survey the Pew Research Center has ever conducted on political attitudes — answered according to their ideology. Seventy-seven percent of “consistently liberal” adults went with what sounded like the urban milieu: the dense neighborhood, the compact home, the “walkability.” Fully seventy-five percent of “consistently conservative” adults went with the polar opposite.

    “It is an enduring stereotype – conservatives prefer suburban McMansions while liberals like urban enclaves – but one that is grounded in reality,” ”

    did you miss this Jim?

  2. Tysons Engineer Avatar
    Tysons Engineer

    What the story fails to break down is generational opinion. Clearly the younger generations, in greater numbers than prior young generations, prefer urban more than suburban/rural. What that could mean is that as current older generations are less of a factor in statistics, the shift will be more pronounced.

    1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

      TE – I think the bad economic climate that many of our younger people have faced and are facing in more recent times skews to some degree housing choices. A nice apartment can often be shared by two or three people on an affordable basis. But most cannot afford to buy a townhouse or SFH in Fairfax County or closer in.

      If the economy finally picks up for the Millennials and they start having kids, watch for a significant change in housing patterns — where are the best schools. Now that doesn’t mean everyone will think a like. Some will likely prefer to live in more urban areas. Having more choices in housing options is good, IMO.

      1. I think the last housing collapse had a significant impact on folks believing that a house would appreciate in value and could be sold quickly if you changed jobs/needed to move.

        it’s no longer a guaranteed safe strategy.

        second, in our area – the advent of HOT lanes is going to more directly put in front of people – the fact that congestion and longer commutes are a reality – and that you will be able to trade money for a less congested, faster commute.

        I know young people already who have chosen to stay in NoVa rather than commute even though they had to pay twice as much for a house as in the suburbs..

        and I know others who did chose to move to our exurbs who are not happy at all. Why anyone would move down here and NOT expect the commute to get worse – is beyond me.

        It’s like they buy a house then get upset when a new subdivision goes in behind the one they bought a house in!

        Virtually everyone who moves from NoVa to our area becomes a NIMBY!

      2. Tysons Engineer Avatar
        Tysons Engineer

        This would only make sense if unemployment among 20somethings in the DC Metro area was high… its not (though it is higher than older generations of course)… yet even with jobs, and money, they choose to live closer in. Theres a reason why real estate prices and development activity is being concentrated in cities right now, its where many are wanting to live.

        Arlington is a prime example of young families shunning older generations views on suburbia and choosing to stay close in.

        1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

          TE – Arlington has good schools and, as such, is attractive to younger families. Contrast it with Alexandria’s public schools.

  3. The survey’s results, to me, are predictable enough to be almost meaningless.

    Most people who have any choice in the matter say that they like where they live. If they didn’t, they would move.

    Those who don’t like where they live come overwhelmingly from groups that are in some way stuck where they are – usually residents of housing projects or impoverished inner cities and rural areas. Very few of them are “stuck” in a suburban context, since suburban residents in general are more mobile and less likely to be in poverty.

    The variance between the three is well within the margin I would expect factoring in the groups mentioned above. My guess is that people with comparable incomes and education levels (especially those with bachelor’s degrees or higher) probably have very similar positive response rates across all three types of areas and might even prefer the city a bit.

    The one exception to that is that I wouldn’t be surprised to see very low income groups be much more satisfied with suburbs.

    1. Decided to click the link rather than just speculating about it. Turns out I was pretty much right about everything I said above.

  4. I think there is something more fundamental in play – at least for some folks

    Anyone who has lived BOTH in an apartment/townhouse with shared walls and in a single family detached knows the difference and most have a preference.

    For myself – I don’t like living in an area where I don’t know the neighbors.

    I can’t really explain more than that except that I have lived in apartments and townhouses where most neighbors were fine but a couple were not and you always worried about them and some of their “friends” who seemed not up to any good and simple things like your car – you worried about.

    People who live in the suburbs tend to “herd” up in terms of where they live. They will choose the neighborhood that looks safer, has decent schools and in general fewer sketchy people wandering about. They like to live in cul-de-saced neighborhoods, they put up neighborhood watch signs, their homes have security services and many are armed.

    If you are one of those that lives in the suburbs – weigh in here and give your reasons. And if you live in the city -give the reasons.

    I can tell you were I live – the place is inundated with GOP campaign signs in the fall and we are already seeing Dave Brat signs in the front yards!

  5. Of course people living in the suburbs like living in the suburbs. I’ve tried to tell those on this blog that fundamental fact for the last 10 years. In addition, those of us living in the suburbs pay the taxes that keep this whole state afloat. Funny thing – that’s the truth in pretty much every state. Poor rural areas, poor inner cities and suburbs which carry the load. Welcome to modern America.

    As for LarryG’s new political theory – think again. The suburbs are turning bluer and bluer. The inner cities are already blue. It’s only a matter of time before the wizards on Bearing Drift realize that they are losing the war. Then, they will be the first to demand that Dillon’s Rule be diluted so they can live their own way out in the sticks without excessive interference from an ever more liberal political regime in Richmond. I, for one, will relish the opportunity to tell them to shove it. They can live under our yoke for the next hundred years – just like we lived under theirs for the last 100.

    1. well it’s not LarryG’s theory… you need to read to comprehend Don

      see this: Conservatives are from McMansions, liberals are from the city

      not a word about a LarryG Theory

      In fact if you actually bothered to read – you would have seen this:

      ” With disquieting predictability, 10,013 adults — respondents in the largest survey the Pew Research Center has ever conducted on political attitudes — answered according to their ideology. Seventy-seven percent of “consistently liberal” adults went with what sounded like the urban milieu: the dense neighborhood, the compact home, the “walkability.” Fully seventy-five percent of “consistently conservative” adults went with the polar opposite.”

      see that Don – it says PEW Research Center…

      I suppose you probably think they’re some sort of left wing think tank that is cooking the books, eh?

      Don – it’s okay to have opinions.. they’re like butts, we all have them

      but jesus guy… can you keep straight the simple facts?

      it’s not a theory guy – it’s real data …

      1. “see this: Conservatives are from McMansions, liberals are from the city”

        Reading and comprehending a stupid comment doesn’t make the comment less stupid.

        Henrico and Fairfax Counties both voted for Obama in the last election. Both are suburban counties.

        Why in God’s name would you poll 10,000 adults when you can look at how various areas actually voted and get real data from millions and millions of people?

        Simple facts? Did you sleep through every statistics class?

        The average American has one breast and one testicle. That’s a simple fact too.

        THINK, LarryG, THINK.

        1. read Don READ! are you questioning the methodology of the poll now or still accusing me of doing so?

          1. I am questioning the value of the poll. I’d guess 50% of my friends and associates claim they are “independent voters”. When I ask them if they have cast a single Democratic vote in the last 10 years they say, “no”. They call themselves “independent” because they they think that makes them sound open minded.

            Asking people what they are with regard to value driven labels like conservative and liberal is useless. They don’t tell you what they are – they tell you how they want to be seen.

            If you want to understand the political outlook of people in a particular geography – look at how they vote.

            Beyond that, the use of obviously derogatory terms like McMansion ought to tell you that the dipshit who wrote the comment was far from unbiased.

          2. I think you have a good point now that you’ve realized it’s NOT my view or theory… but you should check their methodology which I think you will find – attempts to calibrate further beyond what people say about themselves.


            having said this – I NEVER accept only one poll without looking for replication with other polls … AND I almost ALWAYS discount polls from advocacy groups that show results that hew to their views – and if someone is synthesizing data – AND not showing what they did or how – then they go into the trash bin.

            I think you’re suffering from not really knowing how where you live is classified by most. Fairfax is not considered a “suburb” by many folks in Virginia who DO live in suburbs that are further away from the core but still in the MSA. Prince William and Loudoun would be considered bona-fide suburbs because 1. they’re in the MSA and 2. – there are a large number of commuters to the core.

            If you read the PEW survey you’ll see that they further detail the KIND of settlement patterns.. dense, closely packed, walkable.. etc verses SFD, less dense and not walkable.

            I think with this and other things – you have to want to know the truth not what you’d like to believe and the POLL basically says that Conservatives like SFD dispersed residential whereas liberals tend to like dense, multi-family residential – with walkable amenities.

            Now -with that in mind – describe which of the two categories you all into.

  6. Not sure if DonR thinks Fairfax is a “suburb” what he thinks the counties further out are. Can’t really call them “rural” when about half of them commute to NoVa jobs.

    but I can tell you – with some amusement – that the exurban counties of Stafford and Spotsy (not Fredericksburg) are two things: 1. usually vote GOP in local, state and Federal elections in the 60+% range and 2. the vast majority are govt workers, military, law enforcement and/or contractors to the Govt and apparently suffer from Banana Republic wet dreams about the military and Federal Law enforcement escorting Obama into exile to Gitmo or Kenya! Not exactly “blue”.

    1. Now you are making sense! For all his bluster, Ed Risse was usually right aout classifying human settlement patterns into simple categories like city, suburb and rural.

      That’s why I’d look at specific voting precincts and see how the people in those usually small precincts vote.

      A precinct is generally small enough to be accurately classified into one of say … 8 human development patterns.

      That analysis would be a whole lot more useful than polling people and asking them how they view themselves and whether they prefer compact, walkable communities or McMansions. Good Grief.

  7. Andi Epps Avatar
    Andi Epps

    Well, I can only speak for myself.
    When the kids and I moved from Brandermill to Five Lakes in New Kent (both suburbs, though Bmill is far more urbanized), it took me about a year to understand why everything was bass-ackwards. The mentality could not be more different. The rally cry in Chesterfield has been “no growth” for 20 years. In New Kent, they zoned THE ENTIRE ROUTE 60 FRONTAGE for Business, and alas… we have nearly no development. AND they have no proffer policy here…AND the land is cheap…AND it’s a 15 min. toll free drive to downtown.
    I moved to Chesterfield from Richmond when Logan was 8 weeks old. BIG surprise, I was looking at the educational opportunities the different localities provided. I didn’t look at New Kent at the time, but I have found (and Logan and Melanie will tell you) the schools here are better or “so much harder” to use the kids language. That was a surprise to me. Logan is out…and Mel is starting 7th.

    My point with this little tale is the difference in attitudes between two suburban localities. I have said many times in the last three years…I went to sleep on earth and woke up in over the top tea party fantasy land. I’m adjusting one day at a time but I can not deny the benefits.

    1. Chesterfield is huge compared to New Kent where there are 2 elementary, 1 middle and 1 high.

      that’s the problem. In large districts – there are different neighborhoods and people tend to herd up in the neighborhood they can best afford and the school systems typically do not allocate resources equitably – so you’ll see some differences in the schools performance.

      this article gets to the issue:

      Some States Still Leave Low-Income Students Behind; Others Make Surprising Gains

      in smaller district schools – all the kids no matter their parents income – end up in the same school where the school system focuses it’s resources on that school.

      In the bigger districts – the more affluent neighborhood schools tend to get the better more veteran teachers and often offer a wider variety of options for the kids.

      the article gets to that issue…

      New Kent is so small that ProPublica does not show it’s stats but they do for Chesterfield – where 18% take AP and 22% take advanced math – county wide. But if you drop down to each High School – you’ll see big difference in AP enrollment, AP pass rate and advanced math enrollment.

      it’s the dirty little secret.. the bigger school systems basically end up with neighborhood schools which largely reflect the demographics of the neighborhood- and in turn participating in things like AP and advanced math.

  8. Andi Epps Avatar
    Andi Epps

    Another point: I think there is a chance that we’re going to start seeing young couples looking at acreage. The movement towards growing food, raising cows and chickens is going to increase as the “terrorism generation” (my apologies, I could not think of another way to phrase it) kids become adults. It’s a way of life that I believe more and more kids will embrace.

    1. If you are poor – you are better off in the smaller school systems where resources are more equitably allocated and whatever programs that are offered, poor kids have more equitable access to .. if they have the academic credentials.

      Part of this is the way schools are funded in Va. The state money is allocated – equitably – strictly to the district on the average daily attendance and stipulation of SOQ-dictated positions and programs – in all schools. Districts cannot shortchange individual schools by “plusing” up others.

      but each county/city also collects local taxes – which are discretionary and have no strings on them and the county schools are free to spend it basically any way they want to and local folks, especially the poor, have no clue how the local money is allocated. In fact, no one in the county knows in most cases because most school systems do not account for the local money and instead co-mingle it with the state money and virtually never reveal how much money is spent on each school and for what programs.

      As a result, in bigger school systems – you will have some schools that are staffed up in some schools and thin-staffed in others… I have no way to prove this except knowing how things work in our area and looking at the pro-publica data that shows dramatically different enrollment rates in AP and advanced math..

      Virginiagal2 thinks that this is not related to the entitlement burden because that burden is not big. I’m demur and point out that the 2nd highest tax expenditures in Va are Medicaid and other entitlements and it’s growing much faster than anything else even education so the result is – your kid who gets a good education and a good job – is going to grow up with a significant tax burden to pay for those kids who grew up with crippled educations and no job or such a minimal job that they need MedicAid, free/reduced lunches, TANF.. SNAP and CHPS.

      The SOLs are out today and along about Sept 12, we are going to find out that fully 1/3 of Virginia schools do not achieve accreditation.

      New Kent will not be one of them but there’s a high probability that the bigger schools districts across Va are going to have certain neighborhood schools that are seriously deficient from other schools – in the same district.

      google: More Than 40% of Low-Income Schools Don’t Get a Fair Share of State and Local Funds, Department of Education Research Finds

      1. virginiagal2 Avatar

        Hi Larry –

        There are a number of studies that show that smaller schools are better in general, not just for poor kids. That can be separate from smaller school systems – you can have smaller schools in larger systems, although you usually don’t because of money. It may be false economy.

        Smaller school systems do tend to be more equitably allocated especially in that, if you have only one high school, it’s hard to allocate inequitably.

        My thought is that with current technology, you should be able to make AP or college (IMHO the latter would actually be better) classes available to advanced high school kids in remote areas, or really anywhere. I think Open High School in Richmond does something like this but I don’t know details.

        If it’s allowed, colleges like UMUC already have full-fledged online classes (not MOOCs) that could be used with a teacher to provide direction and support – you could have multiple kids in a classroom taking different online classes. This could be done today.

        One thing I ran across that was interesting – both of Richmond City’s excellent high schools, Open and Richmond Community, were greatly helped by specific wealthy local people. I really wish local powers that be – individuals and corporations – would take more interest in adopting a school, like their predecessors, and less interest in grandiose economic development projects. I suspect the long term economic benefit would be greater with the schools.

        I looked at which districts, as opposed to individual schools, were fully accredited – none of the NoVa school districts I looked at were fully accredited – that surprised me a lot, none of the larger cities were – but four of the non-MSA districts I checked were – Bland, Highland, Bath, and Shenandoah. I’m thinking the last may be an exurb of DC, but it wasn’t in the MSA. I did not check every district in the state.

        You are misunderstanding what I am saying about the entitlement burden. I’ll try to summarize.

        One, I am saying that there are many more kids in poor quality urban and suburban schools than in poor quality rural schools. That I think you get.

        Two, I am saying that a school with a graduating class of 50 that is does a good job with regular classes, but does not have AP classes, can still provide an excellent foundation for a kid to succeed in college.

        Three, I believe kids can and do succeed in college without taking AP classes. I do not believe AP is the line in the sand measurement.

        My statement was, because there are so many more kids in urban and suburban underachieving schools, fixating on poor quality rural schools is not an effective way to reduce the entitlement burden. They still need to be helped because everybody should get a chance of a decent education.

        Small doesn’t mean poor quality. To me, you appear to be conflating “teeny little school that doesn’t offer AP because it would have a class size of two in any given AP subject” with “lame little school that doesn’t teach math and English properly.”

        I appear to have missed the memo that went out saying that kids have to take an AP class to succeed in college.

        BTW, totally off topic, I ran across an article yesterday that included quotes from the drone industry group – they’re estimating 100,000 jobs within the next ten years, in all work areas (from management to marketing to manufacturing to engineering to programming.) Thought you might like to see it –

  9. Andi Epps Avatar
    Andi Epps

    I’m more aware of the disparity in schools than I would like to be, and you are right. I spent 15 years analyzing Chesterfield and the school system. But the school my kids went to in Chesterfield have some of the most difficult courses in the county. CHHS houses the Math/Sci specialty center. All of the high schools have some kind of advanced specialty center within the school. Some of the elementary and middle schools have the CBG, but the programs are moved so much that a child could attend four different elementary schools in 5 years.
    In New Kent, I was expecting to find a lack of specialty courses precisely because the system is so small. But what I found was more options, more flexibility, and more rigorous courses. The problem here is the growth rate far exceeds the school’s ability to offer everyone the same thing. If you want a specialty course (Logan took all AP classes his junior year, and it was enough to drive him back to CHHS for his senior year, and Mel is planning on taking horticulture and architecture starting in 8th grade) you need to apply early and with some courses, you need to test in. Some of those are not offered anywhere in Chesterfield, because the system is so much larger. But no joke…both the kids were surprised at the difference in lunch. Here, we have country women cooking…because it’s so small. But this system is destined to grow exponentially. Look at the growth rate for NK, and the 4 I64 access points. What is that old saying? location, location, location? I’m not sure if the powers that be will be prepared.

    BUT if the powers that be follow their own plan, we will be an awesome community in 20 years. We’re virgin! No one has had the chance to screw up the settlement pattern YET.

    1. Congrats on the success of your young uns….

      Education disparities should be a big concern even to those who have done well in the schools, because, it’s a moral issue of unfairness and inequity and it’s an economic issue of kids who grow up to be adults who become economic burdens – ironically on the kids that got a good education.

      Parents who are advocates for their kids almost never see it in the above terms while parents who are not advocates for their kids are largely clueless.

      Pro-Publica editorializes :

      ” In many states, those economic differences are reflected in the classroom, with students in wealthy schools taking many more advanced courses.

      But not in Florida. A ProPublica analysis of previously unreleased federal data shows that Florida leads the nation in the percentage of high-school students enrolled in high-level classes—Advanced Placement and advanced math. That holds true across rich and poor districts.

      Studies repeatedly have shown that students who take advanced classes have greater chances of attending and succeeding in college.

      Our analysis identifies several states that, like Florida, have leveled the field and now offer rich and poor students roughly equal access to high-level courses.”

      this is demonstrably not true in Va especially in the bigger districts that have a range of rich and poor geography and the AP enrollment varies spectacularly between the schools – as well as the AP pass rate.

      and the funny – NOT FUNNY thing is that virtually no school system reports their AP data on a per school basis – to the public – even though they have to report it to the Feds – where organizations like pro-publica get it and provide it to the public. This is unconscionable to me but apparently standard business practices for school systems in Virginia.

      not all school systems data is available (maybe not reported) – for instance New Kent is not but Chesterfield is.

      Parents have to be strong advocates for their kids and be economically willing or capable of moving or being mobile (own a car and have available time away from work) to get the best for their kids. Not ever parent has that ability. They live on the economic fringes of minimum-wage jobs with no ability to get time off unless it’s unpaid, no car or minimal car with minimal money for gas, etc.

      then they are essentially restricted to certain geography where others of limited economic ability also live – and the neighborhood school is not resourced equitably compared to schools in the more affluent geography.

      The reality is that some parents recognize how important an opportunity a free public education is (despite the right wing wacko birds anti-public school blather) while other parents who themselves did not grow up in a familial culture of education don’t recognize that opportunity actually exists – but not at the school their kids go to. Either they don’t realize it or they or unable to do anything about it.

      and in case folks thing pro-publica is a partisan advocacy group…. google this:

      ” More Than 40% of Low-Income Schools Don’t Get a Fair Share of State and Local Funds, Department of Education Research Finds” – U.S. Department of Education

      ” The analysis of new data on 2008-09 school-level expenditures shows that many high-poverty schools receive less than their fair share of state and local funding, leaving students in high-poverty schools with fewer resources than schools attended by their wealthier peers.”

      and yet – we worry about economic development – as if we can improve our state economy by recruiting and attracting more/better employers while continuing to operate with these really gross school disparities.

      it’s a scandal twice. It’s a moral AND an economic scandal.

      1. virginiagal2 Avatar

        Hi Larry –

        Just to think about – correlation doesn’t equal causation.

        I suspect that if you tested the parents, not the kids, and tested them solely by looking at their level of academic achievement and their 1040’s, you would get an excellent correlation with how well the kids did in college.

        Kids that take AP classes are likely to be kids that have successful parents that are well educated and value education.

        The AP class is not necessarily causing that kid’s success. Is it helpful? Very well may be. But in general, kids that take AP classes are going to succeed regardless.

        Not arguing against AP – want to be clear – just that to study its effects, IMHO you’d need to tease out a bunch of other variables to see if it made a difference or just correlated.

        I do feel like you’re valuing it more than it’s probably worth – I don’t think kids that don’t take AP classes are doomed, and I’ve seen plenty of real arguments against the quality and value of the courses.

        I personally would prefer to see college-ready kids take actual college classes online. I think Open High does something like that – I need to find out more about it.

        1. virginiagal2 – I think you are correct about the numbers of at risk kids in urban, suburban and rural.

          I still think that if AP is considered a pathway to a higher quality education that it should be equitably allocated. It’s the idea that it’s not equitably allocated that disturbs me AND the obvious performance differentials in multi-school districts.

          and I DO think there is more than a causal connection between the quality and performance of our education system – and economic development and that treating it as a separate issue with separate things to do to encourage it – while not having education as part of it – is myopic.

          yes we can have distance learning but again – why would you have classroom instruction at one school and distance learning at another – and have a pattern as to what the economically disadvantaged get vs the more affluent get access to?

          any kid in any school district should have equitable access to ALL opportunity.

          thanks for the link – I think the Amazon thing is a novelty scratches the surface as to what drones will be used for.

          take home and business security.. an alarm goes off – what would get there quicker with cameras rolling? A squad car or a drone?

          how would you get a vital anti-venom serum to a remote area? How would you get a transplant from the donor to the recipient?

          how would you scout out a hurricane with more precision and in a more timely manner?

          all you need to do is think about where an eye in the sky and physical on-site delivery of everything from a tool to a cell phone tower would be an improvement over what we have now. The applications are virtually endless.

          there are going to be thousands of jobs, 10’s, 100’s, as we almost always totally underestimate how technology transforms our world.

          how many folks foresaw how GPS would eventually be integrated with other things -like cell phones or school bus dispatch, etc?

          everytime you think of a new use – that becomes more jobs – more opportunity, new businesses, prosperity for those that have the education and resources to become part of it.

          we have so much more in this country than most of the rest of the world beyond the OECD countries and yet we continuously whine about “woe is me” when it comes to economic well being .. it’s pitiful.

          we used to be a country that too the lead, became the bow wave and now we fret about not being as rich as we used to be. Pitiful.

          1. virginiagal2 Avatar

            Hi Larry –

            The thing is, I don’t personally consider AP a pathway to a higher quality education any more than a variety of other things, like offering regular advanced courses, or offering the option of dual enrollment in local or remote colleges. What is feasible for a school is going to vary and what works best for any given student is going to vary.

            Distance learning, with a teacher available to help, gives the option of offering more college-level classes that small districts can otherwise feasibly offer. Highland County’s 2013 graduating class was 17 students.

            When you have 17 students, you can’t offer every class that every student would like. With distance ed offered in school, or dual enrollment in local colleges, kids have more choices and can take more advanced courses. It also lets you customize offerings to what the student is interested in.

            The statistics are from the commercial drone lobbying group – they are not counting the jobs for Amazon, that was their estimate of commercial drone jobs – 100,000 in the next 10 years. I do not think it includes military and classified use.

            In general, I’ve found industry lobbying groups are not inclined to underestimate the number of jobs their industry will provide.

          2. re: ” Hi Larry –

            “The thing is, I don’t personally consider AP a pathway to a higher quality education any more than a variety of other things, like offering regular advanced courses, or offering the option of dual enrollment in local or remote colleges. What is feasible for a school is going to vary and what works best for any given student is going to vary.”

            I agree but read this: The Relationship between Advanced Placement and College Graduation
   and tell me if you think the data is correct.

            “Distance learning, with a teacher available to help, gives the option of offering more college-level classes that small districts can otherwise feasibly offer. Highland County’s 2013 graduating class was 17 students.”

            totally agree – IF the person taking it has a robust core academic ability. If a kid did not do well in the core academics in K-5, they’re not going to do well in advanced material..

            “When you have 17 students, you can’t offer every class that every student would like. With distance ed offered in school, or dual enrollment in local colleges, kids have more choices and can take more advanced courses. It also lets you customize offerings to what the student is interested in.”

            totally agree and so what don’t the best schools with the best performing kids rely more on these options that don’t require an in-classroom teacher as much as kids with less ability ?

            “The statistics are from the commercial drone lobbying group – they are not counting the jobs for Amazon, that was their estimate of commercial drone jobs – 100,000 in the next 10 years. I do not think it includes military and classified use.

            In general, I’ve found industry lobbying groups are not inclined to underestimate the number of jobs their industry will provide.”

            well they have a conflict. I’m not paying attention to the industry groups. I’m looking at what happened in the past to evolving technologies – like the internet, GPS, cellular technology, etc.. which have exploded far beyond what most folks initially thought they would

            drones are going to turn into a huge mess because they are going to expand so much into so many different areas not initially anticipated.

            I just point out that drones are an EXAMPLE of evolving technologies that have great potential – to generate lots of jobs – for those that have heavy-duty STEM type education and skills.

            The other two areas are education – which you alluded to – we’re just seeing the beginning of a profound transformation that – like the other things – requires dual-disiplines.. you have to know the technology and you have to know the thing that technology is being fitted to.

            the other one is medicine… again.. multiple disciplines.. with medicine as the core content…

            over and over this comes back to what education and what skills are folks going to have to have to do these kinds of jobs and over and over it goes back to k-5 core academics that every thing after than is layered on top of.

            if you don’t have a solid robust academic foundation – you will be crippled in what opportunities are available to you.

            GOOGLE : ” The NAEP Reading Achievement Levels by Grade”

            to see the distinct proficiency levels for reading for grades 4, 8 and 12 for
            basic, proficient and advanced:

            here’s Grade 8:

            Grade 8

            Eighth-grade students performing at the Basic level should be able to locate information; identify statements of main idea, theme, or author’s purpose; and make simple inferences from texts. They should be able to interpret the meaning of a word as it is used in the text. Students performing at this level should also be able to state judgments and give some support about content and presentation of content.

            Eighth-grade students performing at the Proficient level should be able to provide relevant information and summarize main ideas and themes. They should be able to make and support inferences about a text, connect parts of a text, and analyze text features. Students performing at this level should also be able to fully substantiate judgments about content and presentation of content.

            Eighth-grade students performing at the Advanced level should be able to make connections within and across texts and to explain causal relations. They should be able to evaluate and justify the strength of supporting evidence and the quality of an author’s presentation. Students performing at the Advanced level also should be able to manage the processing demands of analysis and evaluation by stating, explaining, and justifying.

            kids who do not perform at the advanced level – face challenges… the range of opportunities that are available to them.

            again – this goes back to the fundamental ability to look at – and develop approaches to solving real-world problems… to figure out what the obstacles are to incorporating technology into a process or function.

            it’s much, much more than programming or coding.. it’s the basic design of what software and hardware are needed to accomplish something..

            should a car have a 16″ or 17″ wheels? what are the required performance characteristics of a radar-sensing braking system – for a particular car – using 16″ or 17″ tires? is the 16″ less than what is required as a minimum?

            what does a drone to in a home security application if it gets called and finds the front door open? does it circle around back or stay where it is…??etc, etc.

            issues like this require a solid understanding of the physical and logical limits and capabilities of technology – things you can find out about if you have excellent reading skills and have an acceptable working knowledge of math concepts.

            Our mentality seems to be to shoot for “good enough” and my view is that we should shoot for the other end.. so we don’t misjudge what minimum required is … do MORE than you think and leave yourself a education/skill “plus” bubble in case you misjudged what the minimum required was….

            we have enormous opportunities in this country – that we actually have the ability to exploit – as opposed to people in many other countries who have no prayer of even getting access to what we take for granted..

            those who are young – and young at heart – we have to get our minds straight for the journey –

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