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Give City Schools a Chance

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis May 16, 2014 03:40 PM

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Should Millennials give up their hipster ways and flee to the burbs once they have kids?

It is a question that has stirred up quite a debate on the comment board of this blog.

The wrangling kicked off after my post on a new University of Virginia study suggesting that Millennials are in fact opting to stay put in their urban hipster hangouts after they have kids.

To some here in Greater Boston, the idea of taking a chance on city schools - where kids are coming from a wide range of backgrounds and homes - is clearly an alien concept. Hopefully it's not the diversity that is scary to the suburbanites as much as the fear/misconception that their beloved little achievers somehow won't be surrounded by other, like-minded children.

BostonTenter sparked things with this comment:

It ultimately depends on a) the Quality of the local "urban" schools, and b) how much you care about your child getting a good, if not the best, education?So they are going to have to give up "urban" life and move to the burbs (like Winchester or Reading etc) to get their child into a good/safe school system, that is also populated by like Socio/Economic family kids....

A suburbanite, he also argues that unless you can get your kids into a "lottery school," things are all down hill.

Not impressed is woodenhippo, a city parent who has first-hand experience with the ins and outs of the Boston school system.

It's not where your kids go to school as much as what you put into it, she argues.

Is the lottery stressful? Certainly. Are there schools in neighborhoods I'd rather not send my kids? Yes. But the notion that everyone *has* to move to the burbs to find like-minded socio-economic peers or get a good education is an oft-repeated myth. You get out of it what you put in.

And simply moving to the burbs hardly guarantees a quality education, notes thisisdumb09, a rather unfortunate pen name. His parents fled to the suburbs, but his friends whose families stuck in the city are the ones who came away with the richer experience.

I suspect a changing view on the quality of schools is motivating younger people to stick with the city.

My parents-like most of my classmates- moved to the suburbs to keep us out of the city's public middle schools, which were believed to be dangerous. However, I saw more physical violence in my "safe" suburban school than my friends who stayed behind to attend the allegedly "dangerous" middle school. Some of them got into exam schools, which gave them a better education and experience than I got in my "safe, quality" school.

Everyone knows the emperor isn't wearing clothes.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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