Where teachers’ kids go to school

Public school teachers are nearly twice as likely to choose private schools for their own children, says a Fordham study I linked to earlier this month. George Archibald writes in the Washington Times:

In Philadelphia, 44 percent of the teachers put their children in private schools; in Cincinnati, 41 percent; Chicago, 39 percent; Rochester, N.Y., 38 percent. The same trends showed up in the San Francisco-Oakland area, where 34 percent of public school teachers chose private schools for their children; 33 percent in New York City and New Jersey suburbs; and 29 percent in Milwaukee and New Orleans.

. . . Public school teachers told the Fordham Institute’s surveyors that private and religious schools impose greater discipline, achieve higher academic achievement and offer overall a better atmosphere.

Nationwide, 12.2 percent of families — and more than 20 percent of public teachers — choose private schools, according to 2000 Census data.

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Comments

  1. Mike in Texas says:

    Once again the Fordham Institute is engaging in invented measurements and reporting the results as Gospel. This is what they say about their methodology:

    . . .comparing Census tracts with city boundaries is not a perfect science

    but yet they are reporting as if this were an accurate way of measuring what they say they measured. Basically, they made an assumption that 2% of all households have a public school teacher as a parent, multiplied the general population by 2%, and then compared the number derived with the number of private school students and assume its an accurate measure.

  2. Mike is right about the problems with inferring from census PUMAs. But Fordham also misleads in more obvious ways:


    “Nationwide, 12.2 percent of families — and more than 20 percent of public teachers”

    This comparison is misleading, because they are comparing urban/rural families with urban teachers (there are more private school opportunities in cities).
    In fact, *urban* families send children to public schools at a rate of 17.5%, *urban* public school teachers send their children at a rate of more than 20%. If you account for teacher families’ income, teacher families appear to be *less* likely than similarly-paid urban families to send their children to private schools.

    Furthermore, the census data collects information on public/private schooling from preschool through college, and Fordham never reveals how it breaks down that data. For example, does it only include k-12 education? What about nursery school? After all, teachers are working during the day, and private preschools are a necessity.

    This has the potential to be an interesting study, but Fordham appears to be methodologically incompetent.

  3. Regardless of the validity of the study, let’s not judge public school teachers who choose other alternatives for the education of their children. A master teacher I had while student teaching had chosen home-schooling for his children. He describied himself as bing “in the system but not of it.” Which is a perfectly legitimate position, as legitimate as any other. I hold a similar philosophy for myself. I choose to teach in an inner-city public school to be an influence and resource for underpriviledged students, as well as hopefully a thorn in the system’s side. Becasue one teaches in the public schools, does not mean one has to “believe in” all, or even any, of the public schools’ mission. In fact, we may consider ourselves subversives, with a counter- directive (if that is a term) of our own. Nonetheless, choosing another alternative to the public school one teaches in soes not necessarily mean that teacher thinks the public education is inadequate, either. There may ba any number of reasons.
    -Greg

  4. I concur with Greg. As I mentioned in another post that Joanne made about this study, I have my daughter in a Catholic school at present. It certainly isn’t due to the curriculum, but to the discipline and atmosphere they provide. Public schools have to accept virtually everybody, and as such can be chaotic. Especially when “advocates” for these disruptive influences come in and scream “unfair,” “harassment,” “racism” and whatever other excuse for a kid’s horrible behavior.

  5. Mad Scientist says:

    There are no contradictions. Teachers who do not send their kids to the school in which they teach are hypocrites. The message is: “I know my colleagues and I’ll be damed if I let them teach my kids.”

    In industry we call this not “walking the walk”.

    Your parents may have made the classic argument: “don’t do as I do, do as I say”. It was lame then, it is just as lame now.

    Bottom line is that if you are willing to accept their money, you had better trust the school at least as much as the people who pay your salary who have no choice in the matter.

  6. MS: I would send my daughter to the school where I teach, mainly b/c I know the administration, and, frankly, b/c I’m there. However, when I said previously that “it ain’t the curriculum,” that goes for the teachers as well (and I mentioned this in the other Joanne post about the Fordham study). Far from it. It is the administrations — less so the building ones, moreso the central office types who bow to every interest group and whiner and frequently show little backbone on anything discipline/atmosphere related.

  7. Mad Scientist says:

    Hube:

    So it’s perfectly fine to take the administration’s (and the taxpayers’) money since it is your profession, but the same system is not good enough for your daughter because they are a bunch of spineless fools?

    If you don’t see the inherent contradiction, let me spell it out for you:

    They’re too dumb to be charged with educating your daughter, but they are not too dumb to hire you.

    That says a lot for your estimation of your self-worth.

  8. MS: If you for just once could get past your dogmatic rantings and ingrained notions, you may just learn something.

    First, my grandfather was a boilermaker. My father was an exterminator. Neither had a college education. I didn’t want to go to college right away after HS, but they both insisted I do. They wanted me to do “better” than they had. Are you saying they had low self-worth? Or that they had the quite natural desire to see their offspring do better than they?

    Second, your blind dogma must affect your reading skills. I said my decision re: my daughter was NOT due to teachers nor the public school curriculum. Administrators do not teach. They administrate. Geez, I thought a hyper-bright hotshot scientist like yourself would’ve realized that.

    Third, teachers do not “take” adminisrators’ money.

    Fourth, I have no problem w/a new pay structure other than through property taxes or any taxes for that matter, to fund schools. What would you suggest?

    Fifth, if you’ve ever bothered to read any of my many comments here (doubtful, since you obviously don’t even read my comments on this post), I have absolutely no problem with charter schools, vouchers, competition, school choice, lessening ridiculous union provisions, etc.

    Sixth, my decision to teach in public schools is actually quite smart considering the pay is better and the benefits are better. MS’s notion of “self-worth” notwithstanding.

    Seventh, my wife and I plan (at least at present) to put our daughter back into public school beginning in 7th grade, as she’ll have essentially matured, socially and academically.

    Hey! Maybe then my “self-worth” will be reinstated! LOL….

  9. Mad: They’re not hypocrites if they are doing what they can to improve the school where they teach, AND NOT AIDING THE NEA AND OTHER INTEREST GROUPS THAT ARE BLOCKING SCHOOL REFORM. Of course, how you work in a union shop and don’t aid the union is a conundrum…

  10. Correct, markm. There are plenty of teachers who despise the union and are strongly in favor of [much-needed] school reform. I’m one of ’em, pretty much. A perusual of my own blog will indicate this.

    And you can work in a union shop and not aid it. Just don’t join. At least you can in my state.

  11. I think the hypocrite charge is uncalled-for in this case. To take it a step further, as a teacher you could dedicate your life to teaching in an inner-city school without wanting to live in the district or send your kids there.

    As to the original criticism of the report, it looked to me as the sort of initial, high-level study that shows where further research is needed. I don’t think it’s fair to criticize it for not being the final word on the subject. The authors were straightforward about its limitations.

    I agree that the nationwide figures appear to be subject to error, and at any rate don’t show that great a difference between public school teachers and other parents (unless you expect teachers’ kids to have a higher-than-average rate of public school attendance). More interesting to me are the city-by-city figures, some of which don’t have the boundary discrepancies mentioned in the report. Why do teachers in some districts make such heavy use of private schools, but not others? Is it mainly the availablity of affordable private schools, or is it bad public schools those districts? If more cheap private schools (or vouchers) were available, would the numbers for all districts be this high? If nothing else, the study identifies some interesting areas for further research.

  12. Mad Scientist says:

    Hube:

    I certainly hope you generally think things through before you spout them in front of a class. You logic is somewhat lacking. As much as I hate a point-by-point rebuttal, you have left me no choice.

    First, my grandfather was a boilermaker. My father was an exterminator. Neither had a college education. I didn’t want to go to college right away after HS, but they both insisted I do. They wanted me to do “better” than they had. Are you saying they had low self-worth? Or that they had the quite natural desire to see their offspring do better than they?

    An elder insisting that someone does something to improve their lot in life does not imply thay have (or had) low self-esteem. Rather, it is the realization that if they had the opportunity they were giving you, their lives would have been much easier. They insisted because they figured you were too dumb to realize it yourself, as you freely admit.

    This is far different than the situation we were supposedly discussing. Namely that if one will accept (see below) pay from people one is a hypocrite if one does not buy their product (or in this case, a service). This is along the theory that a person working for GM not buy a car made at worst, by a non-union competitor, or at best, by a unionized competitor. All one has to do is drive past the parking lot of any union hall to see the warning (and the implied threat).

    Second, your blind dogma must affect your reading skills. I said my decision re: my daughter was NOT due to teachers nor the public school curriculum. Administrators do not teach. They administrate. Geez, I thought a hyper-bright hotshot scientist like yourself would’ve realized that.

    And precisely what blind dogma is that? If you do not trust the administrators enough to be in charge of delivering the service to your daughter, how can you trust them to abide by your contract? In essence, you have stated that they are incompetent to administer the delivery of the service, but competent enough to deliver the paycheck to those who are responsible for the quality of the service.

    Any private enterprise that tries that trick would be out of business in one quick hurry.

    Third, teachers do not “take” adminisrators’ money.

    Oh? So you work for free? It seems to me that “take” has many synonyms. It does not imply force. It can be passive. If you rather, I could have used “accept”, “recieve”, “collect”, or any other verb that gives the impression of a transfer of some type.

    As for it being administrator’s money, please be aware that the administrators are entrusted with the public’s money, and they should treat it as their own. To do any else smacks of fiduciary irresponsibility.

    Fourth, I have no problem w/a new pay structure other than through property taxes or any taxes for that matter, to fund schools. What would you suggest?

    I honestly have absolutely no clue as to why you attribute this to me. I never commented on it. However, since you ask, I will tell.

    Property taxes unfairly punish property owners at the expense of those who do not own private residences or business property. I know that in PA, they add a surcharge on to the income tax (something like 1%) for every wage earner; that money goes to the schools. I am not familiar with the details of distribution, so I cannot comment on it.

    Fifth, if you’ve ever bothered to read any of my many comments here (doubtful, since you obviously don’t even read my comments on this post), I have absolutely no problem with charter schools, vouchers, competition, school choice, lessening ridiculous union provisions, etc.

    Obviously, I have bothered to read this one. Why, I do not know.

    In this thread, I have made no mention of charters, vouchers, or any of the other things you believe I believe in.

    Sixth, my decision to teach in public schools is actually quite smart considering the pay is better and the benefits are better. MS’s notion of “self-worth” notwithstanding.

    Fantastic! You have stated you are as materialistic as the rest of us! Now if we could just get the NEA to be as honest.

    The issue I have with your self worth is that you are willing to work for a bunch of people (i.e., administrators) who you claim to be smarter than. Any self-respecting person who truly believes he is smarter than his superiors in an organization really ought to look for work in a place where the administration is smarter then they perceive they are. Thet way one has at least the opportunity to actually learn something.

    Seventh, my wife and I plan (at least at present) to put our daughter back into public school beginning in 7th grade, as she’ll have essentially matured, socially and academically.

    Go for it. I think you will find releiving yourself of the hypocricy to be a good thing.

  13. Mad Scientist says:

    Bart:

    You should realize that many inner-city school districts actually require school employees to live within the city. So your scenario does not fly.

    Hube:

    Along a similar vein, many districts require union membership just to get a job. You have absolutely NO choice.

  14. Mike in Texas says:

    Along a similar vein, many districts require union membership just to get a job. You have absolutely NO choice.

    I have NEVER heard of this being a requirement to get a teaching job. Can you back that claim up with some proof, Mad Scientist?

  15. You should realize that many inner-city school districts actually require school employees to live within the city. So your scenario does not fly.
    If ‘many’ means ‘all’, then I guess you have a point. It sounds as though you agree with this requirement. And county employees should be required to get all their healthcare from the county hospital, and UN election observers should be required to become citizens of the country they’re observing, and Enron employees should be required to invest their 401-Ks in the company’s stock.

  16. Mad Scientist says:

    MiT:

    In New York (at least in the local district), when my wife was a public school teacher for one (and only one) year, she was required to join the union (and pay union dues) as a condition of employment. I am sure other districts have the same requirement.

    But I doubt that is enough “proof”.

  17. Mad Scientist says:

    Bart:

    I do not agree with the requirement. But if one wants to teach in a place that has the requirement, then one should not send their child to a private school.

  18. The solution seems to be to teach at a public school without a residency requrement, although I don’t quite understand the logical connection between a residency requirement and sending one’s child to a private school.

  19. That 44% figure for Philadelphia Public School Teachers sending their children to public schhols is seriously misleading. Philadelphia does not have a residency requirement. If one were to stick pins in a map showing where our teachers with school-age children of their own live, the pins would form a donut of of suburban and New Jersey locations. The percentage using non-magnet, plain-jane public schools for their own children is closer to zero than it is to 44%.

  20. MS: You do NOT read posts. You ARE blinded by your anti-public ed. dogma. That much is abundantly evident.

    Administrators do NOT pay me. You can say they do all you want, but they do not. The state pays the vast majority of my salary, whereas the other small fraction is paid by the district.

    Do you mean by “administrators” the central office ones? Or building ones? Since you’ve already misstated that I didn’t want my daughter in public school (yet) because I “didn’t trust the teachers,” I just want you to be clear here, since you could be meaning my principal, asst. principal, or the like.

    I made mention of charters, etc. b/c your blind obedience to anti-public ed. dogma leads you to believe anyone working in public ed. are inferior beings. As if, as mentioned by another poster, they could not be working w/in the system to change it — A fifth column w/in the union structure.

    Let me ask this: If I worked at a private school but sent my daughter to public, would that make me as much a hypocrite as you believe I am now?

    Lastly, if I am a hypocrite, then most of those working in the capitalist world likely are too. Those that work at Sears who may buy at Macy’s are, a scientist who works for Pfiser who may buy a Bayer product….whatever the case. What kind of “scientific” work do you do, MS? Do you exclusively purchase the products your co. puts out? Of course you could say “yes,” but you’d most likely be lying through your teeth.

    Oh, and back to my grandfather and father: So, by them insisting I go to college and NOT become a boilermaker or exterminator means their profession wasn’t good enough for me. IOW, they had low self-worth. Sounds quite logical to me.

    (BTW: A scientist using anecdotal [and one] piece of evidence to show that you MUST join a union to become a teacher — despite two teachers saying this is not so? Why did you put the word “proof” in quotes when it clearly is NOT proof, hmm? Some scientific method there! LOL!)

  21. The issue I have with your self worth is that you are willing to work for a bunch of people (i.e., administrators) who you claim to be smarter than. Any self-respecting person who truly believes he is smarter than his superiors in an organization really ought to look for work in a place where the administration is smarter then they perceive they are. Thet way one has at least the opportunity to actually learn something.

    But this is where teaching differs. When I close my classroom door, I am the boss. I am the leader. The actual amount of time and overall influence administrators spend/have over me and other teachers is small. Not wanting to become an admin. myself or seeking employment elsewhere b/c I believe my intellect to be superior to that of my administrators is just plain silly. They don’t know anything about Spanish and Spanish teaching methods anyway.

    That, and the usual conventional wisdom is that administrators go into the field b/c they were crummy teachers. I’d rather have them shuffling papers than be in the classroom. The key is getting, particularly, central office admins. to stop dealing with theory, and get them to deal w/reality in schools and the classroom. Get them the backbone to fight lawsuits and threatened lawsuits b/c someone’s “baby” was suspended for punching a teacher.

    It is changing. I think the “things get worse before they get better” mantra is on the “get better” swing. At least where I am, overall.

  22. And, it’s not hard to see MS stating Any self-respecting person who truly believes he is smarter than his superiors in an organization really ought to look for work in a place where the administration is smarter then they perceive they are.

    He obviously is the type who always feels the need to prove how much smarter he is than everyone else. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t have any self-respect.

    Fortunately, many others aren’t so shallow.

  23. Mad Scientist says:

    Hube, Hube, Hube. You disappoint me. Greatly.

    MS: You do NOT read posts. You ARE blinded by your anti-public ed. dogma. That much is abundantly evident.

    I am not against public education. I am a product of a public school system. I am against people such as yoruself who are blinded by the propaganda put out by the NEA, local teacher’s unions, and the Democratic party.

    Administrators do NOT pay me. You can say they do all you want, but they do not. The state pays the vast majority of my salary, whereas the other small fraction is paid by the district.

    It all depends upon what state you live in. However, since the administrators in your district decided to hire you, they chose to pay you. It does not matter where the money comes from. Ultametely it probably all passes through the school district.

    Do you mean by “administrators” the central office ones? Or building ones? Since you’ve already misstated that I didn’t want my daughter in public school (yet) because I “didn’t trust the teachers,” I just want you to be clear here, since you could be meaning my principal, asst. principal, or the like.

    Yes. And no. If you don’t trust the administrators, then it does not matter which ones. If you do not trust the local building admin, then you implicitly do not trust the judgement of the central office types, because they are the ones who make the decisions on who gets assigned to which building.

    I made mention of charters, etc. b/c your blind obedience to anti-public ed. dogma leads you to believe anyone working in public ed. are inferior beings. As if, as mentioned by another poster, they could not be working w/in the system to change it — A fifth column w/in the union structure.

    I did not bring up charters, you did. But since the ststus quo is not working all that well, then other choices should be options. Why should you take the option but allow the union to deny a choice to the parents of the district?

    Let me ask this: If I worked at a private school but sent my daughter to public, would that make me as much a hypocrite as you believe I am now?

    It depends. If the private school is single sex, and your child is of the opposite sex (i.e., if you taught at an all boys school, but only had daughters) then it is beyond your control. If the private school is a religous school of a different faith and you did not want your child to be indoctrinated then it is a somewhat valid choice.

    Bottom line is that when you send your child to private school while taking public money, you are making a conscious decision to spend extra. In the example you cite, you would be choosing to take advantage of a government service that you are supposedly paying for.

    Lastly, if I am a hypocrite, then most of those working in the capitalist world likely are too. Those that work at Sears who may buy at Macy’s are, a scientist who works for Pfiser who may buy a Bayer product….whatever the case. What kind of “scientific” work do you do, MS? Do you exclusively purchase the products your co. puts out? Of course you could say “yes,” but you’d most likely be lying through your teeth.

    I work for a division of chemical company that does not make consumer goods. If you really must know, the company I work for does make some consumer goods used mainly in Eurpoe. I do, however use products that use what we make, but I can never be 100% sure. For instance, I cannot know for sure who makes which microchip or capacitor in any given cell phone and whether our material was used to produce that chip. Go figure.

    Oh, and back to my grandfather and father: So, by them insisting I go to college and NOT become a boilermaker or exterminator means their profession wasn’t good enough for me. IOW, they had low self-worth. Sounds quite logical to me.

    Sounds to me like they might have wanted to spare you the hard work they had to endure, but you were too dumb to figure that out. If you believe they had low self-worth, that’s your problem. Why am I defending your ancestors? Isn’t that your job?

    (BTW: A scientist using anecdotal [and one] piece of evidence to show that you MUST join a union to become a teacher — despite two teachers saying this is not so? Why did you put the word “proof” in quotes when it clearly is NOT proof, hmm? Some scientific method there! LOL!)

    First off, I have a hard time believing anything MiT or you have to say about anything.

    In the district in NY where my wife worked, it was mandatory to join the union. It is also the rule in Buffalo, NYC, and Albany among other cities (I’m beginning to think it is a state rule). I also believe it to be the case in NJ.

    There ar emany places where you cannot hold a job unless you choose to join a union. Once, years ago, I was offered a position at a small college. When I found I had to join a union, I declined their offer. It is not as rare as you may believe.

  24. Mad Scientist says:

    You know Hube, I work in a place where we have 130 CEOs in the plant. They all seem to know the best way to run the plant than the people who are actually paid to do so. Listening to them the management is a bunch of morons who don’t know their ass from their elbow.

    Your attitude reminds me precisely of them.

  25. Mike in Texas says:

    I have a hard time believing anything MiT or you have to say about anything.

    Yes, what we would know? I actually only spend 9 hours a day in a public school. MS’s 2nd hand stories about his wife’s one year of teaching are all the scientific proof he needs.

    Of course, he could have reseached the issue for himself and found Texas teachers are not required to join a union but we wouldn’t want the facts to get mixed up with the truth (as he sees it) now would we?

Trackbacks

  1. Watch the Teachers’ Feet

    Where do American public school teachers send their kids to school? Actually, they’re almost twice as likely as other parents to choose private schools.