Well this should boost private school enrollment


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Republican BOE member Steve Anderson suggests moving  half of  North Street’s 400 students to Parkway to make room for poor kids bused in from the nether region  

Anderson favors moving about 200 North Street pupils who reside in the northern half of their school’s attendance area to Parkway. The available 200 seats would then be filled by about 100 magnet students from western Greenwich elementary attendance areas, with a “preponderance” coming from the school district’s two racially unbalanced schools, Hamilton Avenue and New Lebanon. The other 100 magnet pupils would arrive from more eastern Greenwich attendance areas such as Cos Cob, Riverside and North Mianus.

Western Greenwich students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunches would receive preference for enrolling in a North Street magnet.

Gee, and just when mid country prices were reviving, too.


Filed under Right wing nut rantings

136 responses to “Well this should boost private school enrollment

  1. Byram resident

    Thank you Steve Anderson for finally speaking up. The only was to solve this problem is to re district and I’m happy that at least one board member gets it. The others will soon realize.

    • And what “problem” are you seeking to solve?

      • hmmm

        you need to be an involved parent so get busy don’t blame anyone but yourself for you childrens’ bad performance

        good riddance to him he could be the worst the boe has ever seen

      • Anonymous

        The fact that Greenwich is currently breaking state law. Hate the law if you want, but it’s the law.

        • Anony

          That’s not necessarily correct. 1) The State is breaking the law – a little old thing called the Constitution as interpreted by a group of 9 called the Supreme Court; 2) The State is potentially applying the law to two schools that are excluded by the terms of the regulation itself.
          Why is redistricting necessary? Which element are we trying to “solve” today? Is it underutilization, racial balancing, or the achievement gap? You tell me, because I stopped enjoying this shell game a while ago.

    • Anonymous

      There is absolutely no evidence that redistricting improves performance for the minority child. All redistricting does is hide the poor performers data.

      A good example is ISD. Putting the Adams Gardens kids next to the high achieving kids has not made the Adams kids improve their scores. All it has done is bury their data.

      I have spent time with struggling students. I have no faith redistricting will improve achievement. None.

      • RTM member

        Get over it! Anderson is correct. Parkway has room. And Parkway is not a private school. The town is not going to challenge the state and shouldn’t. Make room. Anderson is correct and offers the only solution.

        • CEA

          So, what do you say to the Ham Ave and New Leb parents, the majority of whom have said they do NOT want their children bused and want them in their neighborhood school?

        • InfoDiva

          Have you ever been over at Ham Ave or New Leb in the morning or at dismissal? I have never seen so many parents walking kids to school.

  2. Anonymous

    Does anyone in this town actually think (MISA or no MISA – that boat has sailed) that Mason and the BET will approve money to renovate and expand New Lebanon?

    • Greenwich voter

      Parkway has the room. So like it or not more kids are coming. The state is clear when they say fix the problem. Anderson’s proposal is a good one. Other BOE actually support this. Good for Anderson !

      • You’re late to the discussion. The state may say what it likes, it’s still the US constitution that governs.

        • housecat

          …and there is a neat little catch in the state statute, which decrees that minority students shall not be unduly burdened by any measures taken to address racial imbalance. Oops.

        • Avid reader

          Wishful thinking. I know pretending that the town is going to prevail by suing the state is great for the blogs but it ain’t happening. Stop pretending. Anderson is correct. The only solution is to redistrict. And Parkway has the room.

        • Reality check!

          Come on….unduly burdened? Who are you referring to? The kids who have to be bussed from Byram to backcountry or the kids from Parkway who actually might have to matriculate with people other than white folk.

          Poor poor housecat!

        • housecat

          RCheck: read the statute first before you get your sass on, please. Redistricting affects me not at all, btw.

    • dogwalker

      New Lebanon expand? Where?

      • Riverside Chick

        Reality Check- No, the burden of getting to and from school. What if the kid misses the bus, both parents work. Absences will increase as well as kids stuck at school with no way to get home.

        • housecat

          RChick: precisely. If the BOE tries to shift (mostly minority) HA and NL students vs their mostly white counterparts from other parts of Greenwich, then the “burden” of the redistricting would fall primarily on the minority students. The State BOE would then come back and say that the Greenwich BOE is violating that specific clause within the Racial Balancing statute.
          Did you get that, Reality Check? If you need to get up to speed, I suggest reading through CF’s past postings on this subject.

  3. hmmm

    Did steve not know about the facility issues at NL before he pressed for MISA? Seems irresponsible no?

    • Cos Cob parent

      He’s at last honest! It’s the only solution.

    • Anonymous

      I’ve heard BET members say that they would never vote to expand a school when others have lots of room sitting empty. Since they control the money, it doesn’t matter what the BOE thinks. It would be different if they just said “here’s your capital budget” but thats not how it works. Its a game. You shuffle around the projects based on what the other elected officials will most likely approve.

      • greenITCH

        I don’t disagree with this ..HOWEVER , lets at least update the shithouses , errr I mean schools … Anecdotally speaking , my child will be attending Riverside and while it gets great reviews it is an 80 year old structure . that was probably pretty nice when CF was attending but is an embarrassment ….

  4. Parkway student

    Do I really have to start going to school with “brown” kids?

  5. Anonymous

    So could the families who were from North St and redistricted to Parkway apply for magnet seats at North St? Actually, I know Parkway kids who border North St’s zone who would rather go to North St.

  6. Anonymous

    The Greenwich school system is in trouble. I live on the east side of town and have kids in EMS. I am seing a record number of the best and brightest in our school leave for private schools because of all of the nonsense going on at GHS and in the other schools. This flight of students will drag down average test scores and our GHS teachers

    • CEA

      Anonymous, this is the dirty little secret.

      Back in my day (and I went private), in the 1980s, about 10% of Greenwich’s schoolchildren went to private schools. Some of the wealthiest families sent their kids to public school. I was a high-energy kid and skipped a grade, and while my sibling went public for elementary, I did not.

      Today, the percentage of Greenwich schoolchildren who go private is 30%-35% (depends on the year). Who do you think goes to private school? The deprived? No, it is the motivated parents who want the best for their kids.

      This means some of the brightest children with a family support system that values education are getting taken out of public schools. Brunswick graduated about 40-50 kids in 1980. Today, it is 90. Same for GA, and Country Day has nearly tripled.

      So what happens to overall public test scores when these kids go private? Yes, they decline.

      Not all children in public schools are weaker than their private school brethren, I hasten to add. But the AVERAGE private school kid will, on average, perform better on standardized tests than the AVERAGE public school kid.

      So when you triple the kids “going private”, you’re going to see a higher percentage of students with needs greater than in previous years.

      And – this enlightenment – that the private school population has exploded, was told to me by a Parkway teacher. I did my own research (including calling the private schools) to confirm. What can I say, I’m an analyst.

      • Anonymous

        Are there tons of empty seats at private schools? Barring a new private, I doubt will see much difference. Similar numbers of kids leave each year for private – which school they defect from varies on luck, who they know, and disposable income.

        • CEA

          so you’ll just dismiss the 10% to 30%+ increase in private school students? “Similar numbers of kids leave each year”? Are you serious? Over the past 20-30 years a gigantic number of kids have left. Greenwich public school enrollment was 9,000 in 1980. It’s less than 5,000 now. How can you just dismiss that and ignore the trend – the gigantic diaspora out of Greenwich public schools into private has led to a greater % of less-qualified students and has led (partially, it is debatable just how much but certainly a good chunk) to declining test scores.

          It isn’t “empty seats”. The local schools are EXPANDING (have you seen the King St Brunswick campus, for instance? How about Country Day’s new facilities?). As for “who has empty seats”, Stanwich is taking new students, as is Whitby and Sacred Heart and Greenwich Catholic and King Low Heywood (which now has a good number of Greenwich kids).

          Page 7 of this presentation gives you an enrollment trend in private schools. Please also note Greenwich’s overall population has not changed during this time.

          Click to access 5-23-13_BOE_Exisiting_Conditions_-_Board-Web_Copy.pdf

        • CEA

          Sorry, my link below is to PUBLIC, not private, school enrollment over the years in Greenwich.

      • Anonymous

        Good post, and you are dead right. Applications for private schools at the middle school entry point are off the charts, Brunswick is getting 9-10 applications for every place.

      • Greenwich Gal

        Good Post CEA – the more messed up the BOE appears to be the more parents head for the private schools. As more families go private, scores for the public schools erode year by year. As the scores erode, so does the confidence in the schools and more people opt out or choose other towns completely. What is happening is a spiraling down of the Greenwich Public School system. Why do you think MISA is happening? To prevent the “brain drain” of the best and brightest which is what attracts people to this town in the first place. Greenwich is starting to be known as a place where you do not want to send you kids to school, unfortunately. This will impact us all. Two words – Property values.

        • CEA

          That 30-35% overall private school number is well over 50% in places like midcountry, waterfront (Belle Haven is zoned for New Leb, Ham Ave, or Julian Curtiss), and back country. Which is why Parkway’s enrollment is small. North Street’s is larger because they pull from Cos Cob (we have friends who live way down on Cognewaugh who are zoned for North St),

      • greenITCH

        Your math may be correct but there are a lot of tangibles here that you are not accounting for … such as 1 ) the local private schools also draw from neighboring towns , Rye , Stamford , Port Chester, Rye Brook etc , what percentage of enrollment is from out of town ? 2 ) yes some of the brightest but certainly the most privileged attend these private schools ..also those kicked out of public schools , those with emotional and drug issues ( yeah I went to private schools saw it first hand ) 3 ) the town has changed as you said . There is in fact very little middle class by any standards ,ask many that grew up in town and cant afford to live here , now . While the average price of a home in American has gone up ( roughly ) 3 fold in the US from 1976 , it has gone up nearly 20 fold in Greenwich . The person with the disposable income to buy a home for $ 2.3m usd likely has the income to choose a private school . Many like myself , closer to the median price home , chose to live in Greenwich with the hopes that a financially advantaged community would have top end schools . So as housing prices continue to escalate and the very privileged only able to ” afford ” Greenwich, it has a lot less to do with the local school performance than the perception of a private school education . Additionally , with so many transplants now in town , there is less of a community where one would want their child to attend the same school and more transient families moving in and out of town dictated by Mom and Dads career . Additionally , I completely disagree and take umbrage with your theory that it is the ” motivated ” parent that sends their kid to Private school . We are no less involved and likely more involved than the HF Mom or Dad that has a Nanny that drops the kids off and picks them up at school and drives them to their kids activities . Also lets add in the fact that how many of the local community are ex Pats on packages and can use that extra income of sorts to pony up for a private school. I wont dismiss a smaller class size , with more highly motivated teachers will have likely have a more positive outcome . HOWEVER , similar to what most have said on this board , it is the parent that in end will decide by their involvement , much of their children’s success . Id say a majority of our friends in and out of town that have opted to send their children to private school have more often done so for the ” opportunity factor ” , then the education . The enhanced ” opportunity ” to network with the top .1 % of the 1 % .

        • CEA

          I’m not impugning the motivation of the public school parent. But 30-35% isn’t 0.1% of 1%. I’m saying the children who are leaving tend to have them. It isn’t a 0 sum game.

          The private schools in Greenwich have a 20% “out of town” population (Westchester County, Stamford, Darien).

          Drugs and learning disabilities? I didn’t include Eagle Hill or Windward’s populations, but they are also there. And while kids with drug problems could squeak through the private schools in my day, there is too much demand for the slots. We know kids kicked out. But if that is what you think the population of the private schools is, then so be it.

          The fact that housing IS so expensive and people who can afford those kind of prices are well-off, they do often choose to send their kids private. The constant drumbeat of poor test scores, uncertainty as to which school your child will end up at, and the weak middle schools, combined with a gigantic high school with its own police presence, tilts the parents who have the choice to choose private.

          And as someone who works full-time JUST so my kids can go to private school, I completely take offense that working parents are to be vilified because they can’t be there for 4pm pickup. Not all of us can be stay-at-home moms, and – at least for me – the advantages of a maximum 20-child classroom, with 2 teachers at all times, as well as other benefits that we liked, was what drove my choice.

        • greenITCH

          CEA sounds like I hit a nerve . You ignored so many of the facts presented to go straight for the emotional charged issue of choice, the choice of being a dual income household . So , what u are saying then is you made a decision , to work to afford the private school , yes , that is a choice by you … Stick to the facts, it was YOU who said ” Who do you think goes to private school? The deprived? No, it is the motivated parents who want the best for their kids ” . That said, the fact is you are likely not their at 3 pm …. to help coach , oversee and participate in after school activities , at least not on a regular basis . I am not vilifying that choice and it is likely you are very available to help with homework etc , or at the very least outsource it to a tutor . I tell my wife all the time she should be more ” motivated ” and back to work while our kids are young so we can belong to Stanwich CC and Riverside YC , but those are the choices we made . I don’t have a lot of uncertainty with poor test scores in Riverside , nor redistricting . If you have kept up with the board here , it is in the areas of town where there is a high concentration of rentals and thus as well minorities in town , where performance is suffering … Some of your believes in the Private school system are the same misguided notions that everyone that attends an Ivy league school is there because of their grades … where we all know that a large part of the equation is again finances , legacies but also a more diverse racial pool sort by the institution ? and if the facts matter , Brunswick as an example , 31% of the 994 students are from out of town.

  7. Greenwich Gal

    It is not a bad solution at all – Parkway needs more customers, otherwise it could be shut down. However, this will, in effect, change North Street. NSS has had amazing stats over the last 20 years peforming way above most of the other schools. But that is not an entirely bad thing for the acheivement crowd – little Muffy at NSS will now have an easier time getting into the Advanced Learning Program.
    If I had my way – I would also shift numbers such that 6th grade continued at the elementary schools, middle schools were grades 7,8,and 9 and GHS would be 10,11, 12 and would ease up on the congestion there. a 3,000 kid high school is not a “community.” However, the middle schools would really need to up their game and not continue to be the dirty little secret of Greenwich.

  8. greenwich dude

    they (BOE) are coming to grips slowly with what we all already know. the problem does not exist in schools. the problem exists in households. find the tools to fix the households, or face increased flight to private school. period.

    • Riverside Chick

      Greenwich Dude-“Tools to fix the household”… Most of the students at Riverside school get some kind of private tutoring at $80-$100 hr. Its all about who can afford what, like an extra year of pre school. Test all the kids again by age, not grade, scores won’t be so far apart. So when you talk about fixing the household are you suggesting a grant for private tutoring and and extra year of pre school?

      • anon

        RC – it’s not just tutors. Parents who demand that their kids do their homework, are involved, monitoring progress or lack thereof in school, are key. It’s about time, not just money. Although, the fact that you have the time, aren’t working outside of the home is money sometimes. Other times it is the conscious choice to forego extra income in favor of raising your kids on your own.

        • Anonymous

          Parents and resources. There are good parents on all levels of the socio-economic spectrum and there are equally as many bad parents in all levels. The difference is good parents with resources can afford more high quality pre-school, tutoring, programs and enrichment. Good parents without the resources can only work with what the district gives them and what they can afford.

          • anon

            You’re correct about the fact that the parents without the funds for tutors etc.. are limited. I guess then it comes down to whether you think everyone must have access to all of the same things/resources. And I do not – that’s socialism. Go down that path (as we are with this dear President) and we are doomed.

        • Riverside Chick

          Anon- Many of these 2 income families cannot “forego income” because they could not pay rent/mortgage. Please get out of your bubble.

          • anon

            RC – I said that some people do not have the choice but to work outside the home. So don’t get your sass on please. I am acknowledging that some who work have no choice. I worked 3 jobs at once in my 20’s and do not live in a bubble.

      • Riverside Lifer

        Hardly “most of the students” at Riverside get private $100 hour private tutoring! have you done a poll of the 500 plus students? I think not.

        • Riverside Chick

          Ok some maybe $50 an hr but most get tutored on the side. They’re just not all geniuses although we’d like to think that.

      • greenwich dude

        actually that idea is much better than shuffling kids around to NO END WHATSOEVER, so yeah, i guess private tutoring and more pre-school.

  9. Balzac

    The state has a racial imbalance law that obliges a school district to make changes so that no school’s racial minority is 25% greater than the district average. The state also apparently has a law that in making the necessary changes, the race of students mustn’t be considered.

    This is the kaleidoscope world created by our state government (dominated by dems). Kind of makes you want to ask them to manage our economy and our healthcare, doesn’t it?

  10. CEA

    Hey! From today’s Greenwich Time:


    Yeah, they won’t be using that to expand or anything.

  11. Anony

    Right, this is the only solution – because it pulls 200 kids out of NSS only and hey, Parkway parents are happy. Who cares if parents of NSS kids now have to spend 20 minutes driving their kids to school, or kids who spent 20 minutes on the bus will now spend 40? What happens to afters programs at NSS? This may not seem like a big deal to you, but it is huge deal for the working parents of NSS kids, just like any forced redistricting was going to be a huge deal for New Leb parents. Why do New Leb, Ham Ave and other parents get a choice, but NSS doesn’t?!
    The worst part of this is that Anderson said not a word for 2 months where all the BOE talked about was choice-based changes, and he has now sprung this at the 11th hour. Shame on him and the rest of the BOE.

  12. Cos Cobber

    I have some adjustments for Steve’s plan: #3 below is key
    1) Scale: Reduce the scale to something like 60-70 slots into NSS (approx. 10-12 per grade) – the aim should be to keep the home zone population at least 80% of the school or else the “neighborhood school” concept begins to decline.
    2) No Magnet: Lets skip the magnet programming at NSS and instead focus on the basics. This will save the town $$ and help keep the other magnets which we are stuck with somewhat unique. The other magnets will have a tough battle for kids if NSS becomes a magnet.
    3) Preference: No preference for free/reduced lunchers or for race; BLIND lottery only. Its terribly unfair for the other households within these districts otherwise.
    4) Districts: NL and Ham would have first dips to take these NSS ‘space utilization slots,’ then GL, JC and CC followed by the rest of the district (three tranches seemed a manageable approach to me).
    5) Duration: this should be a 3 year program with BOE renewal. New trends may occur by year three which would give rise to a new ‘space utilization’ program. For instance, we may find NL and Ham level out or decline some and thus their priority to NSS is unessessary while other zones such as NM, CC or GV become more pressed for space.
    By the way, general observation; this will do nothing to improve scores anywhere in the district. So lets again stop intertwining racial balancing, achievement gap and space utilization.
    As for the idiot who keeps citing the law, the law at one time didn’t allow women or blacks to vote, so just because its the “law,” doesn’t mean the law is a good one and doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be challenged.

    • Anony

      I think this is a very good proposal (especially the combination of 3 and 4 and 5) and agree with your conclusions, as well. Can you run for the BOE? Short of that, please speak at the BOE meeting on Sept 26. Note that NSS already has the capacity to add approximately 60-70 kids, so it may not take any redistricting to open slots up to this number.

  13. Midcountry

    I think any proposal that allows more students to attend highly rated schools and does not move anyone out of a highly rated school involuntarily is worth considering seriously. North Street School district goes pretty far up toward the Merritt I believe, and homes closer to the Merritt could easily attend Parkway without a lot of disruption.

    • CEA

      We live 1.5 miles from North St and 4.5 miles from Parkway, and are zoned for Parkway. That re-districting happened years ago. Clapboard Ridge (at St. Michael’s) and straight up Grahampton Lane is the cutoff for North Street School. 1 mile.

    • Anony

      “Midcountry” clearly you are not an NSS parent or you’d know the zones. More importantly, what of the 200 zoned kids remaining at NSS who now no longer go to a neighborhood school, and are left with no choice but private?? So everyone in town gets the choice of a neighborhood school but those 200 kids?! Let’s face it, the high test scores are not going to keep up with fully 50% of the school coming from areas where low test scores predominate. But add only 10-20% of kids to a higher achieving school, maybe you have a shot of raising their scores. But not at 50%. Come on.

      • Toonces

        When will people realize that sitting next to a high achieving student will not raise your scores? Parents making sure you work hard, demanding you work hard, will raise scores. Additionally, individualized programs, targeted for each level – will raise scores (that is, a program similar to the Advanced Learning program that would separate out those who need to boost scores, boost language skills, whatever needs boosting). If you place these low achieving kids in a classroom with high achieving ones, what do you think the teacher then needs to do? He/she needs to teach to the middle and the middle has just dropped. As will your average scores.

      • Anonymous

        Ummm – Dundee? 50% are “neighborhood” and 50% are magnet.

        • Cos Cobber

          Just because parents at Dundee dont mind a 50/50 mix doesnt mean the other 10 schools would be okay with it. Personally I have zero interest in Dundee…unless my children aren’t performing well, then I might given it a look.

        • CatoRenasci

          Dundee is a special case: its initial appeals were (1) Doug Fanelli, the highly regarded then just retired principal at OG, and (2) the fashionable (among liberal types) IB curriculum. Fanelli’s no longer there, but the kids who come to Dundee from outside the neighborhood (carved out of the NMS neighborhood mostly) are the ones whose parents are looking for the IB, a self-selected subset in Town that sees it as a sort of ‘public private school’ equivalent (especially since it feeds into Eastern “Country Day”.

      • CatoRenasci

        You have to break eggs to make an omlette, and the 200 current NSS kids who will have to remain at the “new and improved magnet” NSS where 1/2 the kids have (on average) lower cognitive ability, different cultural values, etc. will just have to be sacrificed to make the world safe for Hartford Democrat bureaucrats. Or, per Allison Benedikt, that silly woman writing at Slate that everyone should send their kids to public school even if its terrible, they’ll be ‘ok’ anyway, just like she was (learning from getting drunk with the kids from the trailer park….).

        Or not. And then the BOE and the Greenwich Time will be shocked when the parents move their kids from NIM-NSS to private schools or even – perish the thought here – decide that home schooling is a preferable alternative.

        Anderson’s proposal is at least honest that it openly screws kids over – one suspects he thinks the fewest possible. Does anyone want his or her child to be the sacrifice? Perhaps he thinks (knows?) that within the NSS attendance area, most of the people who “count” already send their kids to private school, and wouldn’t be affected.

        The schools have been mismanaged for 30 years and more now. Standards have slipped generally, and as the population changed, there was no real effort to ensure that the standards at the top schools were spread out to the others. Or to take cognitive ability into account in student expectations. Oh, no! That would be elitist.

        There really isn’t a solution here, short of simply leaving the districts more or less alone, doing the best job at each school with the kids and teachers we have, and telling the state to pound sand and sue is if they don’t like it. The racial balance law is unconstitutional. Dare the state to try to enforce it.

      • Anonymous

        “Midcountry”, Anony is absolutely correct . The border between Parkway and NSS Schools is well below the Meritt. I’m exactly in that zone (off of North street between St. Michael’s and the NSS) and arguably within walking distance of the school. If they revised the boundaries to capture 200 more public school familiies it would likely have the odd result of making kids who live in very close proximity to North Street School having to go to all the way up to Parkway. This is because so many folks in that zone send their kids to private school, that capturing 200 public school students would be difficult. I just did a back of the envelope calculation for the 12 or so families on my block (which has some pretty modest homes for Midcountry) I believe 2/3rds sent their kids to private school – this despite being in the North Street district. As noted by others, the enrollment of private schools within Greenwich continues to increase (GCD seems to add a wing every two years, Whitby has record enrollment and is adding new classroom space, Brunswick is now huge and Stanwich seemed to pop up overnight out of nowhere). That said, another thing people are missing is that many families from Greenwich send their kids to private schools outside of Greenwich too. Rye country day is very popular as are other schools in surrounding areas (Stamford, New Caanan, etc.) Also, while this affects older kids primarily, there are also a lot of boarding school parents sending their kids to places like Deerfield, Kent and Choate among others.

    • Contrarian

      I guarantee that once the new students get there, it won’t be a highly rated school anymore. Why don;t we just switch the school population. Send everyone at North Street to New Leb, and vice versa. I guarantee that even if you made no other change, did not move teachers, etc., New Leb would suddenly by a high-performing school.

      • hmmm

        exactly what would happen and they know it but it’s a social engineering experiment at this point the only difference is they know how this experiment ends and are still going through it.

        Where do Anderson’s kids go to school?

  14. Rivman

    Between Country Day and “new” North Street school students, I am sure the traffic in the area will be marvelous on Fairfield and North street.

  15. Greenwich Gal

    Toonces – Sitting next to a high achieving student may not make you smarter but it does show you, often, the results of a good work ethic. At a certain point, parental involvement wanes and the influence of the peers take over.

    • Toonces

      My kid has sat next to kids who don’t have the skills to keep up. They don’t learn them from their classmates – they need to learn those skills from a teacher. Sure, work ethic is important but much more important are english and math skills. What does happen when kids of differing skills are mixed is that the level of instruction goes down, sometimes quite a lot. It’s no wonder why parent’s of high achieving kids then start to think about private school. The Greenwich schools need to separate kids into achievement levels (beyond just ALP) to improve scores. And they will not do this because it isn’t politically correct. Additionally, parents will scream when their child is placed in the lowest group.

      • Riverside Chick

        Yes- These are the “demanding” parents that Anon pointed out that we need more of! These parents are responsible for Riverside school getting rid of grouping for English and math ! 3 of my kids went to a Riverside when they were grouped out and one did not. Much more homework much more intensive curriculum (book reports etc) . It was the parent that complained, not the kids!

      • CatoRenasci

        The rap is that your smart kid will help the slower kid learn better. Good for the slower kid, supposedly good for your kid. Never mind that your kid learns less, is bored (increasing the likelihood he’ll get into mischief of one sort or another), concludes the slower kid is stupid, and self-segregates with the other smart kids socially/on the playground/at lunch/outside of school. As if the slower kid doesn’t realize the smart kid thinks he’s stupid and doesn’t want to hang out with him.

        It works out real well. Oh, yeah. In someone’s theory dream.

  16. The New Normal

    lots of interesting comments about private vs public schools

    the haves will always look for ways to differentiate/distinguish themselves from the masses

    back in the day, Ivy League students were almost all from well-to-do families – it was a club more than anything, and a high level of intelligence was not a requirement – but was as close a guaranteed ticket to success and opportunity as there was

    today getting into Harvard is (almost entirely) a meritocracy, and with need-blind admissions and generous financial aid anyone and everyone can apply and potentially attend without having means (or manners) – just need intellectual horsepower, the ultimate equalizer

    the prep schools are the new exclusive “club” – a way for the 0.1% to rub elbows with each other, not to mention the easiest way to maximize a child’s chances of getting into the now free-for-all competition of Ivy League admissions

    • Contrarian

      Harvard is in no way a meritocracy. If it were, it would have an even higher number of Asian students. Their clearly stated goal of diversity allows dumber kids to enter so that we can all appreciate how good we feel by having a community where people look different.

      I wish it were all about intellectual horsepower. It is not. A better example would be to look at one of the engineering schools like RPI, where merit really does reign supreme. Pure brainpower. Little diversity.

      • The New Normal

        it is as close to a meritocracy as there is – all of the students who get in are competent and in the top x% academically

        whether or not certain race groups are over- or under-represented is a different matter, but none of the students are “average” or even just “above average”

        • anon

          New Normal – you are incorrect. Harvard “gives” 200 – 400 SAT points to certain minorities and bends over backwards to find ways to take them, rejecting kids with 2400 SATs who are Asian, Jewish, white, whatever –

        • The New Normal

          just because your child is rejected with better test scores than another student (of a different race) doesn’t mean the other student is undeserving

          less deserving, perhaps, but not undeserving – the schools make sure minimum standards are met; and the most selective schools definitely take socio-economic background into account: there is no question that a targeted racial minority growing up in the Bronx is going to get more consideration than someone of the same race who grew up in Darien

          call it unfair if you want, but I’m sure the minority students who seem like they were “unfairly” admitted would gladly have switched places with your child growing up

          • anon

            I think you’re wrong New normal. Check out some studies of the drop out rate for these special admit students. It isn’t a gift to be put in a school where you can’t keep up.

        • Anonymous

          Disagree somewhat, nearly 10% of the Harvard and Yale class is allocated to recruited athletes, students who are certainly well qualified but perhaps do not need to reach the same academic standard as a non athlete. Legacies are not guaranteed anything, but their admissions rate is still approximately twice as high as the admissions rate as a whole. This is no coincidence, Harvard is a private institution that depends (to a degree) on alumni donations, and athletes tend to be greater future donors. Of the remaining places there are strict quotas based on racial and geographic diversity, a valedictorian from Alabama or Alaska has a bigger chance of admission than a similar scoring candidate from Fairfield County.

          European universities tend to have a more meritocratic admissions process, based on more academic factors.

        • The New Normal

          anon – I think the study you refer to was for law schools (a wide range not just selective ones) where affirmative action students had a higher dropout rate? If so, it’s not really relevant for the most selective schools – think of the top 4

          Anonymous – Harvard and Yale (and all the Ivy’s) have minimum GPA and SAT score criteria for athletes (and do not give athletic scholarships) – the minimums are typically in line with or slightly below the overall class average, but typically not dramatically so and, when looking at the entirety of what the student brings to the university, they are typically very qualified; quite frankly, college sports is a sideshow at those schools – and I would highly doubt that “athletes tend to be greater future donors” either in % who give or the amount actually given – a tiny fraction of student athletes at these schools go on to become highly paid professional athletes

        • Anonymous

          “I would highly doubt that “athletes tend to be greater future donors” either in % who give or the amount actually given – a tiny fraction of student athletes at these schools go on to become highly paid professional athletes”

          Ask an admissions officer or a connected person in the administration, they believe that former athletes are 20-30% more likely to donate, this is hardly dependent on them becoming professional athletes, many Ivy League athletes become Hedge Fund or Private Equity titans, or achieve other wealth. You would think that with an endowment of $32bn Harvard would not worry, but they do, and want more.

    • anon

      new Normal: I wish you were correct that the great colleges are meritocracies. Diversity is what is important to colleges.

      • The New Normal

        like anything in life there are extreme exceptions, but the general trend is very clear: 20 years from now if a child is not a genius she is not getting into the most desirable universities
        growth in international student applications (do you know how many nerds there are in Asia?) is off the charts and only just beginning

        even the legacy admissions need to meet minimum academic criteria or they are waitlisted

        • Cos Cobber

          Absolutely right TNN. And drifting off tangent; there is much more to leading a rich and fulfilling life should the Ivy lottery fail you. Greatness, happiness and accomplishment can still be achieved through other avenues (ahem, other schools).

    • Riverslide

      New Normal, you say in your original post that to get in Harvard you “just need intellectual horsepower.” Then in the next breath you say prep school — the exclusive “club” — maximizes your chances of getting in. Then in later posts you admit that diversity is a factor, but at least the kids admitted for diversity purposes are still pretty smart! In other words you completely undermine your original claim that only “intellectual horsepower” matters.

      I mean, you’re clearly an idiot. What could you know about Ivy League admissions policies (unless you are a diversity admit)?

      • The New Normal


        I see your point. I think the problem is our respective definitions of “intellectual horsepower” are quite different. If you are an over-represented ethnicity and from a wealthy town, you need to be a lot smarter than the other rich kids of the same race from your area – it is really a race among “equals”, and the universities are just choosing the winners from the different “races” so to speak.

        I stand by my comment that prep schools will maximize your chances of getting in. Feel free to believe otherwise, it just means less competition for those enrolled.

        And don’t take offense just because you or your kid got rejected from the top schools – as the great judge Smails said, “the world needs ditch diggers too.”

  17. Anonymous

    What is not mentioned here because it is not politically correct….DNA…some kids will never perform at a high level, regardless of school or parental support. Socioecnomic status is an indicator of intelligence – ask Charles Darwin.

    • Red Herring

      Amen to this. Sad no one allowed to admit this in public.

      • Toonces

        I have an analogy: Let’s have some fairness in the NBA. Let really short guys play on the teams. If they play with those great players they will though osmosis of some sort, absorb those skills and play better. We should have diversity in schools and diversity in professional sports. Red Herring – good for you for speaking the truth. You too anonymous.

    • The New Normal

      please do not dilute this conversation with facts

    • Riverside Chick

      Hummmmm-My older 2 children are motivated high achievers academically and physically. My younger 2 are well, kind of stupid and lazy. Same parents, same schools, same money, same environment. What does Darwin have to say about that? Did Darwin have kids?

      • Toonces

        RC – you are funny! Darwin’s theories were based on averages. There are high IQ and low IQ’s across all groups (and sometimes within families). But there are differences among groups of people and few will talk about it. Why doesn’t anyone talk about how most of the NBA members are from one particular group? Are they better than white people at basketball? Could it be….. genetic???? It’s just so stupid to say everyone is exactly like everyone else and capable of whatever anyone else is capable of. It’s simply not true

      • Anonymous

        birth order explains it…a proven scientific fact. I bet the younger 2, while lazy because of birth order, may in fact be smarter than you think. Smarts are sometimes exhibitied as book smarts and sometimes as street smarts. Great SAT scores and common sense are not always found together.

  18. Anonymous

    I want my kids to socialize with the children of noble descendants of Lichtenstein. Where is that possible? Garden Catering after school? Please let me know. Thanks.

  19. Blue Fish Blitz

    The far more interesting question is where will the kids who are moved from NSS to Parkway be attending middle school? Presently, all NSS students attend Central and Parkway is split between Western and Central. Many Parkway families zoned for Western opt out of public school and head off to private as a way of avoiding Western. Can’t imagine NSS parents are excited about the possibility of getting punted from their elementary school and punted once again from their current middle school option. I am sure the BOE is hoping that no one would notice that this is not simply a elementary school discussion, but really a middle school redistricting plan as well.

  20. Anonymous

    I have tenants in Byram and Chickahominy. Wonder if I’ll be able to increase rents now that I can advertise “North Street Schools.”

    And as absurd as that sounds, it’s the truth.

    • Cos Cobber

      You wont be able to advertise NSS, it will never be zoned to NSS, but it possible lottery slots could open up. If we have lottery slots, it will be about facility utilization and not racial balancing.

  21. Anonymous

    Where will New Leb and Western kids get bussed to?

    • Riverside Chick

      Has anyone questioned the test scores this is all based on? At Riverside, for example , if a kid is reading below grade level , they are given an IEP. These are usually given to special needs kids but in some cases the kids are just reading below grade level. The kids that have IEPs take the test(with help) but their scores are not included in the schools scores. I believe this is true for ELS students as well. Some of the ESL students speak fluent English. Some of the kids in ESL in RIverside would not be in ESL in Ham Ave. Does Riverside pick and choose who’s scores they want included in the ratings while elimintIng low score kids under the ESL and IEP umbrella?

      • Anonymous

        Regarding IEP’s: reading below grade level does not automatically qualify you. Scores on CMTs and DRPs are among the determinants, but full Psycho- educational evaluation, including a WISC score, are needed for an IEP. This is true district wide; Riverside school does not do anything differently than any other school. Trust me, I tried, to no avail, to get an IEP for my son. With an IQ in the Superior range, he was reading below grade level. That, folks, is a learning disability. Now in a private school (not specifically for LD), he is thriving. An aside: the evaluation cost $3000. Not all parents can afford it.

      • Anonymous

        CMT Scores for students with IEP’s are included in the school’s average scores unless the school fills out special exemptions and has the student take a different test.
        ESL students scores are included too if they have been in the school for a certain amount of time prior to CMT’s.

  22. hmmm

    where do anderson’s kids go to school and where is he districted?

    It has nothing to do with test scores…ospina said it the other night regardless of the state or the constitution she thinks it’s a good idea…

    please correct me if I have misinterpreted anything

    • Red Herring

      Why do I feel like you, “hmmmm”, are the only one who knows the answer to this. Please enlighten us, if this is important information!

  23. what about the east side?

    So is the East side of town no longer part of the redistricting plan? Isn’t NMS overcrowded? Wasn’t riverside school being looked at as a potential candidate for meshing w ham ave and new leb? Why is the the 50 % wealthy south american population at Riverside not seen as an imbalance above the 25%?

  24. Townie

    I’m part of the NSS district and both my children attended and did well. One went on to CMS and experienced a decline and moved to private HS. The other went private instead of CMS and HS. One misconception is the haves and have nots — Private has outreach and is much more diverse than NSS ever was. We spend our tuituion dollars to send underprivliledged children to the private school becasue their parents choose to opt out of GHS. If NSS is not a problem, why not bypass it and just buss the kids to parkway?

  25. Anonymous

    Heck, bus all Greenwich kids into Port Chester, and vice versa.

    That way parents can swing by Costo on their way home and pick up a 55 gallon drum of Kool Aid, all in the name of diversity.

  26. What a mess

    So does anyone know (or think they know) where the cutoff would be for NSS students to go to Parkway? We live just south of St Michaels and had planned on NSS for our children….

  27. Once

    After reading so many comments it appears Greenwich residents are destined to send their kids to private schools in order to make room for all the Pt Chester kids who will be attending the Greenwich Public School system.

    • Anonymous

      Don’t forget the stamford kids sneaking in on the other side. I heard there have already been 5 or 6 families with multiple kids over on the east side who got the boot within the past year.

  28. Anonymous

    Once, you nailed it. Bingo, we have a winner!

    Anyone have a good growth stock tip? I got about 5 years before that private school nut whacks me upside the head.

  29. hmmm

    Why are folks more focused on sending their children to private school versus moving? Is anyone concerned about property values? It seems strange that home owners would just accept the decline of the schools and the effect on property values. Don’t we all ultimately run out of buyers willing to send their kids to private schools without concern for the performance of the public school system?

    • Anonymous

      I think ultimately you are right, a massive further decline in the quality of the public school system will impact everybody’s property values. However in the interim it depends a lot on which part of town we are talking about. As others have mentioned here, a very large percentage of mid country and Belle Haven residents said their kids to private school, and that percentage probably increases commensurate with the value of their property. I doubt high end property owners in mid country are particularly concerned about whether their house is zoned to Parkway or North Street, they may care more about proximity to town and Greenwich Academy and GCDS. Which is probably why it is politically expedient to rezone North Street, fewer owners will care.

      • Speaking just from my own limited experience with my own client pool, I’ve found a great deal of sensitivity to relative school quality. Less so with parents of children who already have children in private school, but even then they’re looking at long term resale value, but especially to those who are stretching for what even in Greenwich might be at least considered substantial, if not highest-end prices in, say, the $3 million range. If those people have to factor in 2 or 3 tuitions at $40,000 per, it affects their buying power. A lot. I’ve sold lesser homes in the North Street district because of that, and if North Street becomes a lesser school, one that parents don’t want to send their children to, then I’d expect home prices in that district to start reflecting the extra cost of private tuition.

        • Cos Cobber

          CF, Its interesting, while the school situation has to be affecting house sales/pricing, I don’t see any impact at all over the course of the summer and early results this Sept. Not one area of town is pricing any different today than I would expect without the school situation.
          I have contemplated moving and I still haven’t found anything I like more than Greenwich. No place else is a central, dynamic, ridiculous and varied. And the people moving in from around the country still have the same story, looking for a place to raise their family after taking a job in town or in NYC or they are coming from NYC in search of space.
          As long as NYC is growing, Greenwich will be a choice place to balance the urban job with raising a family.

          • “As long as New York is growing” – exactly, and that’s why I worry about their next mayor. It may take a few years for the city to return to its condition of 20 years ago, but it will, and it won’t take 20 years- I’m guessing closer to 4.

  30. Accolay

    But it’s not the only place, Cos Cobber, in the NYC region (obviously). There are plenty of towns within commuting distance that are just as exciting, pretty, and have better schools than Greenwich. The town may be doomed with poor schools, JMHO.

    • The New Normal

      Accolay, which towns might those be?

      • Toonces

        Darien, Weston, Wilton, New Canaan and Westport for starters. Great schools, nice houses, higher taxes (balanced for the most part by lower housing prices). You just need a good book for the train ride.

    • cos cobber

      Just as exciting? I guess, but not really. Have better schools, more value, closer to the city, etc, then yes I agree. Not many ‘burbs’ are as exciting as Gwich though.

      • Anonymous

        Any of these Fairfield County ‘burbs are mind-numblingly boring, it’s more like picking the best of the worst.

        • greenITCH

          are we really saying that Greenwich is exciting ? and seems we mostly complain about the diversity on this blog .. so whats not to like in Dairen , Westport , NC , Wilton etc .. other than the train ride …

  31. Anonymous

    Recently bought a house in N. Stamford near Greenwich border. Best thing we’ve done. Could care less that it’s not a Greenwich address, we’re not hung up on needing that and kids will go to private anyway. The distance is approximately 5 minutes longer to Greenwich Ave. vs. the nearest neighborhood/house with a Greenwich zip code. It’s 10 min. faster to the Ave. than a house we looked at up on E. Middle Patent, interestingly.

    Of course that all gets tossed aside if Merritt traffic is jammed, but there are plenty of back roads to zig and zag through to get to “downtown” Greenwich if need be. Add a few minutes to get to Stanwich/Taconic via Riverbank, etc.

    Better value overall, without a doubt. Had our couple acre property been in Greenwich, it would have been at least 2-3x as expensive even in the most pedestrian Greenwich locations (we saw a dump of comparable size on King Street up near airport that was 2.5x the price, for comparison).

    Two neighbors who’ve bought in past 2 years were/are in same boat and same value thinking. We’re quietly voting with out feet & wallets. A million bucks get you a lot. A million bucks is still, by any measure, a lot lot lot of money.

  32. Anonymous

    about 11 grand.

    the closest things we liked and could have conceivably afforded in greenwich, with a very uncomfortable stretch and major shift in lifestyle (which is already frugal and unassuming), would’ve been about 400-500k more and a whopping $3k/yr less in taxes.

    in short, our decision, for our needs & desires, was a no-brainer. the annualized savings in monthly payment for lower purchase price easily covers private school tuition.

    now, if kids don’t get accepted to private, that’s another matter….but there are options. if not greenwich private, then we’d look to something in stamford or darien.

    and frankly, not for nothing, saying you’re from stamford carries with it a lot less preconceived b.s. than saying you’re from greenwich. oftentimes you’d never know that the nice neighbor a few doors down with an older chevy pickup has a net worth comparable to some small countries. i like things that way. i’d take that 24x7x365 vs. the annoying nouveau douche couple with a leased range rover who rent a 2 bdrm in putnam green but act like they have a mansion on round hill road.