Bay Ridge Bests Park Slope for Raising Children

A new report ranks Bay Ridge as the best Brooklyn neighborhood in which to raise children, said The New York Daily News. Bay Ridge scored high, coming in fourth citywide, because of its high rate of home ownership, good schools, and parents with stable jobs. Park Slope, meanwhile, was ranked 15th citywide because of its mixed community of poor residents living side by side with wealthy ones, according to the paper. The group that authored the report, the Citizens’ Committee for Children, evaluated neighborhoods based on four factors: Economic, Health, Youth and Housing. Bay Ridge scored high on key youth factors such as the percentage of high school dropouts, employment, birth rate, and arrest rate among teens. Click here for more info about the report findings (the full report costs $50).  Unfortunately, recent improvements in education may be mostly a factor of more wealthy people moving into Brooklyn, and applicable mostly to them, if we read the Committee’s comments correctly. “For example, while the city has seen improvements in education trends in recent years, such as increased reading and math scores, higher graduation rates, and fewer dropouts, the results are not as positive among racial/ethnic groups and across neighborhood school districts,” the group said. Do you agree with the report’s findings? Where would you rather live?
Report: Bay Ridge Best Nabe to Bring up Children [NY Daily News]

83 Comment

  • ” Park Slope, meanwhile, was ranked 15th citywide because of its mixed community of poor residents living side by side with wealthy ones,”

    Since when is economic diversity a bad thing? Does Minard write for the Daily News or something?

  • “the results are not as positive among racial/ethnic groups”

    Makes no sense. All people are in racial and ethnic groups.

  • Daily News, once again proving it’s best used as a doormat when staying at a Holiday Inn

  • >mixed community of poor residents living side by side with wealthy ones,

    Yeah, I’ll be sure to tell my less well-off neighbors how undesirable they are, when I find where they are lurking. And I’ll be sure to sympathize with all my friends whose teen kids are arrested or dropped out of Beacon, Bard and Stuyvesant.

    What a crock , I’d say this is a subtly racist statement, except the CCC website is full of minorities, so…what’s the deal?

  • Public schools have become the road less traveled, the bridge to nowhere. We know most of them are substandard, but we don’t do anything about it. People are spending literally millions of dollars for houses in neighborhoods where they would walk down the street with money hanging out of their pockets at 3 in the morning, rather than send their kids to the local schools.

    The whole system should be chucked and started from scratch. It isn’t working, and it’s not educating our children. We all know education is the key to future success, and the surest way out of poverty, yet we do nothing but try to cover over problems with charter schools, and create turf wars where parents do everything but kill to get their kids in one of the few good schools.

    I know it’s not easy in a city this size. I know social issues like poverty, hunger and ignorance affect the education of everyone, but most especially the poor and minority communities. I know we have unions, parents’ organizations, teachers, staff, even custodial, security, and building issues to add to the mix. I wouldn’t be school chancellor for all the money in the world. But what we’ve got isn’t working. We can’t just toss our hands in the air, and do nothing.

    We spend millions, but at the end of the day, the kid in Bed Stuy who lives in a brownstone his great-grandmother bought in 1945, is probably not getting the same education as the new kid next door, whose parents are in finance and recently bought their home for $2.2 mill. He should be. And we should be moving heaven and earth to make sure he is, so both kids can go to the same school, and then walk home together. That’s how the world should work.

    A society where educational opportunity permanently decides who will make it, and who won’t, at the age of 7, is not a highly functional civilized society in the 21st century. What will it take before we really do something? I really wish I had answers, not just a long rant.

    • Not that long ago, well about 15 years ago as it turns out, when Clinton was President, there was a huge conference in New Orleans about education as the civil rights movement of the 21st century. There were many bright people there with good ideas. Unfortunately, none of it has come to pass and the hedge fund managers, corporations, and billionaire mayors of this country have found even new ways to cleave the haves from the have nots and create even more inequality. If anybody thinks the schools are better today than they were before Bloomberg took over the district, then I would like to smoke some what you are smoking, because it just isn’t the case. A few of the schools are better, but, for the most part, it is all smoke and mirrors and tests and tests and more tests and now teachers and their unions are being vilified by this cruel little dwarf dictator. Anybody who studies these issues knows that what the US in general and NYC in particular, i.e. standardized tests, is doing is exactly the opposite of what actually works (see Finland, Germany, even France).

  • ” Park Slope, meanwhile, was ranked 15th citywide because of its mixed community of poor residents living side by side with wealthy ones.”

    This entire study is off. I don’t understand how Park slope which has one of the best public schools, better housing stock (I know that’s relative), access to a great park, more social outlets for children, and diversity (which I think is important for children) is so far down on the list.

    poor people are bringing it down.

    Don’t get me wrong, Bay Ridge is a nice nabe but I’m not sure it’s the best to raise children.
    It’s safe, nice restaurants, the shcools are good, but besides the park (playgrounds) and public library, there aren’t any outlets for children. Sure there are the pottery, art, and music classes, but not everyone has $300+/- for 6 classes. But I guess that can be said about a lot of nabes.

  • As usual, I agree totally with MM on the issue of the schools. As you might guess, I place a heavier emphasis on the unions being the greatest problem.

    • Yes, because the unions and teachers hate kids and want them to fail where as the ugly little dwarf running this city cares so much about the needs of public school kids that he figured appointing a personal friend who had no experience in education as Chancellor was a good idea. What was her name again? That really showed us all what he thinks of public school parents and kids. Just another business to be run and any CEO can do it. Right? How did that work out? How long did she last?

  • Wait, Park Slope more diverse? Weren’t the parents that were complaining about PS 321 being rezoned upset because it would create a less diverse school population? If you have to fight to make your school diverse I would gather that your neighborhood is not really that diverse. Our school has a sizable ESL population with a full time ESL teacher on staff. So to say that Bay Ridge is not diverse is way off. The majority of the ESL students are Chinese, Arabic, Russian and Hispanic. I’d say that’s pretty diverse.

    So to whoever said this study is way off, I agree. I lived in PS and now in Bay Ridge. Both neighborhoods are great. People simply move where they can afford.

  • “Unfortunately, none of it has come to pass and the hedge fund managers, corporations, and billionaire mayors of this country have found even new ways to cleave the haves from the have nots and create even more inequality.”

    Obama seems to have learned from the best of them if this is what you truly believe. How many billionaire mayors are there????

  • Yet despite the report, Park Slope still remains one of the most sought after neighborhoods. Go figure.

  • Well, I couldn’t let jaguar get away with his asinine statement.

    I don’t think there’s one city in the country being run by an ex-hedge fund manager. Does he think Bloomberg was a hedge fund manager??? Stupidity.

    • When did I ever say Bloomberg was a hedge fund manager? Try reading more closely. I was referring to hedge fund managers running and funding charter schools. Sorry if I unfairly maligned some hedge fund managers and it hurt your sensitive little feelings.

  • You never said one word about charter schools.

    Besides, what’s wrong with starting a charter school??? I think there’s more sour grapes from you, which we have seen many times before, jaguar.

    Can there be no private schools either becasue some people can’t attend them??? That IS socialism.

    • I don’t think there is enough space here to debate charter schools other than to say it seems clear to me that this is for the most part a way to divide and conquer the public schools to drain resources from existing schools, to create false competition, and to bust unions. Some charters are apparently very good. Some are awful. Some of the people running them make a good amount of money doing so. I have no problem whatsoever with private schools. If people want to pay to educate their kids, that’s fine with me and their choice to do so.

      By the way, your reading comprehension is weak. Although I did not specifically say “charter schools”, I certainly alluded to them.

      I don’t have any sour grapes. I just call it like I see it. If anybody on this board has sour grapes, it’s you as evidenced by your constant Obama bashing. He has been elected twice and you still haven’t accepted it.

    • I don’t think we have the same working definition of socialism.

  • DIBS do you have kids in NYC public schools?

  • No. Why? Should it matter????

    [this oughtta be good]

  • I don’t think th point is whether or not there are charter schools. It’s more that some in the educational and administrative realm seem to think that if you plonk down a charter school in a poorly functioning public school, especially in a large building, that all is now fine.

    In actuality, the charter skims the cream off the top of the student pool, and leaves the kids who really need the extra help and the discipline of many charters down in the barely functional public school. End result, those who need the charters the most are not the ones in it.

  • Heeeeeelloooooooo!
    Forget Bloomie and Obama.
    Can we get back to the topic of how great Bay Ridge is and the people that live there are wonderful, nice, sincere, charming and gorgeous?

  • “In actuality, the charter skims the cream off the top of the student pool, and leaves the kids who really need the extra help and the discipline of many charters down in the barely functional public school.”

    Yes, true.

  • I prefer the yellow house on the left to the dark brick one on the right.

  • ditto, the one on the right has a bigger porch. My first house in Chicago was a greystone (granite) and looked very much like the one on the left.

    I have no idea what the schools were like. It was in Andersonville and had a nice bar on the corner…The Balmoral-Clark Bar

  • I truly do not understand anything about charter schools. If money’s available for them, why can’t it be put instead into the general pool of public schools? Didn’t charters start out as thinly veiled ‘interest group’ schools? Begun by people who didn’t want their kids exposed to radical ideas like Darwinism? How did they morph into a universal?

  • FWIW, in my corner of Bed Stuy, the children of most of my neighbors have college degrees. I don’t know where they went to high school — presumably locally. Of course with good paying jobs with good benefits such as my neighbors have shrinking and the cost of higher education rising and grants no longer available for most, maybe in the future children will be less likely to go on to college!

  • Cate, college isn’t for everyone and is way overrated these days given the cost/benefit relationship. People make far more money learning a trade if they do it well than most college grads.

    But, I think many of the vocational schools, like the ones that advertise on the subway, are a real ripoff.

    • How about simply getting a good, well rounded education instead of everything being so focused on the bottom line of making more money? Is it a luxury now to study literature or philosophy? Should this only be available to the wealthy?

      • That’s fine if you can support yourself instead of joining OWS and demanding that your loans be forgiven.

      • Yeah, people used to go to college to learn to think. Now one just picks a major based on chances of getting a job after graduation.

        Not to mention the brain drain of our best and brightest into Finance rather than Engineering and Medicine.

      • In this day and age, it seems the humanities and the arts are looked down upon as not being useful. Yet look at the monies the arts generates. And more than that, how culturally poor we would be without them. But today it seems how we even think about these subjects has changed. Today it’s all about money. And of course the reality is, yo have to make money to survive. But we are certainly losing so much more as a society when we lose our capacity to see just how integral the arts and humanities actually are to our evolution and growth.

  • heeeeey.
    what happened to the bed stuy east crime thread??

  • Well, given some of the “thinking” voiced in the halls of gov’t and out on the streets, especially down South and out West, we definitely need some more college educated people learning how to THINK, as in intelligent reasoning, questioning of authority and “established fact”, an intellectual appreciation of imagination and the intangible and undefinable. Because that is sorely, and embarrassingly lacking today.

    Perhaps it’s not all about money, the pursuit of money, money, and more money, after all.

  • You should put it up but just use a different photo. No one wants to see their house associated with a rape on a blog.

    We now resume our regularly scheduled bickering…..

  • So, it’s the best place to raise white kids?

  • meanwhile, buried in the fine print—the report includes Red Hook as part of “Park Slope.” The Daily News didn’t exactly go out of its way to highlight that one…

  • FWIW – Charter school admission is done by public lottery. You can’t skim the cream when your admissions system does not allow you to pick based on ability. In NYC, the majority of charter school students are low income and they tend to have a higher percentage of special needs students.

    • True. Charter school admission is by lottery. The problem is that some of the charters do their outreach to the families they want to enter into their lottery. Prior to 2010, the NYC Public Schools only printed the charter school catalog in English. Do you suppose that had any impact on who entered the lottery? The biggest problem of course is what happens once kids are actually enrolled in the schools. Students with IEPs, behavior issues, or who can’t keep up academically are forced out. Obviously the charters don’t want those kids bringing down their test scores. Seriously, it’s all just a house of cards.

    • It’s actually pretty well-established, admitted even by high profile charter advocates, that charters do cream, although not necessarily by “ability.” The first part of the mechanism is the choice process, which necessarily means that those with the most information and access will have the greatest ability to enter the lottery. Then you have things like schools located far from neighborhoods, contracts that mandate parental attendance at Saturday school and demerits for late arrival, which have the effect of funneling out folks who can’t commute or make those kind of commitments. Third, charters in NYC don’t have to “backfill” their classes, so when one kid leaves (due to inability to follow the contract, or poor performance, or other innocuous reasons), the school can leave the spot empty and doesn’t have to accept a kid who applies after the entry year. For example, a charter school in my neighborhood that has high test scores went from a 5th grade class of 80 to a 6th grade class of 59. That means the school assures itself 100% stability, compared with the zoned schools that have to accept zoned students whenever they arrive which, in turn, correlates to higher academic risk.

      As for low income, it depends on the school but typically those numbers are on the basis of combining free and reduced price lunch students – when you disaggregate them, you often find that the charters have a much lower percentage of the free lunch students than surrounding schools.

      With respect to special needs, not sure where you got that information but it is flatly contradicted by just about every study and even the NYC Charter Center itself has admitted charters need to do a better job. Even where the charters seem to have equivalent percentages of special needs students, their students tend to have milder challenges as opposed to the more seriously disabled children who are in the traditional schools.

      • A lot of the charter school animus comes from educators who point out Charter schools don’t have to deal with problems that public schools do. That’s true. But so what. The charter school is to the benefit of the students, many who are minority (with many minority-majority charters) who are in who now get the benefit of an education that the well-heeled in suburbs take for granted. Its not a teacher’s ego pissing contest.
        And good for those who get in, many are running and leaping with it. Trying to bring down a charter school with the age-old problems of disruptive students who can’t be expelled etc etc is not the answer. Thats a probelm of public education in general but it doesn;t mean everyone needs to suffer. Its not a competiton between charter and public, its choices available to students. No Charters, less choice. Why shouldn’t at least some minority children have the chance for an education the well-heeled suburban familes enjoy? Why should they have to endure disruption, violence, disengagement and boredom for some educational-philosophical pipe dream that ons size fits all. In short, spend the energy on fixing public schools instead of demonizing charters, and drop the philosophical presumptions.

        The chance to do that in public schools has been there for the last X decades. It hasn’t worked, only a few schools make the grade. Throwing money at it doesn’t help, because its the school culture that needs changing. Charters permit that, they have a different culture. And those that don’t deliver will fail and die. Charters are an additional tool. Everyone has to suffer at the pace of the slowest or most disruptive while we fix public schools (like they been getting fixed for decades)? Doesn’t work, and its all minority students who get the shaft.

        Over and out for this rant, flamethrower me.

        • I have no desire to take away charter successes, just to place them in context and to make sure we’re not giving up our public goods in the pursuit of a mythical silver bullet.

          Understanding that charters have these benefits, we have to evaluate them and traditional schools fairly and then provide support to the schools that simply can’t operate like private schools (not because of “culture” but because, you know, the Constitution and silly things like that) to try to preserve some equity, democracy and transparency in the system that is funded by taxpayers. It is a cool idea that money doesn’t make a difference but please get back to me when you’ve analyzed how much more money per kid places like KIPP and Uncommon Schools (darlings of the NYTimes) spend.

          If “shut out the kids who take too much time or money” is the ONLY real, material “innovation” charter schools have to offer, let’s hear the “reformers” say that instead of pretending it’s about evaluating teachers or manic testing or tenure or the longer school day, and then trying to push that expensive, unwanted junk on everyone else.

          You may believe it’s not a “competition” but unfortunately the US DOE and NYC DOE and all the other “reformers” disagree with you. The NYC DOE is closing down “traditional” schools on the basis of test scores and opening up charters (or new small schools, or other “choice schools” that IMO can have some of the same effects) in their place, with absolutely no acknowledgment of the different populations in them or plan to deal with the resulting concentration of at risk kids that aren’t taken or are pushed out by the charters. And squeezing in moneyed charters next to traditional schools, sometimes long neglected but serving at-risk children admirably, and eroding what they *do* have and what is working. Sometimes resulting in re-segregation where schools had managed to gain some measure of economic and racial integration. It’s robbing Peter to pay Paul. And in the process it’s undermining the democratic and localized support systems for the communities where the schools are placed. Doesn’t sit well with me, sorry.

  • It is amazing how quickly Bay Ridge got lost in the shuffle. Bay Ridge is a lovely place to raise children and it has one thing that Park Slope does not have- stability. People don’t run in and out of Bay Ridge just to make a quick profit. I’ve seen houses in Park Slope change hands so quickly I’ve wondered why people moved there in the first place. Bay Ridge, for all its faults is a real neighborhood and unlike the trendier parts of Brooklyn, people seek out Bay Ridge as a place to call home- not just a place to hang out for a few years while their children attend an overrated school- OK haters come at me.

    • Re Park Slope: that’s partially right, and I can see where it got that reputation. Like so many others, we moved to PS shortly before our first child was born. And it’s nice to be in the PS bubble for those little-kid years. purely from a demographic perspective: my wife joined two different new moms’ groups and found dozens of instant acquaintances to share experiences. There’s a real strong sense of community for those first few years of parenthood–it’s almost like being in college again. But, like college, will people move on once the kids reach a certain age? I’d say, probably–it’s impossible to afford a house, and you can only squeeze into that 2-br for so long. It hasn’t happened yet (my oldest kid is 8), but we are wondering how we can get more space…

    • I couldn’t agree with you more. Bay Ridge is a TRUE neighborhood – parts of Park Slope has become transient at best. I was lucky enough to attend high school in Bay Ridge and it was an excellent experience. TRUTH! And you know what – in a few years (ir not sooner) the real estate rush will move from Sunset Park through to Bay Ridge given its wonderful assortment of fairly affordable (for NYC standards) housing stock – not to mention decent transit options, lots of shops/restaurants, open space.

    • What dreamland said. Multi-generational (immigrant) families are still (IMO) the majority here, although I am noticing the tide start to change thanks to people getting priced out of brownstone bklyn. Surprised that no one has yet to mention how strong the Catholic school presence is in Bay Ridge.

  • I don’t wanna move to Bay Ridge simply because the commute would just kill me. The R train moves slower than molasses. BTW, I can’t get disqus comments to work at the office so just wanted to say hello to cgar!

  • I am fond of both MM and Dibs, but hearing them debate how bad public schools are is a little hard to take. Have either of you set foot in one in the last decade?

    “We spend millions, but at the end of the day, the kid in Bed Stuy who lives in a brownstone his great-grandmother bought in 1945, is probably not getting the same education as the new kid next door, whose parents are in finance and recently bought their home for $2.2 mill. He should be. And we should be moving heaven and earth to make sure he is, so both kids can go to the same school, and then walk home together. That’s how the world should work.”

    In some places, Montrose, they do attend the same school. And it is working. I wouldn’t write off the positive impacts of gentrification entirely for these neighborhoods. There are plenty of committed parents from all walks of life working to make their local schools better. I’d encourage you all to do the same. Even if you don’t want to send Milo or Esme there because they might have to sit at a desk sometimes instead of having free play on the organic hemp rug, donate. Ask what you can do to help. Get to know your zoned school. Doing so has been one of the best things I ever did.

    • Heather, I always like your comments, but that ‘s still my opinion. I still think the system is broken.

      I will admit I have no skin in the game, I have no children in the system. I’m basically ranting on hearsay. It’s true. But I listen to relatives and friends who come from every angle of the system, as parents, teachers, administrators, paras, and substitute teachers and no matter what part of the school system, no matter where the school is, they agree that while individual schools may work, while some teachers, parents groups, students, even the buildings, are great, the things that are systemically wrong are so wrong as to poison everything.

      I think it’s great that you are involved so much in your school. I think you should be cloned a thousandfold, you are right, committed parents are a key part of a good education. Obviously, no matter what I think, or many others, they aren’t going to trash the system, aren’t going to start from scratch. We’ve got what we’ve got, and you and people like you are doing the best things possible by making sure your kids are in nourishing, educational schoolrooms.

      And in all seriousness, I am very glad that kids from different backgrounds are really being educated together in your school, and your kids are having that very positive experience. Your child is very fortunate that you are so involved, and I hope many people follow your example.

      I’m just still too cynical about this, no doubt too highly prejudiced by committed teachers in my family who are so frustrated by their inability to teach, due mostly to Kafkaesque bureaucratic bs, combined with the soul wrenching social situations so many of their students have.

  • Fair enough, Montrose. I know there is a lot wrong with the system–but the people I see in it working with the kids aren’t wrong. And the kids… all of the kids–they sure aren’t. They are fantastic.

    That is what kills me about all of this education reform: what kind of message does it send to a child, having their school closed, reformed, restarted, every few years for another educational theory? The danger of all of this “reform” is, it’s become a huge cash cow. I feel like a lot of educational reformers are the equivalent of flippers in Bed Stuy–they get in, they made a profit, they get out again–leaving the entire thing to be redone over and over. All you have to do is read insideschools.com, read the reports of schools that are now closed, read how optimistically they were started, to see. We don’t need education reform–education is NOT THAT COMPLICATED. We just need funding allocated to it, reasonable class sizes, and some kind of oversight.

    Are there going to be schools that are better than others? Yes. Are some schools in poor neighborhoods going to be bad? Yes. Are some of the things that the charters have done good? Of course. But the churning that goes on helps no one.