Sunday Commentary: How Committed Are We to a Diverse AIM Program?

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Jann Murray-Garcia (pictured in November) suggested diversity was a red herring
Jann Murray-Garcia (pictured in November) suggested diversity was a red herring

I don’t think I was the only one who was surprised to hear out of the mouth of Dr. Jann Murray-Garcia the idea that race was a “red herring” in the discussion about AIM (Alternative Instructional Model). By the conclusion of her comments on Thursday, she acknowledged disappointment in the number of African American students identified for the AIM program, but deemed the issue of program size more important.

In fact, that is the bottom line that came out of the school board discussion on Thursday. Almost to a person, the board members acknowledged concerns about the demographics, but preferred to allow the staff to tweak the testing protocols to the idea of changing course, or even pausing implementation of the 98th percentile.

As we reported last week, the district update on the AIM program seems that this year the number of AIM-identified students falls from 146 to 82. That number drops to 46, the district projects, when the threshold is raised to the 98th percentile.

Moreover, the number of blacks and Latinos was troubling: the first iteration of changes resulted in just four Latinos (in a district with a population of 20 percent Latinos) and one black. And those numbers would fall to 3 and 0, respectively, when the district raises the floor to the 98th percentile.

The board members had differing takes on this issue. Madhavi Sunder, the board president, asked her colleagues, “Are the racial demographics acceptable?” She suggested we put a pause button on the 98th percentile. Her colleagues first argued against that approach, and then argued that such a motion would be a Brown Act violation.

Barbara Archer would explain that she was “not ready to talk about the 98th percentile” issue. She also was not prepared to argue that the numbers of blacks and Latinos were unacceptable until the district has finalized numbers.

She did argue that we have a lot of work to do across the board, arguing that this is “a global issue” across the district, that of achievement for disadvantaged students. She argued that she knew the size of the AIM program would shrink but argued that AIM needs to be “needs based, not demands based.”

Alan Fernandes directly stated that he “doesn’t find the demographics acceptable,” but he did hear that the district is looking into ways to change it. He said he is not married to this approach and would be willing to support a change down the road.

Susan Lovenburg expressed concerns “that the protocol put in place hasn’t matched the diversity of the district as she hoped that it would.”

What becomes clear is that the designed changes by the board were not just an attempt to introduce transparency into the selection process – as it clearly has, but that transparency has come at a price, the price being a smaller program and, by necessity, a less diverse program.

I remain troubled at the lack of educational rationale for shrinking the program and the lack of real assessment as to whether shrinking the program is to the advantage of the students who will be locked out of self-contained AIM in future years, or even to the advantage of the students who would never be in an AIM program.

It is clear at this point that the majority of the board members are all right with a smaller AIM program. However, there is a byproduct and that is that smaller is inevitably less reflective of district demographics. Mathematically, it is easy to demonstrate that, as you shrink you sample size, the standard errors increase – that means that, naturally, there will be more variation from the representative student population as a sample size decreases.

Add in the fact that there are built-in advantages for some students over others, and you will invariably end up with a less representative sample – that skews away from disadvantaged kids any time you shrink the sample size.

There was a lot of talk about the need to address the achievement gap on a district- wide basis. The issue was articulated by Board President Madhavi Sunder.

She said, “This is very much about achievement gap, because the achievement gap is not only about kids who are below grade level. The achievement gap is about identifying the needs of all under-privileged students and meeting their needs directly.”

She added, “So if we’re not identifying the needs of high potential kids from poor backgrounds, from Latino backgrounds and from Black backgrounds, we are not addressing the achievement gap there.” Ms. Sunder continued, “For me the achievement gap is about kids at all levels being properly identified and being properly served.”

Madhavi Sunder also confronted the superintendent as to whether race was really a red herring.

Winfred Roberson, who is on his way out from the district, responded, “I think we should look at it in respect to naming any program a gifted program. I think families and people will take offense if their children are not considered gifted – I think that’s part of the reason why the former board modified the name.”

Ms. Sunder read the results and asked if they are acceptable to the superintendent. She argued, “Do we think that the tests are accurate? Are we using the wrong tests if they’re not identifying the true potential in every one of our communities?” She said, “That to me makes me question the tests – because I know there is intellectual gifted-potential in every one of our communities. If our tests aren’t getting us there then I think it undermines my confidence in the tests.”

The superintendent responded, “We are always concerned about diversity.”

There were also questions about what the drop in numbers meant. Alan Fernandes noted that the bulk of the drop in students was due to the elimination of private testing. Staff suggested that private testing accounted for about 30 of the overall drop, and the rest may simply be year to year fluctuation Alan Fernandes suggested.

Madhavi Sunder disagreed with this assessment. She believes that not having private tests should not have drastically reduced the number of enrolled students. She also noted that the testing changes were implemented. She cited the fact that the TONI had a 15 percent qualification rate while the Naglieri played a role at only 7 percent.

From her standpoint, the bottom line is that “the district has moved away from a longstanding commitment to educate students who are high achieving.” For her, the district has moved from a commitment to help each student reach his or her “highest potential,” to a new goal which is just for each student to “meet or exceed standards.”

She argues that the program costs almost nothing. We were were serving 120 students per grade in this program – 20 percent of the students in the grade – at relatively no cost. The program was diverse, students were thriving, and there were wait lists to get into the program – by all measures, a successful district program.

Now we have drastically reduced the program with little or not educational rational for the change, and it has resulted in a much smaller and much less diverse program overall.

For Barbara Archer, however, the need was to move the program from “demands based” to “needs based.” She said that she knew these changes would cause the program size to shrink.

Where I think I’m still stuck, however, is how we assess the difference between needs based and demands based. I’m still lost on the concept of knowing who needs the program versus who wants the program, and how we determine that through the use of standardized tests.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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34 thoughts on “Sunday Commentary: How Committed Are We to a Diverse AIM Program?”

  1. Misanthrop

    What will the program look like at the 98th percentile cut off. One class with little diversity. If we stay at 96th, we will have two or three classes with hardly more diversity. What if we got to 95th or 94th or lower? At some point you get more diversity and a larger number of classes. The question for me is can the students at some lower percentage rank be successful in the program without additional support or modifying the rigor of the program? Obviously it would seem that there would be little difference between student success at 98 and 94 or 90 or even 88, the cut off UC has targeted for 50 years. So it seems that the question is do we want to shrink the program at the cost of also shrinking its diversity? It seems the answer from this board majority is yes, shrinkage is more important than diversity.

    Now that after spending a year reducing the size and diversity of the gate program and we have established by empirical evidence the true working goals of the district trustee majority we can move on to addressing the achievement gap …

    1. zaqzaq

      This issue will not die quickly nor has the board disavowed diversity as an issue.  The district has decimated the size of the AIM program while at the same time touting differentiation as the answer for the majority of the students.  Instead of developing a viable differentiated instruction model in the neighborhood classrooms and then addressing the AIM program they reduced the size of the AIM program without instituting differentiation in the neighborhood classrooms.  One example is math.  Had the district instituted differentiated instruction in math in grades 4-6 we would see AIM identified and high achieving students completing 7th grad math by the end of 6th grade just like the AIM children.  This has not happened and I question whether it ever will.  A quality differentiated instruction program may help close the achievement gap.

      Concerning the achievement gap I see some problems with how the district is managing the problem.  The district has 20% low SES in the district and has managed to get 60% low SES at Montgomery.  Those numbers need to change at Montgomery and it may be possible to do so by changing school boundries.  According to the presentation on the achievement gap that followed the AIM presentation the district has $180,000 in funds dedicated to this problem.  How they spend that money is important.  There is some talk by board members of tying the parcel tax funds to the achievement gap.

      Back to AIM the district has foolishly decided to offer 16 children a third test.  This will create calls from other parents who are paying attention who want their child to get a third test.  If race or ethnicity impacted the decision on these 16 it could lead to another lawsuit.  Also contrary to Roberson’s assertion the lottery has not been done away with.  AIM will continue to have issues so long as identified students are put into a program based on a lottery instead of need.

  2. Mark West

    What is the definition of a successful program?  One that addresses the needs of the target population, or one that reflects the racial diversity of the population as a whole?

    With the relatively small size of the population of kids in Davis, I doubt that it is statistically plausible to have both of the above criteria be true.

  3. Tia Will

    “Are we using the wrong tests if they’re not identifying the true potential in every one of our communities?”

    This I believe is the wrong question. The more pertinent question would be “are we using the wrong tests if they are not identifying the true potential of every child ?”

    What is the definition of a successful program?  One that addresses the needs of the target population,”

    This is for me more to the point, but does not address the larger issue. What is the definition of a successful educational system ?  My answer would be one that addresses the needs of each student, not one that separates out “target populations” which are poorly defined, with tests that are not well established to measure accurately the needs of the individual student, aiming for ill defined optimal numbers with poorly articulated targets, either for test scores or optimal number of students.

    The only number that it seems that we know for a fact is the number of students enrolled in our district at any point in time. Every thing else is a matter for conjecture and interpretation. One might interpret my comments as an argument either for or against this program. In reality, it is neither. It is a plea for both sides to leave their ideologic and personal experience attestations behind and truly think about approaches that would promote the best educational experience for every single student, not just those gifted or lagging in any specific area, but for all.

     

  4. wdf1

    David Greenwald:  I don’t think I was the only one who was surprised to hear out of the mouth of Dr. Jann Murray-Garcia the idea that race was a “red herring” in the discussion about AIM (Alternative Instructional Model).

    Don Shor more or less made this case (unintentionally, perhaps) a few months ago in giving various rates of GATE identification for communities associated with UC campuses, and you quoted him:

    Of course, one of the points that Don Shor made this week was, “The focus on size is totally misplaced. Like other communities near UC campuses, Davis has a high percentage of students who identify via testing for GATE.”
    He cited Goleta (near UC Santa Barbara) at 30 percent, Irvine at 25 percent, Berkeley at “more than one-third of sixth graders” and La Jolla, which hosts UC San Diego at 51-54 percent.  source

    This tells me that parent education level (and likely an associated level of income) is more the determining factor than race.  University communities are likelier to have higher levels of education among their residents.  What in fact may determine the kind of racial diversity of the DJUSD AIM program maybe the diversity of the staff at UC Davis.

    1. zaqzaq

      What the rates of GATE identification in communities surrounding UC campuses indicate may be more IQ than educational attainment.  If intelligence of offspring is impacted by the intelligence of the parents then the genes of the parents have more to do with GATE identification then educational level attained by the parents.  GATE tests are after all IQ tests.  According to district staff you cannot improve your child’s score through test preparation.

      1. wdf1

        zaqzaq:  According to district staff you cannot improve your child’s score through test preparation.

        One staff person at the school board meeting said that in response to trustee Tom Adams’ question.  However if you go to this district website describing the OLSAT, it implies that one can prepare for the test.  This page has been available for several years.

        What the rates of GATE identification in communities surrounding UC campuses indicate may be more IQ than educational attainment.

        How would you know the difference?

        If intelligence of offspring is impacted by the intelligence of the parents then the genes of the parents have more to do with GATE identification then educational level attained by the parents.

        I’m mostly not prepared to go there.  Supposedly I’m someone who can test well on an IQ test.  I’m not really sure what it’s supposed to mean, though.  Who cares?  I have grown up watching others who supposedly weren’t quantifiably smart who nevertheless showed remarkable displays of genius and success that one might ascribe to intelligence.  Standardized tests (including IQ tests) are going to miss a lot of important factors worth considering, the point I was try to make here.

        I think your assertion of genetics can take you to ugly places, somewhat as portrayed in Brave New World.  But if you want to tread in that direction, then I think one has to consider the emerging field of epigenetics, that one can activate or possibly acquire genetic signatures by way of environmental factors.

        1. zaqzaq

          One staff member who is responsible for running the selection committee advised the board that a child could not prepare for the tests in response to Adam’s question.  I am aware that there are many companies who advertise courses that will prepare children for the AIM selection tests.  I am also aware of the contents of the district web site.  Neither Bryant nor Roberson or any other staff member present contradicted her statement.  If it was incorrect they should have.  Does this mean that the school districts designated expert does not know what she is talking about?  Is she giving the board bad advise?

          My point concerning the IQ level of parents is relevant.  What is the relationship between IQ and educational attainment?  I suspect there is a link between the two.  Many of the children of professors come from English learner households.  If physical attributes can be handed down from parents to offspring why not intellectual ones?  Our society is more accepting of athletic superiority over intellectual superiority.  For example if is just fine for a child to wear their little league all star shirts and hats or high school varsity letter jackets to school but an AIM shirt if worn by AIM students would be offensive.  Both convey the message that I am better than you to others not in that program.  Both the varsity letter and AIM identification are school activities.  We use a lottery for participation in the intellectual program and a coach’s assessment for the athletic.

        2. wdf1

          zaqzaq:  Does this mean that the school districts designated expert does not know what she is talking about?  Is she giving the board bad advise?

          I don’t know.  Personally I think she is probably unaware of the mixed messages coming out.

          zaqzaq:  If physical attributes can be handed down from parents to offspring why not intellectual ones? 

          Personally, I don’t think intelligence is one, fixed quantifiable attribute.  And as I mentioned in referencing epi-genetics, there appear to be environmental factors that can activate or deactivate certain genetic signatures.  Genetics involves more than directly handing down parent attributes to offspring.

        3. wdf1

          zaqzaq:  My point concerning the IQ level of parents is relevant.  What is the relationship between IQ and educational attainment?  I suspect there is a link between the two.  Many of the children of professors come from English learner households.  If physical attributes can be handed down from parents to offspring why not intellectual ones?

          Some added comments on further reflection since yesterday:

          You made this quote in response to the fact that there are demonstrated rates of higher AIM/GATE identification to be found in college communities.  But let me throw in the achievement gap issue, here, since it was also a point of intense discussion at last Thursday’s school board meeting.

          If you want to justify higher rates of AIM identification in Davis to predetermined genetics (something that I am not agreeing with, to be clear), then would you also say that the achievement gap is also a predetermined, genetic issue?  If so, then by that line of thinking, you could might call into question the point of even discussing the achievement gap.

          Both Trustee Sunder and Dr. Murray-Garcia have publicly expressed affinity for the thinking of Carol Dweck on the concept “growth mindset,” which suggests that brain development is malleable and responsive to environmental stimuli, as opposed to a fixed mindset, which suggests that individuals’ mental faculties are hardwired ahead of time.  What are your thoughts?

  5. wdf1

    “Are we using the wrong tests if they’re not identifying the true potential in every one of our communities?”

    Another related perspective to Tia Will’s, above:  For starters, I think the premise is flawed.  Using standardized tests to measure educational and intellectual performance or attainment is misplaced.  There is so much that is not measured in such tests; what is measured is only the tip of the iceberg.  Basing educational policy so heavily on standardized tests has a strong likelihood of being flawed.

    Refer to No Child Left Behind.  By choosing to focus on raising standardized test scores in English language arts and math among lower performing students, our public schools ignored other important and relevant aspects of education, and the consequences are affecting us today.

    1. zaqzaq

      The no child left behind policy was aimed at improving the level of students in the nation’s schools.  It became unpopular when schools were no longer able to show improvement through testing.  The bar for success was to high with most schools topping out at some point.

      1. wdf1

        zaqzaq:  It became unpopular when schools were no longer able to show improvement through testing.

        It became unpopular when it was clear that the definition of an educated student was only those standardized test scores in English & math.  There are plenty of non-cognitive skills that don’t get tested or developed when that’s the definition.  If this is the narrative you want to embrace, I suggest reading the work of education scholar, Yong Zhao (for instance, this, although he has also written articles available online) who has written much on comparisons between Chinese/Asian education systems with the U.S.  See what you think.  His conclusion is that the notion of the U.S. becoming standardized test dependent in NCLB was a mistake.

        When schools in more affluent communities started falling into program improvement, then the pushback increased.  Today a current expression of this pushback is the opt-out movement to Common Core testing, which has been strong in Washington and New York state

        The bar for success was to high with most schools topping out at some point.

        The bar was raised so high as to push out almost everything else in the K-12 experience for many.

  6. hpierce

    Tia:

    It is a plea for both sides to leave their ideologic and personal experience attestations behind….

    While I do not believe that most in “public service” don’t try to leave their personal beliefs at the door, it is that I believe that this is basically impossible.

    So, whenever there is room for interpretation, one will almost invariably make that interpretation in line with their predetermined biases. I believe this to be true regardless of what ideologic stand one takes.

    Two ‘threads’… apparently divergent thoughts… can you reconcile those for us?  Or, just one is school related, and the others City-related?

  7. Tia Will

    Ambiguity is omnipresent, not limited to any particular venue.

    I understand the difficulty of holding both thoughts at the same time. After all, this is how I live my life… in the shades of grey. My comment is aspirational, while accepting the limitations inherent in human nature.

    1. hpierce

      Fair enough… as long as you recognize that in others…  and cut folk ‘slack’, until they have a chance to prove themselves… one way, or the other… given the dichotomy we pretty much all have, suggest we give the new guy a chance, rather than painting him with a wide brush…

      And, yes, Don, know the juxtaposition of threads was a “borderline thing” … preferred to use a “live” thread, to a “dead” thread… this post IS more appropriate in the other thread…

      1. Tia Will

        hpierce

        given the dichotomy we pretty much all have, suggest we give the new guy a chance, rather than painting him with a wide brush”

        And I agree. But I can’t help but wonder if you would have felt the same if the hire had been someone with a very slow growth bias ?

  8. Frankly

    She argued that she knew the size of the AIM program would shrink but argued that AIM needs to be “needs based, not demands based.

    This isn’t just an AIM point.  The entire public education system should be needs-based and not demands-based.  It isn’t and hence there is a demand for AIM.

     

    1. Don Shor

      Who’s going to assess the needs, and how? Who’s going to do the demanding, and what recourse do they have if their demands (what they perceive as needs, presumably) aren’t met?

      1. hpierce

        You make a good point, Don… only the parents can assess the needs (however they seem fit), and do the demands… the District needs to comply with that…

        After all, they serve the ‘people’…

      2. Frankly

        It starts with the mission and goals of education.   In my opinion it should be to develop young people to succeed in their next step toward economic self sufficiency.  And within that primary mission and related goals, there is plenty of room for the humanities.

        Once that mission and related goals are established, it should be the job of the education system to frequently and accurately assess what each student needs to have the best chance of succeeding in meeting that ultimate target, and to frequently and accurately adjust services to meet those needs.

        The problem today is that the business of education has become a social and political indoctrination camp where only those with academic gifts can manage to achieve enough to help them in their next step toward economic self-sufficiency.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          You lost me on the last sentence. How does an AIM program for high achieving and/ or gifted children amount to social and political indoctrination?

        2. Don Shor

          Wonderful. I did those things with my kids. We would perhaps disagree about exactly where the humanities fit in for developing economic self sufficiency, since a good grounding in the humanities is essential for many career options (including the path one of my children has pursued successfully). But I figured out their needs (“best placement”), with some help from guidance counselors. In my opinion, one of them unequivocally needed GATE. I’d guess a fair number of GATE parents feel likewise.

          I asked “who” and you answered “it should be the job of the education system to frequently and accurately assess what each student needs to have…” So, you are saying that each child’s needs should be determined by, and only by, the school district (that being the “educational system”)?

        3. Frankly

          GATE/AIM exist for two reasons:

          1. The lack of adequate differentiation to support true learning diversity.

          2. To advance the already privileged kids that are blessed with academic gifts generally bought and paid for by their parents and family homogamy tree.

          The problem is that there is way too much time, energy, money, emphasis… spent on molding young minds into a certain model “good citizen” instead of what is required to move them toward a happy and economically-successful life.  Those with the luck of academic gifts and/or academic parents of means can power through all that “good citizen” BS and eventually take their AP courses.  Those below the line of this Davis-style high-end template learner also fall behind and there are not enough resources dedicated to getting them on track… some track… any track… that will lead them to be prepared for their next step in becoming economically self-sufficient as a primary target goal.

          Here is what I think about the “good citizen” BS.   It really isn’t working anyway.  The kids are much less good citizens today than they were when I attended school.  They have been brainwashed into one type of tolerance that liberal progressives and social justice fanatics demand… but then they adopt complete intolerance for other things they should understand and support.  Cultural illiteracy continues to plummet…  they kids know all about entertainers and celebrities, and of course they know that all white people are privileged and racist just being alive, but their civic knowledge is completely lacking.

          Morality should come from family and church primarily.  In the communities where both of those are missing and broken, I see it as a need to be included in the public education curriculum.  But almost all of the education focus needs to be to develop young people to be economically self-sufficient.  Humanities and civics and sensitivity… those things should just ride on the coat-tails of that primary mission.

          If we were doing this, and doing it with adequate differentiation, we would not need GATE/AIM.

          I M O

          1. Don Shor

            The problem is that there is way too much time, energy, money, emphasis… spent on molding young minds into a certain model “good citizen” instead of what is required to move them toward a happy and economically-successful life.

             

            Just curious where and when you think this supposed molding is happening in the current curriculum of Davis elementary, junior high, or high school students? In their math classes? Their history or English classes? On what do you base this observation? Have you been sitting in classrooms, or volunteering, or something? Seems like this might possibly just be your ideological assumption, rather than any actual direct observation.

            The kids are much less good citizens today than they were when I attended school.

            Really. You know this how? It certainly hasn’t been my observation. I’m much less negative about the current generation of young adults than you, I guess.

            Cultural illiteracy continues to plummet…

            Well, that’s some good news, then.

            But almost all of the education focus needs to be to develop young people to be economically self-sufficient.  Humanities and civics and sensitivity… those things should just ride on the coat-tails of that primary mission.

            Again, I’m unaware of any “sensitivity” classes in the schools.
            Your complete diminution of humanities is bizarre, since there are many professions for which a solid grounding in the humanities is essential. The study of human culture, and all that it entails, is foundational. It’s like saying they shouldn’t waste their time on physics and chemistry and just study business management.
            Basically, all you’ve done is illustrate your own interests and biases; what you’re suggesting would be terrible advice for many, perhaps most, young people. Secondary education should provide a sound basis for making career choices. That means a broad base of education.

            And “civics…should just ride on the coat-tails” of economic self-sufficiency? But some guy just said “but their civic knowledge is completely lacking.” Oh, wait – that was you! In the paragraph above! Well, heck, we don’t want kids knowing about the constitution or how government is supposed to work or voting or any of that stuff. It’s secondary to being “economically self-sufficient,” I guess.

            GATE, like special education, is a form of differentiation intended to provide specialized resources to students who need them. Those are students who would not learn as well, or work to their best abilities, in a classroom of mixed abilities. Not everyone needs GATE, and not everyone who qualifies for it wants it. But if it is the best placement for some students, it should be available to them.

            What the district is doing, and apparently the board majority supports this, is slashing the availability of that program. There are now dozens, and will soon be many more dozens, of students who would have benefited from gifted programs who will now not have that. They will not be in their best placements, and will not learn to the best of their abilities. So the board majority has done direct harm to a significant number of students.

          2. Don Shor

            1. The lack of adequate differentiation to support true learning diversity.

            If you support differentiation and learning diversity, you should support GATE. You should support expanding GATE to all who would benefit from it. You should support special ed expansion, and expansion of DSIS. You should support expansion of Da Vinci, and immersion programs. You should support anything that, by self-selection or guidance from experts and parents, moves students into smaller groups, different learning modes, whatever the student and the student’s supporters (parents, teachers, counselors) feel will help her or him learn better. So arguing against self-contained GATE argues against differentiation.
            Differentiated instruction in a classroom of mixed-ability students is likely to be less effective than such instruction within ability-grouped classrooms.

          1. Don Shor

            Yes, I go to YouTube for all my evidence. It’s a great resource. Peer reviewed! I mean, they have comments and stuff, right?

  9. Misanthrop

     “In my opinion it should be to develop young people to succeed in their next step toward economic self sufficiency.”

    In my opinion it would be to teach people how to think for themselves.

    1. Frankly

      Everyone thinks for themselves from the day they are born.  The key is to focus their attention, growth, development and thinking on the things that will improve their lives.

  10. Tia Will

    Frankly

    The problem is that there is way too much time, energy, money, emphasis… spent on molding young minds into a certain model “good citizen” instead of what is required to move them toward a happy and economically-successful life”

    It is interesting to me that you have chosen to link happiness and economic success. Beyond around $ 70,000 per year for a family of four in one study, there was no increase in happiness with greater income. I wonder if there may not be “greater happiness” associated with being a good citizen, regardless of where one  happens to learn those skills. I can’t imagine how we would measure that, but would certainly find it interesting.

     

     

    1. Frankly

      Economic self-sufficiency, not economic success.   Whatever you do in life that makes you happy, you need to be able to make a living do it or something else.

      I think self-actualization comes from the achievements of work.  Education is only a means to an end.

       

    2. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > Beyond around $ 70,000 per year for a family of four in one study,

      > there was no increase in happiness with greater income.

      Two years ago the number was $95K for California (see link below) and with the increase in rents and overall inflation it is probably close to $100K today (a lot higher if Napa wine, European ski vacations and German cars make you happy)…

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/17/map-happiness-benchmark_n_5592194.html

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