The same thing applied to Cupertino/Apple, with Willow Glen having better schools but a longer commute.
We drew a circle on the map showing the longest distance I was willing to commute (on a bike), and bought on the circle.
It's not easy to create a good school. Certainly, simply throwing money at the problem doesn't work, as shown by an example of US public schools. The most certain way to achieve it is to heavily preselect the attending children, but that presupposes the existence of such quality base in the area around the school. The problem is that if it does, then their parents are usually already rich themselves, and so the house prices are already high.
Compared to what? Spending per pupil in K-12 are up >2x compared to 40 years ago, adjusted for inflation. Worldwide, they are second only to Norway and Switzerland. Moreover, the poorer and worse performing schools typically enjoy higher spending per capita than richer schools. See e.g. . For a specific example, look at the public schools in DC, which have absolutely atrocious educational outcomes, while enjoying double of the national per-student spending (which is already very high by itself). DC is literally spending 4x as much per student than US was on average in 1970s (again, inflation adjusted), and having worse educational outcomes than US in 1970s on average.
> Also, who measures children by “quality”?
Hardly anyone, which is why you have uninformed opinions about how increasing funding will improve outcomes. We already did it. It didn't work one bit.
 - https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2017/...
 - https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DW0f2MbVAAAw_69.jpg
Also what you linked (1) does not support your argument. "The U.S. public school system is characterized by large funding differences across districts, but what about differences in school spending within districts?" Sure, within a school district it's a different story, but people are very careful when drawing those borders based on specific agenda's.
Per student Instruction spending: Arizona $4,077 vs New York $15,746.
Per person income Arizona $25,680 New York $40,272.
That's funny, because New York and Arizona perform about the same in the NAEP assessment. Clearly, New York has a lot to learn from Arizona, if it can achieve the same results with quarter of the NY's spending.
Even if they cannot improve their test scores, imagine how much the situation of students in poor families would improve if the $12k saved per student was simply given back to their families. Think of how many kids could be pulled out of poverty if their parents got extra $1000 per month per kid.
Looking at ACT and SAT scores by state Arizona is well behind when you adjust for participation and graduation rates.
New York is doing very well economically specifically because they are spending on education. Resulting in vastly fewer poor families.
Now, you can argue New York is not getting value for money, but they are getting better educated kids.
Arizona is at 79.5%, vs. 80.5% in New York. I'd hardly call it "well behind". Moreover, the poor students have higher graduation rates in Arizona than in New York. And, moreover, the graduation rates don't mean much, as shown by recent DC graduation rate scandal.
> Looking at ACT and SAT scores by state Arizona is well behind when you adjust for participation and graduation rates.
What's the source of this data? Does it adjust for private vs. public school?
> New York is doing very well economically specifically because they are spending on education. Resulting in vastly fewer poor families.
New York does very well economically because of New York City, which didn't become the global economic powerhouse because of its high education spending. New York City public schools, with a handful exceptions, are well known to be quite bad, by the way.
> Now, you can argue New York is not getting value for money, but they are getting better educated kids.
I see no reason to believe that New York public school children are any better educated than Arizona.
I would not trust numbers from the last two years until people have had more time to audit them.
> And, moreover, the graduation rates don't mean much, as shown by recent DC graduation rate scandal.
Did you miss it?
It is you who even brought up the graduation rates in the first place. If you believe that the numbers are not to be trusted, why did you even bring it up?
I never understood the US focus on graduation rates when "graduation" can mean vastly different things depending on the school.
Similarly, if your measuring graduates you need to ensure your measuring similar populations and one system is not simply dumping problems into a separate non counted category.
Given how much of school costs are labor costs, the main thing Arizona is probably doing “right” to produce those efficiencies is hiring people who live in Arizona.
It's not likely that New York can really learn much from that.
It seems like school teachers are dramatically underpaid (a matter of opinion but I feel it's probably true in the median), but not the system as a whole.
I know a few american teachers, grade thru hs. They report wages and supplies are a bit better off than in previous years, but that cricculum is so perscribed that they feel little leeway to actually 'teach'. They find themselves optimising for test taking and hate themselves a little bit for it. They are constantly under fire from other teachers with competing agendas, and beset by often abusive, sometimes nessarry, unions. It is a bad system that has evolved and the teachers are sad pawns in it. But there is still live to live, love to explore and things to strive for outside your job. Teachers have a heavy feeling of seeing their enforced ineffectiveness slowly degrade their community.
But screw teachers for not having extra time, amirite?
Because from where I sit those don't conflict at all.
 there are lots of high-spending small outliers serving areas with total (adult+child) populations in the < 100k range
For the rest of the state, the funding is nearly identical on a per-student basis.
quality children usually have rich parents
Maybe that wasn't what was meant, but that was what was said.
The point here is that we have no idea how to make a school good, other than by kicking out bad students (whatever the reasons for them being bad might be) and getting good ones. If you knew a way to take a random bad performing school in the country, and bring its students educational outcomes to above national average, you'd make lots of money contracting out consulting to local government.
I would disagree with any metric claiming to measure school quality that is not constant when the demographics of the school change. If our metrics simply gauge the socioeconomic status of a school's population, we need better metrics. We also need to develop interventions that overcome the educational costs of poverty, perhaps, dare I say, by eliminating--or at least attenuating--poverty.
And if the metrics don't appeal to your preconceived notion of how the metrics should work, you want to change the metrics? You want metrics to not notice changes in demographics?
Converting them to boarding schools and essentially cut off contact with the rest of the world may work. It would also be both really expensive and creepy, reminiscent of the times when native American children were forced to attend English-only schools away from their families.
Yeah right, which school are you looking at?
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the US: teachers have to hold several jobs just to survive.
(That story was on HN several days ago as well)
So, basically, in her teacher job, she already makes more than 60% of Versailles, KY households. If her husband makes anywhere close to what she does, their household makes more than 85% of households in Versailles, KY, and that's not even counting her moonlighting.
Maybe they have some special needs, like e.g. disabled children, that make them need six figures income, then certainly I'm sympathetic to their plight, but if the argument here is that a household in Versailles, KY needs a six figure income just to survive, then well, I'm stunned.
I can't speak for KY, but if you want to go into specific numbers, let's start here:
>In 2016, for instance, the average teacher’s starting salary was $38,617
Make that $45K in California.
In San Jose, where I currently live, median elementary school teacher salary is about $50K.
With this kind of salary, the median teacher will not be able to rent a one-bedroom apartment in decent San Jose, which typically go for well over $2K/month (about $2500 for 1B), since landlords usually want to see monthly incomes of 3X rent (source: I'm renting).
That's barely double the minimum wage ($12/hr in SJ) for a median teacher salary.
Again: this means half the elementary school teachers in San Jose make under 2X minimum wage and most literally can't afford to rent a 1B apartment on their own.
That's before you add in student loans (education isn't free!), car payment/maintenance/insurance (we don't have a usable public transportation system here), etc - and that's assuming no kids.
You can always find an example of a teacher that's well paid, but there's a reason why the teachers were protesting in several states - and the reason isn't that they have too much money thrown at them.
If we assume they make all their salary in 8 hours/day, that's more than $34/hour. In a non-school work year that translates to about $70,000/year.
(For the record, the average salary for a public school teacher in Santa Clara County is $68K as of July 2018. The average rent for an apartment in Santa Clara County as of September 2018 is $2730, or 48% of that income; for a 1BR only, it's $2471, or 44%, still well over the 2.5x rent-to-income guideline that many rental companies use as a minimum. The median home price in Santa Clara County as of July 2018 is $1.3M, so I'm gonna say we don't really need to look at mortgages, okay? Okay.)
My apologies, but you have no idea how much work a teacher actually does. A lot of it is indeed done after hours, and yes, 11-hour work day is not atypical. There's lesson planning, endless grading, paperwork, and that's just to start.
But, as the other commenter here said - it all doesn't matter. $50K is $50K, and after all the juggling, a teacher in SV can't even rent an apartment in SV.
All that is to say that the US is really not solving its education problems by throwing money at it, as suggested by a parent comment, when a full-time teacher can't even rent an apartment with their salary in one of the richest and biggest metro areas.
Wake County’s average teacher salary hits $50,000 for first time
(2) There's pretty strong evidence that school ratings mostly are a measure of the students assigned, so if you want to influence ratings of the local schools to manipulate real estate prices, you don't establish a new private school and try to make it good, you make a new private school and selectively admit low-performing students from the target area.
Say it with me: Correlation does not imply causation!
Correlation does not imply causation!
(And schools in the U.S. are funded largely by local property taxes. Therefore, the arrow of causation might very well go the opposite direction here: the places where homes are sold at higher prices are assessed at correspondingly higher taxes, and therefore those school districts get more money, and thus perhaps -- perhaps! Correlation does not imply causation! -- those more heavily funded schools are regarded as "better".)
Aside from differences in capital investments, generally the operational funding is allocated on a per-pupil basis.
How can someone who isn't a parent improve the quality of their local school? A point is worth _a lot_ around here.
I know buyers are thinking to themselves:
"I can either send my children to private school, or I can buy this house and send them to public school. Either I spend $35k/yr per child in fees, or I can spend $80k/yr and buy in a good district."
At that point the $80k is a good buy - they're thinking they can get it back.
I look at my school (poorly scored school) and ask "how can I convince them to send that private school funding money my way?" Typically I would vote up property taxes but I don't have that lever in California.
Say you took any poorly scored school and decided to create two schools from the student body. Same funding per child. Children whose parents come to a signup night for the new school get to go to the new school. The rest stay in the old school. The academic results from these two schools will be very different, just by this simple sorting. Money and better teachers help, but so far applying them from the outside doesn't seem to move the needle much.
So how about this as a hypothesis- spend the money on improving parental engagement. Weekly training events, much better planned homework (xeroxd sheets handed out is not the same as a guided syllabus for the parents to follow)
You can do a lot just by engaging those parents
But what if those parents don't want to be engaged with. A lot of children who would be "left behind" in the old school would have been from a worse social-economic background which would mean the parents just won't have time for the school events. Or they might just not care about the kids.
Have "parent trainers" for a school and i expect a massive increase in engagement - and pupil outcomes.
This of course comes at a cost.
And where parents are working 3 jobs to get buy, then yes, there is another extra cost to society - which is to ask why have we arranged society so some people are in that situation ? cf tax regieme, welfare state etc etc
I don't. For three reasons:
(1) the needed training is probably deep, not shallow, and needs years of lead time.
(2) most parents aren't sociopaths, sure, but that doesn't mean they accept an offered external authority as more knowledgeable than themselves on rearing their children, even if they actually were.
(3) #1 is only a “probably” because it's not entirely clear what the needed training is; we know parental wealth and educational attainment makes a big difference, but we don't know on a more detailed level why, and there are conflicting explanations. Having trainers may not help much of we don't know what it is that they should be training.
A rent-seeking speculator? Not sure how you're using that phrase but I don't think rent-seeking applies here.
>He and Christopher Williamson developed and empirically evaluated dynamic query sliders in the ingenious Dynamic Home Finder , which applies direct manipulation and infovis techniques to dynamic real time visual real-estate database queries. That inspired me to implement a similar real time information visualization technique in SimCity .
 Dynamic Home Finder: https://web.archive.org/web/20161119140228/http://hcil2.cs.u...
>Abstract: We designed, implemented, and evaluated a new concept for visualizing and searching databases utilizing direct manipulation called dynamic queries. Dynamic queries allow users to formulate queries by adjusting graphical widgets, such as sliders, and see the results immediately. By providing a graphical visualization of the database and search results, users can find trends and exceptions easily. User testing was done with eighteen undergraduate students who performed significantly faster using a dynamic queries interface compared to both a natural language system and paper printouts. The interfaces were used to explore a real-estate database and find homes meeting specific search criteria.
 SimCity Frob-O-Matic Dynamic Zone Filter: https://youtu.be/_fVl4dGwUrA?t=3m35s
Walkscore makes it easy to figure this out but I don't know if Redfin or Zillow have this too
Walk scores are on their listing pages, but I am not sure why they don't allow you to filter by Walk Score in the Redfin search UI.
From 'Dog City' to cash cow: Downtown's tallest building, 444 Castro, was once a symbol of stagnation.
>For 10 years after it was built,
the big office building on Castro
Street was empty, prompting
owners to worry that it would
become targeted by thieves or
squatters. Their solution was to
let a pack of Doberman pinchers
run loose on the building’s
>The dogs barked from the lobby
at anyone walking down Castro
Street, leading to nicknames for
the structure like “Dog City” and
“White Elephant.” Some called
it the largest dog kennel in the
>Meanwhile, the dogs had
nowhere else to go, and so
they soiled the building, leaving
an increasingly horrible mess.
>According to recently retired
finance director Bob Locke, city
officials joked that it took years
to get rid of the smell.
(The article has an archive photo that shows how the 12 stories were built from top to bottom down! And former mayor Bill Jelavich reminiscing about how the building was actually part of his plan to revitalize the downtown.)
>“I never dreamed it would
change the way it did,” Jelavich
said of the city’s downtown.
Another way to look at it is the house-price-to-income ratio, San Jose metro is the highest in the nation for individuals, #2 for households. 
Even better IMHO is price-to-rent ratio, which is the rental price of a home compared to the purchase ($360k home rented at $36k/yr is 10x). SV runs from 35x in SJ to 45x in SF (highest in the nation). Home values can't rise much above this unless income rises. 
Rents are also quite high and it would still take 45+ years to have it paid off!
Any reasonable person would want to rent in such a situation.
1. People value owning a home irrationally, the price is disconnected from fundamentals
2. People are pricing in future growth. With interest rates being low, this growth can be fairly long-term. The growth is primarily in future rent increases, but also potential interest rate decreases or irrational future growth (as in point 1).
Now, for point 2, we can actually calculate implied future growth, and then try to decide whether it is rational or not - e.g. given the market future interest rate expectations.
It would also be interesting to know who owns these houses. Did they buy them by really stretching themselves, and any downturn in the area would result in loads of forced sells, temporarily collapsing the market? Or are the owners in no danger of having to sell?
If both the ratio and the prices were expected to be stable (or, for prices, declining) in the long term, sure.
But would a reasonable person expect that?
In turn, what this means is that the NIMBYs are not all crazy. If you try to improve your home, the neighbourhood, or the region, you will not improve the property values, so don't waste your money (or municipal funds); the property values are already at maximum. But if you build more housing, you run the risk of putting DSR below 1.0 and sending property values into free fall, as they return to "normal" "healthy" market conditions.
Seems like a pretty obtuse way of obtaining a Midwestern house. You could also just mortgage one, like everyone else does, while working any white-collar Midwestern job.
"Relatively affordable" to people coming from the Bay Area translates to "completely out of the question" for people who are from the areas affected.
A similar argument could be made about public spending on education, that it only creates inflation. But of course education is a great way to increase productivity. Similar effects would probably follow from universal healthcare and a UBI: namely healthy, financially secure people can do things that have short-term costs but long-term benefits, like starting a new business, or doing a low-paid internship, learning new skills, and so on. Also, fewer sick-hours leads directly to increased productivity.
Uh yeah, but that doesn't make it a good thing. If the expense of education puts you into a debt hole that is so deep that it's impossible to make up for it with increased productivity, that is a net negative.
And what does this have to do with housing? Increased housing costs is like the exact opposite of increased productivity. Limiting supply of housing is a rent-seeking behavior.
Seeking to limit supply is not necessarily rent-seeking (which is a motivational state), but sure.
The comment was directed toward the issue of whether UBI is inflationary, not whether housing supply should be increased.
This isn't proof or anything, I just don't think the bay area disproves anything.
Perhaps UBI should be packaged with a free/constant price flat/cheap house depending on area.
Now if I wanted to buy a house... yeah, the valley sucks. But so does owning a house and I have no interest in that anymore.
Normal people are looking at less than $1k in total rent.
Precisely. And companies don't do this. Price differences are decided by negotiation. It happens in the labor markets.
What you are simulating is just tiny part of the Economies of agglomeration https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economies_of_agglomeration
The only working solution to housing is building more densee cities with more housing. Productivity of workers and companies increases as the result of various agglomeration effects.
Looking at London, for example. There are surprisingly few nice areas in London to live in with a family, in close proximity to the City, even if you had loads and loads of money. That has always seemed very odd to me. As a result, the few reasonably nice houses that you do find, have prices that are "maxed-out" - that is, if you are in the "high-earning class" - e.g. working in finance in London - and buy them, all your "excess earnings" are sucked into mortgage or rent, and you are left no better off than if you were in a median job, except now you live in an ok neighbourhood close to work.
If you had no planning laws etc. and it was easy for property developers to develop how they like, you would think that the area around where the highest paying jobs are would be more uniformly nice, developed in such a way that the people working in those jobs would want to settle there. So the supply of houses for those workers would increase. At the same time, low-income workers would likely be pushed further out, with some finding that the extra commute makes working in the city centre not worth it. Thus the wages for the low-income workers will probably go up as the supply of labour goes down.
It seems like the overall utility would go up - London would become a nicer place to live in, crime rates would drop, etc.
Socialized/affordable housing might help, but typically once the market is so distorted not many people can afford to live there and thus even if their rent is cheap they're going to leave. This property is then bought by the wealthy and traded for an asset, repeating the cycle.
The way I think about it, is that if buying a house can yield you 2-3% - either through expected house price growth or through rental income or both - someone will be buying it at that price, because it makes economic sense in a low interest rate environment (i.e. you won't find any other assets with similar risk that will give you a higher yield). Who ends up being the buyer is not particularly relevant - as long as the yield is there, somebody will be buying at that price.
The question then is,
1. Are rents too high? Unlikely, rents are very much supply/demand driven.
2. Are yields too low than what is justified? Possibly. Rental yields in central London seem to be around 3.5%, which seems quite low if you take into account the costs and the risks.
3. Are investors pricing in too much price growth? Possibly - related to point 2 above.
But it doesn't seem like current buyers are paying completely irrational prices for the houses. So it does not seem like we are in a bubble. Of course, if interest rates go up, we will see housing drop, and as expectations of future price growth are reduced because of that, we should see a bigger decrease in house prices than is warranted by interest rate increase alone. Add to that the potential of some people not being able to pay their mortgage at higher interest and being forced to sell, and the prices should dip even more than "intrinsic value". If this effect propagates to the wider economy, people might lose their jobs, forcing more people to sell, resulting in a full-blown liquidity event where it becomes a buyers' market for a short while.
Now, whether interest rates will go up significantly and whether once there are signs of such a liquidity event they will stay high is anyone's guess.
If not, it seems like corporations are making a mistake by investing there. If the government can't be convinced to change the zoning rules, then companies should take some attrition and expand elsewhere.
There are two or three awesome places to work in Atlanta. In SF I knew I could get out of bed, trip over my shoelaces, and accidentally land on six fantastic places to work before breakfast…
If you're experienced, and interested in Go+Java infrastructure/tooling work, hit me up: I'm trying to help get an Atlanta PlatEng (“Platform Engineering”) presence off the ground and might be hiring soon…
However as an engineering manager who has done hiring in multiple locations around the US I will say the sheer size of the talent pool does matter. It’s like the Napoleon quote, quantity has a quality all its own.
This is a delightful phrase. I'm going to try to find opportunities to use it.
IMO it's no small wonder that AI look and feel human to us. As a heuristic we've prematurely discarded all the ones that don't.
You’ll lose money on upkeep and taxes probably, but its still a fun idea.