We’re not from around here

My daughter’s third grade class was having a civics lesson and the teacher explained that only citizens are allowed to vote. Then she asked how many of the kids’ parents were immigrants.

Every hand went up except one.

Published by

Ragged Clown

Based in San Jose, California

4 thoughts on “We’re not from around here”

  1. To what do you attribute that?

    I suspect relatively mobile people particularly keen on optimizing for school scores gravitated towards somewhere that once had a more typical native density, but slightly better scores. Then it gets a critical mass of education enthusiasts, scores go up higher (kids of parents who choose their neighborhood based on schools tend to ace any sort of academic test), and is self-reinforcing (and the scores become a less meaningful gauge of how good an education is being provided).

    Or I’m way off-base and it’s a different effect. Is there some non-educational pull, like Norwegians going to Minnesota or Chinese going to Chinatown – that is – are most those hands from the same country? Is your area now Little Lichtenstein, and the Lichtensteinian grocery stores, relative lack of Lichtenstein-oppression, Alpine Skiing clubs, etc. are the draw?

  2. I am willing to wager that the south end of almaden valley has been fairly mixed, nationality-wise, since at least the time that Williams/Glencrest was built. (I wonder if any readers of my blog who grew up in Almaden could comment?)

    I am sure that good-school-districtness is self-reinforcing after a while in the ways you describe but I’d choose a different initial trigger. I’d guess that there is a component of intelligence that is heritable and as lots of super-smart immigrants (like me!) moved into the area, they brought their relatively smart children with them.

  3. I agree with the smart thing, but what brought them to Almaden if not the schools? They’re just wealthier? Actually, Back In The Day, it’s my understanding that there were a ton of IBMers in that neighborhood, due to Cottle/ SVL (“Santa Teresa” / Alamden labs. IBM like most high-tech companies is extremely diverse. I don’t know if IBMers were also distributed among lots of other south bay neighborhoods too, though.

  4. I guess it depends upon what you mean by “mixed”, Kevin. My dad *was* an IBM employee and we moved to Almaden in 1972. The Glencrest subdivision was built in the late 80s, I believe. I moved to Mt. View in 1991, but my mom was there until about 4 years ago. In my head, I just went through all of the neighbors on my street growing up. There were no non-white families. There were a lot of hispanic last names, but I just realized that as I was concentrating on nation-of-origin. There were also a lot of Italian last names. None that I can think of had first generation immigrants living there. We had Jehovah’s Witnesses across the street and Mormons down the block, and believe it or not those were the most noteworthy “different” characteristics as we grew up. I went to Los Alamitos the first year it opened, and Castillero a few years after it opened. Again, almost exclusively white. There were a few Japanese kids. I can’t remember any black kids at Los Alamitos, but there were two in my class at Castillero. The only immigrant students we had were one family from Denmark and one from India, I believe. As I got older, I was more out of touch with the makeup of the schools in the area, but those changed because of bussing anyway. The makeup of the street my mom lived on didn’t change until the mid-90s, when more Asian and Indian families began moving in. I think only one or two families are still the same as when I lived there. My mom’s house was bought by an Chinese family, who flipped it. I don’t know who lives there now. My guess is that the number is influenced by the number of people coming into the U.S. for high tech jobs. They gravitate to areas that have a reputation for being “the place” to live, and eventually have a high population of people with the same backgrounds. Cupertino is an even better example. I wouldn’t be surprised if Saratoga, Los Gatos, Palo Alto and Los Altos are the same. While places like East San Jose and East Palo Alto have a different makeup for different reasons.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *