August 21, 2008

Foreclosures Versus Student Enrollment

Carroll Andrew Morse

Matt Jerzyk of RI Future believes that declines in student population in Central Falls and Providence are due to foreclosures…

Speaking of questionable analysis, it is absolutely outrageous to me that anyone can get away with saying that significant drops in school enrollment in Central Falls and Providence are a result of the right-wing's anti-immigrant activism in Rhode Island.

One word, people: FORECLOSURES.

Ian Donnis of Not for Nothing thinks that the theory is plausible. I'm not sure about the causal chain in Providence, but it's hard to believe that foreclosures are having a big impact on student enrollment in Central Falls, unless you're willing to accuse the Projo of some really sloppy journalism.

In the August 16 Projo, Jennifer D. Jordan reported on the student enrollment decline…

In Central Falls, the state’s most heavily Hispanic school district, student enrollment numbers are down by more than 400….Currently, Central Falls enrollment stands at 3,050, down from its usual 3,500.
And the number of foreclosures in the period leading up to the 2008-2009 school year? Well, the Projo gives us two figures for Central Falls to look at, compiled from data provided by Rhode Island Housing…Just to be clear, the numbers above are reported in units of one.

The foreclosure numbers for Providence are much higher, 609 in Q1 2008 alone, versus an enrollment drop of 1,700, but on the other hand, the community with the second largest reported number of foreclosures in Q1, Cranston with 155, has a student population that is holding steady, so there doesn't seem to be much correlation between rates of foreclosure and drops in student enrollment, unless you believe that the Projo is missing a big chunk of data, that foreclosures increased by about a factor of 10 in Central Falls after April '08, or that the average number of students living in a foreclosed home in Central Falls is somewhere in the vicinity of 20 or more.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

As usual, Jerzyk distorts the truth with this statement "...right-wing's anti-immigrant activism.."

The reality is this: ..right-wing's anti ILLEGAL immigrant activism..

Posted by: Citizen Critic at August 21, 2008 2:14 PM

I actually sometimes feel bad for Jerzyk because I don't think he is able to voice an opinion without vetting it through the "progressive" political correctness process.And he is much too intelligent to limit himself that way.It must be tiring.I try not to adhere to a template.I will not even defend ICE when I think they screw up.This latest death in custody is an example.Anyone in custody is entitled to decent medical treatment for a serious condition-even POW's are guaranteed that.I think a detailed investigation is absolutely necessary.On the other hand,I can't understand why the Medical Examiner hasn't released the time of death on the man who hung himself in Mynor Montufar's house in January.They must have an estimate.

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 21, 2008 2:26 PM

One more thing-has Jerzyk spent any time in Central falls?I certainly have,and there are not that many one family homes.Mostly three deckers owned by absentee landlords who have more money than God

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 21, 2008 2:43 PM

Joe - Thank you for agreeing with my point. If you actually read my post at this link: would have realized that I am arguing that the foreclosures of triple-deckers is a substantial cause in the drop in school enrollment.

While Andrew attempts to use numbers from 2007 and early 2008 to refute my argument, this data doesn't attest for the last five months!

C'mon, Andrew! You know better than to mislead your readers like that! Get the recent data and then do an overlay! I DARE YOU.

Posted by: Matt Jerzyk at August 21, 2008 5:07 PM

I was going to mention Matt's post, but my emphasis was to be different, and in keeping with his comment here: In a nutshell, I'm puzzled by his insistence that right-wingers are attempting "to shift the debate from RI's recession and our foreclosure crisis." If Anchor Rising is at all representative, we've done nothing so much as trumpet RI's status as one of few official recessions in the United States as evidence that the Democrat-and-union-run state is run poorly.

Is his post just a clever ploy to push Republicans and conservative onto the defensive when it comes to RI's abysmal economy? That sounds like something that a well-financed union/progressive backroom organization would come up with.

"I DARE YOU"... in all caps, no less... is a pretty transparent attempt to make any response seem as if it's an acknowledgment that his false premise — that Republicans are responsible for the recession — is correct.

Posted by: Justin Katz at August 21, 2008 5:24 PM

A search on (tracks US-wide foreclosures) for Central Falls, RI produced 37 properties listed in various stages of foreclosure.

If I “ASSUME” 5 properties as single family; 5 properties as family duplex; 20 properties as three family apartments; 5 properties as 8 family apartments and 2 properties as 20 family apartments. Also I “ASSUME” 2 school age children per family unit. Then the total school age children displaced by foreclosure would be approximately 310 school children.

Central Falls enrollment is down by approximately 400 students so my “ASSUMEING” above resulting in approximately 310 students is almost in line with the foreclosure theory. Except not taken into account families moving from one side of Central Falls to another side of Central Falls thus never leaving the school system.

However, the data I used is current from one of the foremost and most often quoted resources utilized in newspaper reports. and not broken down by quarter.

Unless there are exit polls set up at all entrance/exit boarders of Central Falls and schools so you can directly question parents and students leaving, I don’t think one can hang their hat on “SINGLE SPECIFIC CAUSE” for school enrollment decline when there are so many economic and social events interacting with each other causing the enrollment drop.

Posted by: Ken at August 21, 2008 6:08 PM

The “foreclosure crisis” is occurring across the country, albeit worse in some places than in others. But what has that got to do with declines in school enrollments? People who lose their homes still enroll their children in school, whether they’re living in a homeless shelter, or with relatives or friends.

Moreover, school enrollments are dropping in a number of the suburban communities as well.

According to Bishop Tobin, some illegals are afraid to enroll their children in school because of increased enforcement. Apparently he didn’t get your memo, Matt.

The comparison to Michigan is apt. Like that state we have a union dominated legislature, high taxes, high energy costs and a general antipathy toward the people who actually pay the bills: private sector businesses and their employees.

Little wonder that for decades now employers have been leaving Michigan and Rhode Island for the friendlier economic climes of the Southeast and the Sun Belt. The middle class - particularly newly minted college graduates - have been following the employers.

In the meantime Rhode Island has had economic policy of being a welfare magnet, and we have the burgeoning population of illegal aliens, anchor babies and native-born welfare queens to prove it.

Hence Rhode Island and Michigan being the only two states losing population, this in spite of an influx of illegals and their anchor baby progeny to Rhode Island.

If even moderate increases in enforcement are causing illegal aliens to decide that they’d be better off in other states, or self-deporting back to their country of citizenship, so what? Nothing is happening to them that the Democrat General Assembly hasn’t been doing to the legal middle class citizenry of this state for decades, i.e., forcing them to leave the increasingly economically hostile environment of Rhode Island in search of more advantageous economic opportunities elsewhere.

Welcome to the club, amigos! Hasta la vista!

Posted by: Tom W at August 21, 2008 6:11 PM

Matt-I have read your post is confusing at one point-are you saying there are multiple families on EACH floor of a three decker in your neighborhood?That doesn't sound right.A three decker in that area usually has three apartments.Now my son used to live in Woonsocket in a three story building with six apartments,but it wasn't a typical "three decker".As you can imagine my job took me into half the three deckers in Central Falls and I seem to recall most of the owners not hurting financially,as I often had occasion to meet them during investigations.Maybe things have changed-what I know about real estate and the mortgage markets is about zero.
I am not sure why the enrollment is down,but the time we will know for sure is when school starts and kids come home from summer vacations with relatives abroad.
And let me say this,Matt-I think a lot of people here on Anchor Rising are concerned about the foreclosure crisis and the shell game played by the lenders giving loans to people they knew could not service them in the long run.I don't see a connection between the immigration issue and foreclosures-they are two separate subjects.

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 21, 2008 6:24 PM


I think I would stop using comparisons of RI to Michigan because the Governor of Michigan has been traveling and aggressively marketing Michigan along with Michigan Economic Development Corp. as the state to move your business to thereby gaining 10 companies and 3,000 new jobs created so far this year (2008).

RI is still loosing jobs, companies, population and state economic income.


Also, the National Business Travel Association just released their report on “Taxes Rise on Hotels, Cars and Meals in Top Destinations” top 50 destinations which includes Providence, RI.

As far as conventions and business travel HI levies $21.45 per day which is the least amount of tax in the USA where as RI tax is $8.55 per day higher than HI for same services (Hotel, Cars and Meals).

So if you ever wonder why the RI convention center is not always in use, high RI prices and taxes might be the problem and business travelers and conventioneers are taking notice.


Posted by: Ken at August 21, 2008 6:53 PM

>I think I would stop using comparisons of RI to Michigan because the Governor of Michigan has been traveling and aggressively marketing Michigan along with Michigan Economic Development Corp. as the state to move your business to thereby gaining 10 companies and 3,000 new jobs created so far this year (2008). RI is still loosing jobs, companies, population and state economic income.


With all due respect, so what?

Every state solicits economic development blah blah blah.

3000 jobs created this year? I'll bet they've lost multiples of that at GM alone. She's just trumpeting the usual political PR spin, and omitting the big picture.

I'll bet she's not talking about the fact that Volkswagen just decided to build a new factory in Kentucky instead of Michigan, joining Mercedes-Benz; BMW; Honda; Toyota and Hyundai and purposely building plants outside of Michigan, in the relatively union free, right to work states of the Southeast.

10s of thousands of jobs, perhaps hundreds of thousands of jobs, not located in Michigan in spite of hundreds of thousands of experienced former auto workers living there.

UAW membership is less than a half, indeed maybe one third of what it once was.

There's a lesson there for Rhode Island, but we don't want to learn it ... so it will be taught to us the hard way.

Posted by: Tom W at August 21, 2008 8:10 PM

Matt should check his math becuase if you have a three decker with three families per floor ,as stated in his blog , the numbers are much higher . Maybe he's letting the cat out of the bag about the actual living conditions in those communities .

Posted by: leprechaun at August 21, 2008 9:50 PM

Now I know why you all have such poor economic analysis!

Are you serious?

Have you never lived/visited/seen the traditional triple decker housing in the urban core in Rhode Island?

Absentee landlords carved up these "onetime" historic homes and the typical triple-decker has a family per unit (floor) and some even have 4-6 units as opposed to just 3.

Maybe we could arrange a "tour" for anyone at AR who wants to learn more??

Posted by: Matt Jerzyk at August 22, 2008 12:01 AM

Jerzyk is pushing this theory hard, and he appears very excited about finding the cause of the RI crisis! LOL.

In reality, I think Jerzyk is excited about finding a pseudo cause of the crisis, a false cause, a propaganda tool to divert the blame.

It's funny how in Jerzyk's world the cause of the current crisis has nothing to do with high taxes, government corruption, government bloat/ waste, entitlements, expensive welfare and expensive unions --which all add up to many billions of dollars and which drive away businesses and jobs. On Planet Matt, the RI Democratic party is entirely blameless.

Rather than laying the blame on the crooks in the State House, he comes up with this cockamamy theory.

In reality, foreclosures are a *symptom* of a deeper economic problem, they are not the cause.

But, foreclosures make a great red herring for the Progressives to use to shift the blame. It's Progressive propaganda at its finest.

Posted by: Citizen Critic at August 22, 2008 2:18 AM

Matt – granted I'm not the sharpest knife in the draw, but I read your post and I struggle to understand your point?

Surely it is reasonable to argue that they are leaving for both reasons …the illegal immigration crack-down, coupled with a crappy economy.

You seem to imply that the foreclosure “crisis” is the fault of the “right wing”? Foreclosures, for the most part, happen to morons that over-extend themselves.

Sorry Matty, the Governor and the “right wing” are not to blame. You just think they are because that fits your nanny-state mentality …the government should take care of everyone and anything that goes wrong is the government’s fault.

It is never the fault of people making bad choices such as having children they can’t afford, buying houses they can’t afford, moving to a cold climate when they can’t afford the heat, …or choosing to elect fools that create unsustainable, Entitlement-driven nanny states.

With respect to RI’s economy, why do you think it is in recession?

Do think, just maybe, it is because nanny-state advocates like yourself view businesses that provide jobs as the enemy, as something to be harvested to feed your flock?

Do you think it might be the result of our dismal Public Education system that your pals Bob Walsh & Co. have worked so hard at destroying in order to line the pockets of already overcompensated Union teachers?

Do you think, just maybe, that your Union nanny-state policies are the leading cause of the recession in RI (similar to Michigan’s dismal economy driven by Union entitlements), which in turn exacerbates the foreclosure “crisis”?

Now if we could just get a few thousand Public Employee Union hacks to follow those that have left, we’d be on our way to better days. Wouldn’t you and the rest of folks over at that stink-tank RIFuterless agree?

Posted by: George Elbow at August 22, 2008 6:37 AM

Matt-if there are some three deckers with 4-6 family units per building,then maybe there is some illegal subdividing going on-I don't need the tour fella-I was checking a lot of those places with the business end of a ram when you were in grade school-and there was typically one family per floor-there is normally one bathroom per floor which makes subdividing difficult to say the least.I don't doubt what you're saying however,beause in New York in the late 50's and early 60's landlords were illegally subdividing ordinary apartments in large apartment buildings.It was the start of the housing decline there.
I am sure if Justin is a carpenter,he's been in a few.
Your arguments would seem more valid if you dispensed with the attitude that those of us at AR are all silver spoon Sheldon Whitehouse clones.I grew up in a home where it was literally paycheck to paycheck for many years and hot water in the morning necessitated a fight with the landlord,who sneaked downstairs to bank the coal furnace in the middle of the night.Our downstairs neighbor had an ICEBOX and got ice delivered by an iceman who came by with a horse and wagon!I am not putting you on.And this was in Brooklyn,not Brushy Hollow,Tennessee.
Don't overdose on political input at the convention-the hot air quotient will be over the top.

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 22, 2008 11:25 AM

RI's economic problems were evident well before the foreclosure "crisis".

Some people are now making it the scapegoat, but the foreclosure crisis will be over well before RI's economic problems will be over.

Of course, then others will seek to find another scapegoat.

Posted by: Anthony at August 24, 2008 9:27 AM
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