4129Do public schools cause sprawl ??
- Jan 2, 2002The primary feature of the current public school system is that a
family's residential location determines what schools their children
attend. Parents will do a lot of things to expand their choice in
schools. Those with a lot of money simply pay twice, to send their
children to private schools. Some register their children at a chosen
public school using the address of a nearby relative. Many simply
move to a preferred school district, when their children reach school
age. Even if the parents prefer to live in town, moving to the
suburbs becomes the economic and practical way to get their children
into a better school. Any real estate agent will tell the importance
of school district in determining real estate demand and values.
Class flight to the suburbs and exurbs then grows on itself. The
better school districts in the suburbs have more money because they
attract higher-income residents, who bid up the real estate, creating
a higher tax base. They also have more highly educated residents, who
want the benefits of good schools, and whose involvement helps
improve the schools.
So here's the very un-PC question: Does the current public school
system create sprawl? And conversely, will true school choice help
the cities, and create more compact urban geographies?
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