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4129Do public schools cause sprawl ??

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  • turpin
    Jan 2, 2002
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      The 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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