by Dr. Terry Stoops
Former Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
Dr. Bartley R. Danielsen, associate professor of finance and real estate at N.C. State University, makes a compelling case that school choice can help disadvantaged children. Danielsen writes,
What force seems to be driving families across the county lines? It’s school assignments. Middle class families flock to the areas with good assigned schools, and they avoid areas where they perceive that schools are bad.
Spatial sorting of this type occurs every place where students are assigned to schools based on where they live. Once homes are assigned to schools, the sorting process begins. Over time, neighborhoods, towns, cities, and regions become segregated on the basis of wealth, income and, often, race. The impacts on the poor are disastrous. Not only are poor children assigned to poor schools, but their neighborhoods become afflicted with all the ills associated with concentrated poverty. Parents can’t find jobs, crime increases, and social mobility is reduced. Middle class families pay a price too because they endure longer commutes, stuck in traffic because living close to work would relegate their children to an inferior school assignment.