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When It Comes to School Quality, Your Zip Code Really Does Matters When It Comes to School Quality, Your Zip Code Really Does Matters

When It Comes to School Quality, Your Zip Code Really Does Matters

by Liz Dwyer
April 25, 2012


It's no secret that students in Beverly Hills' ritzy 90210 zip code have access to a higher quality education than students living just one digit away in Compton's 90220. Now a new report from the Brookings Institution reveals just how close the link is between housing prices and school quality. 

Homes in neighborhoods with high-performing schools cost an average of 2.4 times as much as those near lower-performing schools, about a $205,000 difference. The disparity is most pronounced in the northeast—Connecticut's Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk area is home to both the largest test score gap and the largest income disparity in the nation. Because students of color are far more likely to live in lower-income communities than their white peers, the income disparity is also a racial one.

The report concluded that ending exclusionary zoning practices that prohibit "all but the very affluent from enrolling their children in high-scoring public schools" would significantly reduce the test score gap. When parents are given jail sentences for lying about where they live to get their kids into better schools, it's time for something to change. Of course, if all neighborhood schools received the resources and support they needed to become excellent, no parent would need to lie about her address to get her child an education.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user NYC-MetroCard

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