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Report: the tight link between housing costs and school quality

The gap between high-scoring schools and low-scoring schools has widened in the last decade, and there is a tight link between income levels, housing costs, and the quality of schools in a given area.

Housing costs, income, and school quality levels

According to the Brookings Institute’s new report, “Housing Costs, Zoning, and Access to High-Scoring Schools,”1 the obvious correlation between high scoring schools and high costs is asserted, but exactly how much more does it cost to live in a quality school district? An extra $205,000, says researchers.

The report indicates that home values average $205,000 higher than public school districts with low scores. Other trends became clear as well, with researchers saying that homes in high-scoring neighborhoods have an average of 1.5 additional rooms, and less than one in three are rental homes.

Across the 100 largest metropolitan areas, housing costs an average of 2.4 times as much, or nearly $11,000 more per year, near a high-scoring public school than near a low-scoring public school.

Also not surprising is that areas with wide gaps in housing costs also have the widest gaps in school test scores. Brookings names the Bridgeport, CT area as having the widest gap in test scores between higher-income and lower-income neighborhood schools, with the largest difference in housing costs at $25,000.

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Low-income and high-income areas and test scores

Additionally, income has a very high impact on school test scores – the Brookings report reveals that the average low-income student attends a school that scores that the 42nd percentile on state exams, while the average middle/high-income student attends a school ranking in the 61st percentile.

Brookings found that poor students have become more concentrated in schools with other poor students since 1998, and the average low-income student attends a school where 64 percent of fellow students are low-income, despite their representing only 48 percent of all public school students in America. The percentage of economically integrated schools is less than 7 percent.

Researchers conclude that “across the private, non-profit, and public sectors, there are many compelling efforts to improve the quality of education available to low-income children. In documenting the tight link between housing costs and access to high-scoring schools, this report illustrates the scale of the challenge, and yet, it also shows that reforms to housing and land use policy could have potentially large benefits to the nation’s future by making educational opportunity more equal.”

1 “Housing Costs, Zoning, and Access to High-Scoring Schools”

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Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

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