Loosen zoning restrictions to fix school financing?

A novel approach to school funding inequality:

Rather than bringing the money to the poor, why not allow low-income families to move to wealthy school districts? . . .

Rothwell’s reasoning works like this: children in low-income households could have more educational options (and thus higher average achievement) if their parents could afford to move to high-quality school districts; expensive homes prevent low-income families from moving to high-quality school districts; restrictive zoning laws in turn prevent developers from building less expensive, high-density housing in these same districts. Remove or loosen the zoning restrictions, and watch educational inequality slowly melt away, at least for those who seek out better opportunities.

“Zoning out a good education”, Ben Judson, Plaza de Armas, September 2, 2012 (discussing an April 2012 report by Jonathan Rothwell for the Brookings Institution).

Then again, bringing high-performing charter schools to poor neighborhoods would allow families to stay in place and still seek “better opportunities”.

Share with friends:


A nonprofit that helps parents to research school options and become advocates for high quality education.