Expensive homes mean an expensive, but not necessarily a good education.
The Wall Street Journal reports on a great new book from the Pacific Research Institute, Not as Good as You Think: Why the Middle‐Class Needs School Choice. It’s packed with great statistics on under‐performing, over‐priced schools in some of the wealthiest California districts and case studies on fiscal mismanagement normally associated with big city schools. The findings are eye‐opening, as the WSJ reports:
At Dos Pueblos High School in ritzy Santa Barbara, only 28% of high school juniors tested college‐ready for English in 2006, slightly better than the 23% of students who did so at San Marin High School in Marin County, where the median home price recently hit $1 million.
That’s just a taste of the dirt they dug up with widely available information. And other state think‐tanks can get a lot of mileage with the same model.
Kudos to PRI for advancing the argument for school choice with the middle class and up … that’s where the battle for educational freedom will be won or lost, and the school choice movement has largely failed to speak to middle‐class concerns like the rising tide of mediocrity and skyrocketing property taxes that support over‐funded and horribly inefficient and under‐performing suburban school districts.
PRI’s not‐much‐bang‐per‐buck argument is particularly likely to resonate with the crucial two‐thirds of the electorate that doesn’t have school‐aged children but gets slammed in taxes for the schools. This constituency is typically left out of parent‐centric arguments for school choice, but non‐parents are the key to expanding school choice.