Search This Blog

Thursday, April 19, 2012

What Do Poor Children Receive A Poorer Education?

Tanya McDowell, a Connecticut mother, made headlines last year when she was accused of stealing -- specifically, of stealing an education for her son.

McDowell, who was homeless, was accused of felony larceny by authorities who said she sent her child to a stronger school in Norwalk, instead of the one she was zoned to in Bridgeport, her last permanent address.
"Who would have thought that wanting a good education for my son would put me in this predicament?"

McDowell said in court last month, according to The Connecticut Post. Her eyes downcast, McDowell pleaded guilty to fraudulently enrolling her son in the wrong school district and selling drugs. She was sentenced to five years in prison.

A new Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program report released Thursday lists which metropolitan areas' housing policies most severely impede low-income students from attending high-performing schools, and found that zoning laws preventing the construction of affordable housing in wealthier neighborhoods are still widespread.

The report, "Housing Costs, Zoning, and Access to High-Scoring Schools," concludes that restrictive zoning laws create "economic segregation that prevents millions of American children from getting the quality education they need." The paper, written by Brookings senior research analyst Jonathan Rothwell, notes that in some cities, paying for private school is actually cheaper than moving to enroll in a better public school.

"I'd like people to think about the fact that it costs a lot of money to live near a high-scoring school," Rothwell said in an interview. "Instead of moving toward opportunity, we're magnifying inequality because of the way we assign students [to schools] based on where they live."

While policies that affect teachers, such as tenure and evaluations based on student test scores, have garnered recent attention and traction among state legislators, the Brookings paper makes the case for using zoning laws to change education. Rothwell said while there was movement toward changing zoning laws in the 1970s, a Supreme Court case that upheld the constitutionality of exclusionary zoning quashed momentum.

Tanya Mcdowell


No comments:

Post a Comment