September 5, 2015


More School Choice Means Long, Lonely Commutes for Kids : New study debunks the notion that poor kids are "trapped" in bad neighborhood schools. (Stephanie Mencimer, Sep. 4, 2015, Mother Jones)

The school choice movement has sent low-income students commuting far and wide in search of a better education, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins University. Whether those long commutes to school are worth the sacrifice isn't so clear.

In a study of more than 24,000 records of Chicago students entering high school in the fall of 2009, JHU education professor Julia Burdick-Will found that the poorer a student's neighborhood, the farther that student was likely to travel to get to school. In areas where the median income was $25,000 or less, kids spread out to an average of 13 different schools. In wealthy neighborhoods with median incomes above $75,000, most kids attended one of just three schools.

The social and geographic consequences of long school commutes can be significant, and another major barrier to success for poor children. Navigating such a complex educational system is a daunting task for even the best-prepared families. "We think of choice as a thing of privilege," Burdick-Will said in a press release. "But what we see is that there is a privilege of not having to choose."

Thanks to the school choice movement, by 2007, half of all Americans had some ability to choose their public high school. 

...move the families out of the city.

Posted by at September 5, 2015 8:09 AM

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