“Private public schools” are “open to anyone who can afford expensive real estate,” writes Matt Yglesias in Slate.
Michael Petrilli estimates that 2,800 public schools “serve virtually no poor students.” Yglesias thinks there are many more schools with a “smattering” of low-income students.
You often hear for good or for ill some proposal or set of proposals described as a “market-based” reform to the education system. But the fact is that a market-based school choice scheme is at the very core of American public education, it’s called the real estate market.
There isn’t enough room in “good” schools to take everyone who wants to come, responds Theodore Ross in The Atlantic.
In what he calls a “zoning-free Yglesiastopia,” no weight would be given to local residency in school enrollment. Yglesiastopia must be a place with infinite resources, one in which the good schools are large enough for all, and where no allocation process whatsoever—financial, racial, ethnic, linguistic, or residential—need be implemented. Let students flock to the quality schools and the problems in our educational system will disappear. Hail Yglesiastopia!
Ross lives in New York City and sends his son to first grade at the “zoned” public school a block away. “A forbidding grey-brick hulk . . . it is safe and clean and cheery enough inside.”
Happily, the school zone from which it draws most of its population is diverse, with a student body almost evenly split between white and Hispanic students, and sizable numbers of African- and Asian-American kids, too. . . . Sixty-nine percent of the student body is eligible for the free lunch program.
It is considered a good school, which means it’s hard for children outside the zone to get in.