Tutors, museum trips, piano lessons and gymnastics are all very well, but there’s “one thing rich parents do for their kids that makes all the difference,”, writes Emily Badger in the Washington Post.
Hint: location, location, location.
Yes, well-to-do parents buy homes in “nice neighborhoods with good schools.” They bid up the prices on homes near high-performing schools. Middle-class parents settle for second-best school districts and low-income families are out of luck. (Badger doesn’t mention charter schools, which do provide an out-of-neighborhood choice.)
“Forty to fifty years of social-science research tells us what an important context neighborhoods are, so buying a neighborhood is probably one of the most important things you can do for your kid,” says Ann Owens, a sociologist at the University of Southern California. “There’s mixed evidence on whether buying all this other stuff matters, too. But buying a neighborhood basically provides huge advantages.”
Increasingly, college-educated professionals marry other professionals, increasing income segregation. There’s more income to invest in little Aidan and Amelia. The gaps keep widening.
Integrating schools could integrate neighborhoods, writes Badger. Two years ago, District Mayor Vincent C. Gray proposed ending neighborhood schools. It was wildly controversial and was dropped.