A Think Twice Review of:
Review of Priced Out of Public Schools: District Lines, Housing Access, and Inequitable Educational Options
Think Twice - Mar 01, 2022
Publisher/Think Tank - Bellwether Education Partners
Author(s) - Alex Spurrier, Sara Hodges, and Jennifer O'Neal Schiess
A recent report from the Bellwether Education Partners, Priced Out of Public Schools: District Lines, Housing Access, and Inequitable Educational Options, attempts to examine the availability of low-income rental units in school districts to understand whether districts in the largest 200 metropolitan areas are accessible to families in poverty. The report finds nearly 500 examples of borders between two starkly different types of districts: those that are the most and least "accessible" based on the cost of rental housing. It designates these borders between these districts as barriers. After describing the problem, the report recommends a combination of education policy solutions, including expanding school choice, and affordable housing opportunities.
Reviewer(s) - Erica Frankenberg, Penn State
Professor Frankenberg notes several limitations and concerns with the study and report. One problem is that the report's approach is disconnected from federal housing policy and research. In addition, the report fails to consider the effects of race, which is central to understanding a racialized lack of affordability. Further, the report's failure to acknowledge prior research, its lack of clarity about its methodology, and its overlooking of boundaries that exist within districts all make it unlikely to have fully identified the barriers to high-quality schools.