Is Capitalization the Achilles' Heel of School Choice?
13 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2005
Recent legal developments have focused new attention on many of the longstanding questions about school choice: Will parents shop among many schools, selecting only the best schools for their children and rejecting the weak performers? Will schools respond to these pressures by offering higher quality educational services at a lower cost? Will student performance improve as a result? As these questions suggest, the school choice debate so far has focused primarily on the internal dynamics of the market for education. Ultimately, however, the fate of school choice may depend on a question that has received much less attention: what is the likely effect of school choice reforms on local housing values? The answer to this question is of more than academic concern. If William Fischel is right that "concern for home values is the central motivator of local government behavior," then the capitalization effects of school choice plans should be of interest to both those who support school choice and those who oppose it. This essay offers a brief overview of current academic research on the likely effect of school choice on local home values and then discusses two recent articles regarding how these effects may change the political dynamics of school choice.
Keywords: school choice
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