Op-Ed: Exclusionary Zoning Worsens Education Gap

Pete Rodrigue pulls from multiple studies, arguing that zoning contributes to an education gap between rich and poor students. Housing costs lie at the heart of the problem.
December 26, 2016, 7am PST | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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While zoning may no longer have overtly racist or classist intentions, it can still function that way. Pete Rodrigue makes the case that we see this very clearly in schools. Segregation of housing types perpetuates the segregation of people.

"It works like this: wealthy neighborhoods around the US ban rentals, multifamily housing, and smaller homes through regulations like zoning. This excludes lower-income families by outlawing housing they could afford." 

Rodrigue goes on to say that "separate is not equal: because almost half of school funding derives from local sources, poor students are left with less funding relative to student need and less experienced teachers."

Using data from several studies, Rodrigue reports that metro areas with more exclusionary zoning have the widest test score gaps between poor and well-off students. Where zoning is less restrictive, gaps in test scores and housing costs can be drastically reduced. Strategies like housing mobility may help in the short term, but zoning rules eventually need to change. 

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Published on Monday, December 12, 2016 in Greater Greater Washington
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