BOULDER, CO (March 1, 2022) – 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. However, a review by Erica Frankenberg of Penn State finds significant methodological shortcomings that limit the report’s usefulness.
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.
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.
Thus, though the report is useful in its consideration of the relationship between housing and educational opportunity, Professor Frankenberg concludes that its flaws substantially limit the report’s utility for informing social policy.
Find the review, by Erica Frankenberg, at:
Find Priced Out of Public Schools: District Lines, Housing Access, and Inequitable Educational Options written by Alex Spurrier, Sara Hodges, and Jennifer O’Neal Schiess and published by Bellwether Education Partners, at: