Monday, September 03, 2007

Home Schooling and Charter Schools as Nativism Buffer

Reading this from economist David Card on the impact of immigration (via Brad DeLong)
While the monetary value is hard to quantify, existing research suggests that people value neighborhoods and schools with better-educated, higher-income, and non-minority neighbors and schoolmates. Indeed, my reading is that these peer group externalities may be a first-order concern among many urban residents.
An anecdote: the local elementary school has felt the impact of a large population of non-English speaking students. It was one of the first Fairfax schools to be placed on probation. A neighbor, who's raised four kids, didn't like the atmosphere so started home-schooling her younger two. It's possible that the rise of home schooling, and to some extent charter schools, has helped moderate what we used to call "white flight". My neighbor's family stayed in the neighborhood, lending some needed stability. If the choice had been solely the local school or move, they might well have moved. Certainly that's what would have happened in the 1950's-1970's.

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