Educational Choice: An Economic Development Catalyst for Urban Neighborhoods

By Kathryn Hickok

A case study on urban renewal suggests that private and charter schools can act as positive drivers of economic development and neighborhood stability. The report, Renewing Our Cities, was produced by EdChoice, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization promoting educational choice for all families.

The report’s authors state:

We find that the school is a strong relocation attractor, and families gravitate toward the school after their children enroll. To the extent public charter schools and/or other parental-choice options influence family relocation decisions, continued growth in these programs may provide a useful policy tool informing urban design and revitalization initiatives in areas where economic growth is otherwise stunted by inferior assigned schools.

These findings are meaningful. A common argument against school choice for low-income children is that neighborhoods and schools would be worse off if families left their assigned public school for a school they thought better met their children’s needs.

This viewpoint doesn’t recognize that private and charter schools are part of the neighborhood, too. When parents have educational options within their communities that are helping their children succeed, they have an incentive to remain part of their neighborhoods and even to move closer to those schools. This supports economic development and a more vibrant civic life in those areas.

Urban economic development is one more way educational choice can be good for both kids and their communities.

Kathryn Hickok is Publications Director and Director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Oregon program at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

  • Bob Clark

    This may be why “Equity” is a device used by the likes of Portland Public Schools to keep folks captive to their dysfunctional educational district. School choice PPS argues would bleed resources from the poor schools, making them even worse. So, everybody really needs to stay in equally poor education environments; because if they don’t, we’ll make sure it gets worse.

    • Oregon Engineer

      you are absolutely correct. The amazing thing is that as “progressive” as Oregon is there are a significant number of options to the pubic indoctrination system. And here in Oregon it is too late for the teachers union to fight it. Look no further than our neighbor to the north. the teachers Union has been very successful in blocking school choice

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