Current testing policies which rank schools on the basis of student test scores, contribute to a two-tier school system, including the racial re-segregation of schools, housing, and a widening of the gap between rich a poor. All these factors come together in a real estate market where home buyers pay a big premium to live near top-ranked schools.
Chicago Tribune real estate writer Mary Ellen Podmolik writes:
How much more do they have to pay for a home that feeds into a top-ranked elementary school as opposed to an average-ranked school? Nationally, try an extra $50 per square foot, on average, according to the data crunchers at Redfin.
In the Chicago area, the median price of a home near top-tier schools was $257,500, 58.5 percent higher than the median price of $162,500 for a home near an average-ranked school.
The findings are a jolt of reality for almost 1,000 consumers who plan to buy a home in the next two years and completed a Realtor.com survey in July. More than half of those potential buyers said they'd be willing to pay as much as 20 percent above their budget to buy a home within certain school boundaries. Apparently, that's not enough to get into the best schools.Information on schools and test scores came from Onboard Informatics, Maponics LLC and GreatSchools, a national nonprofit. Its assessment of 2012 top-ranked elementary schools was based on test scores.
The high-stakes nature of standardized testing becomes even greater when scores are tied to the value of family homes. But according to the Baltimore Sun,
Agents say they're hesitant to talk about schools to clients for fear of running afoul of the federal fair-housing law, which bans steering based on such factors as race and gender. That increases buyers' reliance on test scores, because for out-of-towners it's one of the few easily available indicators of school quality.