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School Choice Policies Have Economic Benefits June 12, 2024

School Choice Policies Have Economic Benefits

*whew*

Yorktown’s first paper has dropped.

Our visiting fellow, Patrick Tuohey, has done fantastic work pulling together the literature on how school choice policies can have positive economic benefits, and. . .well, why don’t we let him summarize: “Recent research suggests school choice itself drives economic development by allowing families to cross district boundaries without having to buy into them.”

Specifically, we look at four localities for how this happens.  The State of Vermont; Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; the State of Minnesota; and Paris, France all show positive residential housing values directly correlated to school choice.  (Yes, you read that correctly.  The City of Light has school choice options.)

In Vermont, it’s vouchers.  Tuohey references a 2020 paper published in the Journal of Housing Research which finds, “robust evidence of statistically and economically important price premiums accruing to properties located in jurisdictions offering school vouchers.”  In Raleigh-Durham, it’s charter school opportunities; in Paris, it’s the French version of private schools; in Minnesota, it’s open enrollment.  But whichever locality you reference, the result is the same: Residential home prices are improved with school choice programs.

Our paper references several polls that demonstrate what we already know intuitively, which is that good schools are a massive priority for parents.  Connecting the dots, it’s pretty easy to deduce that as school choice programs become more and more prevalent in more and more states, parents are going to start relocating to states that have such policies in place, further driving the economic benefit.  We will soon see states advertising their school choice menus to businesses and families that are looking to relocate, which will again push positive economic development in those states.

Virginia is well behind in this area.  And if the Old Dominion doesn’t get serious about implementing school choice policies, we’ll fall further behind to states that do.  We now know that school choice results in better education outcomes, but it’s looking very likely that it’s good for the economy, too.

Time for Virginia to catch up.

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