Vouchers and the End of the Suburb

So, new Texas governor Dan Patrick is making noise about passing school vouchers in this legislature. And I see no reason why it won’t happen. It might not get implemented because this ledge frequently writes bills in such a way that ensures a court case, but ultimately I think it will pass.

If I were a large scale home builder I’d be scared witless.

If you ask anyone why they move to the suburbs I almost guarantee they’ll say “good schools”. But what if the suburbs didn’t guarantee good schools? I would expect to see exactly what we’re seeing in Austin. School choice has led to huge numbers of students going to private and charter schools. It also has led to huge numbers of students transfers. ┬áIt has completely destroyed the notion (or value proposition) of neighborhood schools.

Parents seemed to have learned from Monty Hall and always choose to open another door. I’m frequently at parties with two different sets of parents who’ve decided to transfer their child. Into each other’s schools. This is common. The grass is always greener in someone else’s neighborhood school.

The other side of school choice is congestion. School choice ensures additional trips during rush hour. This could double commutes for those exclusive exurbs.

I think ultimately this is going to increase the speed of gentrification and the decline of outer-ring suburbs. It’s going to be an interesting change to say the least.