Affordable Private Education and the Middle Class City
City leaders, who have struggled for decades with public education reform, are well aware that good schools are needed to attract residentially mobile families to urban neighborhoods. But, while critically important, public education reform alone is not enough. Rather, state and local officials hoping to make our central city neighborhoods attractive places to raise children should come to understand that affordable private schools serve an important urban-development function: they partially unbundle the residential and educational decisions of families with children. Most middle class families, however, cannot afford to send their children to private schools. Thus, state and local officials hoping to make our central city neighborhoods attractive places to raise children should consider employing a familiar urban development tool—tax incentives—to make quality private schools more financially accessible to middle-income families.