Study Links Zoning, Education
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – A study released by the Brookings Institute shows a link between municipal zoning practices and student’s standardized test scores.
The report’s author, Jonathan Rothwell, says that’s because most zoning practices restrict low-income students’ access to high performing schools. He says the greater the disparity in housing prices between school districts, the greater the score disparity. He says St. Louis showed a greater than average difference in test scores between low and middle-income areas.
“The test score gap in St. Louis is a little bit higher than the national average. It’s about 24 points on that 1 to 100 scale,” he said.
The national average is about 20.
He says the way the results break down, municipalities that have zoning practices that require large lots for homes or prohibit multiple family housing often have higher scoring schools when it comes to standardized testing. He says this prohibits lower-income families from moving into districts with better schools because they can’t afford to live there. He says the study shows the need to look at changing zoning regulations to allow everyone access to a good education.