The public school system is supposed to democratize education, it's supposed to give less privileged kids access to the same (or comparable at least) resources as more privileged kids. (And, the great American hope is, it should drive class mobility. Upward.) But everyone knows it hasn't actually worked out that way. The rich send their kids to private school, "good" public schools flourish in more expensive neighborhoods, and everyone else just hopes for new textbooks once a decade. In huge, diverse Los Angeles, it's especially impossible to break into Ivanhoe or Warner or Wonderland or any of the other top elementary school districts: a house in a top-tier district in the LA metro area costs 79 percent more, on average ($685,000), than a comparable house in an average school district ($383,750). (Top here means school test scores in the ninetieth percentile or above; average is fortieth to sixtieth percentiles.) If you can't make up the average $300,000 difference when you're buying a house, well, sorry your kid's gonna start out behind in life.
It's less dramatic but still true across the US, where "housing prices in the zones of highly ranked public schools are remarkably higher than those served by lower ranked schools," according to a report by Redfin. And it's not because houses differ across districts: "When accounting for size, on average, people [across the US] pay $50 more per square foot for homes in top-ranked school zones compared with homes served by average-ranked schools."
If you don't have a lot of money but would like your kid to get a pretty good education anyway, we guess you can move to Buena Park? Redfin found that the median home price in the Fay Dysinger Elementary School district ($423,000) is relatively low for a district of that quality.
· Affording a House in Highly-Ranked School Zone? It's Elementary [Redfin]