What social institutions have the most immediate and strongest impact on a child’s development and well-being? According to researchers for the Pew Charitable Trust’s Economic Mobility Project, it’s the child’s family circumstances, with schools ranking as the second-most important factor.
In the U.S., family circumstances and schools are closely linked, because most cities and counties link schooling to housing. The extent to which families can select schools is largely determined by the extent to which they can afford to select their neighborhood.
This arrangement effectively limits the prospects of upward mobility for millions of children across the country.