Politics

Is school choice good for the environment?

I've seen a lot of moral, academic and budgetary arguments for school choice, but here's a new one: School choice is good for the environment, says Bartley Danielsen, a finance and real estate professor at N.C. State.

Danielsen says school choice allows families to find a great school in downtown areas, so they don't have to move out to the suburbs for better public schools. Even though families might move for better schools, parents are still likely to commute to work downtown, leading to lots of congestion and infrastructure needs.

"If people could live near where they work, then their lives would be better and the lives of the people in cities would be better, the ones that are currently being left behind in, not just bad schools, but concentrated poverty," Danielsen says in a new interview with ReasonTV, published Tuesday.

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Danielsen gave the example of his time working at DePaul University in Chicago. Rather than live downtown, Danielsen's family lived 30 miles away in Naperville, Ill., because of the good public schools. "There are thousands and thousands of people in Chicago making the same commute, congesting the roads, creating CO2 emissions, other pollution, there's a tremendous amount of money spent on infrastructure just to get people from where they live to where they work."

Danielsen founded Environmentalists for Education Reform, a group that aims to support research and inform people of the environmental benefits of school choice.

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