Many experts and schools officials say a return of students from middle-class families is a key component to turning around struggling school systems.Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, said students from low-income families benefit from attending school “where your classmates expect to go on to college and act in a way that is conducive to that.” […]It is unclear how many Prince George’s middle-class families home-school or send their children to private school. Briant Coleman, a spokesman for the school system, said the county does not track those students. But the school population has been dwindling and the percentage of poor students increasing significantly, evidence that middle-class students have been leaving the system.
For years, people have blamed many of the problems in minority-majority school districts on “white flight,” arguing that middle class whites abandoning public schools is responsible for much of the struggles of these institutions. But this suggests that middle-class blacks and whites are doing the same thing—leaving blue cities for better opportunities and living conditions, and leaving old style public schools because they want a better education for their kids.This also reinforces the idea that school reform aimed at giving middle class parents incentives to stay in the system—smaller schools, different models of learning, bigger role for parents—helps all kids.[Closed school image courtesy of Shutterstock]