Elizabeth Warren of Harvard Law School is one of my favorite writers and analysts. She's a specialist in bankruptcy law, author of several books, and currently chair of the committee overseeing the economic stabilization act. Catch her this evening on Rachel Maddow's show on MSNBC - it's on twice tonight. She's absolutely great to listen to and has a very interesting take on the financial burdens facing most of America's families.
In the book she wrote with her daughter, The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle Class Mothers and Fathers Are Going Broke, Warren writes about the increasing economic fragility of American families who need two incomes to survive and whose economic situation is twice as fragile since the loss of either income could tip the balance. She also writes and often speaks of how the middle class is being squeezed in large part because of the high cost of housing in neighborhoods with good schools.
Some days I've felt like I'm on the Elizabeth Warren house tour. In towns known for their schools we see small houses in need of repair on busy streets. Then we get to a town and for the same price we'll see lovely larger houses. What's the difference? Almost always it's the reputations of the schools in each town.
What are parents to do? They can adjust their expectations regarding the quality of the house they will buy. Or perhaps they can get very involved in the schools that their kids will attend and work with the community to improve them. Some will choose homeschooling, others private school. Clearly there are no easy answers.