There's no way around it. It's a thing every real estate agent who operates in a Metropolitan area encounters every day. But it's rarely been made so visual for our city as in this graphic a Washington DC government office published last week. The District of Columbia's Office of Revenue Analysis plotted test scores of the city's elementary scores against the median sales prices of 3-bedroom homes within each of the school's boundaries. The result is striking. It's also a stark way to explain even to buyers who have no school age children why the same house might cost twice as much if it sat somewhere just a mile or two up the street.
This 14-page interactive tableau created by Ginger Moored of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer is a telling, if somewhat sad tool that provides deep insights:
While there are a few expensive neighborhoods that do not have first rate schools (mostly a function of the fact that most of the well-to-do residents their send their kids to private schools), the general rule is still: the lower the cost of housing in a neighborhood, the lower the chance that a child will learn enough to meet proficiency ratings on standard tests.
DCPS is very open and transparent with those disclosures (see DC School Report Card), but it's not clear if that's a step toward improving all schools, or if it just reproduces the pattern over and over again. Because those that can move to a good school district will. The others might be stuck, and so will be their neighborhoods.
[Here's an analysis of the (not so indirect) cost of a guaranteed spot in a great public school as reported.]