Matthew Yglesias notes today that, at least in theory, affluent families in good school districts have little incentive to push for improving educations in bad school districts. If we could wave a magic wand and improve the quality of underperforming rural and urban school districts, "suburban property owners are screwed, since a significant proportion of their home equity is tied up in the proposition that owning property in District X entitles your children to a superior education."
Here's a bit of anecdata to support this, from an article in today's Commercial Appeal (obnoxious registration required) about White Station High School, a Memphis public school with a very high reputation:
It's that mystique that ratchets up home prices in the neighborhoods around White Station High, and causes homes to sell 10 days faster than most Zip Codes in the metro Memphis area. Prudential Realtor Laura Zarecor sold her clients' home at 4792 Cole in two weeks. One open house is all it took.