By Loyd Eskildson | Point of View
The Scottsdale Unified School District ‘advantage’ depicted in Dr. Menzel’s article is, in my opinion, mythical.
The study from Arizona State University cites from several serious flaws.
- Implying that because housing costs are on average 2.4 times more for homes located closer to a high-scoring public school than for homes located near a low-scoring public school, SUSD should be credited for the considerably more valuable homes in the SUSD district. That’s nonsense – the causation flows in the opposite direction. The fact that pupils from higher-income/better-educated parents score higher is probably the most agreed-upon relationship in education.
- Suggesting that ‘ … aggregate housing values rise by $19 to $20 for every dollar spent on state education’ is irrelevant because Arizona equalization funding is reduced for SUSD due to SUSD’s relatively higher assessed values.
- Brookings states that ‘there are around 30% fewer rental properties in the attendance zones around high performing schools (Rothwell, 2012),’ but cites no data for Scottsdale or the Town of Paradise Valley. However, it is well known that both Scottsdale and Paradise Valley have had major increases in rental properties and associated problems since that 2012 study was published.
- Ironically, the report cites ‘What You Make Depends on Where You Live: College Earnings Across States and Metropolitan Areas” by John Winters. That study emphasizes that graduates in in large cities and urban areas (Scottsdale/Phoenix) are more likely to earn more – hardly attributable to SUSD.
Finally, SUSD provides numerous obsolete high school courses instead of demanding material preparing graduates for success in an environment providing world-competitive, artificial Intelligence training.
Editor’s note: Mr. Eskildson is a resident of the Town of Paradise Valley and former chief deputy at the Maricopa County School Superintendent’s Office.