For want of a house, learning was lost

After 18 months of residing in Delaware I’ll be moving, due to work. While touring the local elementary school in a proposed neighborhood in the new state, I engaged in lively discussion with the administrator. I mentioned that during my housing search, I observed most apartments feed into schools with low test scores–even when the lower performing school was geographically further than the higher performing one. And that I’m making my decision on a specific rental because it’s the only one in the area assigned to a top performing school.

“Well” she said meeting my gaze unwaveringly, “most people in apartments are transients.”

Now, I fully understand the dictionary meaning for transient “is to pass through” or some such variation, but I also understand the word transient is often used as a disparaging innuendo, ususally referring to people who don’t live in homes, like the homeless, or in this case apartment dwellers. No matter. What struck me was her inference that children living in apartments somehow deserve substandard education. I wondered what else apartment dwellers deserved…lower paying  jobs, disorganized stores, uninspiring places of worship, ill fitting suits, and bad haircuts?

With the recent housing collapse, many families lost their homes, and have no other choice than to live in an apartment. Others cannot afford a down payment on a home, while a few see apartment living as a prudent financial decision relative to the overhead costs associated with a single family home. Whatever their reasons, people have the right to choose where and how they live.


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