The End of School District Housing in China
Recently, the Chinese government has released a policy to end school district housing. According to this policy, students no longer go to schools that strictly correspond to their registered permanent residence (Di, 2021). Moreover, all teachers will go to different schools to teach different students (Di, 2021). Overall, this policy is considered great progress in China’s education system because it breaks the segregation of students from different social classes.
Before the policy was released, houses within certain school districts were highly overpriced. Take Beijing as an example: In 2020, the price of a very old and small house (around 40 square meters) with a good school district could be as high as $1,600,000, which is five times higher than a house in a similar condition yet without a good school district (Zhe, 2021). At the same time, the per-capita income in Beijing in 2020 was around $10,000 (Shunan, 2021). As a result, the homes within expensive school districts led to the segregation of students, because only students from wealthy families were able to live in highly-rated districts with top schools and good teachers.
Gary Orfield’s “The Resurgence of School Segregation,” focuses on segregation by race in the United States, which is different from the segregation by social class in China. Yet, the two kinds of segregation can cause the same problem: unfair educational opportunities (Orfield, 2002). Therefore, abolishing the school district housing policy can be seen as a juxtaposition of Brown v. Board of Education (1954): they both contribute to the desegregation of students with different social identities. Admittedly, “desegregation is neither a cure-all nor feasible everywhere” (Orfield, 2002); it benefits society from equality and efficiency because it challenges schools’ emphasis on “test scores, graduation rates, and many other factors that influence educational opportunity” (Orfield, 2002). The policy is trying to deal with these problems to gain a more holistic view.
The desegregation of students is not only a task for the United States and China but also the whole world. Therefore, each step of desegregation could be seen as a positive attempt, whether it succeeds or not.
Di, W. (2021, July 6). Policies are frequently introduced in many places. Has the “school district housing” cooled down? Xinhuashe. http://www.xinhuanet.com/fortune/2021-07/06/c_1127628893.htm
Orfield, G. (2002, December 1). The Resurgence of School Segregation. ASCD. https://www.ascd.org/el/articles/the-resurgence-of-school-segregation.
Shunan, Z. (2021, January 21). Per capita income of residents in all provinces in 2020. Renminwang.http://finance.people.com.cn/BIG5/n1/2021/0122/c1004-32008733.html
Zhe Ji. (2021, January 22). Beijing school district housing prices jump up. Wenxuecheng. https://www.wenxuecity.com/news/2021/01/22/10258371.html