Neighborhood public schools are outdated. They were designed to keep children close to parents, especially when many had mothers who spent their days at home. But today, almost two-thirds of American kids don't have a stay-at-home parent—most moms and dads work long distances from their children’s schools, creating long commutes, missed days at work, and fewer opportunities to attend school events or PTA meetings.
In fact, research has shown that neighborhoods no longer serve as Americans' primary social networks or source of friends and advisers. More and more, these aspects of life are becoming part of the workplace; offices have even been called the new neighborhood. But assignment of public-school spaces has not changed to reflect these trends, which has exacerbated family stress, inequality, and segregation.
According to the Census Bureau, U.S. commute times are an average of 25 minutes one way. Over 40 percent of commutes take even longer. For some parents, this is exacerbated by the need to drop kids off at school and pick them up at the end of the day. Plus, married couples are spending 185 more hours per year at work than they did ten years ago, which puts extra stress on families and reduces parental involvement in schools.