By Elizabeth Warren
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Additional resources for The Two Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers Are Going Broke
48 The only answer for millions of loving parents was to buy their way into a decent school district in a safe neighborhood—whatever the cost. Bidding War in the Suburbs And so it was that middle-class families across America have been quietly drawn into an all-out war. Not the war on drugs, the war about creationism, or the war over sex education. Their war has received little coverage in the press and no attention from politicians, but it has profoundly altered the lives of parents everywhere, shaping every economic decision they make.
56 But middle-class mothers were far more likely to stay behind, holding on to the more traditional role of full-time homemaker long after many of their sisters had given it up. 57 Attitudes changed as well. 59 The Over-Consumption Myth 31 It is also the middle-class family whose finances have been most profoundly affected by women's entry into the workforce. Poorer, less educated women have seen small gains in real wages over the past generation. 61 For millions of middle-class families hoping to hold on to a more traditional mother-at-home lifestyle, the bidding wars crushed those dreams.
The reason is straightforward: The current debate over vouchers is framed as a public-versus-private rift, with vouchers denounced for draining off much-needed funds from public schools. The fear is that partial-subsidy vouchers provide a boost so that better-off parents can opt out of a failing public school system, while the other children are left behind. But the public-versus-private competition misses the central point. The problem is not vouchers; the problem is parental choice. Under current voucher schemes, children who do not use the vouchers are still assigned to public schools based on their zip codes.