Philadelphia (CBS) – For years researchers have identified student achievement by zip codes. Kids from more affluent areas are usually better achievers.

Focusing on the problem, a report released by the Century Foundation, “Housing Policy is School Policy” points to Montgomery County, Maryland as a model where housing policies have played a role in student academic performance.

The County has permitted the public housing authority to buy one third of the houses for public housing. Because sites are scattered, children from low income households attend school with those of higher income families. Developers must also sell a percentage of homes at below market prices.

Tracking 800 students from public housing units, the study showed that students in scattered housing schools performed better in reading and math than those from schools with larger numbers of poor students. They also stayed an average of eight years longer than residents of public housing nationwide.

Such democratic strategies of inclusionary zoning would do much to improve the lives of those in poverty and help ensure all of society a better future.

Reported By Dr. Marciene Mattleman, KYW Newsradio