But a well-documented and powerful educational phenomenon known as the 'peer effect' comes into play. Simply put, Johnny stands a much better chance of academic success in a school filled with privileged kids whose parents value education and push them to excel. The likelihood of Johnny achieving at high levels plummets if you put him in a school where most students come from disadvantaged backgrounds and don't get enough encouragement and support from home. Even in the unlikely event that the two schools are exactly the same in every other way — including teacher quality — Johnny probably will fare much better where he is surrounded by affluent students. Will sending Johnny to school with disadvantaged kids make him a better person? Maybe. Will it make him a better student? Almost certainly not.Save me some google time... does anyone have any links to studies documenting the "peer effect"? Specifically, do middle class kids do better when they are sent to upper class schools?
update: hat tip to Joanne