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How do school ratings correlate with home prices?

This could be a good project in connection with our data science apprenticeship. Two websites, GreatSchools.org and Zillow.com provide two great indicators: school scores for more than 100,000 schools (on a 0-10 scale; check out the ranking of your school you graduated from), and home values (dollars per square feet) for more than 100,000,000 homes. Interestingly Zillow seems to be using GreatSchoosl - or a proxy metric -  for its home price estimates.

Questions:

  • How good are these school scores, as a predictor for home values?
  • Do you think Zillow really uses these scores in their statistical home valuation model? Why?
  • Do you think these school scores are biased or inaccurate? Why?
  • How would you make these scores better?
  • How would you improve Zillow estimates? 
  • Are local school scores a good metric? What about school scores delta (measuring score improvement year-over-year)? Wouldn't it be a better indicator as to when it's a good time to buy or sell?
  • Are there other factors having a bigger impact on home valuations (crime statistics, which are also publicly available? weather? jobs?)
  • When / where are school scores a big factor in home valuations?

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