Not sure know why parents don't realize this. For years I've lived across the street from a junior high school. When I'd leave for school (college school) every day, backing out of my driveway was always a chore thanks to the mobile baracade of SUVs and minivans lining the street. Going to school in Idaho has been a bit of a break because I always walk to class. But since I've been here in California I've witnessed a similar phenomenon on my way to work: a snake of cars slithering through an elementary school parking lot. Sure, it's not a big deal here because I don't have to sever the snake to leave my house; I just find it strange that so many children need a ride to school.
Let's think about this. There are, what, two to three junior highs (or middle schools, if you will) per high school? And the same number or more of elementary schools per junior high? That's anywhere from 6 to over 12 elementary schools per high school. I'll agree, not every high school is within walking distance, but when the elementary to high school ratio is so high, there will almost always be an elementary school, and very likely a junior high as well, within walking distance of any house.
It's especially ironic here in Nor Cal, where liberalism is the church of state and everyone's greatest fear is global warming. If your kid is perfectly capable of getting to school her own (she has two functional legs), why waste precious resources and pollute the air by driving her to school?
Parents might argue that's it's unsafe to have their kids walk to school. Well, if you all made your kids walk there'd be more kids on the road, making it far less likely for your kid to be abducted -- odds are it will be someone else's kid, so what are you worried about? Honestly, the world is a dangerous place, but the sooner kids learn how to live in that world, the better. The one place they won't learn that is in the backseat of a minivan.