Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ohio Mom Jailed for Sending Kids to Better School District

This is a travesty of justice:
An Ohio mother's attempt to provide her daughters with a better education has landed her behind bars.

"It's overwhelming. I'm exhausted," she said. "I did this for them, so there it is. I did this for them."

Williams-Bolar decided four years ago to send her daughters to a highly ranked school in neighboring Copley-Fairlawn School District.

But it wasn't her Akron district of residence, so her children were ineligible to attend school there, even though her father lived within the district's boundaries.

The school district accused Williams-Bolar of lying about her address, falsifying records and, when confronted, having her father file false court papers to get around the system.

Williams-Bolar said she did it to keep her children safe and that she lived part-time with her dad.

"When my home got broken into, I felt it was my duty to do something else," Williams-Bolar said.

[More, including video]
My Comments:
Gov. Kasich should pardon this woman. No parent should be jailed as a felon for trying to get a decent education for her kids. And no parent should be made to feel so desperate and trapped as to be compelled to break the law in order to get a decent education for her kids.

This is not justice. Not only is a pardon warranted for this mother, but a more just education system that doesn't trap kids in failing schools is an absolute necessity. One thing the State of Ohio could do in the short term is to institute state-wide open enrollment in every public school across the state.

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1 Comments:

At 1/31/2011 9:30 AM, OpenID Sharon said...

I have to wonder what open enrollment would do. You can't force the "better" school to accept everyone, so at some point, their enrollment would be capped. Not only could this mother end up having to send her children to inferior schools, but through a lottery system they might end up having to go to an inferior school that was nowhere near their home. You can be sure that if that happens to her children, it will not happen to the children of wealthier families, because they put more money into the system and they wouldn't tolerate it. I don't see that open enrollment is really a good solution.

My question is, why are there "inferior" schools? According to the website nces.ed.gov, in 2006-2007 $476.8 billion was spent on public elementary and grade school education. Insufficient investment in education is not the problem, although you can bet that local and national politicians will tell you it is.

Schools are not always at fault, however. Children who live in high-crime neighborhoods are also children who live in inferior school districts. No one who cares about his children wants his children in those schools. This is a complex issue that needs a great deal of wisdom to solve, and even our highly-educated politicians seem to be lacking in wisdom regarding education.

That said... I live in a city school district that has only one decent public high school. Acceptance at that school is through testing, grades and a lottery system. No one is guaranteed a spot in that school. With Catholic schools running almost $10,000 per year, there is little in the way of school choice in our city. My children have actually suggested that I do what this mother has done - lie about where we live so that they can go to the better schools in the suburbs. I agree that this woman should not be jailed, but that is not because she hasn't done anything wrong. She has done what I told my children I wouldn't do. I also have an ex-husband in a better district, and parents in a much better district. Perhaps laws should be made that allow my children more flexibility in school choice based on those factors. But that still wouldn't solve the underlying problem. My children would get out of the bad district, but what about everyone else?

 

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