Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jail time for Ohio mom is prime reason we need school choice

Kelley Williams-Bolar is going to spend 10 days in jail and three years on probation because she wanted a better education for her children.

Outrageous, it seems, but it's true - and it's a prime example of what is so very wrong with our educational system today.

Williams-Bolar wanted her kids to have a good education so she sent them to a school in the Copley-Fairlawn School District. The problem is that Copley-Fairlawn is not her home district, though it is the district where her father lives and where she lives part-time. She put her father's address on the enrollment papers and had him confirm the living arrangements, landing her in trouble for lying about her address and falsifying records.

School officials claimed she was cheating the system because her kids were getting an education they didn't pay for. In Ohio, you can attend out-of-district schools but tuition is often charged. When Williams-Bolar refused to pay the $30,000 in back tuition, she was charged with the crimes.

According to this news report, "Those dollars need to stay home with our students," school district officials said.

I'm certainly not in favor of lying nor of skirting the rules and laws and I don't condone what Williams-Bolar did, but I understand her situation and believe it should make everyone stop and think about how our school system is structured, especially during National School Choice Week.

Why shouldn't a parent have a choice as to which school their child attends? Why should a parent who pays taxes for an education have to pay even more because of an arbitrary geographical line? Why can't the taxes she pays go with the child rather than stay under the control of politicians? Why should any child be restricted in their ability to learn just so a political subdivision can have control?

The only reason to maintain the existing system is to maintain The Cartel that runs that system. The focus of our schools is no longer on what is best for the child - it's on what is best for the teachers or the administrators or the politicians or the power structure or the political party - everything but the child. We lock children into failing schools simply because of where their parents live and then we are shocked when we find out they can't get a job or that our nation is falling behind others in the world.

In Toledo, we have Pickett Elementary School that has been in academic emergency for over 10 years! Think about that and what a disservice we've done to those children.

The message of School Choice Week is this:

"...we need a K-12 education system that provides a wide array of options. We need an effective education system that has the flexibility to personalize and motivate students and allow parents to choose the school that is best for their child."

If Williams-Bolar had had such an option, she wouldn't be going to jail for the sake of her children. No parent should face that choice.

5 comments:

biff said...

Now the children are probably back in their grandfathers school system because mom is in jail!

skeeter1107 said...

Let that woman out of jail!

James said...

Pickett should have been closed a long time ago for its failure to educate its students.

Maggie Thurber said...

James - I find it ironic and terrible that charter schools get closed if they have 3 bad years, but Pickett is still open...shameful!!!!

Mad Jack said...

I agree. Good job on the post Maggie.

Without getting into the problems of public education in Toledo (which are legion), the real difficulty with school vouchers is transportation. If the government doesn't want the children in a particular school, the only thing they need to do is cut public transportation to that area.

The other problems such as supply and demand will work themselves out over a few years.

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