Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mother Convicted of a Felony for Sending Kids to a Better School .


Kelley Williams-Bolar lives in subsidized public housing with her two daughters in Akron, Ohio. Her father lives in the nearby suburb of Copley. In Akron, the schools are barely scraping by in meeting basic state standards. In Copley, the schools receive an “excellent with distinction” rating from the state.

Ms. Williams-Bolar made the kind of decision many of us might when faced with how to educate her children: she used her father’s address to get them into the good school district.

But the district hired a private investigator to follow her home and find evidence of what she was doing. After two years in the Copley schools, her daughters were ousted and Williams-Bolar was arrested. Last week, she and her father were both convicted of felonies. For “defrauding the school district” Williams-Bolar was sentenced to five years in jail, all but ten days of which were suspended. She’s been in jail for a few days now. I haven’t seen a report on where her children are while they wait for her to get home.

When I was an Anglo growing up in Quebec City, I had a good amount of school choice. I could attend an English Catholic public school; an English Protestant public School; a French Catholic public school (or if I was feeling really daring) a French Protestant public school.

And that's not counting all the numerous subsidized private schools in the Quebec City area. Okay, maybe my French was not quite up to snuff to pass the exams, but I theoretically had the possibility of being admitted. (And my parents couldn't afford those schools, but that's another issue).

Here, my kid's choices are English Catholic or Public school. I could send my children to unsubsidized private schools if I found $20 000 or so. Ottawa doesn't have a whole lot in the way of private schools (not like I was used to in Quebec City.) I might be able to send my kids to French Catholic or public school, but there are restrictions.

I feel bad for poor unilingual English non-Catholics. The school system is not fair.

You should not basically have one choice of school based solely on geography.

Just like this lady in the report, sometimes your choice of living areas is restricted. That shouldn't mean your choice of school is restricted.

I don't understand why I can't send my kids to the school in the next catchment area if I want to. My taxes go to the school board one way or the other. The competition between the nearby schools would be good for achievement.

Being able to send a child to a school of one's choice-- and not being restricted in one's choices, should be a basic right.

This is why I support a voucher system.

I also support reducing or eliminating school boards. Besides being large bureaucracies, they are often undemocratic, trying to impose a politically correct agenda that the voters never voted for.