Sunday, January 30, 2011

You! Back to your festering hellhole! ~ By Patrice Lewis

My outrage is not about the rightness or wrongness of Ms. Williams-Bolar's actions. My outrage is with the inflexibility of the educational brown shirts that permit the existence of those festering hellholes laughably called schools. My outrage is with the helplessness of poor parents who are punished for going to any lengths to protect their children from the academic famine of these prisons.

Look, if we're going to continue federal funding of public education (putting aside the question of whether it's even constitutional), it is long past time to make changes such as John Stossel outlines in his book "Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity." Why the hell aren't we attaching funding to the child rather than to the school district? That way parents are free to place their children wherever they choose, and by doing so schools will be forced to compete for a child's tax dollars. Literally in one simple stroke, the vast majority of educational issues in this country would be solved by allowing competition between school districts for students' funding.
I had not heard about this case until Patrice Lewis wrote about it in her column. Like Patrice, I am outraged about it for the same reasons she tells you here. While Kelley may have broken the law, where is the justice in forcing her to send her two daughters to the "hellhole" that they claim is school?

You! Back to your festering hellhole!

By Patrice Lewis

January 29, 2011 ~ 1:00 am Eastern

© 2011

While I generally try to avoid writing about specific news cases (because I'm not an investigative journalist), once in awhile a story hits the headlines that is so heinous I can't help but address it. If I'm misunderstanding any particulars of this situation, please forgive me; but the point of this commentary is much broader than this one incident.

Doubtless you've heard about the single mother in Ohio named Kelley Williams-Bolar who received a felony conviction for lying about her residency to get her teenage daughters into a better school district. A felony conviction. This is the level of seriousness normally applied to such offenses as attempted murder, serious drug dealing and bank robbery. The mother has no previous criminal convictions and works as a special-ed teaching assistant while going to school to get her teaching certificate. Judge Patricia Cosgrove – who admitted she wanted to make an example of Ms. Williams-Bolar – stated, "I felt that some punishment or deterrent was needed for other individuals who might think to defraud the various school districts." Ms. Williams-Bolar served 10 days in jail and was told she would serve her full sentence of five years if caught again.

Yes, let's cruelly punish those people whose children are trapped in festering hellholes and who will do anything – even break the law – to get them a better education.

Here are the details as ABC News reported them. After her home was broken into, Ms. Williams-Bolar (a low-income single mom) decided she wanted her daughters to stop attending the local schools and instead attend schools in the nearby highly-ranked Copley-Fairlawn district. Her father resides in that district, so she used his address to register her girls.

For four years she got away with it until the school district's private investigator (cha-ching!) shot video showing Williams-Bolar driving her children into the neighboring district. School officials said she was cheating because her daughters received a quality education without paying taxes to fund it. "Those dollars need to stay home with our students," school district officials said.

So let me get this straight. Ms. William-Bolar's 64-year-old father presumably has no minor children attending the local schools, but 53 percent of his property taxes are applied toward those schools even though he receives no personal benefits. Yet the district won't allow him to use those tax dollars for his granddaughters. Huh?

The mom admitted she did it to keep her children safe. I'm going to take a leap of logic here and assume that the Akron schools are dangerous enough that Ms. Williams-Bolar feared for her daughters' physical safety, not to mention their academic futures. Take a gander at this article and review the statistics for poverty in each school district. No one in their right mind would prefer the Akron schools over the Copley-Fairlawn School District. Girls have been attacked, mugged and raped in inner-city schools all over the country. Can I blame the mother if she wanted something better for her daughters? Seems to me her most serious crimes are poverty and desperation.


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