Educational Theft

That’s the crime that’s sweeping the nation:

An African-American mother of two, Ms. Williams-Bolar last year used her father’s address to enroll her two daughters in a better public school outside of their neighborhood. After spending nine days behind bars charged with grand theft, the single mother was convicted of two felony counts. Not only did this stain her spotless record, but it threatened her ability to earn the teacher’s license she had been working on.

Ms. Williams-Bolar caught a break last month when Ohio Gov. John Kasich granted her clemency, reducing her charges to misdemeanors from felonies. His decision allows her to pursue her teacher’s license, and it may provide hope to parents beyond the Buckeye State. In the last year, parents in Connecticut, Kentucky and Missouri have all been arrested—and await sentencing—for enrolling their children in better public schools outside of their districts.

School districts all over the nation are hiring special investigators to track these desperados down.

You really should real the whole thing. I can’t imagine a better illustration of the warped priorities of our education system than this story. It’s true that these people are going to schools that they haven’t paid the taxes for. But given how schools are funded (property taxes, progressive state and federal taxes) that could be said of many students. Moreover, the schools have no problem bussing minority students around when it was for their purposes — social justice and racial integration. But let some devoted mom put together a do-it-yourself bussing program and they go apeshit.

But it also illustrates just how arbitrarily and stupidly we put students in schools to begin with. Not by education level; not by pedagogical technique or need; not by parental choice; not by markets — but by geography. Imagine what your grocery store would be like if everyone in the neighborhood had to go there and no one could go to another grocery store for risk of committing a felony.

We are jailing people to preserve this broken, over-priced monopoly. It’s ridiculous.

Comments are closed.

  1. InsipiD

    Imagine what your grocery store would be like if everyone in the neighborhood had to go there and no one could go to another grocery store for risk of committing a felony.

    If it’s like most places, she’s free to send her kids to a non-zoned school if she pays for it. While I can certainly understand what she was doing, public services pretty much have to draw lines based on municipal boundaries. There really isn’t any other way to divide the students into different schools.

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  2. richtaylor365

    The problem is that , and you touched briefly on this in your post, this woman did not pay for that quality education, she is getting a free ride.

    We have this exact problem where I live, a small suburban town with a top school system and top state scores to go with it. I pay high city taxes for the privilege of sending my kids to this particular school system. Those that don’t have kids also pay the high taxes because quality schools increase property values so they win on that end. Right next door to our town is a larger city, with low property taxes and shitty schools to show for it, so they try to subvert the system and get their kids into our school system even though they don’t live in our town. Year after year the city puts bond initiatives on the ballot (which always passes), bonds for our schools, bonds that will lower class size and goes to better supplies and teaching aids, so I pay more and more in taxes, but the other city folks don’t pay these taxes and they put their kids in our schools that increase the class size. The school does not care, it welcomes more and more students because the state gives them more money for more students, so we as residents pay more and get less.

    A good analogy would be this problem and illegal immigration. One of the reasons people want the border secure is to stop illegal immigrants from coming over and draining social service resources that they did not pay for, we did.

    Nobody wants this woman in jail, and if I was born in Mexico I would want a better life for my family too, but that does not negate the problems, there is a system in place and laws regulating it, it should not be subverted for individual gain.

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  3. Hal_10000 *

    The problem is that (1) a large part of school budgets comes from state and federal sources anyway; (2) local taxes on schools come from property taxes, which not everyone pays; (3) the schools have had no problems with “educational theft” when it’s done for their purposes. So we have a system where a large number of students are getting a free ride anyway but the government only objects if it’s not done on their terms for their reasons.

    I agree this woman broke the law. But the lesson to learn is that the law is destructive.

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  4. richtaylor365

    (1) a large part of school budgets comes from state and federal sources anyway

    Which every resident of my city pays already, we pay city, state, and federal taxes.

    (2) local taxes on schools come from property taxes, which not everyone pays

    The property taxes that renters do not pay, the owners of the buildings pay, and those property taxes go to the betterment of our schools.

    (3) the schools have had no problems with “educational theft” when it’s done for their purposes.

    I’m not sure what you mean by this. This in not the 60’s so there is no “minority busing” going on, how is my school system engaging in “educational theft”?

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