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Friday, January 28, 2011

The Quest for Better Education Leads to a Mom behind bars

A parents job is to nurture, protect, do and give the best we can for our children, is it not? I am baffled by the recent events that occurred in Akron, OH.  For those that haven’t heard, a mom by the name of Kelley Williams-Bolar was arrested and sentenced to 10 days in jail for “falsifying documents” allowing her daughters to attend a school in a better neighborhood.  Let it be known, that the children’s grandfather resides in the neighborhood where this “better school” is located.

They say that Justice is Blind…in this case I believe justice was Blind, Deaf and Mute!  Now I am not advocating that everyone go breaking laws just to suit their needs, but really, a 10 day jail sentence and charged with multiple felony counts? Really? Really?  What was this judge thinking? There are better ways to make an example of someone, not to mention better ways to spend tax dollars for the citizens of Akron, OH.  While we are on the topic of tax dollars, let’s examine the school board’s response to the outrage once this story broke out; the school board cited that the reason for their investigation, yes you read this correctly, their investigation (how much of Akron’s tax dollars went into this, is yet to be made public), was because the residents of this affluent neighborhood pay taxes to support the schools in the area.  This has got to win the award for one of the weakest, explanations for targeting the under privileged I have heard to date.  Tax dollars? In case I missed something here, tax dollars were spent to prosecute a mother seeking to give her kids an opportunity to succeed, excel in a school where resources flow freely for educational tools, where her children can go to school without having to worry about the atmosphere and troubles in their assigned school zone.

So let’s say for arguments sake, we go along with the “tax dollar” excuse, need the school board be reminded that the grandfather of these children lives in the neighborhood and has been paying taxes that support this school.  This grandfather has been paying taxes for school children to be educated with the best possible chance of success in his neighborhood and he has no young children that even attend the school.  Why would it be so horrible if his hard earned tax dollars, which he is already paying mind you, go towards the education of his grandchildren?  Does anyone else see the “big hole” in the school board’s story? Or is it just me?

Now many are accusing the school board of racism, but I’ll go further and say that it may not only be that but separation of class or economic status (as is more “pc” to say today) as well.  Are only the affluent worthy of a top-notch education? Should anyone be denied the same opportunities because their families may not be able to afford the big houses and fancy cars that go along with the ritzy neighborhoods? Are families in the inner-cities to be valued less? Is the message here, if you earn less you’re worth less? (Pun intended). I think not!

What does this whole situation say about the sad state of affairs our nation’s educational system is in? To me, it speaks VOLUMES.  To say that “the world isn’t fair” in this case is nothing but a “cop-out”, it’s the equivalent to burying our heads in the sand and ignoring the issue.  People will argue that what this mother did was wrong, that she is showing her children how to circumvent the system; what I see here is an act of selflessness, a parent willing to do whatever it takes to give her children a chance at a future just as bright as any of those other children in that neighborhood.  I’ve heard comments made that “running” from these troubled schools and enrolling children in “good schools” isn’t the answer. “Fight or flight” this case shows it’s one and the same, fighting for a better education and fleeing to a better school. Perhaps, more parents should do this, leave our troubled, severely budget deprived local schools, “invade” and overcrowd the “good schools”. Perhaps this is the only way school boards across the nation will “get the hint” and finally realize what it’s like to have overcrowded classrooms, budgets spread so thinly that copy paper, pencils, textbooks and other learning tools become “hot commodities”; maybe then, they will understand what those “troubled” schools have to contend with in order to educate “the less fortunate”. 

This poses the question: Why aren’t all schools “good” schools? Why aren’t all schools provided the resources to provide a world class education?

There are lessons to be learned here:

1.      Break the law and there are consequences, but PLEASE let the “punishment fit the crime”. If they wanted to “make an example” out of this mom for falsifying documents and not paying the taxes owed, they could have set up community service in that very school district; a price I’m sure this mother and any other caring parent would be willing to pay. (I know that I’m not above cleaning classrooms or toilets, if it meant my children could attend a better school)

2.      Children deserve to be afforded great opportunities in order to achieve greatness. There is no excuse for separation of economic status when it comes to education, it’s not right and we cannot turn a blind eye any longer.

3.      “Fight or Flight”, “fight the good fight”, our children need us, not just our biological children, but children across this nation need us. It’s not someone else’s problem, it’s our problem and we had better put on our thinking caps, stop drawing lines in the sand and own up to it.

If we don’t work together to show our kids they are valued, then the future and its consequences due to our lack of action is more than I can bear. We need to make intelligent choices, if not, what’s next, death row sentence for making our kids eat their vegetables?

1 comment:

  1. Melissa Rodriguez
    Hey cuzzy...I have read 2 of your blogs so far, and I must are soo well spoken and passionate in what you are writing about. Wow I can see who got the creative gene in our family! I have now saved the site to my computer to keep up.