You may have heard about Kelley Williams-Bolar. A black mother who used her father's address in order to send her two daughters to a well-funded suburban school, as opposed to the failing inner city school within her neighborhood.
She was found out, sentenced to jail, and fined. Oh yeah, she also was approximately a semester away from finishing her teaching degree. A degree she can not use with a felony on her record.
Now this strikes home to me because I am employed at a great suburban school. A school that makes Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), as defined the state of Illinois. While the home district and school my children attend, I honestly couldn't tell you the last time the District was not on the failing list.
As a matter of fact, the only school making AYP is the sixth grade center. An inspiring school with an intense focus on one grade and specific standards. But whatever water they have over there sure isn't where my children are or throughout the rest of the district for that matter..
So as a mom servicing children in a succeeding school, and sending her children to a failing school....kinda make you go hmmmmmmmmmmmm??????
I walk down the halls daily and see what the Art Classes have on display, knowing my children do not have art. Knowing that the math I teach is more advanced than the math my child is taught. Knowing that it would be a FELONY for me to put my kids in the great school where I work in.
Now this is not at all a hit against my home school's staff. I actually have a good relationship with my kids' teachers and the rest of the staff at this particular school. The principal is committed. The volunteers (that ironically come from communities with great schools) are amazing and resourceful. In fact, many teachers are stellar. But the school is still failing.
Am I tempted daily with the idea of trying to fraudulently put my kids in a better school/district? (Do I even need to answer that?)
These are my babies! And I want the best for them. Hell, I'm just about ready to lease out our home in order to rent in a city with a successful school. A school that would provide more opportunities for growth. But nothing is that easy.
Grandparents still need help, and local responsibilities don't dissolve just because the educational system sucks.
I read a post by a blogger on BlackVoices who felt this was a simple case of a woman breaking the law. And that Ms. Williams-Bolar should be held accountable.
I certainly understand this view, because we live in a society with laws and boundaries. But it's also true that everyone can't just pick up and move to a better preforming school district. Some of us are stuck while waiting for the real estate market to rebound and local districts to improve. Some of us have grandparents to care for where we are, as well as other local responsibilities. And most of us don't have private school funds dish out. So, what are we to do in the meanwhile? Us property-tax-paying-engaged-parents.
It's so easy to sit on a perch and say "Follow the rules; go through the correct channels", but what happens when legislation takes years to pass? My children won't stop growing while we vote and then wait for change.
Educational inequality in America is an atrocity. Not only to these children/my kids, but also to our country, which will reap the consequences of a generation of mis/under-educated workers.
You tell me which is worse....Kelly
Williams-Bolar, or this fucked up situation?