Woman jailed for sending her kids to a school out of her district.

Discussion in 'Politics' started by D_Rosalind Mussell, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. D_Rosalind Mussell

    D_Rosalind Mussell New Member

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    I was reading the news and came across this article:

    Ohio woman jailed for sending kids to school just wanted a choice - CNN.com

    It seems that this woman was sent to jail because she sent her daughters to a school outside of their district. The reason she did this is because the school had a myriad of problems and she wanted a better education for her daughters. It raises so many issues, like doing what's legal vs. doing what's necessary for your childrens' safety/well-being, lack of education choices for parents and where to draw the line in all of this.

    What do you think of this? Do you think she should have been arrested and jailed? What would you have done if it was you?
     
  2. rd62624

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    she should not have sent to jail. In my community if a school does not meet certian requirements you as a parent have a right to send your child to a different school that meets or have met it requirements. No child left behind
     
  3. D_Winthrop Woodcock

    D_Winthrop Woodcock Account Disabled

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    the mom's been to school.... I'm sure she knows how a school is when she sees it. she's experienced enough to know whats good for her kids..
     
  4. D_Rosalind Mussell

    D_Rosalind Mussell New Member

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    I agree with both of you. My mom and I were in a similar situation, where we had to move out of the school district I had been in my whole life. I grew up in a poor neighborhood my whole life but my mom had to move us out the summer before high school. The high school in our new district was famous for it's knife fights, stabbings, drugs, teen pregnancy, you name it. The city didn't allow parents to send their kids to different school districts but it didn't matter, as the other schools were just as bad. So, my mom took the risk and kept sending me to school in my original district by using my sister's address. While I didn't exactly do great in high school, I can at least say I screwed up on my own accord. I am positive that if my mother sent me to that other school I would have dropped out. It may not have been legal, but my mother did what was right for me. She ensured my education and my safety by breaking the law.
     
  5. maxcok

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    What she did was wrong, but it's easy to understand her motives and sympathize. I imagine there are a lot more parents doing the same thing than anyone realizes. The attention focused on her prosecution and punishment has backfired. There are two things to take away from this -- the public education system is in shambles, and people in better neighborhoods have better schools. It's not just an indictment of the education system, it also shines a light on the inequality of opportunity in our society.

    I heard someone say she could become the Rosa Parks of the educational reform movement. I think that's a bit hyperbolic at this point. Hopefully this incident does focus attention on the need for real bottom up, system wide education reform, rather than just pilot programs with catchy names, highly touted 'magnet schools' that serve the fortunate few, and standardized testing that only measures basic proficiency in a narrow range of subjects, not real education.

    Could this be a catalyst for serious reform? I'm not holding my breath just yet. The powers that be have other battles to wage, the media will find other senational stories to focus on, and the public's attention will follow. Has there been any serious debate in Washington about stricter gun control in the wake of the Tuscon massacre? Not really. One bright spot is that the president has pushed education to the top of his priority list, but he doesn't have any magic wands that I'm aware of. We shall see what, if anything, comes of this.
     
    #5 maxcok, Jan 30, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
  6. Drifterwood

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    Is there not a minimum federal requirement, a per capita spend that they must provide locally?
     
  7. maxcok

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    Typically, much of the spending on public schools comes from local property taxes. Higher property values and/or higher property tax rates result in better schools. I'm not sure what proportion comes from the Feds or to what degree, if any, the Feds dictate the distribution of funds, but I believe it varies by state and locality. Anyone who's more expert, feel free to enlighten the discussion. Nevertheless, as tight as most school budgets are, it's the level of local funding that really makes for the differences in quality of local school districts.
     
    #7 maxcok, Jan 30, 2011
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  8. NCbear

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    And because segregated neighborhoods have different property values and therefore different levels of property tax revenue, the fact that kids are bused to schools in order to (attempt to) even out past inequities doesn't work as intended. What ends up happening is that stereotypes (all blacks are poor, all whites are at least middle class, and all asians are academic and social strivers) are perpetuated and kids grow up believing that race/class (which are often inseparable in smaller cities and towns in the USA, particularly in the Southeast, as well as in larger cities in the Northeast and northern Midwest) are everything.

    That's why I agree with the Harvard School of Public Health researcher who, when asked what to do to eliminate minority health disparities, said, "Dismantle residential segregation." [See "Does Racism Make Us Sick?" at Archived ("on-demand") Webcasts from the Minority Health Project.] He reminded his audience that residential segregation was created over decades via racist laws and actions, and that dismantling it wouldn't be easy because it had become not only the law but also the custom.

    How does this relate to education? Well, it's all connected.

    The stark differences in citizen services (including the number and quality of health clinics, hospitals, grocery stores, parks, etc.), educational opportunities (including the number and quality of K-12 schools and institutions of higher education), and economic opportunities (including the number and quality of potential employers) in predominantly black neighborhoods versus those in predominantly white neighborhoods are both real and shocking. Particularly in the Southeast region of the USA, but also in the larger urban centers of the Northeast and upper Midwest.

    Until we as a nation do something about the clustering of race and poverty together in underserved areas, we will not be able to provide true equality of opportunity to every one of our citizens--the dream enshrined in our Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

    NCbear (who is still idealistic, as you can see :rolleyes:)
     
  9. noirman

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    Throwing more money at the problem is not the answer. Several studies have shown that the correlation between educational success and the amount of funding a school has is minimal. Schools in poor districts that have discipline, dedicated teachers, and, most important, parents who support education thrive just as well as the schools serving wealthy communities.The problems in schools reflect the problems of the society that surrounds them. Schools are NOT a panacea. Solve the problems we all know exist in many areas, and the schools will improve. No amount of funding can compensate for what goes on outside school grounds. No Child Left Behind is a farce. If the money earmarked for that program were funneled into neighborhoods in need and at risk, we would see some results, and parents would not have to resort to desperate measures.
     
  10. NCbear

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    You're right, noirman. And that's another huge issue that I failed to mention: the disappearance of what used to be called "genteel poverty" in the USA.

    If you glance back through a book based on 1920s and 1930s U.S. history, one like To Kill a Mockingbird or Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe or even The Grapes of Wrath, you'll notice that even in the midst of dealing with desperate poverty, many people were portrayed as having dignity and valuing education and creating hope and possibilities where there shouldn't (logically speaking) have been any.

    And those aren't the only successes you can see in poor communities in either the past or present U.S. As you appear to be saying, noirman, community support and belief in the value of education makes all the difference--as can be seen in communities that have recently turned their schools around (in terms of everything from basic safety to school pride and rising test scores) using limited resources.

    I agree with 90% of what you say here, noirman. Yes, existing funds need to be directed to where they're needed, and yes, schools exist in a larger context that must be understood holistically. Where I differ with you is where you say "No amount of funding can compensate for what goes on outside school grounds." I think children in underserved communities can be shown possibilities for their later lives that transcend the poverty and lack of resources in their upbringing, and that this can be done in schools. Indeed, for some children (I was one), this might be the only place where they see alternate possibilities for their lives that go beyond the immediate context of where and how they grew up.

    But back to my point: Systematic, legally upheld denial of opportunity was indeed the status quo in the USA until the 1960s, and we still haven't fully unraveled all of those intricately interwoven laws and customs.

    I think David Williams has a point, one worth examining closely. Until what had been de jure but is now de facto residential segregation is eliminated, a large part of "what ails us" as a nation (our collective failure to uphold the principles in our founding documents) will still make us physically, psychologically, and--yes--educationally and economically sick.

    NCbear (who isn't trying to speak in opposition, but who's instead trying to make sense of the problem in order to think of ways to approach their solutions :smile:)
     
  11. dandelion

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    The same issue exists in the Uk although it is not really a colour issue. It is the good school and the bad school in a town which probably have much the same racial mix, but the ones with rich(er) parents go to the good school because they can afford to live in its catchment area. There was a recent case where a local authority tried to prosecute a parent for lying about where they lived. There is no specific law about this so they tried to prosecute for fraud. This failed as a matter of law because the parent was getting no financial gain from their actions, but it also failed as a matter of policy because by and large the public was on the parents side. Most would do they same if they had the chance and while no one has any clue what to do about it, all think the fault is the existence of bad schools.

    The current british government is trying to follow a policy of allowing schools more independence in the hope good ones will prosper and bad ones disappear. The main problem with this idea is that there is no real choice in the system. If there were 6 schools in a town which only needed 5, then all parents could choose for their children to go to the 5 best and the bad would be forced to inprove or close. But since we universally have the situation where the state only pays for exactly the number of school places needed, someone has to go to the bad school.

    As to any question of morality and sending your child to the legally prescribed school.....dont be silly.
     
    #11 dandelion, Jan 30, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
  12. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

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    When I grew up in Massachusetts, I went to a school that was out of my district through a state ran program where the main objective was to take students from the cities and bring them to other schools outside of town. They provided school bus services, counseling and a chance to go to a school in a completely different neighborhood to be exposed to a different way of life... as well as a better atmosphere for learning since schools in my city weren't as good. I did that from my first year of grade school all the way through high school. The only difference between this woman and myself is that my parents put me through an actual program to do it, so there was no problem. Kelley Williams-Bolar did the wrong thing by pretending to live at an address that wasn't hers, but there was no reason to throw her in jail.

    This is one issue that I take really seriously, and one that the article writer hits right on the nail - Too many Americans are delusional in thinking we have a national education system that is fair. It isn't. We all know that you can go from community to community and see some elementary, middle and high school campuses that look like college campuses, while others look like prisons. Those districts with money hire teachers with master's degrees and Ph.D.s; those with little money rely on those with only teacher certificates. Those with money can invest in iPads and laptops; those without are thankful just to have enough chalk, erasers and pencils. It's so bad that teachers nationwide often dip into their own pockets just to purchase school supplies for many of their students. Yet well-to-do schools might have athletic complexes that rival universities in top athletic conferences.

    Being that I lived in the city and went to school in a better off suburb, I can say with absolute certainty that this is correct. Despite having legal way to do this, my commutes to school were up to two hours a day each way since the age of six. I woke up earlier than practically everyone in my family since none of my sisters and brothers went through the program and got home later. I never had to walk through a metal detector or worry about a gang or someone bringing a gun to school. The doors were always open during school hours, and the most troubling thing school security had to worry about was kids trying to smoke in the bathrooms. All of my older sisters & brothers, including my nieces and nephews who are now enrolled, have much more to worry about just to get to school, never mind deal with all of the added safety and quality issues most students never would have to encounter. This is another real problem in our country, and one that is crucial to the future of our nation.

    That's part of the problem, but schools don't improve by themselves either. Many of the cities and towns with bad school systems need a complete reconstruction of its infrastructure beginning with state & local police being able to keep streets safer. Also, inhabitants of certain poor areas need to be able to take care of their families which means jobs, affordable housing, health care, food and that's just the tip of the iceberg. None of these things have to be "handouts" as many of our politically blind like to refer them to be. If the citizens of a society are better off financially and spiritually, it produces better results everywhere including in schools. Although it would be foolish to assume that every school system is going to be exactly the same from district to district, our governments (on state & federal levels) need to work together to set forth some level of standards to ensure that students are given parallel opportunities to live & learn. When someone has to risk getting arrested to send their kids to a better school, while others have that within walking distance, there is a problem... and it ain't because one of them is not "working hard" either.
     
    #12 B_VinylBoy, Jan 30, 2011
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  13. faceking

    faceking Well-Known Member

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    Out-of-district...jail... I think there's more to this story. There must be...
     
  14. faceking

    faceking Well-Known Member

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    Just want to be crystal clear here, and not picking on you/your post specificially, and I think you are generalizing (which is fine), but the "schools just need more money, throw more at them and they will be fixed" doesn't work, hasn't worked, etc. It only goes so far. Local and family culture carries much more weight. Algebra hasn't changed much in the last, oh few centuries. I don't care how old the book is. I know I'm oversimplifying it, but here in California I see the converse of "$$$ = better results".

    Step one: abolish the California Teacher's Association

    shit, I'm off topic/thread.... nevermind.
     
  15. houtx48

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    hmmmmmmm made sense for a change
     
  16. BayAreaGuy

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    That's because of HOW the money is spent, not how much is provided. Our schools are woefully underfunded. We need to pay the teachers a decent salary, put new supplies in the libraries and classrooms, paint, provide a clean and comfortable learning environment, and hire people who are qualified.

    But we also need to start eliminating poverty, and that's a whole other can of worms. The school this woman was afraid of is "bad" because the kids who go there are animals who'll kill her kid. And they're animals because of the parents who raise them, and the society they're raised in. So, rather than pick on the zoo for housing ferocious animals, maybe you need to go talk to the people who trained them to be that way...THEIR PARENTS!
     
  17. midlifebear

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    Yup, the folks doomed to fail in school are those who come from unstable, alcoholic, or just plain poor families without enough money to buy Wonder Bread.

    I taught combined 4th/5th grades (40 students in one class) for almost 5 years. It was a major fight to convince the local school board to allow the teachers to donate and provide a quick breakfast 30 minutes before classes started at 8:00 AM. Usually a student could get a banana or apple, glass of milk or orange juice and toasted Wonder Bread smothered in "generic no-name bulk" marmalade quaffed down before 8:00 AM. It did was like priming their little minds to be ready to learn. But note that we as teachers had to plead with the local school board to start and continue the program. They didn't like being told how to run the school district, even if it did ensure that student's were better prepared (and much more settled) to learn.

    The poverty issue is much bigger than most 'Mericuhns are willing to admit -- especially the low-balling by the Federal Government.

    Send your kid to a private school and they provide breakfast and lunch. And private academies where kids are shipped away for a semester from home actually get three meals a day plus two snacks. A fed child is less likely to drop out of school. In poor school districts it's been proven that the drop out rate is cut in half if students receive a free breakfast and free lunch.
     
  18. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

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    True to some degree. However, in a twisted bout of irony this particular story does involve the parents (or at least one of them). She did what she thought was necessary to ensure that her children get a proper education and a better chance at making it. Regardless if this was technically against the law, I don't think the woman should be jailed (or fined $30,000) considering the circumstances. We wouldn't have to worry about this if more attention was focused on poor cities and towns and government providing the right kind of restructuring in order to make them (and its citizens) more productive. And that can be done without giving people "handouts" or bringing our country to "socialism" as so many of the uninformed tend to yell about. But every time someone brings up the issue of Health Care, School Lunches, Better Housing, Jobs or any of the things these poor areas need serious help with, the naysayers resort to such dismissive language that it never gets accomplished... or the legislation sparked form it gets so watered down that it's almost as if nothing really happened.
     
    #18 B_VinylBoy, Jan 30, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
  19. D_Rosalind Mussell

    D_Rosalind Mussell New Member

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    Vinylboy, I also grew up in Massachusetts. May I ask what city you grew up in? I grew up in Salem.
     
  20. D_Rosalind Mussell

    D_Rosalind Mussell New Member

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    When I bought my condo, the first thing I looked at was quality of public schooling. Because of this my family reaps the benefits. I sent my son to a private school for the first 4 years but I ended up pulling him, as the school was being run very poorly and it didn't make sense to keep throwing my money at them. I put my son in the public school system and he is doing extremely well. His grades didn't suffer from the transition and he reunited with some old friends that made the transition to public school before him. Even the bus stop is right outside my front door, it really couldn't be any better. The law here states that we can choose to send our kids to any school outside of our district, the only draw back is that there is no bus services between districts. I feel extremely fortunate to live in a town that has great schools, but I chose this. Others who have no choice but to choose low-rent neighborhoods and live in places that are high-crime and low-quality do not have that choice. My mother and I were those people when I was a kid and the risk she took to keep me in a better school paid off. I know that I would have dropped out if I went to that other school. There's no way I would have gone to school where violence was as common as the school bell.

    As far as throwing money at the problem, I totally agree with this. If all school districts allowed parents to enroll their kids at different schools, the administration would be forced to deal with their problem schools and the issues that come with them. The schools that perform well are the ones that deserve the funding and the ones that don't need to be either reformed or closed.
     
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