Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I See that Obama's Promise of Better Education in America is Already Happening

From comes this story of "American justice" and the provision of education as a "level playing field" in which the disadvantaged get a chance to compete with the elite...
A poor black woman broke the law to send her children to a rich white school. Is her punishment really justice?

In case you have not yet heard about Kelley Willams-Bolar:
AKRON, Ohio – A Summit County woman will spend 10 days in jail after she was found guilty in a school residency case that could set a precedent for Ohio school districts.

Judge Patricia Cosgrove also placed 40-year-old Kelly Williams-Bolar on two years of probation and ordered her to complete 80 hours of community service.

On Saturday, a jury found Williams-Bolar guilty on two counts of tampering with records. She was also facing one count of grand theft, but the judge declared a mistrial on that charge after the jury couldn't reach a verdict.

"I felt that some punishment or deterrent was needed for other individuals who might think to defraud the various school systems," Cosgrove told NewsChannel5 after the sentencing.

Prosecutors said Williams-Bolar lived in Akron, but falsified enrollment papers in the Copley-Fairlawn School District so her two girls could attend schools for two years.

Prosecutors said the lies cost the district about $30,000. Copley-Fairlawn does not have open enrollment and out-of-district tuition is about $800 per month.
There are myriad responses to this case, ranging from the impassioned response of Boyce Watkins to the "fraud is fraud" response by Bob Dyer of the Beacon Journal. Titles all over the Internet have proclaimed "MOTHER IMPRISONED FOR SENDING KIDS TO WRONG SCHOOL!" implying that the only thing wrong was simply enrolling where she shouldn't have. Under the current laws of Ohio, Williams-Bolar committed a crime. This can't be argued. What can be argued is whether the actions by the court are right and appropriate for the defendant's situation.
You threaten somebody with 5 years in the slammer for trying to give her kids a fair shake at life? That reminds me of when I was an adolescent and heard about a guy in the early 1960s finally being freed from jail for having stolen an apple during the Great Depression. Yep... hunger was illegal in America in the 1930s. You were supposed to not complain and simply crawl into a corner and die and not bother the other citizens with your distress. It is up there with the Scott sisters who got life sentences for a minor robbery of less than $200 of which their share was $11. Nobody was shot or killed. It was a robbery. For this they got life sentences in prison.

So... Obama is promising to make America strong through "improving education". Meanwhile, down on the ground, at the local authority level, people are being jailed if they try to move their kids from a run down urban school which is a glorified baby sitting institution to a suburban school where teachers and kids actually focus on education (at least some of them). For this, you get a sentence of 5 years in the slammer in the US. Looks like Obama's rhetoric and the reality on the ground have a bit of a gap that needs to be closed before America is ready to compete for the 21st century!

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