And More Live From Copley – Fairlawn Prison

Patrick Riccards sees this episode as “one of those moments where struggling school districts start realizing that their customers – the families – just aren’t going to accept a sub-par product any more.”  On the other hand Washington Post national education reporter Valerie Strauss is consistently with the little guy – except when the little guy runs afoul of the public school establishment:

“Williams-Bolar didn’t take a public stand, nor did she decide to give up her public housing subsidy and move in with her father so her children could legally go to the school she preferred.”

Didn’t give up her public housing subsidy? Seriously?

3 Responses to “And More Live From Copley – Fairlawn Prison”

  1. Phiilipmarlowe Says:

    From the Strauss commentary:

    FWIW

    - Williams-Bolar has publicly stated that she was *NOT* sending her children to Copley because she thought they could get a better education in Copley.

    - Williams-Bolar (who is employed as a teacher’s aid in the Akron Public School System) has publicly stated that she has no issues with the quality of the Akron Public Schools her daughters would attend.

    - Williams-Bolar has stated the *ONLY* reason that she enrolled her children at Copley is so that they would not be latch-key children, but would instead come home from school to their grandfather’s house.

    The felony conviction comes from the fact that she applied for and received public housing assistance in the city of Akron under the guise that her two daughters were living with her in Akron. At the same time, she applied for and received free/reduced meal assistance in Copley with the claim that her two children lived with her grandfather in Copley (on his income, not hers).

    Whatever one thinks of the merits of the case, and whether she deserved to be tried and convicted of a felony (by a jury that included 4 other African Americans) – the larger narrative that this was somehow about a single mother attempting to get her kids out of a struggling school system is objectively, demonstrably false.

    Posted by: FYIColumbiaMD | February 2, 2011 9:18 AM

  2. Carpet Cleaning Capitola Says:

    “Whatever one thinks of the merits of the case, and whether she deserved to be tried and convicted of a felony (by a jury that included 4 other African Americans) – the larger narrative that this was somehow about a single mother attempting to get her kids out of a struggling school system is objectively, demonstrably false.”

    I do agree with that.

  3. Chris Smyr Says:

    1) From the ABCNews article linked in an earlier blogpost:

    “Williams-Bolar said she did it to keep her children safe and that she lived part-time with her dad.

    “When my home got broken into, I felt it was my duty to do something else,” Williams-Bolar said.”

    You don’t think that possibly the safety concerns she had with sending her kids to the neighborhood school bear on the quality of the education they’ll receive? Or that this statement acknowledges she thought that Copley-Fairlawn schools would be better for her daughters? Really?

    2) The larger issue here is the fact that there were obstacles restricting Williams-Bolar’s daughters from attending schools outside of their own poorly performing district. Copley-Fairlawn was out of their reach and the reach of other families zoned in Akron. Were Williams-Bolar herself to have no qualms with the quality of Akron schools (which is false as per #1 above) is completely besides this important point of an effective lack of school choice for many families, as one can imagine finding other families who do have some qualms with these boundaries.

    3) The notion that she was singled out because she broke the law and refused to pay thousands in back tuition, and thus this isn’t an issue that concerns race, is rather thick-headed. The districts are demographically segregated, and black families are disproportionately getting the short end of the stick with regard to access to nice schools in nice neighborhoods. The status quo is disadvantaging many kids in areas lacking school choice, and it is doing so along racial and socioeconomic lines.

    Was it racist to single her out? I think that’s a hard claim to bear out with the evidence, however that’s not the main issue here. Folks like you are hearing the Rosa Parks analogy and automatically framing this issue about a singular charge of racism, yet if you read Huffman’s take the analogy bears out much differently:

    “But kids are getting hurt right now, every day, in ways that take years to play out but limit their life prospects as surgically as many segregation-era laws. We can debate whether lying on school paperwork is the same as refusing to move to the back of the bus, but the harsh reality is this: We may have done away with Jim Crow laws, but we have a Jim Crow public education system.”

    Williams-Bolar broke the law to give her kids a better education, and hopefully her story will entreat more Americans to consider the effects engendered by keeping our educational status quo intact.

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