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3 Replies to “And More Live From Copley – Fairlawn Prison”
From the Strauss commentary:
“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.
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.