Monday, February 14, 2011
Meet Kelley Williams-Bolar... and Education Reform...
I can appreciate any parent who is involved in his/her children's education. After all, research suggests that parents who spend 15-20 minutes with their student per day... whether it is reading, writing, studying, or simply talking about school... are much more likely to have success in school.
Part of the American Dream is working hard, and putting some distance between your family and a sub-standard housing and school district. That is why I like Kelley Williams-Bolars concern for her children. I can't imagine what it would be like to be a single parent, trying to raise children in a sub-standard school district. As unfair as it sounds, Kelley as well as many other Americans, are victims of their own decisions. Kelley is a single parent who lives in public housing. She lied about her residency to enroll her children in a school district where she did not pay taxes. She was caught, tried, convicted, and sent to jail for falsifying records.
Columnist Kevin Huffman suggested that part of the problem is school choice. That, if Kelley had a choice as where to send her children, she wouldn't have had to lie about her residency. However, Huffman seems to overlook the fundamental fact that the parents in Copley-Fairlawn schools have worked hard to buy a house in a nice school district. That these same parents pay the taxes which support those schools. That it too is very unfair to expect the hard-working citizens of one school district to foot the bill of children who do not live in the district.
If this crime were repeated on a more massive scale the school would spend valuable resources trying to determine who should, and who should not be attending their schools. Furthermore, there might be an additional financial strain by buying these students, after school activities, and maybe even a free lunch program. Meanwhile, the school district would also have less resources to educate the children who really live in the district.
At the end of the day, I applaud any parent who wants the best for her children. However, it is not the responsibility of the tax payers, or government to fix a problem that Kelley helped create for herself.
Kevin Huffman evidently is not familiar with John McWhorter's Losing the Race. This book takes an honest view of public schools in the United States. McWhorter's conclusion is that the true problem with America's Education system isn't so much unequal schools, but more importantly the perception of schools in each culture. Maybe Huffman's comments about zip codes being the number on e indicator of school success is a complete fallacy. John McWhorter was quick to point out that Shaker Heights Schools ( a Cleveland Suburb) has gone to great lengths to improve the quality of education for all students. This includes programs to reach out to struggling students and others which close the achievement gap.
The fact of the matter is that a parent's love, attention, and modeling of appropriate behavior will generally indicate a student's success. And that is the case in a school that is poor and Hispanic, poor and black, and poor and white. Furthermore, the belief in the victim mentality does nothing more that to perpetuate this notion. Kelley should start the conversation by admitting that did something wrong. Kevin Huffman should re-evaluate his stance and race bating statements. Kelley Williams-Bolar is no Rosa Parks. The fact of the matter is there are many successful students of African-American decent in the Copley-Fairlawn district. The vast majority pay their taxes and have not falsified records..