What’s Wrong With This Picture?

By Molly Belt

The Crime of Wanting A Good Education For Your Child

Below is my response to: 20 Years in Prison for Sending Your Kids to the Wrong School? Inequality in School Systems Leads Parents to Big Risks by Rania Khalek, via AlterNet.

According to the Urban Institute, “Those poor at birth are more likely to be poor between ages 25 and 30, drop out of high school, have a teen nonmarital birth, and have patchy employment records than those not poor at birth.”

Anyone with any awareness knows that education is the biggest boost out of poverty, yet poverty remains cyclical, handed down from generation to generation like a family heirloom, because the poorer the school, the fewer the resources. Poor children often begin their education lagging behind their wealthier peers, and then attend schools that are not provided adequate resources to help them catch up, much less succeed. Children in poorer schools are, in general, not getting the quality of education that children in wealthier schools receive. Walk into any urban school with a high percentage of children living in poverty, then walk through a school populated by children who aren’t living in poverty. It doesn’t even have to be a wealthy school, simply a school without a large number of children in poverty, and see the stark difference.

Parents want what is best for their children. Parents want their children to succeed. They don’t always know how to go about achieving it, but they want it for their children. The mothers in Rania Khalek’s article know exactly how to help their children succeed-get them a good education. And for that they are punished with jail time and exorbitant fines. Wall Street greed has tanked our economy and few, if any, of those responsible have paid the price for their malfeasance. A few parents who want their children to have a future, a better education, are treated as criminals for their audacity.

School districts saying that it is about the money it costs them to educate the interlopers are disingenuous. If they wanted some hotshot athlete from another district, there would be no problem with using someone else’s address. Indeed, the school would probably arrange it. When the wealthy and powerful tank our economy for their own financial gain, there are no consequences. When the poor and powerless try to give their kids a better future, it’s a felony. What’s wrong with this picture?

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