Reimagining Education

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Zip code worth going to jail for: The Rosa Parks of education?

There is discussion all across the nation about Kelley Williams-Bolar, the Mother from Ohio who just got out of jail last week after serving 9 days for lying about her zip code.  Why was she in jail?  Missouri Education Reform Roundtable, MERR, discusses this woman’s sacrifice of risking going to jail just so her daughters could attend a better school in a zip code that obviously was worth going to jail for.

I wonder how many St. Louisans know someone-a neighbor, a friend, a family member-doing just what this woman did?  This author knows more than one family who has lied about their zip code.  Fortunately,  my zip code is pretty good:  63144 is home to a very good school district and I have two children there.  It’s a good thing too, since I cannot afford the parochial school tuition or another private school option.  From the above referenced posting on MERR:

As Dan Domenech of the American Association of School Administrators told NPR last week, “The correlation between student achievement and Zip code is 100 percent. The quality of education you receive is entirely predictable based on where you live.” And where you live in America today depends largely on income and race.

Just as Rosa Parks refused to move her seat on the bus, Kelley Williams-Bolar would not take the public school offered to her zip code.  Rosa just wanted a ride on the bus.  Ms. Williams-Bolar just wanted her daughter’s to have the same opportunity as those residing in the zip code she lied about.

It’s great that people across our country are asking questions about education and that not only are more exposes and documentaries coming out BUT people are actually watching them.   Missouri legislators watched The Lottery last week.  The Cartel was screened last week in St. Louis, and Waiting for Superman is making the rounds too.  The St. Louis Beacon shares what people are saying about the issues discussed in the movies and how Missouri is impacted.

People should be outraged that an American Mother was jailed for choosing a better life for her kids.  Missouri needs to ensure that quality options exist for all Missouri children, regardless of the family zip code.  We are well past assigning seats in the back of the bus.

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