In today's Ohio Education Gadfly, Jamie, Bianca, and I explore what's missing from the debate around Kelley Williams-Bolar, the Akron mom who was jailed for nine days and convicted of tampering with documents in order to send her two children to a school outside their home district.
Many are calling it a ???Rosa Parks moment for education.??? Civil rights and political activists are pleading with the governor to pardon Williams-Bolar (and he has asked the Ohio Parole Board to review the case). Kevin Huffman noted in the Washington Post, ???She looked at her options, she looked at the law, she looked at her kids. And she made a choice.???
But did she really look at all of her options? Lost among the clarion calls for expanding school choice to help parents like Ms. Williams-Bolar are key questions. Besides falsifying documents to send her kids outside of Akron Public Schools, did Williams-Bolar have other options? If so, why didn't she use them?
In fact, Williams-Bolar did have legal school-choice options, more than most Ohio families, including:
Intra-district transfer. The Akron Public Schools allows students to attend a school other than their local neighborhood school provided a seat is available. There are several high-performing schools in Akron, one of which we featured in our Needles in a Haystack report last spring (King Elementary, which drew a hefty percentage of its students from outside its attendance zone), that her kids might have attended....