"In case you needed further proof of the American education system's failings, especially in poor and minority communities, consider the latest crime to spread across the country: Educational theft," says Michael Flaherty in The Wall Street Journal. Flaherty, who produced the polarizing education documentary Waiting for 'Superman,' laments that parents who try to sneak their kids into better school districts are facing criminal punishment. For instance, earlier this year, Ohio single mom Kelley Williams-Bolar was convicted on two felony counts for using her father's address to get her kids into a better district. She's not alone. In recent months, parents in Kentucky, Connecticut, and Missouri have all been arrested for similar "crimes." Here, an excerpt:
From California to Massachusetts, districts are hiring special investigators to follow children from school to their homes to determine their true residences and decide if they "belong" at high-achieving public schools. School districts in Florida, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey all boasted recently about new address-verification programs designed to pull up their drawbridges and keep "illegal students" from entering their gates.
Other school districts use services like VerifyResidence.com, which provides "the latest in covert video technology and digital photographic equipment to photograph, videotape, and document" children going from their house to school. School districts can enroll in the company's rewards program, which awards anonymous tipsters $250 checks for reporting out-of-district students.
Only in a world where irony is dead could people not marvel at concerned parents being prosecuted for stealing a free public education for their children.