SURVEY: Is It Wrong to Break the Law for a Better Education? - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

After Ohio mother Kelley Williams-Bolar sent her two daughters to a school outside of her district to receive a better education, a jury convicted her on two counts of third degree felonies for tampering with records. She registered her daughters for school using her father’s (their grandfather’s) address. Bolar spent nine days in jail, but now–as a teacher’s assistant, who was only a few credits from receiving a bachelor’s degree in education at the University of Akron–she is also in jeopardy of losing her livelihood as the felony conviction bars her from the teaching profession in Ohio.

Williams-Bolar wasn’t the only parent sent to jail for sending her children to school; albeit a school not in her district. Tanya  McDowell, 33, also African American, was charged with first degree grand larceny for allegedly stealing $15,686 in educational services from Norwalk Public Schools to send her six-year-old to school from September 2010 to January 2011. The homeless mother says she was floating between residences and registered her son under her baby sitter’s address.

School finance inequities between states and between districts within each state has been a polarizing subject between the wealthy and impoverished for years. Recently, there has been a call for more school choice programs that give families the opportunity to choose the school their children will attend. But school choice isn’t the only challenge plaguing education reform. The inadequacies of school curriculum and the over reaching power of teacher’s unions are also targets for reform.

With so much at stake, what is a parent to do? Was Williams-Bolar and McDowell wrong to take matters into their own hands. Please take the survey below and tell us how you feel about education reform in America.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.