Parent Fights for School Equity
By David Miller
While the story about Kelly Williams-Bolar, an Akron, Ohio single mother has created a fire storm in the media, many accounts seem to minimize the daily challenges that parents face seeking a quality education. Williams-Bolar’s dilemma is a glimpse into an American nightmare — a parent of four who lives in a district where the public elementary school has been deemed one of the worst academically performing schools in the county. Williams-Bolar decided to be proactive like so many parents in identical situations.
Ms. William-Bolar’s action has become a trend in many communities. Parents who live in crime ridden communities and who are forced to send their children to low performing schools find themselves in a troubling predicament. It’s a battle that parents are faced with daily. Often debates about school reform and educational equity fail to understand how the magnitude of the fragmentation of many school districts.
Williams-Bolar did what she had to do as a parent. She made the conscious decision to falsify records to indicate that her daughters lived in their grandfather’s district so that they could attend a school with a better academic track record.
She is a single mother, who by all accounts, is on a quest to better her circumstance and improve the life chances of her children. Currently, working as a teaching assistant in Akron, while also being enrolled in college to receive the academic credentials to become a full time teacher, Williams-Bolar was sent to jail for 10 days for attempting to provide her children with the best that society has to offer.
Placed on probation for two years, Williams-Bolar has been ordered to complete 80 hours of community service. This conviction may threaten her ability to get a teacher’s license in the state of Ohio.
Williams-Bolar wanted what we all want for our children — a quality education in a safe learning environment that ultimately produces children who love learning and want to contribute to society.
How many of us have not told the complete truth to benefit our family?
Fighting for our children is a right!
We applaud Ms. Williams-Bolar for making her children a priority. Too many parents are allowing secondary institutions (courts, social services, parole & probation, prison/jails and the police) to raise their sons. Fundamentally, this is historically and will always be a role for primary institutions (family, church, school and the larger community).
David Miller is the co-founder of the Urban Leadership Institute a social enterprise based in Baltimore, MD. Miller is also the co-founder of the Raising Him Alone Campaign (www.raisinghimalone.com) an effort to support single mothers raising male children.
Interview Request: Lee McDonald, 678.778.3955 (cell) — firstname.lastname@example.org.