Educational choices best left to parents

Freedom New Mexico

Hurray for Colorado, a state of school choice in which parents may open enroll their children in almost any school they choose. If education is the future, Colorado’s future is bright. State money follows each student, so schools compete for the favor of parents. In trying to win the hearts of parents, schools work to become more exceptional than others in the region. While schools compete for kids in Colorado, schools in some other states fight to keep them away.

To gain a better appreciation for school choice, look to Akron, Ohio — the city in which LeBron James became a basketball legend while attending Catholic school. Because of his athletic talent, schools fought for the opportunity to enroll James.

Just as the mother of LeBron James wanted the best for her son, Kelley Williams-Bolar wanted the best for her two girls. But Bolar’s girls aren’t NBA prospects. They’re just two African-American, ages 12 and 16, growing up in the projects of a crime-ridden neighborhood that offers them bad schools.

Bolar had no simple options for enrolling the girls in a school of her choosing. So she did what parents all over the country do in jurisdictions that don’t allow generous open enrollment options. She told a fib. She filled out paperwork that gave her father’s address as the place where her children live. That enabled them to attend a much better school in a much safer neighborhood. For two years the girls attended the suburban Copley-Fairlawn district, pretending they lived where grandpa lives.

In Colorado, that would have meant more money for the district. School officials would have welcomed the girls. In Ohio, the girls were considered a liability that belonged to some other district. School officials suspected the girls didn’t belong there. They hired a private investigator who tracked down where the girls actually lived.

The mother is going to jail, on a felony, for falsifying documents. Her two concurrent five-year sentences were suspended, so she’ll serve 10 days, work 80 hours of community service and endure three years of probation. She had almost earned her teaching degree, which she can no longer obtain because of the felony record.

This is an outrage. The idea that this woman goes to jail for attempting parity in education is what’s genuinely criminal. One can only hope this scandal is exploited by all politicians, pundits and educational reformers who cannot wait to see a final nail pounded into the old public school monopolies.