Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tonya McDowell, US School Financing and the "Theft" of High Quality Education

In the United States, education is a valuable commodity that parents buy for their children when parents select the town, city or state in which they will live. Schools typically are funded largely based on the taxes imposed on home-owners and others in a particular locale.  Where house values are high, more money is raised by charging realty taxes based on a percentage of the values of the homes.

When parents buy or rent real estate in a given town, they simultaneously buy the right to send their children to the school in that town that is closest to their home.  This creates a direct and predictable relationship between the income and assets of the parents and the funding available for the education of their children.

The quality of education is determined not only by expenses per student, but also the qualifications of teachers, class sizes quality of libraries and lab equipment and other factors.  Above all, educators and  supervisors know that they will be held accountable for the percentage of students graduating and entering high quality and high status colleges and universities.  Wealthy parent simply will not permit their children to receive an education whose poverty is evident in college entrance exams.

This brings us to the case of the allegation that Tonya McDowell "the homeless single mother who was arrested for sending her child to the “wrong” school district (similar to the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar a few months ago)." 

Short of murder, it ought not be a crime to send one's children to the best available schools, regardless of where they are.  To the contrary, the failure to seek out the best education available might even be considered child neglect, if American society were not ordered in such a way as to guarantee that poor children typically receive poor educations.  For example, it is not unusual in some major urban school districts for 50% of high school students to leave high school without receiving a high school diploma.

It's in this context that we see the motivation and intent of Tonya McDowell, and we cannot help but agree with her laudable goal even if some readers find fault with the way in which she sought to achieve her goal, which was to obtain the best quality education available to her for her child.

Should "stealing" education from  a wealthy school district be a crime at all?  Or should we all be attempting to do the same thing--to achieve the best possible educations for our children, even if it is paid for by wealthy parents' property taxes in a suburb where we parents are unable to rent or buy a home?

The system of funding schools through property taxes is obviously unfair to children whose only crime was to be born on the wrong side of the train tracks.   It is this system that must ultimately be modified so that a quality education for our children is a right and not commodity that only the rich can afford through their property taxes.

1 comment:

moonar said...

Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!

Property for Rent in Glasgow