Good Education Is a Right, Not a Crime

Single-Minded: Another black mom arrested? A better education for your kids shouldn't be a punishable offense.

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Gardner tries so hard to keep it together after every possible thing that can go wrong does. His wife is fed up; the great internship he wants -- the one that will get him a career, as opposed to a job -- doesn't pay; he owes back taxes and gets evicted; the shelter closes too early ... and the bathroom is open.

Watching that scene, when Gardner tries to make a game out of sleeping in a stinking stall and then cries silent tears once his son has finally fallen asleep, always reminds me of what my mother probably went through. What McDowell, Williams-Bolar and countless other women and men who have bigger dreams for their children than their paychecks can cash go through.

Yes, school districts exist for a reason. According to America's idiotic public education system, tax dollars determine how decent an education your kid gets. So Beverly Hills High will always be better than Compton High. To leap over the gaps left by a broken system, parents can either send their kids to a magnet school (of which there are few), a free public charter school (with its limited number of open spots) or pay for private school. Stealing, as defined by Ohio and Connecticut, is in some ways not so much the easy way out as it is the only way out.

Helena Andrews is a regular contributor to The Root and author of Bitch Is the New Black, a memoir in essays. Follow her on Twitter.

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