An Interview with Yovel Badash: Educational Theft?

Aug 4, 2013 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

1) There always seems to be this issue of parents trying to cross district lines to get their child into a “ better “ school. How pervasive is this?

I think this is much more common than we think.

It is more common in failing districts areas where you have a better performing district close by. Parents however, do not want to register their kids to a district that is out of their area. They would prefer having a good school to send their child “in their own neighborhood”– but when there is no such option – they do what they need to care for their child.

2) Now, what are the legalities regarding this- does it vary from state to state?

Yes! “see attached of some states yet more states have begun to criminalize due to the fiscal crisis which has closed 100s of school across country” what we are trying to do in EZCL and NCHB is to make sure we “de-criminalize” this act.

Just recently in Connecticut the State legislator has changed the law and parent can no longer be arrested in such cases. They have the right for a hearing. Yes the Connecticut Parents Union speared this effort and through a Connecticut statute 10-186 parents have a right to due process hearings first at the local level and if it is unresolved then the state board of education level and if not resolved then a court can decide”

What we are trying to do is get more states to address this issue.

3) I know the Post Office Box ploy – where a person lives physically in one district – but has a post office box as their address in another. Has any research been done on this?

Post Office boxes are not allowed when parents are filling out residency applications they can give a Post Office box as a mailing address but a physical address has to be given.

4) I was even involved in a case where some parents crossed the state line to get to a “ better “ school. Does anyone prosecute these parents?

“Its up to the individual school district to prosecute and it would be the state the child attends school that will prosecute”

5) Overall, parents want to get a good education for their kids- but many expect the teachers to do all the work- does this make sense ?

No. What No Child Held Back changes is the logic of the responsibility.

When you say to parents – “we won’t leave anyone behind” the responsibility is on the educational system. When we say we won’t “hold anyone back” it is much more about the student and parent.

We think that the right approach to end zip code laws is by creating a strong partnership between schools and their communities.

We need the community to want and believe that the school can improve – and support this process.

Great schools will build great communities – and we won’t have this issue anymore. One must also remember that parents have absolutely no decision making process at schools and this statement can be disingenuous.

6) Back in the good old days—coaches would try to recruit “ out of district “ and apparently this still goes on. Your thoughts?

This is a great example of the hypocrisy in our system. When you have a great student or someone that you want to have as part of your school – it is ok or allowed.

When some parent wants a better future for their child and is willing to pay a big price for it – we arrest them?

7) Some parents home school their kids due to frustration with the schools. Is this appropriate or do they have no alternatives?

In the past, many of our homeschool parent have done so due to religious reasons – but more and more are doing it because they think they can actually do better themselves.

And let’s think about that – they are willing to give up $15K-$45K (1-3 kids) per year of government money that is there for their kids just to avoid the education system.

If the government would support these parents when homeschooling their kids (with actual cash or tax breaks) – we would see the current 2MM students number grow immediately to double digit numbers.

That’s what many in the education system don’t really understand. We MUST have an open, fair and personalized system. If we don’t we will not only lose generations of students – we stand to lose the system itself.

8) Tough question – parents of children with special needs seem to be keenly aware as to the “ good teachers “ for their child who might be deaf or have autism or some other exceptionality. Are these parents justified in trying to get better services for their child?

I think every parent has the right (or actually obligation) to get the best possible education for their child.

We need to make it as easy for them to do that. Not put road blocks in front of them.

Clearly when a child has special needs – the parents are a lot more focused on their needs. So they are more active in the process.

We need to perhaps start looking at students and parents as customers of an open system – not prisoners.

If we change our mindset and think about No Child Held Back – we will serve everyone’s interest while not shortchanging anyone.

9) What have I neglected to ask?

I think zip code laws are fundamentally against the American Dream. As an immigrant what we are led to believe is that in the US everything is possible. If you work hard and you apply yourself – you will make it. But how can that be the case if you can’t get access to a decent school? If you don’t know how to read – how can you learn anything? We must wake up before the American Dream will become the American Memory.

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