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Media: New Series Compares Wealthy Districts To Border Patrol

ScreenHunter_02 Jan. 21 10.34Last night's kickoff episode of Getting Schooled, the new Al Jazeera America series, aired last night.

In it, correspondent Soledad O'Brien focused on the inequities between different school systems in the same states and areas and what happens to parents who fake their addresses to obtain a better education for their children.

The issue is familiar -- and so embedded in the American school system that few bother to talk about it any more -- but the segment includes some footage and data you may not have seen before: private investigators in high-tech Homeland-style surveillance vans, a list of states where you can go to jail for faking an address (not just paying the district back), an update from Kelley Williams-Bolar who was jailed in Ohio for faking an address (then pardoned after a public uproar in her defense), and a Pennsylvania couple (pictured above) who was arrested and is being taken to court for $10,000 worth of "stolen" education next week.    

In addition to giving us a somewhat broader, updated look at inter-district inequities and state "theft of services" laws, the show also ups the ante rhetorically, comparing districts' efforts to weed out kids to a domestic Border Patrol, which is pretty intense. "Do not treat me like an illegal alien because I live in Philadelphia," says one of the parents who was arrested.  The segment also broadens the issue out somewhat by including a mixed-race immigrant couple rather than focusing solely on Williams-Bolar, who is an African-American single parent.

The @AmericaTonight series continues tonight and the rest of the week, with segments on homeschool, algebra tutoring, flipping STEM classes, and the school-to-prison pipeline. Image via AJAM 

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