Compassion of the Progressive State


Here’s one of those stories that might just provide what we writer types call “foreshadowing”:

A mother who pleaded guilty to fraudulently enrolling her six-year-old son in the wrong school district has been sentenced to five years in prison….

McDowell told police she was living in a van and occasionally slept at a Norwalk shelter or a friend’s Bridgeport apartment when she enrolled her son Norwalk’s Brookside Elementary School.

Police said McDowell stole $15,686 worth of ‘free’ educational services from Norwalk.

Of course, this story may not include the sorts of details that lead conservatives to suggest that laws and judgments ought to be made and enforced at the most local level possible.  Although McDowell’s drug prosecution appears to have produced an entirely separate sentence, prosecutors, juries, and judges rightly take the individual into consideration when assessing penalties.  Racial tensions during the Obama Era provide ample evidence of the danger inherent in elevating local stories to the national level in the service of a narrative.

Still, with all of the lip service New England progressives give to helping the disadvantaged and all of the millions of dollars they spend developing ways to ensure an easy on ramp to the easy street of government dependency, we’re in need of reminders that the mission is all about control, not charity.  We can be sure that the government of Connecticut is happy to give McDowell much more than $16,000 in taxpayer-funded benefits and free services, provided she doesn’t try to exercise the parental prerogative of school choice.

  • Joe Smith

    Actually Justin, homeless parents under McKinney-Vento probably have *more* rights. Here’s a section from CT’s Dept of Education, which seems to adopt the wording in the federal register.

    “In determining best interest, an LEA must, to the extent feasible, keep a
    homeless child or youth in the school of origin, unless doing so is contrary to the wishes of the child’s or youth’s parent or guardian. (Section 722(g)(3)(B)(i)) If an LEA sends a homeless child or youth to a school other than the school of origin or a school requested by the parent or guardian, the LEA must provide a written explanation of its decision to the parent or guardian, together with a statement regarding the right to appeal the placement decision.”

    What’s interesting – and of course left out by the Daily Mail’s writer (hmm.citing a UK paper on a very local issue that has more complexity than just the sensational headline – maybe you should have done a little research) is a couple of things:

    (1) The story notes “home city” so perhaps Ms. McDowell had a “home of origin” which by law dictates a school of origin. The story does not though provide any insight into that issue, which is certainly important to the context of her outcome.

    (2) Ms. McDowell is afforded the right to an explanation and then subsequently an appeal – was she given those and if so and if the decision was still to her “school of origin”, did she then defy those rulings?

    If she wasn’t, then why wasn’t her lawyer smart enough to know her rights under McKinney-Vento (any school district counsel would have at least made sure the LEA was covered)?

    Of course Justin – you want to spin this into something of more denial of school choice, when (possibly – you’re citing an article that only scratches the itch for sensationalism) maybe she was afforded at least the opportunity to pursue what she wanted “the best education possible.”

    PS – since the story is 4 years old, there is the ability to fact check it.

    or the below, which basically says Ms. McDowell admitted in court she did not live in Norwalk and gave no indication she was homeless..

    • OceanStateCurrent

      Well, it’s always a little risky to put up quick posts on a Friday afternoon, so thank you for providing the additional detail.

      I’d note, though, that the Daily Mail article does, in fact, give reason to think McDowell’s “home city” was not the school to which she wanted to send her child, so the application of that particular law isn’t the issue here. Rather, the idea of five years in prison for stealing something that’s supposedly provided at no direct cost to families is.

      • Rhett Hardwick

        Justin, I think we are seeing the difference between local administration, and more distant administration. The state seems more generous than the town., I may be mistaken, but I believe that all welfare was “local” until the 1960’s.