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Would You Lie About Your Address to Give Your Kids a Better Education?

Liz Dwyer

If you could access better schools for your kids by giving the address of a friend or relative, would you? When your zip code often determines the quality of your local schools, parents across the nation have risked jail time for doing just that. As Al Jazeera America reports, "More and more, high-performing school districts are cracking down on boundary hoppers and hiring a kind of suburban border patrol—private detectives equipped with high-tech tools—to sniff out education thieves."

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  • Stan Jackson Sr.

    Before I put my children in the other district I attended my districts school board and pta meetings and I always left those meetings angry. There were board members who acted like they were interested in the school curriculum but who voted against every upgrade in courses, books or technology but whose children attended religious or private schools who were always issued up-graded books every year and until it was outlawed, were issued very expensive calculators. The hypocrisy was blatant but no one saw. I tried to work within the system but being a product of that same system rather than a transplant like most others made me realize that I was confronting those who were responsible for my child's education and well being when I was not around. I did not want my children to have to work out the anger and frustration years later as I did. Yes, I knew more about my district than the norm because not only did I attend school there, I was born there and I worked there. I got my children out. I say, do whatever you need to do to assure your children a chance to succeed. If it means giving your friend your child's tax write-off and/or having a notarized letter, do it.

  • Stan Jackson Sr.

    YES and I did! I bought an old house that was burned-out, paid my taxes and slowly repaired the house while living in another district that had nice houses but had all the people I disliked teaching and attending. As long as I paid my taxes they couldn't do anything about it.

    • Liz Dwyer

      Having two residences is definitely one way to do it, (but as we know, not always an option.) Did the school district ever try to give you the boot? And what advice do you have for folks who don't have the cash for two homes?

  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    This is shocking- especially because I know rich people who lie about their zip codes just to get into good schools. Do they get punished? No - they get on parent/school board committees.

    • Liz Dwyer

      Yeah, I know a few people (not rich, just regular folks) who have used the addresses of relatives in order to get access to better schools. It's such a conundrum because on the one hand, yes, it's wrong, but on the other hand, it's immoral that kids from wealthier communities have access to so much more--better facilities, more AP classes, cleaner restrooms, more enrichment programs, etc. If there was really equality in education, folks wouldn't feel the need to do this.

      • Alessandra Rizzotti

        My mom moved to Beverly Hills even though she couldn't afford it- just so that I could go to a good school system. She has been working with LAUSD for over 30 years- and it's sad that she didn't want me to go to her school system.