Democratic hopeful Marianne Williamson, who'll appear on stage Tuesday night at the presidential debate, writes a column on CNN's website talking about the disparity in education between Detroiters and Grosse Pointers.
In the late 1990s, I lived in Grosse Pointe, an affluent suburb of Detroit while raising my daughter. During that time, there were people in inner city Detroit who would rent apartments in Grosse Pointe, several families at a time, to enable their children to attend Grosse Pointe South High School, a top-notch public school.
Local governments determine the enrollment policies of children in their school. Grosse Pointe's was that your house, rented or owned, had to be your primary residence. If a child was enrolled in a school where the family was renting a second property, living with a relative, or with a parent who did not have primary custody, the district could eject them from school, extract fees from their families and potentially prosecute them for making false statements about residency.
Sometimes families would get caught, and their children would be removed from the school in a humiliating fashion. I remember thinking what an injustice this was. I saw the human consequences of basing a significant portion of our educational funding on local property taxes. And I realized that if a child grows up in a financially advantaged home, his or her chances of a fine public school education are high -- while if a child grows up in a low-income home, his or her chances of a high quality education are drastically reduced.
In the richest country in the world, that should not be so. I promised myself that if I ever had to chance to try to fix this, I would. And now, one of the pillars of my campaign for the presidency is a commitment to see every child in America -- regardless of their zip code -- attend schools that are, as I have called them, palaces of learning, culture and the arts. Such schools do exist in America. Our problem now is that there are not enough of them.