In rural towns like Hartsville, S.C., school ‘choice’ doesn’t make sense. Here’s why.
In the small town of Hartsville, South Carolina, which sits just about two hours from anywhere you’ve ever heard of, Monay Parran and her two young sons – 8-year-old Ja’quez, and 11-year-old Rashon – begin each day in the darkness of the pre-dawn hours.
Parran, a single parent who works two minimum-wage jobs in two towns that are almost an hour apart, must drop her boys off at the bus stop early enough to make it to her first job on time. By the time she sees her sons again, after her second shift wraps up, it will be almost midnight.
This is the daily cycle for scores of families, who must make ends meet while living below the poverty line. It’s a cycle that results in young people who are often overtired and undernourished. It’s also a widespread reality that is largely invisible to most Americans, and made more complex by the distances rural families must traverse to access foundational resources like a school, a hospital – or even a minimum-wage job.