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For Some Parents, Search for Better Schools Could Lead to Jail

On the rise are cases in which families living in districts with failing schools have been accused of “stealing an education” and have been fined for lying about where they live on official district documents. Others have been criminally charged and, in some cases, jailed.

Such draconian measures are helping to popularize a new term: “education theft.” There have been no definitive reports on the number of school districts cracking down on enrollment fraud, but civil-rights groups and education activists say anecdotal evidence suggests these practices may be on the rise.