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Back to School Boycott on in Chicago

Pencils Sharpened, but Back to School Boycott on in Chicago

It's back to school day for everyone from Belgian princesses to my mom (Princess Laetitia of Belgium, pictured) but not for hundreds of Chicago public school students expected to skip classes today. They're protesting the financial divide in the Illinois public school system.

Packed classrooms, old textbooks, and a dearth of technology tips the scale between schools who have and schools who ain't got it. Up to 2,000 city students are expected to try to enroll in the tonier schools in the suburbs, distinguished for their wealth and academics, even though residency in the area is required to attend. One mom says, "I don't want to send my kids to any second-class school anymore. If I have to keep my kids out for a whole month, I'm willing to do that."

The plan might do more harm than good. To see how,

.

The Board of Education President Rufus Williams is urging a "boycott of the boycott," saying that the first day of school sets the tone for the year and could hinder the Chicago district's funding from the state as average daily attendance helps determine money allocated. State Sen. James Meeks, the architect of the boycott is pushing for a three-year $120 million program to bridge the gap between affluent and poor schools. In Chicago schools, $11,300 was spent per student last year compared to $17,500 in the more affluent schools.

Is a walk-out the right way to make a point? Should residency be required for school attendance, or does a pulling a student body from only one area ensure homogeneity and imbalance?

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bellaressa bellaressa 7 years
It broke my heart yesterday, to see the children on the news talking about New Trier High School and Sunset Ridge Elementary School. They were so happy that the school had books, music, the school was clean, and they felt safe. So, heartbreaking. I still don't think it was right but it was heartbreaking that now they will think and have this mentality why aren't we able to have these things in school without understanding the real reasons.
MD-Free MD-Free 7 years
SEE, NOW LIBERTY'S PIC IS BACK, NEXT TIME, REGARDLESS THE PIC, I WILL BE SURE TO READ THE BYLINE.
MD-Free MD-Free 7 years
WHOOPS, I WAS WRONG, GOOD JOB CITIZEN, I COULD SWEAR IT HAD LIBERTY'S LOGO AT THE TOP WHEN I READ IT. STRANGE
MD-Free MD-Free 7 years
I KNEW THIS WAS A LIBERTY BLOG BY THE TITLE.IF IT WASN'T FOR LIBERTY'S WONDERFUL BLOGS, THERE WOULDN'T BE ANYTHING WORTH A MINUTE OF MY TIME.MAYBE THE 2ND DAY OF SCHOOL WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER, THE SITTING OUTSIDE INSTEAD OF STAYING HOME WAS ALSO A GOOD IDEA. HITTING THEM IN POCKETBOOKS IS A GOOD METHOD OF PROTEST.
MD-Free MD-Free 7 years
I KNEW THIS WAS A LIBERTY BLOG BY THE TITLE. IF IT WASN'T FOR LIBERTY'S WONDERFUL BLOGS, THERE WOULDN'T BE ANYTHING WORTH A MINUTE OF MY TIME. MAYBE THE 2ND DAY OF SCHOOL WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER, THE SITTING OUTSIDE INSTEAD OF STAYING HOME WAS ALSO A GOOD IDEA. HITTING THEM IN POCKETBOOKS IS A GOOD METHOD OF PROTEST.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 7 years
That is why vouchers are such a good idea. Make the schools compete for business. Competition breeds excellence.
kpdunne4 kpdunne4 7 years
While these students are being enrolled into schools, these schools are not the same city, and they have to pay the difference between the cost of the city school and the suburban school.
bellaressa bellaressa 7 years
Okay, the children are not staying home. They are being enrolled in another school who is willing to except them in a better neighborhood. They are enrolling today at the school.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
"Packed classrooms, old textbooks, and a dearth of technology tips the scale between schools who have and schools who ain't got it." Can I get a witness!I don't blame them. Rather than just stay home though I would have had them sit outside and refuse to enter their schools. That's much more dramatic than having everyone think your kids are just home playing video games. If you're going to protest put your back into it.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
"Packed classrooms, old textbooks, and a dearth of technology tips the scale between schools who have and schools who ain't got it." Can I get a witness! I don't blame them. Rather than just stay home though I would have had them sit outside and refuse to enter their schools. That's much more dramatic than having everyone think your kids are just home playing video games. If you're going to protest put your back into it.
kathili kathili 7 years
I'm not sure I think the mass absentee move is the wisest, but sometimes it takes a big action to make the state government pay attention.
sparetimer sparetimer 7 years
while i wouldn't necessarily call a boycott of grade school or high school students the correct way to make a point about the failing school system, i can definitely understand where they're coming from. if they needed media attention, they sure got it. in terms of people taking action, i think that sometimes they reach their limits-especially parents who have to watch their children attend second or third rate schools year after year. as a product of the cps system i can recall a time when i felt that sense of helplessness and frustration that nothing was being done about this failing system. though the focus of this demonstration may be a funding issue there are larger problems that need to be addressed such as parent involvement, student and administration accountability, racism and classicism in schools. we need bigger plans and larger reforms but people have to start somewhere. whether right or wrong, at least it shows that there are people paying attention and looking for change and i can't criticize people for trying to make a stand.
sparetimer sparetimer 7 years
while i wouldn't necessarily call a boycott of grade school or high school students the correct way to make a point about the failing school system, i can definitely understand where they're coming from. if they needed media attention, they sure got it. in terms of people taking action, i think that sometimes they reach their limits-especially parents who have to watch their children attend second or third rate schools year after year. as a product of the cps system i can recall a time when i felt that sense of helplessness and frustration that nothing was being done about this failing system. though the focus of this demonstration may be a funding issue there are larger problems that need to be addressed such as parent involvement, student and administration accountability, racism and classicism in schools. we need bigger plans and larger reforms but people have to start somewhere. whether right or wrong, at least it shows that there are people paying attention and looking for change and i can't criticize people for trying to make a stand.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 7 years
I can understand why parent are frustrated. We really have no good options. School administrators couldn't care less what we think about anything. The only way to get their attention is to impact their finances. Jude: A friend of mine here in Los Angeles a few years ago faked a separation from her husband and even rented and furnished an apartment in a better area to get her son out of Los Angeles Unified. I tried to get both of my kids into an adjacent district, without success, even appealing it up to the County Office of Education for the second kid.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 7 years
I can understand why parent are frustrated. We really have no good options. School administrators couldn't care less what we think about anything. The only way to get their attention is to impact their finances. Jude: A friend of mine here in Los Angeles a few years ago faked a separation from her husband and even rented and furnished an apartment in a better area to get her son out of Los Angeles Unified. I tried to get both of my kids into an adjacent district, without success, even appealing it up to the County Office of Education for the second kid.
bellaressa bellaressa 7 years
Some of these private schools here have a plain white polo shirt for a top but on the collar they have the schools initials or logo. It really depends which school you go to here.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 7 years
Interesting. I always thought uniforms were very inexpensive at the private schools in Akron and Cleveland. Some of them didn't require as strict a uniform, either. A lot of them just went with the basic blue or white polo, khakis or khaki skirt, etc.
LadyLiLa83 LadyLiLa83 7 years
This is a horrible idea!! The kids are the ones suffering. And Rev. Meeks is turning this whole thing into a race issue, which gets me even more mad. It's NOT about race. There are white kids that go to those schools too. The funding sucks because the schools aren't performing how they should be. It's not because there are black, Hispanic, Asian, etc. kids there. End of story.
bellaressa bellaressa 7 years
lilkimbo, the prices you quote would be here a public school uniform (some public schools have uniforms); however, if someone goes to a Catholic private school, military, etc. there are special uniforms for every grade. So if you come in as a frosh in 08 you may have a uniform but then when you become a junior you get a new uniform.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 7 years
Hmm...It is so interesting to see how things are different in different areas. I know the private schools in the Cleveland/Akron area offered really cheap uniforms. (around $10 for a polo shirt) And I know a lot of them offered free activities, too. I guess it all depends on which area you are in.
bellaressa bellaressa 7 years
I understand completely lilkimbo but thanks for adding on. Private school uniforms usually cost more than typical uniforms - I know here in Chicago they do. They are usually specialty uniforms and not like the separates you can buy for public school uniforms (i.e. Dockers and white shirts). A private school skirt can cost anywhere from $50-60 dollars for just the shirt. That is the extra cost I was referring to plus any activities. Activities are generally lower at public funded schools than private.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 7 years
And school uniforms are typically way cheaper than other clothes! A lot of public schools are starting to require uniforms.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 7 years
Bella, I could be misreading what you are saying, but I think you are confused as to how vouchers work. Vouchers are used so students can go to private or public schools they can't afford. (Even though school districts are based on residence in the U.S., through school choice, virtually all school districts allow children from outside their district to attend their school for a fee.) So, they would and do help children go to private schools and schools outside of their districts; that is the purpose of vouchers. Vouchers also encourage competition; when schools have to compete for each student (and the funding that comes with that student), they tend to step up their game and produce greater results. Sorry if you knew all of this and I was just misunderstanding what you were saying!
lilkimbo lilkimbo 7 years
Bella, I could be misreading what you are saying, but I think you are confused as to how vouchers work. Vouchers are used so students can go to private or public schools they can't afford. (Even though school districts are based on residence in the U.S., through school choice, virtually all school districts allow children from outside their district to attend their school for a fee.) So, they would and do help children go to private schools and schools outside of their districts; that is the purpose of vouchers. Vouchers also encourage competition; when schools have to compete for each student (and the funding that comes with that student), they tend to step up their game and produce greater results. Sorry if you knew all of this and I was just misunderstanding what you were saying!
kpdunne4 kpdunne4 7 years
I live in Chicago and grew up in the suburbs. I was lucky enough to attend one of the more "affluent" high schools...because of the property taxes that my parents paid to live in the suburb. Money does get doled out based on academic performance of students, as well as graduation rates and test scores. Perhaps that angle of funding should change, since the 'burbs can afford the difference and people in the suburbs are willing to pay the difference. Some in the city do not have that luxury. However, boycotting the first day of school works against everything that Illinois educators have worked towards. It completely contridicts the CPS campaign for 100% attendance on the first day of school and gives children an excuse to skip. Meeks also proposed a $40 million pilot program to funnel more money into schools that receive less funding - the project would cost $40 million, that money would not go into the needy schools. This is just Illinois politics being played out and kids are in the middle of it. I cannot agree with it and am amazed that adults who are supposed to be responsible for these children support it.
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