Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The boycott is on

I'm on my way to the South Side

I spent a great holiday weekend with the family out at the beach in Michigan, far from the Louisiana disaster zone. But today, school starts and it’s back into the fray. Talk about disasters. Eight years into the Mayor’s Renaissance 2010 reform, Chicago schools are on the brink of bankruptcy—this with a Democratic mayor, governor and legislature. Still no funding forthcoming. Illinois is 49th out of 50 states when it comes to state funding for education.

Rev. Meeks has taken leadership of the fight-back away from Duncan/Daley who continue to piss and moan about students missing a day of school to join the struggle for justice and equality.
Shades of the civil rights movement when so many white liberals stood on the sidelines criticizing each and every tactic of Dr. King and the young SNCC activists.


“The big national picture is that food and fuel costs are going up and school revenues are not,” said Anne L. Bryant, executive director of the National School Boards Association. “We’re in a recession, and it’s having a dramatic impact on schools.”-- NYT

But not everyone’s buying the hand wringing and whining. Some 50 churches in the black community are backing the boycott and filling up some 250 busses to take kids up to the rich, white suburb of Winnetka where schools get $19,500/students as compared with $9K in Chicago. CEO Duncan was running from church to church Sunday, desperately trying to head off the boycott. He attacked Rev. Meeks for “using students to fight adults’ battles.”

To which Wade Tillett comments, on my Aug. 31st blog post:

Funny, but I don't remember Arne Duncan having this sentiment this spring, when he used our students as a backdrop for his funding spectacle at Soldier Field for the "Shout Out for Schools".


Here's a prayer on Huff (Chicago) for the first day of school from poet Kevin Coval:

… let his crusade continue beyond week one. May the students he brings to Winnetka see the gigantic inequity in public education, and have the courage and communal counsel not to feel bad about where they come from but to demand wrongs turned right. Perhaps they will not be turned away by fire hoses and German Shepherds, but they will still return to a quarter of the public funding spent on some suburban schools, they will still return to racial-profiling, a proliferation of prisons built to house their bodies and non-livable wage service sector jobs, they will return to the shackles of neighborhood segregation and canyons of disparity which have not disappeared since Little Rock but have grown and will not magically vanish when a democrat is in the white house…

Also listen to Miles Davis’ son Erin, talking about the Chicago school boycott:

"I think people are fed up, and they're trying to do something to change things," said Davis, whose family has long supported the elementary in South Side Englewood. (See the NBC5 Video: New school honors Miles Davis ).

As for me, I am heading down to the South Side to lend a hand as kids ride the buses to New Trier High School and attend classes for the next few days in Rev. Meeks’ Freedom School. I have a hunch they will be learning more from this experience then they ever did on day-one at CPS.

Reports to follow.

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