With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The ripple effect

On Sept. 3, 2008, I was posting from the back of a school bus headed from the south side of Chicago to the wealthy suburbs of the North Shore. I was on one of dozens of buses organized by Rev. Meeks, loaded with kids, parents and teachers who were boycotting the first day of school.

We were traveling north to try and register hundreds of inner-city kids at New Trier High School in symbolic protest of the vast funding gap between rich suburban schools and resource-starved schools in the city. If you recall, Mayor Daley and then CPS schools chief Arne Duncan, attacked us and Rev. Meeks for "keeping kids out of school".

As we arrived at New Trier, dozens of white suburban parents greeted us with WELCOME signs and a group of NT students came out and gave a solidarity speech at our rally.

This morning's Trib carries a story, "Students look to fix schools," showing the ripple effects from that important struggle eight months ago.
The student campaign, like the forum itself, is an improbable outcome of a civic action that most thought would end when nearly 1,000 Chicago students climbed back onto yellow school buses and drove home. That it didn't astounds Schechter. "We absolutely would not have done this without [the boycott]," Schechter said. "I don't think people would imagine this coming out of the North Shore."

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