Call for Chicago Students to Skip 1st School Day

Michael Tarm, AP, July 28, 2008

Community leaders on Monday called on students from poorer parts of Chicago to protest inequalities in school funding by skipping the first day of classes.

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“Today we are back to two-tiered schools—white and affluent on one side, and black, brown and poor on the other,” said Meeks, who also is a minister on the city’s South Side. “That’s an injustice and it’s immoral.”

Meeks said he expects several thousand Chicago students to travel in a caravan of buses to New Trier Township High School in the leafy, North Shore suburb of Winnetka, where they will attempt to enroll.

State statistics indicate that the New Trier district spends around $17,000 annually on each of its students compared to the roughly $10,000 a year spent for each student in Chicago public schools.

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Officials at New Trier Township High School District 203 said it wasn’t yet clear how they’ll deal with so many Chicago students showing up at one time to attempt to enroll at the high school.

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Meeks said the protesters would seek to enroll based on state rules allowing students to transfer to another district if their safety is at risk. The inferior education they receive in Chicago, he said, “was not good for the safety of their futures.”

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