This week, Chicago City Schools started back up. Except, not all students returned to school -
In a story that will likely fly under the radar this week due to the convention and other electoral politics, it should be noted that a sizable protest is taking place this week in Chicago. In a plea for school funding, nearly 1,000 Chicago Public School students and some of their parents descended upon New Trier Township High School, a wealthy public school in Chicago’s north side Northfield suburb. (from here)And it is my opinion that the story has flown under the radar - but not so much because of the convention or the other news I think. It's because for people who have the greatest access to get the story out, well, it doesn't affect them, so they turn the other way. Let's face it folks, we pride ourselves on our ability to work hard and to move to suburbs with safe schools and good education. Even the worst suburban public schools are light years ahead of many city schools.
So why should those schools be our problem? The parents should just work harder and move out and get over it. But it's not that simple for some people. We all know people who work hard and can't get ahead. Okay, maybe you don't, but I do. I get that it's not as simple as waking up, saying I want better and then doing it. And mix in today's economy, which most are feeling anxious about, well, it's not that easy.
And not only that, but it is our problem. It's my problem. It's your problem. And your's, yep, and your's too. Because those kids are a part of our future! And no one can deny that a good education can be instrumental in having a better adulthood. We should all care. Every single one of us.
And today I did a quick google blog search and most results were news blogs. I have checked Chicago Mom Blog both today and yesterday and nothing has been mentioned there. Why not? Because it's not our kids who are attending schools that:
the report reveals that many planned school improvements projects are unfunded and that there is about $229 million worth of projects that no longer appear in the city's capital improvements plan. Overcrowding remains a persistent and unresolved problem, and there has been no clear plan for integrating educational technology. The Chicago public school system alone has $2.5 billion in unfunded capital needs for its schools, but funds allotted for statewide capital needs are rapidly disappearing, and federal assistance in local school construction and repair needs is in jeopardy. (from here)Or maybe when we see this figure:
Chicago Public Schools spent $11,300 a student last year. New Trier High School spent $17,500 a student, near the top in the state. (from here)
I know, some of you are saying that the money doens't matter. But today it does. That money is the difference between updated computers, money for band instruments, repairs on buildings, competive pay for teachers, updated school books - okay, I'll grant you math may not have changed much, but you know, how many of you want your kids to have history books published 20 years ago? Think how much the world has changed since then! Money does count in this day and age. It is important.
I know Chicago is not the only place where two worlds exist - one of some of the best education you can get today and the other is a district lacking enough resources and funds to give some kids even the most basic of education. It's sad. We should not overlook it anymore. We should not ignore it. We should not brush it off as their problem. Because it affects ALL of us.
Sorry, for getting all "political" today, but education is an issue near and dear to my heart - and I think every child should have the opportunity to get a great education. I have decided for my kids that that takes place in our home, but that doesn't mean I don't care about the other options available for other families out there.