Blowing hot air in the Windy City

Illinois State Senator James Meeks believes that the most efficacious way to eliminate funding disparities between Chicago's schools is to keep poor, black youngsters out of class. He wants such students in the city to boycott the first days of the 2008-2009 school year. The Reverend Meeks, a politician who leads a church on Chicago's South Side, has received support for his plan from the Reverend Al Sharpton, a wannabe politician who leads all sorts of noxious causes and whose association with this one makes laughable his recent "commitment" to improve the academic achievement of minority and low-income pupils. (Want a good argument for separation of church and state? Sharpton.) If shrinking the achievement gap is the ultimate goal of Meeks, as he says, then urging black kids to stay out of school is about the dumbest thing he could do, akin to trying to quell a fire by sloshing the flames with gasoline. Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was on the money when he said, "It's counterproductive to urge kids not to attend school. If a child misses a day of school, that child will miss an opportunity to learn. I think children should take advantage of every possible day they can to go to school."

"Meeks solicits support for school boycott plan," by Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times, August 12, 2008

"A school boycott, or not?," by Robert Mitchum and Ray Long, Chicago Tribune, August 12, 2008

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