Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Soldier Field rally seeks funding for schools

A recent report from the Tribune:
Thousands of Chicago Public School students were at Soldier Field on Tuesday listening to students, politicians and entertainers ask state officials for more money to help fund programs they believe could lead to reduced violence in the schools.

Taking the form of a combination rally and summertime concert, Mayor Richard Daley, Rev. Jesse Jackson and schools chief Arne Duncan joined the parents of many of the students who were killed in the last few years to appeal for a peaceful summer.

Ronnie Mosley, an 11th-grader at Simeon Career Academy, called on state officials to help pay for districtwide crime-prevention programs beginning in elementary school. A CPS student was killed just outside Simeon this spring.

"If we don't have the funds for the programs that we already have, how can we bring in new programs that would be effective?" Mosley said. "[The violence] affected me greatly. It has become a plague on our generation."

Students sat scattered throughout the stands listening to the beat of musicians rapping, playing bongos and strumming guitars. Some of the performers included Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, Ben One and RichKiddz.

School officials said more than 30,000 tickets were issued to students and others to attend the 2-hour "Shout Out for Funding" rally designed to spur state officials to give the district more money to help clear up a nearly $90 million funding gap for its 2008-09 proposed budget. District officials said the effort cost about $10 per student to transport them, which they are looking to recoup from donors. It's not clear how many students attended.
I got wind of this first over at A Chicago Blog. It was mentioned there that CPS spends $11,000 a student. Perhaps that $10 to send these students to a rally is better spent in the classroom. I suppose it's safe to say beware of those who think a problem can be solved merely by throwing more money at it.

Also from A Chicago Blog a discussion on the possibility of lifting a cap on charter schools in Illinois.

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