Sen. Meeks Tells Kids to Stay Out of School

It’s off the deep end and off to la-la land with State Sen. James Meeks.  Meeks is struggling to find support for his grand plan to encourage kids to stay home from school at the start of the school year.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

State Sen. James Meeks (D-Chicago) met privately with the City Council’s Black Caucus last week to explain his plan to have hundreds of Chicago Public School students boycott the first four days of classes.

Implied, but not stated, was the fact that Meeks would like aldermanic support for his controversial tactics. Apparently, he’s not going to get it.

Aldermen are wise to stay away from this one.

Here is Meeks’ agenda for his four-day stay-out-of-school field trip:

On the first day of school, Sept. 2, Meeks plans to bus students up to the North Shore and attempt to enroll them in schools in Winnetka’s wealthy New Trier district.

The remaining three days—Sept. 3, 4 and 5—will be spent having boycotting students camp out in the lobbies of Chicago’s most prominent downtown businesses. They include the Chicago Stock Exchange, the Mercantile Exchange, Chase Bank, Fifth Third Bank and the Aon Building.

The Chicago Public Schools have struggled for years trying to get kids to actually show up at all on the first day of school.  Teachers want to start the year off right, establish a rapport with the students.  Meeks wants kids to join him on a screaming publicity stunt to Winnetka in a futile attempt to register for classes out of district.

This can only end poorly.

Here’s what’s going to happen:

Meeks will get a busload or two of kids and parents to join him on this quest.  He may even have a better showing than that the first day.  The second day, there will be less participation.  By days three and four, the good senator will be able to get by with a van or perhaps a station wagon.  Most kids will stay home from classes, taking advantage of the extra mornings to sleep late.  Children will thank the Rev. Meeks for extending summer vacation, if they even know who he is.  Gov. Blagojevich and Meeks’ colleagues in the Illinois State Legislature, the only people in the Land of Lincoln who can make a difference, will largely ignore his antics.

Meeks is completely right about the inequities in educational opportunities in Illinois.  His four day holiday for students will accomplish nothing and sends the wrong message.