The school boycott is over! Yup, the 48-hour boycott has proven to be the stunt I said it was. And the sad part is children were used as the biggest pawns in the entire process.
Having ridden the buses and observed all that happened, I can’t help wondering what those adults who were the sponsors of this action will say to the children. The children, accompanied by parents who went to New Trier to pre-register, will see those forms used by New Trier to claim state money for the day using those forms. Those children who saw the New Trier environment are now expected to return to their home school because the politicians/ministers played politics with their hopes and dreams. Those children will go back to their home schools with not a single change to the environment. Book shortages, decaying buildings, lack of supplies, and an environment that is not always conducive to learning, will still be there.
What of the students who visited the lobbies of the downtown office building and sat outside of city hall while getting their lessons? Now they are privy to another lesson-adults will use them in their personal quest for power. Or the high school students who for two days could be around children their age without any fear of violence. As they return to their home high schools, they will still have to worry about who brought what weapon to school, or how to safely get to school as they navigate gang territories.
What about the number of young people who hang around the high schools carrying golf clubs-a weapon the police cannot take from them because their first response is they’re planning on being the next Tiger Woods? What of the young boy and girl on my bus who got a lesson in why it’s better to be the owner of a basketball team as opposed to a player? Their eyes showed a glimmer of hope that someone was paying attention to them and their learning needs-now that’s gone as well.
As adults, those who sponsored this stunt should be held strictly accountable. They got on TV and made their speeches. Their names and images as leaders of the boycott were heard and seen by all. But what now? The boycott’s original premise was that Gov. Blagojevich had gone back on his word to address the inequality in school funding. So what did two days of boycotting really do? Were those students used in a “pissing contest” between state Senator Rev. James T. Meeks and Gov. Blagojevich?
And since when does the ultimate method of protest end based on a promise to meet rather than an actual meeting?
Whenever a boycott is planned, there are also strategies planned for all the “then what” moments. If the boycott is successful, then what we do next is this. … If the boycott isn’t successful, then what we do next is that. … If the boycott ends early, then what we do is … etc.
Well, after calling for an end to the boycott, and telling the children to go to school, I haven’t heard any of the detailed plans for the current “now what” moment. So I visited the website www.saveourschoolsnow.com. I was expecting to see a detailed report on the current strategy. What I found was a site that told people “Children Should Return To School.” No information on meetings or plans for the next phase. No message board for concerned parents/educators/organizers to network for solutions. Not even a link to any other online sites where they can find and share information.
As with most things where black folks are used as pawns, we got all show with no substance. We got all hyped up by religion and let down by politics.
What was I looking for? I was looking for guidelines for parents to use while the school funding debacle goes on-like telling parents to read to their children, encouraging parents to buy computers for their children as the ultimate teaching tool. I was hoping to see the churches tell parents that having dinner at the dining room table is a very simple method of having family discussions which can increase their child’s knowledge as discussions are held around the dinner table. I wanted real action.
Anyone with a computer should visit the site and judge for themselves. For those who don’t have a computer, don’t worry. You haven’t missed a thing.