My Teen Talk Radio students tell me that many students at our school (Uplift Community High) are planning on walking out of school on Thursday April 8th at 9:30am to protest proposed CPS (Chicago Public Schools) budget cuts. Another school involved is Social Justice High School at Little Village/Lawndale High School’s campus (a school I’ve also worked with).
There is a projected deficit of nearly $1 Billion for the FY 2011, and the proposed budget cuts according to an official CPS slideshare presentation (presented March, 15th 2010) includes:
increasing class size (H.S. and elementary) to 37 students (a savings valued at $160 Million)
cut supplemental resources in half for gifted, magnet, and montessori schools by $22 Million
reduce early childhood and bilingual education programs by $61 Million
reduce district funding for full day kindergarten programs by $16 Million
eliminate all district funded non-varsity sports (a savings valued at $7 Million)
reduce enrichment and after school programs by $17 Million
Taking into account the deficit, budget cuts certainly must be made; but students wonder how enrichment that supports at-risk students and gives students a chance at post-secondary success (via sports and other after school programs) can be considered for the chopping block. They are (in their mind) just as, or even more essential than what goes on between the bells.
The budget will not officially be approved by the board until August.
This, of course, opened the door for a classroom discussion about whether such protests still work, and what the pros and cons of such displays are. Many of my students will cover the walkout and subsequent rally as student journalists. Below is some of our board work. Great to know that students aren’t as apathetic as the media leads us to believe. Jive on!
(below, notes on a “reporter’s job”)
(above, pros and cons of protests)