Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Let’s use children to fight our political battles for us…not.

Posted by sanityinjection on July 29, 2008

I can’t say I’m surprised that somebody is calling for students in Chicago to skip the first day of school as part of an ill-conceived protest. It’s a little disappointing, though, that the call is coming from a state legislator (Sen. James Meeks):

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080729/ap_on_re_us/school_funding_protest

Briefly, the protest centers on the fact that per-pupil spending in wealthy suburban school districts is much higher than in the Chicago public schools. (This is true in pretty much every major metro area in America.) The protesters see this as discrimination against poor communities, but particularly against ethnic minorities.

So on the first day of school, these numb-nuts want to bus thousands of Chicago kids to affluent, lily-white Winnetka where they will attempt to enroll in the New Trier School District, on the basis of a dubious interpretation of a provision in state law allowing transfers if a student’s “safety” is at risk.

New Trier is something of a legend in education circles. It consistently ranks among the top public school districts in the country. People come from foreign countries to tour the schools there and see how they do things. I don’t blame any inner-city family for wanting to send their kid there, which is why I support school vouchers and school choice.

However, asking schoolchildren to skip school as part of a political protest is a very bad idea. Granted, kids never learn anything important on the first day of school anyway. But you set your habits for the academic year, you learn where you’re going and who your teachers are and what time the buses pick you up. Kids who miss the first day of school have a much higher truancy rate, which is a real issue in urban schools.

Children do not, for the most part, understand issues of school funding, nor do they get a vote. It is irresponsible to ask or expect them to engage in political protest on behalf of adults who don’t seem to be able to act effectively themselves. You shouldn’t put your kid on a picket line and you shouldn’t make them hold a sign for Obama or McCain. Let them do what kids are supposed to do: Go to school, and enjoy themselves when they’re not in school. If your political cause requires the manipulation and exploitation of children in order to succeed, that’s a good reason why it doesn’t deserve to.

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3 Responses to “Let’s use children to fight our political battles for us…not.”

  1. Dan said

    What really gets my panties in a twist are the little toddlers sitting on their parents shoulders holding anti-gay marriage signs. Entirely not appropriate to use your kid as a prop that way.

  2. sanityinjection said

    Dan, I agree, but it would be just as wrong if they were holding pro-gay marriage signs.

  3. […] https://sanityinjection.wordpress.com/2008/07/29/lets-use-children-to-fight-our-political-battles-for… […]

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