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On the Bus: School boycotts pit rich against poor

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Several of my former hometowns are in the news today, [ as public school students in Chicago staged a boycott of Chicago Public Schools on Tuesday's first day of school,][1] in favor of enrolling at a wealthy school district in the North Shore Suburbs.More than 1,000 elementary school students and 150 high school students jumped on buses that took them to the New Trier school district in Northfield, a stone's throw from the village of Winnetka, where I went to middle school.The gesture was largely symbolic, since these students would have to pay $17,000 to enroll in the district, because they do not live within its borders.[They're complaining that CPS doesn't receive enough funding][2], thus harming their education. School funding in Chicago is largely based off property taxes, meaning inner city schools receive much less money than schools in wealthier city neighborhoods, and especially those in ritzy areas like the New Trier district.You might recognize New Trier High School as [Shermer High School][3] of The Breakfast Club, Weird Science or any other [John Hughes][4] movie.Illinois State Sen. James Meeks organized the boycott, hoping to force legislators to help CPS, which has more than 400,000 students."I do not believe that a child's education should be based on where they live," Meeks said. I've often heard that schools in Lawrence are known as "rich" schools or "poor" schools. As in many cases, that leaves much up to individual interpretation, and the qualifers of "rich" and "poor" suggest that one school may be better than another.So my question to you: Parents, do you think that schools in wealthier neighborhoods in Lawrence provide better a education? Do you see any such disparity in our schools? [1]: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/03/us/03brfs-SCHOOLFINANC_BRF.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss [2]: http://www.chitowndailynews.org/Chicago_news/School_boycotters_say_message_was_delivered,15658 [3]: http://shermerhighschool.blogspot.com/ [4]: http://archive.salon.com/people/bc/2001/07/17/john_hughes/index.html

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