* Sen. James Meeks has come up with the goofiest publicity stunt ever…
Six thousand protesters, wearing bright orange T-shirts, could ring Wrigley Field during the first Chicago Cubs playoff game, under a plan by state Sen. James Meeks to move his school funding protests to a national stage.
With the Cubs expected to clinch the playoffs soon, Meeks said Thursday he hopes overhead TV shots from the Goodyear Blimp during the first home playoff game — probably a night game on Oct. 1 — will give the entire nation a view of protesters upset about Illinois’ inequitable school funding system.
* You gotta wonder if Meeks has ever been to a Cub game - not inside, but outside amongst the legions of idiotic drunken revelers…
Chicago Police Department officials said the prospect of dropping off young children in dozens of buses to a sporting event in a congested area filled with excited fans who could be intoxicated raised definite safety, traffic and crowd control concerns.
“Unlike New Trier, where the environment was controlled and enclosed, this . . . is an open environment where children can be subject to vehicular traffic, intoxicated fans — there are a number of external factors,'’ said Monique Bond, spokeswoman for the Chicago Police Department.
“We can’t compromise the safety of children, the safety of fans and the safety of residents.'’
This idea needs to be dropped. Those kids could get hurt. Plus, it’s tantamount to child abuse to subject them to those inebriated barbarians.
Meeks’ comments followed the release of a new study that found that a small number of Illinois districts with the most property wealth spend $2,324 more per pupil on instruction annually than the vast majority of Illinois districts.
In addition, the study by Ralph Martire of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability found that Illinois elementary-only districts with some of the fewest poor kids tended to do better on state tests when they spent more on their students, especially if they spent at least $6,000 per pupil.
Also Thursday, Chicago Schools CEO Arne Duncan told a legislative committee that the state should pass a modest income tax hike to boost school funding and forget about a “tax swap'’ that would link property tax relief with higher state taxes.
* More on that new study in a Sun-Times editorial…
Money does matters. It matters a lot.
That point is hammered home by a new study that adds heft to the argument that extra dollars can help boost test scores.
The researchers started by documenting what we all already know: Wealthier school districts spend more per kids than poor districts do. On average, the wealthiest districts spend $4,186 more per child than the poorest ones. Broken down by dollars that go to instruction, the differential is $2,324, according to the analysis by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability.
The researchers then tied spending to achievement. Among elementary districts with few poor students, they found a correlation between extra dollars and higher state test scores. Affluent districts that spent up to $5,000 per student on instruction produced a mix of outcomes — about half performed below expectations on state tests, half performed above. When spending approached $7,000, almost every district posted better-than-expected test score averages. The same pattern exists with respect to high-poverty schools, though it’s more tenuous because there are only a small number of poor districts that spend $7,000 per student.
This analysis has its flaws. The researchers were unable to look at the most destitute districts and didn’t analyze the link between high spending and test scores.
The study can be read in full by clicking here.