Walk Outs and Horse Trades

Last week a group of Boston high school students, angry at proposed budget cuts within Boston schools, walked out of school in protest. The Boston Globe reported that the walk out was at least promoted by - if not outright organized by - a consortium of labor-backed organizations, which makes sense, as the goals of the walkout jive with their agenda.

Erika Sanzi took a nice look yesterday at the tradeoffs involved in this sort of political action:

For years Boston has been keeping 90% of its 4th graders out of the Advanced Work Class program. While the top 10% of test takers are invited into the kingdom of higher standards and more rigorous work, the remaining 90% of 4th graders are staring at a “keep out” sign when it comes to access to advanced work ... That was all going to change next year but the decision to shift funds and restore high school cuts means that the plan to increase access to the Advanced Work Class has been put on hold ... Superintendent Tommy Chang knows that there’s a good chance his 4th graders (and their parents) are disappointed by what, to them, feels like a horse trade in the wake of a student protest. 

I'm a big fan of student activism, particularly when it is authentic. This walkout, though, seems like a missed opportunity to discuss the real tradeoffs that politics require.