The Northwest Herald Editorial Board offers this week’s thumbs up and thumbs down:
Thumbs up: To Marian Central and the five remaining football-playing Suburban Christian Conference schools for making the best out of a bad situation when most of their conference teams departed. They have found a new home in the Chicago Catholic League. The Fox Valley Conference schools did not open their arms to Marian Central, so now the Hurricanes will be a part of what we know will be one of the best conferences in the state, despite having just five teams per division at this point.
Thumbs down: To the continued ineptitude of state lawmakers when it comes to solving the state’s underfunded pension systems. Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan announced this week that he plans to have House members vote on an almost identical bill that would overhaul the systems – a measure the Senate previously trounced – and despite pleas from Gov. Pat Quinn to Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton to find a compromise. We implore lawmakers to reach an agreement before lawmakers go back to Springfield in what is shaping up to be an exercise in futility.
Thumbs up: To McHenry County being spared from Wednesday’s severe storms. Conditions that produced tornadoes in Iowa and northern Illinois were ripe for strong storms. Luckily, McHenry County was spared from the twisters that moved through the area. We hope those who did experience a different outcome from Wednesday’s weather are OK.
Thumbs down: To Peoria-based Caterpillar Inc. for withdrawing its financial support of the Boy Scouts. Just as we were critical of a Crystal Lake Catholic Church’s decision to kick its local Boy Scout troop from its premises because the national organization decided to allow openly gay Scouts, Caterpillar goes too far in the other direction by withdrawing support because the Boy Scouts continue to deny leadership roles to gay adults as they have always done. Boy Scouts has been teaching excellent lessons on citizenship for decades. As imperfect as any organizations, it’s time that Scouts themselves stop being treated as a political football in culture wars.
Thumbs up: To Virtual Learning Solutions for withdrawing its application to open an online-only charter school that would have included 18 local districts, including Carpentersville-based District 300. Virtual education should be explored as viable learning options. But this proposal had mile-wide holes in how the school would operate, and answers were not provided to questions posed by school officials. Legislation has placed a one-year moratorium on the creation of any new virtual charter school, and requires Illinois State Charter School Commission to study virtual charter schools. Determining best practices and setting firm standards for virtual schools will lead to better educational opportunities for students.