Thumbs-up: To the Illinois State Board of Education for starting the process to redesign the standardized Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test. Although some local school districts have said there still are unknowns at this point about what the test would include, we think ISBE’s goals to improve the test are worth pursuing. ISBE’s hope for the new test, which is given to students in third through eighth grade, is to return results faster, include native language options and, eventually, lead to a computer-adaptive test structure. All of these changes would be positive for students and teachers. Mary Endres Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Amy Varys said PARCC results don’t come back until after the school year is over, making it impossible to adjust instruction to meet students’ needs. Teachers should be able to use test results to better understand their students’ progress. We hope the updated test can deliver.
Thumbs-down: To President Donald Trump. It defies belief that someone who repeatedly dodged the military draft during the Vietnam War would suggest that teachers should arm themselves and be responsible for protecting their classrooms against deranged gunmen armed with automatic weapons. The president’s hypocrisy might be considered ironic were it not so pathetic and dangerous.
Thumbs-up: To the Crystal Lake City Council for saving residents money with a new trash and recycling contract, changing from Marengo Disposal Co. Environmental Services to Prairieland Disposal. Waste collection days will be unchanged, and the required annual price increases will be based on the consumer price index (between
1.5 and 3 percent), an improvement over the old contract’s fixed 3 percent increase each year. Single-family homeowners will pay $6.24 less a month, seniors will pay $4.05 less a month and multifamily home residents will pay $1.63 less monthly. The prices have been dropping because of heavy competition in the marketplace for services, meaning the system is working well and residents are benefiting.
Thumbs-down: To losing local grocer Joseph’s Marketplace, which was scheduled to close its doors Friday. Competition is good and there are many grocery options around Route 14 in Crystal Lake, but local businesses that keep profits and money in the local economy are a thing that benefits all of us. Joseph’s filled a niche for many shoppers and the store will be missed by many. Here’s hoping that another strong local business can come and fill what soon will be an empty storefront in a key business area. That can help everything from the overall local economy to the employment status of many local citizens. We encourage residents to continue to shop and buy local, supporting your neighbors in their many business endeavors.