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Illinois state lawmakers recently approved a rule requiring Illinois teacher training programs to adopt ‘culturally responsive teaching and leading’ standards. Critics say a political litmus test is the wrong focus when students are underachieving on the basics.

new rule that requires “culturally responsive teaching and leading” standards to be incorporated in all Illinois teacher preparation programs will take effect in 2025, because the Illinois General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules voted to approve the proposed rule on Feb. 17. Eight of the committee’s 12 members would have needed to vote to suspend the rule to prevent its implementation, and only the six Republican members voted to do so.

The Illinois State Board of Education adopted the new standards to “prepare future educators to teach diverse students [and] to foster classroom and school environments in which every student feels that they belong.”

Critics of the new standards, however, have said they require educators to embrace left-leaning ideology and prioritize political and social activism in classrooms at a time when Illinois students are underperforming on basic skills tests. Others, such as the Chicago Tribune, have praised the goal of preparing teachers to engage with students from diverse backgrounds, while also warning that there is reason to worry the new rule “embeds politics into teacher training” and that it is unwise to impose controversial new standards in “today’s highly charged political environment.”

Read more from Illinois Policy here.

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A statue named Young Lincoln at Senn Park in Chicago in Winter. It is on the list of monuments to be reviewed by an advisory committee.

Abraham Lincoln and Chicago go way back, from his visits here as a traveling lawyer to his nomination for president at the 1860 Republican National Convention. His connection is one of the proudest claims of our state — official slogan, “Land of Lincoln.” Every child grows up learning his incomparable place in the history of Illinois and of the nation.

But some people think Abe’s sins cancel out his achievements. On one hand, he was elected vowing to stop the spread of slavery, waged a successful war to preserve the Union and worked to achieve constitutional equality for Black Americans. On the other, he represented a slave owner trying to recover escaped slaves, sometimes expressed bigoted sentiments and allowed the execution of 38 Dakota men during the U.S. war with their tribe.

Facts like those account for the scattered calls that he be relegated to the dungeon of America’s villains. Even Mayor Lori Lightfoot thinks he may be problematic, judging from the list of monuments to be reviewed by an advisory committee. It includes several statues of Lincoln. Also in the dock: George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, William McKinley and Leif Ericson, among others.

We have no objection to periodically reassessing public monuments as new information emerges and old information gains new pertinence. Chicagoans are not obligated to defer to the judgment of previous generations. But let’s not revel in proclaiming our superiority to yesterday’s heroes.

Apparently, some critics think every person we memorialize must be perfectly blameless by the standards of modern America. In that case, we’d have to raze just about every statue. If purity is the threshold — purity based on today’s standards against the cultural and political dynamics of our ancestors — there will be no monuments. A better approach is to weigh the good done by those who have been honored against their shortcomings, and in the context of their generation, not ours.

Read the full Chicago Tribune editorial here.

Related:Column: Crime, taxes, closed schools or clogged side streets. But Lightfoot focuses on statues.

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BARRINGTON HILLS, Ill. (CBS) — Airline customers are navigating mazes trying to get refunds on flights after COVID-19 derailed their travel plans.

Getting your refund can be tricky as it is, and even trickier if you used reward points for the purchase. A Barrington Hills family told CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas the payment snafus are causing headaches.

“We used to live in the city. We would bike to the games,” said Holly Husby.

As is displayed in their basement decorative choices, the Husbys are a Cubs family. They had both their first date and their engagement at Wrigley Field.

“It was Cubs-Giants,” said Holly Husby.

“The Cubs have always been a family affair,” said Marvin Husby.

The family booked a trip in early March to see the Cubs play the Cardinals in a historic series in London. They bought the plane tickets using about $12,700 worth of credit card reward points.

But then COVID-19 hit and international travel came to a halt, so they tried to get a refund.

Read the full CBS Chicago report here.

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The top of a box truck slammed into Long Grove’s covered bridge on Monday, leaving the truck more damaged than the bridge. (Courtesy of Jeffery Taylor)

LONG GROVE, Ill. — Long Grove’s historic covered bridge had another run in with a truck this week.

John Kopecky and his friend Jeffery Taylor were out building a snow fort in front of their respective businesses Monday for the town’s upcoming Cocoa Crawl when they noticed the Prism Health Care Services boxcar.

“I start waving my hands, saying ‘stop,’” Kopecky said.

WGN was sent video of the collision that proves the boxcar was no match for the bridge, which has seen its fair share of crashes in recent years.

“It’s a shame he hit the bridge,” Kopecky said. “His truck was ruined. It came open and stuff came out.”

Back in 2018, the bridge was severely damaged and remained closed until last year. The bridge was then hit twice a week after it reopened.

Read more and watch the video from WGN News here.

Related:Think you’ve had a bad day? Think again.,” “Think you’ve had a bad day? Think again (Part 2).

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The Observer takes a look back at another year gone by, as we present the most frequently read news stories and editorials in 2020. Click on any title to read and revisit stories from this past year.

Racism allegations follow as plan to move 25 kids into Barrington Hills home stalls

Although the leader of an organization helping disadvantaged minority youths contends race is a factor in his delayed plan to move into a Barrington Hills home with 25 children of color, village officials say the zoning code is the only issue.

This June 30 article received 11 comments, and 12 Facebook shares.

Time to stop giving 220’s Harris passes

A week ago today hundreds of parents and students in Barrington Area Unit District 220 gathered at a rally in Citizens Park to ask the district to allow in-person schooling to resume. Some spoke while others displayed signs such as, “Open our schools for in-person learning,” or “Face 2 Face learning is essential” (seeI am asking for a choice’: Barrington 220 parents, students rally for in-person learning” and “Hundreds turn out for Barrington rally calling for end to remote learning, restart of student sports”).

No one commented on this September 21 editorial, but a record 86 people shared it on Facebook.

220 won’t consider COVID-19 testing at this time (as opposed to New Trier, thus our response

Wednesday District 220 emailed the following notice to the community:

Over the past couple of weeks, the district has been looking at the possibility of using COVID-19 testing as one additional component of several virus mitigation efforts. At the Dec. 1 Board meeting, the Board decided it would not consider using COVID-19 testing at this time due to high costs and the fact that it would not be a full proof [sic] measure in preventing the spread of the virus.  Click here to watch the Board’s full discussion about COVID-19 testing.

New Trier Township High School District 203 did not hesitate at all when in October they announced, “…they will pay up to $1.3 million to conduct COVID-19 saliva screenings for students and staff.” As a result of their proactive measures, some students are back in classroom today, December 4.

There were 2 comments on this December 2 editorial, and 3 shares on Facebook.

Homicide investigation on Old Sutton Rd just south of Otis Rd, Barrington Hills

Barrington Hills police and firefighter/paramedics from Barrington -Countryside FPD responded about 3:34 a.m. Saturday March 7, 2020 to a report that multiple people were shot at or near a home in the block of 300 Old Sutton Road. Police and firefighter/paramedics received a report that there were multiple gunshot victims. At least two victim were transported to a local hospital. At least one victim was possibly dead at the scene.

We got one comment to this March 7 story, but 35 shares on Facebook.

Fact checking

On Monday night, CBS Chicago reported a story that included audio and text stating the following:

“Over 20 acres of tree-lined property nestled in affluent Barrington Hills feature tennis courts and a sprawling home purchased by Terrance Wallace, the InZone Project founder.” (InZone Project Founder Says He’s Been Hit With Red Tape In Efforts To Bring Black And Brown Boys From Chicago To Live In Barrington Hills Mansion.)

There is no recorded public record of a recent sale of the property on 541 Merri Oaks Road. Public records do indicate that the property is currently owned by a Trust and has been under the ownership of the Trust or related parties since 2002.

There were no comments or shares on this July 1 article..

NEW! Solitude Ranch w/Indoor Pool, Event Friendly! $599 per night

Sneak away from the big city for a peaceful stay at ‘Solitude Ranch,’ a vacation rental in Barrington! This ranch is one-of-a-kind, offering 3,567 square feet of space complete with 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, an upscale kitchen, sunken den, wall-to-wall windows, and even an indoor pool!

There were 3 comments made about this March 7 ad, but no shares

Barrington District 220 reverses course, switches to online classes only

Reversing course on its plan to let parents choose between in-person and online classes, Barrington Area Unit School District 220 announced Wednesday that it would offer only remote learning when school opens next month.

There was one Facebook share, and 9 comments to this July 29 article (most of which objected to our choice of graphic used).

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The recordings have been released from last week’s Board of Trustee’s meeting (11.17.20), and the Village Attorney’s report contained the following update:

“The only thing I can report is that the ongoing litigation relative to the horse boarding text amendment we’re zeroing in on the close of discovery. We’ve been taking depositions almost every day, and discovery closes next week and thereafter I’m sure you’ll start seeing a flurry of motions. As a matter of fact, Miss Paul becomes a deponent tomorrow.”

To listen to the recording of the November 17th BOT meeting, click here.

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That brought the total cost to build and run the short-lived facility to about $81.1 million, including construction costs. The emergency facility will not reopen, state officials say.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot (from left), Gov. J.B. Pritzker and U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, touring the $65.9 million emergency coronavirus hospital at McCormick Place on April 17 — the day Pritzker announced the first five patients had been transferred there. Only 33 more would follow, as a feared COVID-19 crush at hospitals eased.
(Tyler LaRiviere / Sun-Times)

As the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers raced to build a $66 million emergency COVID-19 field hospital inside McCormick Place last spring, state and city officials scrambled to find the staff, equipment and supplies to run it.

The tab for all of that was another $20.3 million, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show, though state officials say two vendors returned a total of $5.2 million of “unspent funds.”

That brought the total cost of building and staffing the short-lived, makeshift coronavirus hospital to about $81.1 million.

State and city officials say they expect most of the costs for the McCormick Place hospital to be covered by the federal government.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency spent $19 million to staff and operate the hospital. City Hall put in another $1.3 million for materials and supplies.

The McCormick Place field hospital, built by Walsh Construction, one of Chicago’s most politically well-connected contractors, opened in mid-April. It was shut down only weeks later, on May 8, as the demand for hospital beds for coronavirus patients eased, and it was deemed by state and city officials to no longer be needed.

Read more of the Sun*Times Watchdog report here.

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