Relief. Finally, enough lawmakers got over their partisan bickering to have a little compassion for those who are most hurt by the previous ongoing budget stalemate. Why did it have to come to the state almost being given “junk” status, many Black and Brown college kids with Monetary Award
Program (MAP) grants barely clinging to their college dreams and seniors who desperately need in-home care fighting for the support they need? But I do wish the politicians could continue this newfound collaboration (okay, it was barely enough to override the governor’s veto, but just sayin’) and find a way to support our communities and schools without taxing us to death. This new budget brings a nice income tax hike – at least those workers who earn low or moderate income get a break from that. Still, lawmakers are killing us with all these taxes. Can’t anyone come up with an innovative way to bring in more money to our cash-strapped state? Didn’t bring those reusable bags. Tax. Want a soda? That tax is on the way after the stay is lifted. So maybe the income tax doesn’t cause you too much stress, but those nickel and dime taxes that are part of your everyday life start to add up. And consider that the school funding for students across the state wasn’t included in this budget. So here we go again. When that bill (SB1) finds its way to Governor Raun-er from the Senate, he has vowed to veto what he says is the “bailout bill for Chica-go Public Schools.” To be fair, it is doubtful anyone is more anti-tax in this state than Gov. Rauner. It was his anti-tax fervor that could have potentially derailed the budget that passed if lawmakers hadn’t been able to override his veto. And I’m no fan of new taxes, but this bill has some new ideas on how to fairly distribute funding across the state instead of forcing communities to use funds from property taxes in their communities. Not sure yet what the bill will mean to everyday pocketbooks beyond property taxes, but we’ve got to do something. According to Fix the Formula Illinois, the old funding system is so broken that Illinois ranks last in the nation in providing school funding to the neediest students. How about another bipartisan solution to balance our budget, support our communi-ties, and provide desperately needed services for our people without just coming up with a new tax? Doesn’t anyone have any fresh ideas? There’s always that money from the Lottery…oh, yeah…

Good for Nothin’ Graduation Requirement

When I was 17, I kind of knew what I wanted, but not many of us knew for sure. And of course, some of us had a plan to go to college, join the military, and maybe travel for a year before making a call. But at least we knew it was our decision. We’d have our diploma in hand and could go forth in whatever path we chose. Under a new “Learn, Plan, Succeed” program proposed by Mayor Emanuel, students who want to graduate will need to provide a job offer or an acceptance letter into a college, the military, a job program, a gap-year program or some kind of apprenticeship. “Learn. Plan. Succeed. is the next step in our overarching mission of preparing students for a rewarding and impactful life,” said Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson in an official statement. “We all need to change how we think about what it means to be a high school graduate – a diploma alone isn’t enough anymore. At CPS, we’ve long believed that high school is only a stepping stone, and now we’re en-suring that every one of our students has given real consideration to what’s next – and taken action to succeed.” Really? Why can’t students have the freedom to decide for themselves what success means? What if they want to get married and have kids with no real career goals? What if they need to take care of a sick relative? And, seriously, what if they want to just sit in their room and play video

“Learn. Plan. Succeed. is the next step in our overarching mission of preparing students for a rewarding and impactful life,” said Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson in an official statement. “We all need to change how we think about what it means to be a high school graduate – a diploma alone isn’t enough anymore. At CPS, we’ve long believed that high school is only a stepping stone, and now we’re ensuring that every one of our students has given real consideration to what’s next – and taken action to succeed.”

Really? Why can’t students have the freedom to decide for themselves what success means? What if they want to get married and have kids with no real career goals? What if they need to take care of a sick relative? And, seriously, what if they want to just sit in their room and play video games (not a great plan, but whatever…). Everyone should have a right to plan their own future. I believe it’s part of growing up. I’m not saying we shouldn’t push hard for our kids to be the best that they can be, support them in all their endeavors, and encourage them to make good choices for the future. But I do believe that if you earn the grades and you’re able to graduate, you should be able to do so without the career police. As a mom of two boys, I’m behind them whatever choice they will make. I will celebrate them and say good luck and Godspeed.

All Fired up About Fireworks

The fireworks leading up to July 4th and the day of have gotten out of control. It seemed particularly bad this year. During the day, pop, pop, pop. All night, pop, pop, pop. Dogs were howling. Kids were crying. Teens were complaining. And in some neighborhoods, the cherry bombs, rockets, and other harmful fireworks seem to be out of control. It’s no longer simply firecrackers and sparklers. According to DNA Info, “Anything that’s handheld, explodes or takes flight is off limits and can result in a $200 to $500 fine. That ban extends to sparklers, which are OK for use elsewhere in Illinois but not within the city.” But yet, pop, pop, pop. So, I’ve decided to take a poll. Go to ChicagoDefender.com and tell me what you think. Are July 4 fireworks out of control in your neighborhood?

comments – Add Yours