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May 20, 2018

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Posted: Friday, May 18, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Steven Cohen

I want to congratulate Lynn Hyndman on her retirement from Dawes School .

My son Sam, my late wife Martha Hammerman, and I, all remember her fondly from our days associated with Dawes School in the nineties. I thank the Roundtable for publishing its tribute to her career there.

Posted: Friday, May 4, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Steve Cohen

Steve Weiskirch: If "defined contribution plans" are not Orwellian, why not call them what they really are: "no pension"? Why the "defined" dodge to make the two plans sound similar?

Posted: Friday, May 4, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Libby Hill

Re: A Lot of Guano by Roger Girard. Thank you for your letter to the editor regarding my pigeon article. I’m delighted someone reads the fine print. You are absolutely correct. It would be impossible for one normal size pigeon, no matter how well fed, to produce 2500 pounds of guano a year. Take off those extra zeros, though (apologies for a personal proofreading gaffe), and we have 25 pounds of pigeon waste a year, the amount released by pigeons according to a December 3, 2007 New Yorker article titled The Pigeon Police by Ben McGrath. However, if you choose Innolytics, the Pigeon Control Company and numerous other websites, you learn, as you did that “A flock of just 100 pigeons can produce up to 4,800 pounds of guano annually,” which raises the amount of guano that a single pigeon produces annually to 48 pounds. Which gets you to wondering just who measures the stuff.

Posted: Friday, May 4, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Lori Keenan

Disappointment With Coverage
Imagine my disappointment to have my remarks at Council taken so completely out of context as to mischaracterize my sentiment entirely in Shawn Jones' article, No Reconsideration of Harley Clarke Proposal in today’s May 3 issue. Mr. Jones reported that I apologized for my “outburst," and then truncated what I actually said to the point of editorializing my comments and misrepresenting my statement completely.
I feel it’s important to have at least this portion of my remarks in their entirety here, as the small portion that Mr. Jones chose to include certainly missed my point altogether. Taken so out of context as they were, it made it appear as if I felt horrible about having made my previous remarks, when in fact what I felt horrible about was what Council had done in rejecting Evanston Lakehouse & Garden's lease over minor -- and certainly negotiable — issues, at the previous meeting.
Mr. Jones reported: Lori Keenan apologized for her outburst before Council on April 16. “I feel terrible,” she said.
What I actually said, was this, from my prepared statement April 23 to Council:
"Part of the reason I’m here today is to apologize for my remarks at the last City Council meeting. I know Ald. Suffredin emailed someone in our group saying that my comments probably weren’t helpful, but must have made me feel good. Actually, the opposite is true. It made me feel horrible. I feel horrible that the efforts of this smart and talented group of Evanston volunteers worked in good faith for several years to find a solution to a problem that Council has been discussing since 2011, and was summarily rejected.”
In the business of Public Relations, I often refer to the RoundTable as "the hardest working newspaper in town," and am generally impressed with its reporting and coverage, but when friends are texting asking about my “outburst” and then I read the small portion of my remarks that you included, I feel like a huge disservice is being done to the Evanston Community, who deserve to know the truth about what’s really going on with Harley Clarke.
Words matter, and journalistic integrity should be held to the highest standards, now more than ever. Those who aren’t attending or watching Council meetings rely on the media to report the truth, not just an editorialized interpretation of what actually happened or was said.
Thank you for the opportunity to set the record straight,

Posted: Thursday, May 3, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Carolyn Laughlin

What is “kindergarten ready”? What skills, behaviors, and knowledge are most often associated with successful and satisfying kindergarten experience? What development puts children in the best position at the starting gate of their K-8 education?

District 65 knows. The answer is contained in 23 clear, specific, objectives called Strong Start to Kindergarten (SSKG), which was compiled by early childhood and D65 kindergarten educators, and is based on nationally recognized standards. Each objective is an observable behavior or skill, and is accompanied by straight forward examples. SSKG was distributed to Evanston/Skokie educators in September, 2016, and reflects the curriculum, strategies and methods often used by our local pre-schools.

Strong Start to Kindergarten Goals haven’t yet been shared with the parents of children ages 0-5 in our community. There has been concern about potentially overwhelming, confusing, alienating, frustrating and/or offending parents of children who may not be demonstrating all of the SSKGs. Evanston Cradle to Career (EC2C) is working with D65 on a “parent version”, and an optimal distribution plan.

To achieve its first “bold goal” of increasing the District-wide kindergarten readiness score from the current 53% to 85% by 2025” EC2C has committed to going “all in on kids and families zero to five” (Sheila Merry, Executive Director of EC2C). This logically includes leveraging the passion, energy, and capabilities of a child’s first teacher: the parent. Sharing SSKG broadly, through every possible means, would enable parents to consider their child’s “readiness”, work on areas of development, and reach out to professionals/agencies (including their child’s pre-school teacher) for support, guidance or resources. Sharing this information demonstrates respect for parents, and empowers them to contribute powerfully to their child’s success and happiness.

D65 has much to gain from wide distribution of Strong Start to Kindergarten Goals. District administrators declare that K-readiness is the key to significantly reducing the “achievement gap”. While parental awareness of SSKG alone is not a silver bullet, it is critical step in enabling parents to support their young child’s development, and education.

Posted: Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Guestbook entry by: ETHS student Name verified, withheld

Vaping at ETHS

The April 18 article on vaping lacks one crucial element: a student’s perspective. Here, I give you one.
Multiple times a week, I walk into a school bathroom to either find people hitting a Juul, or smell the off-sweet scent of cotton candy or wintergreen. Vaping is as much of a problem as it is nationwide, even if the school administration refuses to acknowledge it.
The statistic about having caught just nine students is irrelevant as a) vape “smoke” is just water vapor and disappears within seconds and b) they’re tiny, and can be disguised or misinterpreted as flash drives or pens.
ETHS has a massive problem with vaping. It is both harmful and ignorant to claim that ETHS is exempt from this epidemic, simply due to the opinion of one administration official.
I can guarantee that 9/10 people at ETHS know someone who vapes, and around half know where to get a vape or vape cartridges.
In addition, although students aren’t “openly selling” prescription drugs as claimed in the article, that doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
That doesn’t mean there’s not an underground market where a dose of Adderall can be as cheap as $2. The administration needs to up its game, and needs to ditch the larger holier-than-thou mentality that makes it think it’s better and more integrated and less racist than surrounding public high schools.
Skirting around the edges with vaping and prescription painkillers in the same way that the Administration skirts around the edges of race without exactly addressing the problem would be yet another example of this.
Ignoring or misinterpreting the problem is harming us, the students. And although I don’t vape, I know who to talk to, what smoke shops don’t ID, and the going rates for buying cartridges. And that’s not because I’m ‘street’. It’s because the school lets the vaping problem go right under their noses. They must be at least a little more aware than what they’re letting on, but they’re not doing anything about it. Vape pen and cartridge dealing happens before, during, and after school on school property. Vaping is such a part of the ETHS community and culture at this point that it’s simply inconceivable they don’t know what’s going on.
Frankly, it makes me sad that the ETHS administration and the City as a whole believe that ETHS doesn’t have a vape problem. It’s spreading misinformation.

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