Evanston RoundTable

Good Wednesday morning, Evanston.

After a pandemic year of online learning, only 35% of Evanston/Skokie School District 65’s students met or exceeded standards on the English language arts section of the 2021 Illinois Assessment of Readiness, compared with 44% on the 2019 IAR.

For math, only 38% met or exceeded standards on the 2021 IAR, compared with 46% on the 2019 IAR. 

Former City Manager Erika Storlie and Mayor Daniel Biss. (RoundTable photo)

During a news conference held Monday on the second floor of the Morton Civic Center, several Evanston grassroots activist organizations raised concerns about the lack of community input thus far into the hiring of Evanston’s next City Manager.

“We just had a tremendous amount of difficulty getting the City Council and elected officials into a process that offered transparency [and] that offered the opportunity for community input, and we just didn’t see that,” said Rick Marsh, President of the Community Alliance for Better Government.

CABG and Reclaim Evanston: Letter to Mayor Biss and Evanston City Council. The Community Alliance for Better Government and Reclaim Evanston wrote to the RoundTable about their concerns regarding the search for the new city manager.

9:40 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 7: At the Dempster L stop. (Photo by Richard Cahan)

The Evanston RoundTable is introducing a new feature—At This Time. Our idea is to explore Evanston in one photograph a day: portraits, landscapes, images that are unique, moments that are universal.

Evanston journalist Richard Cahan will take the pictures. He worked for 16 years as the picture editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, ran a Chicago documentary project called CITY 2000, and is currently co-publisher of CityFiles Press. A RoundTable fan, Cahan wants to explore how a community publication can use photographs to reflect daily life. His assignment: roam the city and create a single image that shows Evanston that day.

COVID by the numbers: 29 cases were reported yesterday in Evanston. The seven-day average is 25.

In the United States, 25% of newspapers have ceased operation, and 2,000 community newspapers have closed in the past 15 years. The vacuum created when local journalism declines poses a serious threat to democracy. Our democracy relies on a free press to educate the public.

Through year-end, your donation to the RoundTable will be matched through commitments from national and local partners.

We have ambitious goals for the future – but we can’t do it alone. 

Invest in Evanston. Invest in local non-profit journalism.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

Linda Gent Johnson and Vins
Author Linda Gent Johnson and her husband Vins atop Monte Cucco in the Umbria region of Italy. (Johnson family photo)

Book review | From Evanston to Italy: Longtime educator explores her heritage. Longtime local educator Linda Gent Johnson recently published a collection of essays, “Il Girasole: Summers in Umbria,” about her journey into her Italian ancestry.

Peggy Tarr: Una Amiga Davvero. Our columnist recently stumbled upon Aretha Franklin’s occasional performances of iconic Italian opera music.

Music Institute of Chicago Chorale opens its season Dec. 12. The group opens its 2021–22 season with “Song of Songs” at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 12 at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave.

‘Nutcracker on Ice’ returns to Robert Crown Dec. 17-19. The Robert Crown Community Center’s beloved winter ice show will celebrate its 46th year entertaining families with three performances this holiday season.

Around the web

The Costly Toll of Dead-End Drug Arrests. Every year, courts across Chicago throw out thousands of drug possession charges, but those arrests still bear massive costs for taxpayers and the people charged.

What you can expect when vaccines become available for kids under 5. Scientists anticipate the FDA and CDC to approve COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 in early 2022, but struggles vaccinating the 5-11 age group due to reluctant parents suggest vaccination rates for kids may continue to lag behind.

Teachers Union Calls For In-School Vaccines, Testing After Elementary School Staffer Dies Of COVID-19. A Chicago elementary school classroom assistant died of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, prompting the teachers union to demand vaccines and testing at all CPS schools.

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Duncan Agnew covers Evanston public schools, affordable housing, City Hall and more for the RoundTable. He also writes long-form investigations, features and the morning email newsletter three times a...