The achievement gap begins at birth. That is the simple truth. A child born into a family with scarce financial resources, limited history of educational attainment, and/or a less stable family structure falls behind from its first days no matter how much that baby is treasured and loved.
For the third consecutive May, Oak Park and River Forest are getting ready for Celebrating Seniors, a project of the Oak Park-River Forest Township Senior Services Committee. This is a multifaceted effort to both provide resources to our elders but also to shift lingering perceptions that getting older is in any way getting lesser.
Oak Parkers elected Anan Abu-Taleb the next village president by a 16-percent landslide. And they did it knowing, possibly because of, his success as the entrepreneurial owner of Maya del Sol restaurant. Villagers clearly knew that Abu-Taleb's family holds a village-issued liquor license for Maya.
Has there ever been such a week in River Forest? On Wednesday, the wrenching and uplifting funeral of Anne Smedinghoff, the native daughter of this village who gave her life in service to country. And then Thursday and forward, hundreds of residents coping with the rising floodwaters from the Des Plaines River and the intense storms.
We look forward to the seating of the new District 200 Board of Education early next month. Oak Park and River Forest voters last week chose wisely from the most crowded field of high school candidates we've ever seen. The new members — Tom Cofsky, Steve Gevinson, Jackie Moore, and Jeff Weissglass — were strong candidates. They will make the board even stronger.
America's decade of distant and dubious wars finally came home this week with the death of River Forest's Anne Smedinghoff. Just 25, already in the U.S. Foreign Service, she was killed Saturday in southern Afghanistan when her vehicle was struck by a bomb believed to have been part of a Taliban attack.
The mass media perception of high school alumni groups is not flattering. It is all clichés. Sad gatherings in high school gyms. Lost youth. Spent lives. That's one version. Or there's the well-oiled development department putting the arm on wealthy grads in exchange for naming rights to the library.
Maintaining discipline in a high school is a balancing act. Keeping students in class even when they've begun to make some bad choices — tardies, disruptive behavior — is vital. Keeping classrooms focused and safe is also essential. Making sure all students understand that there are consequences to acting out is a fundamental life lesson.
Election Day is almost here and, happily, voters have real choices in several races. Both River Forest and Oak Park offer clear and distinct options in the races for village president. No mere echoes, picking between Adduci and Gibbs or Abu-Taleb and Hedges will make a difference in where our villages head.