Jim Nowlan: Common Core takes root this school year

After five years in the works, the new Common Core State Standards for American education are here.

Near the end of the 2014-2015 school year, students in Illinois and 40 other states will be tested according to new learning standards. The standards are about what K-12 students should know in English and mathematics at the end of each grade.

Esther Cepeda: Marketing's Rorschach test

CHICAGO — Like beauty itself, the degradation of women is in the eye of the beholder. What's clearly demeaning in one person's view is but an updated version of Helen Reddy's feminist anthem, "I Am Woman," in another's.

Scott Reeder: All politics, but no profits at state fairs

SPRINGFIELD — The longtime directors of both the Illinois State Fair and the DuQuoin State Fair have a lot in common.

Both were disciplined recently for unethical conduct, both have operated their event at a financial loss and both come from political backgrounds with no professional experience managing fairs before taking their jobs with the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

George Will: Ebola rebels against man's 'conquest'

WASHINGTON — Although the Ebola virus might remain mostly confined to West Africa, it has infected the Western imagination. This eruption of uncontrolled nature into what developed nations consider serene modernity is more disturbing to the emotional serenity of multitudes than it is threatening to their physical health.

Dan Corkery: Decoding what dyslexia is and is not


It's a peculiar word that, to my eye, looks misspelled. But it's not.

It's a word that describes a mystery, for people who live with it and for those around them.

It's a word that describes a condition, a way the brain is wired, that makes reading difficult.

But it's not a disease or a career killer.

George Will: Nixon's crimes apparently began in 1968

WASHINGTON — About 5:15 p.m. on June 17, 1971, in the Oval Office, the president ordered a crime: "I want it implemented on a thievery basis. Goddamn it, get in and get those files. Blow the safe and get it."

Jim Dey: Speakers at funeral plead for end to violence

Police are continuing their investigation into the July 19 shooting death of a young Champaign man with a suspect in mind but still in need of sufficient evidence to file formal charges.

What's the solution? Tell our columnist here

George Will: The progressive others will pass over

WASHINGTON — If Ohio's senior senator were named Sharon Brown instead of Sherrod Brown, progressives would have a plausible political pin-up and a serious alternative to the tawdry boredom of Hillary Clinton's joyless plod toward her party's presidential nomination.

Jim Nowlan: Four-year degrees from two-year colleges?

For the past decade, College of DuPage President Bob Breuder has been pushing state lawmakers to allow two-year community colleges to offer four-year baccalaureate degrees in technology-oriented fields.

Breuder makes a good case. Expect another push in the next session of the state legislature.

Jim Dey: Pols keeping watchdogs on a short leash

In an especially egregious example of telling the public to shove it, Chicago aldermen voted overwhelmingly last week to strip the city council's so-called watchdog of the power to investigate their campaign finances.