By Gene Budig
News about the present and future of American K-12 education continues to be discouraging.But a series of effective out-of-school programs is creating a glimmer of hope.If we focus on these, thousands of children can be salvaged from a broken system.
First the bad news (culled from three recent reports).
CHAMPAIGN — Hand warmers? Check.
Snowblower? Somewhere in the back of the garage, where it's sat unused since last year.
If you don't have ice melt for your walkway, you might want to add that to your list, too.
GIBSON CITY — School board members want to give Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley students every opportunity to advance their career goals, especially those who might "fall through the cracks" if not given such chances.
Men convicted of crimes in Champaign County who were treated to New Year's Eve pardons by outgoing Gov. Pat Quinn.
But the granting of clemency to Russell Dearing (possession of controlled substance, charged in 2004), Donald Tyree (burglary, 1985) and Richard Cotner (burglary, 1982) was just a sidebar to Wednesday's bigger headline.
The Chief will perform at halftime of the Jan. 9 boys' basketball game between the Sullivan Redskins and Tuscola Warriors.
That gives the high school kids more than a week to study up.
MONTICELLO — A classmate sitting alone at lunch every day could mean nothing more than the student is an introvert. Or it could mean he or she is struggling with something that most people wouldn't notice.
The 70 students in Monticello High School's LifeSavers club are specifically trained to tell the difference.
CHAMPAIGN — Mike Thomas walked up the tunnel the Illinois men's basketball team runs through before each game at State Farm Center on a mid-December morning.
If a classmate tweets something nasty about you during English class, that's a sure-fire ticket to the principal's office. But come Jan. 1, a harassing Facebook comment posted on a Saturday could just as easily land that student in the hot seat on Monday morning.
When Brian Nudelman isn't teaching English literature or writing at Parkland College, he runs an after-school program that helps make homework fun for students at Champaign's Garden Hills Elementary.
URBANA — Before you judge, Grinch fans, consider this:
The "Jeopardy" category was "word origins," and Champaign teacher Melissa Applebee was up against a returning champ fluent in French and a rabbinical student who spoke Hebrew and who knows how many other languages.