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Politics

Coronavirus finally proves that teachers are essential

CHICAGO -- After years of educators staging massive walkouts and lobbying school boards to improve their dismal working conditions, it finally took the coronavirus to succeed in proving that the humble teacher is essential to a functioning American economy.

Parents across the country are at their wit's end trying to balance work, running a ...Read more

Public education has been shattered into a thousand little pieces; What will emerge from the mess?

CHICAGO -- Educators, academic experts, parents and -- in their own way -even kids have been saying that public education is broken for nearly two decades.

Now, as schools announce they'll be closed for the remainder of the academic year, public education has been yanked into a thousand little pieces, and no one knows what will emerge from the ...Read more

Surgeon General needs to choose his words more carefully

CHICAGO -- Everybody drinks: Whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, old people, young people, married moms in their "wine o'clock" T-shirts and suburban dads brewing craft beer in their basements. The list is endless.

So why did U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams hold a press conference at the White House last week to deliver what was, essentially, ...Read more

Immigrants are a complex community, not easily sorted into devils or angels

CHICAGO -- Is it true that in some detention facilities, immigrants are in cramped quarters -- with little access to fresh food, potable running water or soap -- putting them at high risk for contracting covid-19?

Yes. This has been well documented by immigrant advocacy and watchdog groups who have either witnessed such conditions or been told ...Read more

Can we come out of this pandemic with more empathy for low-income parents?

CHICAGO -- For whoever needs to hear this: We're in the middle of a global pandemic -- it's OK to cut yourself some slack.

And if that means you let your children largely ignore their distance/electronic learning, well, then so be it.

That may be a shocking thing to hear from a professional educator. In the minds of some, every parent in ...Read more

Will we be ready for Election Day?

CHICAGO -- Wisconsin went ahead with its primary on Tuesday, illustrating in the process how voting is an actual hardship during a global pandemic.

Polling places were scarce in both rural and urban areas because of a shortage of poll workers, many of whom feared for their health. People who couldn't get to a polling place or who worried that ...Read more

Finding comfort and escape in a whale of a tale

CHICAGO -- In a pandemic, people turn to comfort items -- a special piece of clothing, a favorite snack or meal, the musical album that served as the soundtrack to their senior year of high school.

Me? I turn to big, impenetrable books. And the sea.

That means, of course, "Moby Dick."

Last summer, I went to see an exhibition called "Melville:...Read more

Immigrants are keeping America running during this crisis

CHICAGO -- Let's face it, when your average Joe on the street hears the word "immigrant," he's likely to imagine someone in a huddled mass at the border. Or a farmworker, or a maid.

He wouldn't be wrong. But right now, as we face incredible challenges as a nation, it's of utmost important to recognize that the eyes behind many surgical masks ...Read more

Why it's important to speak openly about your final wishes

CHICAGO -- My children have known for years that, when I die, I want to be quickly cremated and split evenly among my loved ones. They know I'd prefer a film festival to a funeral, but fancy death plans give hope only to the dying, while funerals provide comfort and fellowship to those left behind.

It is also established family canon that the ...Read more

Immigrants who are held in detention must be released immediately

CHICAGO -- As we brace for the brunt of this fast-spreading pandemic, it's a pressing national security imperative that immigrants held in detention must be released to their families immediately.

The federal government is keeping scores of people cheek by jowl in facilities that have been well-documented to be lacking in proper ventilation, ...Read more

We have to take care of our spirit along with our germy hands

CHICAGO -- During a national emergency, we have a duty to stay informed -- but this is not a duty to be overwhelmed.

There's no need to keep a browser tab open of your favorite media outlet, refreshing every few minutes to see what's new. And there's no good reason to have notifications of every type dinging on your phone, escalating the...Read more

Why it's important to accept criticism without 'white women's tears'

CHICAGO -- There's a term -- "white women's tears" - that is defined as tears shed, in cross-racial settings, when situations make women frustrated, angry or sad about how hard racism is on white people.

Yes, you read that right.

This is how the phenomenon is explained by white author Robin DiAngelo, the social-justice professor at Washington ...Read more

Coronavirus crisis could spark empathy for fellow human beings

CHICAGO -- Trauma from family separation knows no age.

On a recent episode of the podcast "The Daily," I heard a grown woman talking about the fact she hadn't seen her 77-year-old mother ever since her coronavirus-affected nursing facility went on lockdown. The woman cried as she described the relief of being allowed to peer at her mom through ...Read more

English learners deserve equal treatment at school

CHICAGO - It has long been known that the turnover of new teachers is high, especially among Hispanic teachers. But I've always wondered if this is because Latino teachers are likelier to teach children who are learning how to speak English.

In my own experience across school districts in urban, suburban and rural communities, I've observed ...Read more

Latino professionals are held to far different standards than white ones

CHICAGO -- Supreme Court justices do their best to both remain apolitical in public and to get along with each other in private.

Steering clear of partisanship helps maintain the independence of the court, and keeping the peace is important because their lifetime appointments effectively make them a family.

This is why Justice Sonia Sotomayor'...Read more

What happened to Black History Month?

CHICAGO -- We're more than halfway through February -- what happened to Black History Month?

Is it that impeachment hearings, coronavirus and caucus debacles just overshadowed everything else?

Maybe, but Black History Month just seems to suffer from a celebration deficit.

Think about it: Hispanic Heritage Month brings to mind women joyfully ...Read more

Let kindergarteners play - so they won't learn to hate school

CHICAGO -- Public education is a study in competing inequities that parody each other while leaving the neediest behind.

For every group of students at an under-resourced school that finally gets laptops, there is a group of concerned parents at a high-performing school that opts out their kids from screen-fatiguing, web-based apps in the ...Read more

Do we have the courage to pray for our political opponents?

CHICAGO -- Most Sundays at our church, "Pastor Leslie" begins service with a welcoming prayer asking for strength to "love our neighbors, all our neighbors." This week, she decided to dump her planned sermon to let the congregation share their ideas about what responsibilities people of faith hold in these times.

"In these times" was ...Read more

If you want to curtail crime, help fight poverty and despair

CHICAGO -- At this point, it feels futile to even try to use facts to debunk the half-truths and outright lies President Trump presented during his State of the Union address.

When it comes to partisanship, sociologists have found that even facts are not enough to sway people from their political beliefs. Banging people over the head with real,...Read more

Shakira and J. Lo delivered food for thought in their melting pot masterpiece

CHICAGO -- Amid the frenzy of reactions to Jennifer Lopez and Shakira's Super Bowl half-time show, I saw several people on social media wondering who could possibly have clutched their pearls about, arguably, the most athletic performance of the night.

Guilty as charged.

This was the first year I didn't watch the broadcast with my parents and ...Read more

 

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Joel Pett Joey Weatherford Al Goodwyn Scott Stantis Mike Peters Lisa Benson