OUR VIEW: Thumbs up! Thumbs down!
OUR VIEW

OUR VIEW: Thumbs up! Thumbs down!

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THUMBS UP! To Eisenhower and MacArthur high schools. The results of the Illinois Report Card spring 2019 tests show significant improvement in a number of areas, including freshmen being on track to graduate. However, too many Decatur schools are “underperforming” and “lowest performing,” and the truancy average at both high schools is alarmingly over 35%. Also, congratulations to Mount Zion High School for its “exemplary” rating, an evaluation given to only the top 10% of schools in the state.

THUMBS UP! To honoring the legacy of Penny Severns. Severns, who died in 1998 at age 46, continues to inspire others thanks to memories of her integrity during her years as a public servant. She was a city council member, a state senator and ran for lieutenant governor in 1994. Perhaps the best tribute to Severns is even people who disagreed with her liked her, and her sometimes unpredictable voting patterns allowed her to irritate each and every voter at least once. 

THUMBS UP! To the United Way of Decatur & Mid-Illinois. The organization is focusing on enacting change in the community by educating about the work that is done thanks to donations. Among the tools are impact tours, where potential donors go to places United Way money is put to use and can hear of the value first-hand.

THUMBS DOWN! To the Decatur School Board for more bad form. President Beth Nolan placed the blame for the teachers' assistants' strike squarely with the union, specifically its leader, Paula Busboom. As we said in an editorial before the strike started, no one will be served well by this strike – not the students, not the assistants, and not a school board showing unquestioned contempt for an individual. Nolan said she was speaking for the entire board. Later in the week, she reminded the public it has a chance to have its say in the next election. We'll hope these are just tempers running high and hope the anger drops and a contract that is workable to both sides can be reached now that the teaching assistants are returning to work.

THUMBS UP! To Mueller Water Products. The company has started construction of Mueller Water Products' state-of-the-art brass foundry in Decatur. The new facility is set to be constructed on a 30-acre site in the 2700 block of North Jasper Street. The plant could be fully operational in 18 months. This is a nice nod to the company's Decatur roots and a boost for the city's economy.

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