OP/ED: U-46 Elected Officials Should Do Their Jobs

1 Oct
I graduated last year from School District u-46 and I’m out in Montana enjoying college. My mom calls me about the politics in u-46 often though, as I took an interest in them my senior year, particularly about the approval of new “controversial” resources that a particular board member called “judgement values”. Their unwillingness to pass the vote for the resources due to their beliefs was appalling in my mind. Now we have a similar situation where this same board member is voting against a program because it goes against their beliefs, despite the benefit it will have for every student in the district.

In u-46, the school board was recently called to vote on a $100,000 contract composed of the Second Step Social and Emotional Learning Program in addition to the PBIS program that u-46 has previously utilized. The PBIS program now offers support for students who have been bullied due to their sexual orientation.

According to a report aptly called The School Report (2012) published by Stonewall in collaboration with Cambridge University, 23% of gay or bisexual young people have tried to take their own lives and 56% have self-harmed. Given that we as a district have the opportunity to introduce a program that offers support to students represented by this statistic, I feel it goes without explaining how important approving this program is.

The aforementioned u-46 board member voted against the program due to the curriculum stance that, “Any time we use one of these terms [girly, retarded, gay] to put someone down, not only are we being unkind to that person, we are also connecting a negative connotation to the word we use, which is very disrespectful to women, to people with mental retardation, and to people who are gay.” This board member feels that the comparison of homosexuality to being a woman or mentally retarded is incorrect, as it is their view that being gay is a choice. Ultimately, the proposal was approved with a vote of 5-2. However, I’d like to examine certain implications regarding this turn of events.

Recently, a Minnesota school district faced a walk out staged by students in regards to racist comments made by a district board member on Facebook. In this instance, this board member put his beliefs into what should be a professional setting. In other recent news we’ve seen ramifications on the part of Kim Davis, who refused a marriage license to a homosexual couple because her beliefs did not agree with their lifestyle. I believe everyone knows how that situation developed. This has spawned a series of “Didn’t agree with this… Still did my job” jokes on social media, and every part of those jokes holds ground. In a professional setting, one needs to set aside their personal beliefs for the sake of their occupation, which in the case of u-46 board members happens to be every student in the district.

This is precisely what is not happening with this board member. Referring back to the Minnesota situation, a board member made obscenely racist comments and caused extreme unrest within the district. We live in a very progressive era, and making comments about a race is no different in today’s setting from making comments about someone’s sexual orientation. Whether or not this board member agrees with their “choice”, as the board member refers to it, I could care less. Those are their beliefs. My gripe is that they are voting against a program that offers protection to those students, allowing their personal beliefs to intrude in this professional setting.

In my eyes, this is an atrocity. This board member is denying someone equality in a school due to sexual orientation. As mentioned earlier, we live in a progressive era where this should be seen the same as if this board member voted against a minority race because they don’t appeal to that board member.

In Minnesota, students attempted to remove the board member after they made their offensive comments, as that kind of behavior is unacceptable of an elected official. If I were still in the district, I would be taking the exact same steps to remove this board member in u-46. Sexual orientation is still a touchy subject, but a certain board member in u-46 has expressed their disdain at those who do not fit in their belief, and that is disgusting. Their continual rejection of proposals due to them being “value judgements” or a part of a culture that this member deems as “a choice” should have no place in this or any district.

 Perry Gottschalk is a freshman at Montana State University and a graduate of U-46’s South Elgin High School, class of 2015.

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Charged Up

30 Jul

Wow.

So many feelings came through me when I read Rich Trzupek’s latest installment of “A View from the Cheap Seats” in last week’s edition of The Examiner. He must have been really bothered by what I had to say. He said that the point I made in my letter was “intellectually lazy, not to mention just plain stupid.” He did manage however to point out that the letter was part of an “an otherwise thoughtful, well-written and polite letter.” Trzupek then went on to put words in my mouth for several paragraphs. Well Rich, here is where the politeness ends.

If you want to talk about being intellectually lazy and stupid, let us go back to my original letter where you completely missed the point I was trying to make.

“The reason that the flag needed to go was for the same reason that you don’t see many swastikas in the western world. Even though the swastika is a holy symbol in Buddhist and Hindu religion and has been for thousands of years, it will be forever associated with the Nazi Party of Germany.” – An exert from my letter to the editor, published 7/8/2015 in The Examiner.

Did I ever say that the Confederacy was anything like the third reich? I don’t think I did. I made a comparison between two symbols. Trzupek’s argument on behalf of the Confederate naval jack was that you can’t let one thing overshadow the good that the Confederacy stood for. I made my counterargument stating that a symbol that is otherwise good can have its reputation tarnished by one glaring atrocity. The Swastika was a symbol of goof fortune in the Buddhist and Hindu religions before Hitler took it to use as the symbol of his political party. That is why you don’t see Hindus and Buddhists clamoring to have it back. Nothing more, nothing less. Trzupek said in a later paragraph that comparing the two uprisings is “pitifully lazy and shallow.” You know what else is pitifully lazy and shallow? Alluding to things I did not say.

This brings us back around to our friend and “humble correspondent,” Rich Trzupek. Trzupek is a scientist who writes op-ed pieces about how climate change is a big conspiracy. Trzupek is also a guest blogger for The Heartland Institute, a “conservative think-tank” that uses pseudoscience to influence lawmakers. The most egregious of their actions (it is really hard to choose just one) was their partnership with Phillip Morris. The goal of that partnership was to defend tobacco from unjust public demonization and legal harassment. Yes, you read that correctly. He uses circular logic and junk science to cultivate his work for no other reason than to be a contrarian because someone has to stand up to the evil EPA.

But really, should I have expected anything better? This is a paper that protects its friends and slanders its enemies. Their main writer, Seth Hancock, could be recently seen at U-46 school board meetings championing all of The Examiner’s viewpoints that come from their ultra right-wing agenda. That would be fine if he was a private citizen. However, that bias clearly trickles over into his reporting. They run stories that would make William Randolph Hearst blush; stories claiming that U-46 is trying to “indoctrinate” children with “liberal bias.” The supposed liberal bias in the curriculum? The way that historical events like Roe V. Wade are taught within the schools. See, if you read directly from the decision levied by Justice Harry Blackburn’s opinion on the case, you would see that in the SCOTUS’s opinion, “The right to privacy is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.” Apparently, if you teach that nugget of history to children without telling them the other side of abortion, you are “indoctrinating” them. Yet, the same people who want history and facts to take center stage want students to learn Intelligent Design in science class. So once again, you want facts to be the main focus of education, but also want a theory that has no grounds in science to be taught in a science class?

In case you needed further evidence of the way that they do business,they waited months (15 weeks from sentencing to be exact) to publish a story on State Representative Randy Ramey’s DUI Arrest, purely for political reasons. They referred to the Bartlett Fireman’s Hall (AKA The Firebarn) as Hanover Township Supervisor Barn McGuire and Bartlett Trustee Eric Shipman’s “private club and saloon,” which as someone who has rented out the Bartlett Firebarn, I know that to be untrue. They defended former Bartlett Village President Mike Kelly, despite the fact that Mike Kelly signed numerous checks that former Hanover Township Welfare Director Aurea Picasso wrote to steal 193,000.00 of taxpayer money, because Kelly is a political rival of Brian McGuire, whom they constantly berated in their “Putting a Face to the Name” segment.

If anyone is guilty of being “intellectually lazy,” it is a newspaper who would rather promote their warped views onto a readership that consists mainly of families who like seeing their children in the local paper for various achievements than actually report news, not me.

Proudly signed,

John D Gallione

Editor

Northwest Post

Back in Action

23 Jul

Hello readers,

I have decided to revive this blog. It has become apparent that the local media cannot be trusted to give fair, unbiased news to its constituents. I would say that they have awoken a sleeping giant, but I would be lying if I actually said I believed myself to be a giant in this business. When I was just starting to pick up steam a few years back, I found myself too busy to keep writing. That problem should not happen again.

I am looking for a couple of writers who would like the chance to get their voices heard. I am looking for two high school students and two parents that make their homes inside of Hanover Township. I can’t pay you, but I can promise you that I will never go out of my way to stifle your creativity or censor your work, unless it is absolutely batshit crazy. Then, I may have to step in.

If you are interested, please email me. johndgallione@gmail.com

Proudly signed,

John D Gallione

Northwest Post

Managing Editor

Started From The Top Now We Here

27 Nov

Whenever I would come home and complain about how awful my teachers were at Streamwood High School, my father would not hear any of it.  Sure, there were a couple of times my dad took my side when it came to discipline issues (many people who went to school with me know the story of how I almost got expelled on the last day of school for trying to give Mrs. Webb a gift for being one of my favorite teachers) but he never took my side when I complained about a bad grade.  Simply put, my father would say to me; “you get out of your education what you put into your education.”

A a 17 year old know it all with a habit of pushing the boundaries, I didn’t want to hear that.  I thought high school was awesome except for when class got in the way.  I viewed the school as an almost Orwellian police state run by Big Brother like in 1984.  I thought that they were only trying to teach me what “they” wanted you to know and “they” wanted you to become another cog in the machine that is western capitalism.  Pretty radical notions, right?

As I look back on my teen years, I realize that I was only half right.  Yes, there are teachers with no imagination who are essentially drones whose sole purpose is to make sure that those stupid kids learn about what is on the Prairie State exams so they don’t lose their jobs.  But there are educators who go out and above the call of duty to teach young adults that they do have a voice and that they will only receive what they earn.

U-46 is currently neutering the latter kind of educator.  In an attempt to boost their graduation rates and inflate their averages, they have come up with a new grading system that makes it almost impossible to fail.  See, back in the bad old days (mid 2000’s), if you didn’t turn in an assignment you got a zero in the grade book.  Now if you don’t turn in an assignment, you get a 50% instead.  The lowest grade possible is a 50%.  For example, lets say there are 26 assignments in the hypothetical quarter for this student and all of the assignments are worth 10 points. This student did not turn in 10 of the assignments and got 75% on the other 16.  Before, that student’s grade on assignments as a whole would be 46%.  Mind you that doesn’t include quizzes and tests but if a teacher weighs the segments equally at a third a piece, that would make it pretty difficult to bring the student’s grade up to a passing mark.  However, under the new system that student would have a 65.3% in their homework grade.  That made up almost 20 percentage points.  Did the kid have to work harder?  Nope.

Think about the kids who bust their humps to get a good grade?  The kids who study on the weekends and take harder classes to be challenged?  Those students’ efforts are being slapped in the face with this new grading scale.  There will be less separation from kids who work hard and kids who hardly work.  It makes their grades less valuable because simply put, an B is not an B anymore when you don’t have to work as hard during the quarter to get one.

And let us not forget about the U-46 kids who end up going to college.  They will be in for a rude awakening.  In college, they don’t give you half credit just for enrolling.  They don’t care if you flunk out.  Especially at big state universities, students are just a number attached to a tuition payment.  They don’t think you’re little angel is special until they do something to prove that they are.

Just showing up isn’t half the battle.  But District U-46 is sure making it look that way.

If you feel like our future is being shortchanged by U-46’s new grading policy, let the school board know.  http://www.u-46.org/spps/sitepage.cfm?catid=12 is where you can find all of the sitting board member’s information.

EDITORIAL: They Are the Champions, My Friends.

10 Apr

Ahh the day after election day…or as normal people call it, Wednesday.  In the consolidated elections, there’s this feeling of pride and accomplishment no matter if your candidate won or lost.  Why?  Because you cared enough to find out what was going on in your community and make an informed decision.  Here’s to all the people who actually took the time to come out to the polls yesterday.

Winners

The Village of Streamwood:  The residents of Streamwood locked down some great leaders, especially in the Streamwood Park District race.  Rick Brogan, Adriana Armstrong and Tom Keating are only growing together and getting better.  In my opinion, there was absolutely no need to change things up.  I think the villagers got that one right.  They also got it right by re-electing Billie Roth.  You know what you’re gonna get with Mayor Roth.  You’re gonna get a balanced budget in the black and paved streets, James Cecile even admitted as much to The Daily Herald. “Anybody can balance a budget and repair the streets,” Cecille said. “The one thing (Roth) can’t do is get out of Streamwood because no one in these neighboring towns is supporting her.”

Ouch.  But really, the fact of the matter is that if Cecile would have spent more time creating market segmentation between him and Roth and less time spouting off at the bit like a drunken cowboy with a six shooter, he might not have lost by more than 800 votes.  It had nothing to do with the villagers not wanting change.  It had everything to do with not having an actual vehicle for positive change. 

Examiner Publications: Say what you want about Randy and his crew, they basically got a whole crop of candidates elected in Bartlett.  Do I personally think what they do is okay?  No.  The brazen disregard for impartiality in news takes a back seat to selling newspapers once a week at 50 cents a pop but then again, who am I to judge? I’m only an ombudsmen I guess.  Congrats to them though.  They got the government they wanted.  Let’s see how they do.  If this bunch screws something up, will you read about it in the local paper? 

Losers

Bartlett, IL: It is one thing to want to clean up your political landscape.  It is another to completely trust a media outlet to make decisions for you.  That’s dangerous.  I have this strong feeling that you will have the closet thing to state run media in Bartlett for the next few years.  However, that just means that more people who truly care will rise out of nowhere.  They will blog.  They will organize.  They will stand on their own merits.  And most importantly, they will see past the BS and give a real choice to the citizens in Bartlett.

Proudly signed,

John D Gallione

Northwest Post

EDITORIAL: Endorsements? We don’t need no stinkin endorsements!

8 Apr

DISCLAIMER.

I will preface this column with saying that I am a part-time Streamwood Park District Employee and have been for the last six years.  Any comment I make will be as a citizen of the Village of Streamwood, not as an employee of the Streamwood Park District.

Hey everyone,

Sorry I have been silent for the last week or so.  I have actually decided to do endorsements this year because apparently my opinion means something this election.  Go me!

Streamwood Park District Board Commissioners (3): Rick Brogan, Ardiana Armstrong, Tom Keating.

The Streamwood Park District just was just awarded an Illinois State Accreditation for its services.  Need proof?  Go look around Park Place.  You’ll be reminded of it around every turn of the building.  This group got the job done and then some.  I have confidence that this group will continue to progress forward and do good work.

I also do not like the idea of having a married couple on the same board.  Say whatever you want…There will always be some level of bias/nepotism if something like that were to happen.

Furthermore, I also don’t believe Marion Janiec to be a knowledgeable candidate for this position. She contradicts herself quite frequently.  She says that “(The) Streamwood Park District seems to value profit more than using their money to beautify the parks.”  That is her opinion, and that is fine.  However, in the same interview when she was asked what programs aren’t paying for themselves and would she keep, eliminate or change them, her stance changes a bit. (EDITOR’S NOTE: This is taken from a Daily Herald interview where the candidates respond directly to the publication via written response.  None of the content submitted by the candidates were edited for grammar or typographical errors.)  “Unfortunately, I do not have the inside knowledge that the other candidates have, since I am not an incumbant. I do know that Safety Town is not making money. The buildings are in need of repair. It’s been here a while. We shoud consider tearing it down and making room for something else.”

So according to Janiec, the Park District is a greedy empire that only cares about money. But if it were up to her, she would tear down a park because…it isn’t making money.

Safety Town just had its buildings redone by DePasquale Masonry less than eight years ago.  They most definitely do not need to be replaced. Furthermore, if you would have submitted a FOIA request you would know a bit more as to the finances of the Park District.  Not being an incumbent has nothing to do with that.

For all of those reasons, we support Brogan, Armstrong and Keating.

Streamwood Village President:  Billie Roth.

I have been very critical of Mayor Roth in the past.  The Village of Streamwood had the potential to be much more than just a small town crammed with carbon copy subdivisions and chain stores.  With that said, James Cecile is not the right fit for this town.  In the one debate the two had, Mr. Cecile threw Mary Thon and Guy Patterson under his bus with information that was not factual.  He spent the night poking Mrs. Roth rather than promoting any real ideas of his own.  When the two of us talked after, he has some solid ideas.  However, Cecile strikes me as a guy who can talk and say the right things all while piling too much on his plate.  I like Mr. Cecile as a Trustee.  I don’t think he would make a good Village President.

Hanover Township Trustees (4): Howard Krick, Mary Alice Benoit, William Burk, Steve Caramelli.

These four candidates refer to themselves as the Hanover Township Victory Team.  Personally, I am not one to vote straight the line on a ticket but this year I will make an exception.  This is a really tight race with five great candidates.  The tipping point in this election for me is that the fifth candidate Nazneen Hashmi admitted in the Bartlett Women’s Club Open Forum that she had never been to a Hanover Township Board Meeting.  That is particularly troublesome because those are open meetings that anyone can go to.  How are you supposed to know any of the actual issues if you don’t go to hear what is being discussed?  Nanzeen is a very bright woman who will one day eventually be a great local civil servant.  However, that tips the scales for me.

There are our endorsements.  No matter if you agree with them or not, you should go out and vote on Tuesday.  As Ralph Nader once said:  “Don’t turn your back on politics because politics will turn its back on you.”

Proudly Signed,

John D Gallione

Northwest Post

History Could Be Made

26 Mar

Greetings loyal readers,

I normally would not get into national politics on this page but this is an issue very near and dear to me. It is also for some reason controversial. It is marriage equality. I don’t like to say “Gay Marriage” because this really is the next step in equality and civil rights in the United States of America.

Keep in mind that this country is not far removed from the civil rights battles that saw great leaders like Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez set new bench marks for Civil Rights in the USA. But you may ask, “what does that have to do with marriage equality?” I will draw the parallel.

Until Loving V. Virginia, interracial marriage was illegal in 16 states. It was illegal for any white person to marry any “colored” person, no matter what race.  That law was justified by the Racial Integrity Act of 1924. (Go ahead and read that last link, it will make you sick.) What should make your stomach churn is that those 16 states superseded the United States Constitution until 1967 to keep love between whites and “coloreds” illegal.

The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution has the Equal Protection Clause requires each state to provide equal protection under the law to all people within its jurisdiction. This very clause was used in presenting Brown V. Board of Education before the Supreme Court in 1954 when it over turned Plessy V. Ferguson stating that “Separate but equal is inherently unequal.”

So why wouldn’t the 14th Amendment apply today to marriage equality? How could President Clinton have signed DOMA into law in 1996 knowing this?

But my real question is: Why are there people still opposed to equal rights for everyone? I constantly hear that it has something to do with religion but that is preposterous! Both of my younger sisters are very much Catholic, the oldest, most traditional sect of Christianity and they are both for equal rights for everyone. Furthermore in American Constitutional law, the Establishment Clause would forbid the United States Government from forcing religious institutions to marry gay couples. So your beliefs whether Christian or Jewish, Muslim or Hindu, Buddhist or Taoist can not have any law forced onto them.

So with all of that said, would having equal marriage make every other marriage somehow less valid? That isn’t how love works. If love is strong, love will conquer all. It will tear down the walls of injustice, it will keep us young forever and it will be the very fiber of our being during our time on this planet. Sadly in the United States, 43% of all first time marriages will fail within 15 years. So hasn’t it become painfully obvious that the “sanctity of marriage” is in trouble and that it has nothing to do with homosexuals getting married?

I urge you to talk to your kids about this issue. I urge you to talk to your friends and family about marriage equality. It isn’t a religion thing. It is a civil rights thing. It is a human thing. It is simply, a love thing.

Proudly Signed,

John D. Gallione

Northwest Post