A series of reports by the Daily Herald and Chicago public radio station WBEZ finds indisputable evidence of something we've suspected for decades: "Kids who come from poverty plainly do not perform as well as those who are born to better circumstance." Reboot Illinois' Madeleine Doubek calls on Illinoisans to care for all children in their communities and remembers her own community-aided upbringing:
Certain childhood memories stand out for me as the youngest of eight children. My dad died shortly after my third birthday, so I think I can accurately say my care came by committee.
I vividly recall my older sisters reading -- and helping me read -- Dr. Seuss books and other fine stories. My sister Margie and I frequently tagged along with them on shopping mall trips. My brothers tossed baseballs with me out front and helped me heave a basketball up into the hoop on our garage.
During most of my grade school years at Kate Starr Kellogg, a public school in Chicago's Beverly neighborhood, I didn't go home for lunch. I'd cross the street to eat with the six Reynolds kids, who were like my second family. I was even lucky enough to join them on lake vacations in Michigan, riding in the way-back of their brown woody station wagon.
Those images popped up this week as I read the Daily Herald's significant school series "Our Promise to Our Kids." I wasn't raised in poverty, but I'm sure my mom struggled to give us all we needed as she went back to school herself while working a job to become re-certified to teach in Chicago Public Schools.
She would be the first to say she got a lot of help from the tremendous community around us.
As much as life for kids has changed in the ensuing decades, it struck me as I read the series how much, at its core, it really hasn't. Kids need all the love and support and modeling and discipline and structure as they can get, now as then.
(Read the rest at Reboot Illinois.)
But if Illinoisans leave the state, they won't be able to help build a community around the residents who remain. A new report by the Northern Illinois University's Center for Governmental Studies found that a net of 10,000 people left Illinois between 2013 and 2014 -- the largest decline in the country for that time period.
(Check out the whole report and what it means for the state at Reboot Illinois.)