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We at the Lombardian and Villa Park Review encourage our readers to reach out to the community by writing a letter to the editor.

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Villa Park Library infrastructure
‘worn out’

The Villa Park Library needs your
help! Almost 50 years old, the infrastructure
is worn out: air conditioning,
heating, and the roof are all on
life support. Wiring, designed for life
in the ’60s before computers became
such an integral part of life, needs
updating. Adding a sprinkler system
would bring the structure up to code
and protect all the materials we already
Looking for space to meet with a
tutor or your local club or other small
group? Forget the library as it is now.
There’s not enough space for requests.
Want to know where your teenager
is? Probably not at the library since it
doesn’t have space for meeting or activities
suited for their age group. The
lines for using a computer are wellknown.
So, spend $10.6 million just to
house books? Hardly the case! Newspapers,
magazines, recorded books,
CD’s, DVD’s, toys and other early
childhood materials as well as access
to computers and 3-D and conventional
printers are all available to use for
free! Did you know our library offers
voter registration, employment resources,
and tax information?
Last year, 1,000 kids joined reading
clubs; 8,741 people came to 573
programs; over 298,116 items were
checked out; 11,794 questions were
answered by the Public Services staff;
8,850 residents have library cards. Our
library is well-used but worn out.
Let’s talk money for a minute. Other
DuPage communities spent $20-30
million since 2000 to build their new
libraries. And they are now spending
$1-2 million to upgrade their tech and
youth services. Upgrades are already
in our new plans. Our library has the
good fortune to not have to purchase
land for this building project.
Voting “Yes” for the referendum on
April 4 means more parking, a driveup
book drop, a facade that isn’t crumbling,
a building that could serve as a
front porch to the community where
people meet and mingle. It’s an investment
that will increase the value of
your property and continue to attract
new people to our village.

Laurel Burritt, Chair
Marti Seaton, Treasurer
Villa Park Library Committee

America is in decline: ‘We don’t
listen to what the other person
has to say’

I love the United States of America.
I consider myself blessed to be
born and live in this country. In 1962,
I enlisted in the United States Marine
Corps to defend this great country.
However, things changed in the
USA. The country now is not the same
country, value wise, of 1962, 1952
or 1942. Our greatness is tarnished.
Many things, persons and actions,
contribute to our decline as a nation.
Yes, I said decline.
We have children being shot in the
streets of a large metropolitan city,
Chicago. It seems no one wants to do
anything. Police officers are the target
of violent acts. How many officers
have been ambushed in 2016? Can
you believe that hatred runs so deep
that officers are ambushed in our cities.
Protest, which is our right as citizens,
too many times has turned violent.
Cars, businesses and homes
are burned. Instead of country-wide
condemnation, excuses are offered for
such conduct.
A senior was advocating support
for his choice of president. He was hit,
knocked to the ground and kicked. No
outrage. No condemnation.
How are kids doing in our classrooms?
Not well. Some of our children
graduating high school cannot
read, let alone speak in a complete
sentence. What does the conversation
center around? We talk about teachers
unions. We talk about the cost of education.
We talk about why we need
a teachers’ union. We don’t talk about
what are we going to do about our
children not learning, and why is it
Compared to the world, how do we
rank in math and reading scores? Look
it up; you will be astonished.
We have supposed leaders representing
us in Springfield and Washington.
How is that going? When I lived
in Chicago, I was a staunch Democrat.
Not any longer. My criteria for voting
are to vote for the person that I believe
will be good for this country. If either
party knows your party affiliation, that
party won’t work for your vote. They
have it already.
What moves things in this country?
At one time, it was us. If we are deeply
divided, we lost our power.
Yes, we have differing opinions
about things, but, we don’t listen to
what the other person has to say.
Maybe there is merit in what the
other person is saying. We will never
know because we don’t listen. It goes
beyond not listening. We tend to disrespect
opposing opinions by out-shouting
them, hitting them or demonizing
them. You want a better country? We
have to be better. I’ve lived a few years
and saw a better America. I would like
it better than it is.

John Ritchie

Be wary of snake oil salesmen in education

Glenbard Township High
School District 87

As parents and citizens who value
our local public schools, we should
be wary of any dangerous and risky
school funding policy proposals that
may be proposed by our new U.S.
Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.
In Michigan, her record of advocating
for choice and charter schools the
past 20 years resulted in a “wild, wild
west” landscape of abandoned school
districts, communities segregated by
income and poverty and scandalous
stories of “for profit” management
companies being enriched by public
tax dollars.
Because there will be little national
support for Michigan school choice reforms,
it is likely that she will be touting
models from other states, including
the Florida private school voucher
plan. This controversial structure of
school funding allows individuals and
corporations to donate, as a tax credit,
to one of four scholarship funding organizations
These SFOs, after keeping 5 percent,
manage the awarding of the
vouchers to interested families who
wish to leave their neighborhood
school. The majority of families
who apply and receive these vouchers
have chosen religious or sectarian
schools; however, achievement
at these schools’ typically does not
outperform that of the neighborhood
public school.
For decades, vouchers have been
controversial. Voucher advocates
argue that fostering an educational
“market” where private and religious
schools can compete in a financial
open playing field will make all
schools better. The assumption is that
they can run schools more cheaply
and satisfy consumer needs more efficiently
than public schools.
Just what are those arguments that
cause the majority of the public to oppose
a voucher system? The following
are a few fundamental flaws of the
voucher reform movement:
• Often, families use personal religious
or sectarian factors in opting
for vouchers. This results in communities
being segregated by ethnicity,
socioeconomic status and religion.
The community’s sense of spirit
and identity becomes fragmented
and weakened as families abandon the
local neighborhood public school.
• Most religious schools do not
provide the gamut of services and
programs to meet the needs of special
education students that are offered in
local public schools. They often turn
away or “shed” these students, again
creating a more segregated and exclusive
environment. Even if required
to admit students by lottery, voucher
schools can later ease out students
who are not performing well or are not
conforming to the school’s mission.
• Voucher schools take advantage
of the bigger teacher labor market
by hiring younger teachers with no
promise of permanent employment.
They can run their schools with lower
salaries and minimal benefits. This
“cheap labor” results in eroding the
status and prestige of the teaching
profession, thus discouraging bright,
talented candidates from selecting
the teaching profession as a career of
• Ideologically, school vouchers
place a greater value on personal
choice than the importance of equity,
commonality and public accountability.
Prioritizing choice over the
common good is risky. Increased
segregation and the loss of a common
educational experience will erode the
foundation of our unique and amazing
democratic society.
The research is clear: the factors
that improve and strengthen our public
schools are investment in early
childhood programing, rigorous high
standards for all students, strong professional
development for teachers
and resources channeled quickly and
efficiently to the neediest students.
The research is also clear that
choice and market incentives do not
result in stronger local public schools.
We should beware of snake oil salesmen.
We should all be wary of vouchers
and other risky reform policies
recommended by Betsy DeVos.