PHOTO BY Lee Milner
Jack Pfeiffer, left, Allan Woodson, center, and Thomas Kerins tell a Citizen Club audience that Springfield School District 186 needs to change its ways.

MEDIOCRE IS NOT ENOUGH

This letter is in response to the letter from Amy Madigan Brown published in the Nov. 21-27 Illinois Times.  In that letter, Amy puts me in with the two other speakers at the recent Citizens Club presentation who were suggesting a different organization of the high schools in Springfield.  My presentation centered on the use of three nationally normed tests over a decade that showed disappointing results for African-American students in our three public high schools.

I even stated that just building new schools will not necessarily raise achievement scores. Something more needs to be done, beginning in preschool.  In the 2008 report sponsored by the Urban League that first documented this problem, the question was raised:  "Will Springfield expect more for its children or is it satisfied with mediocre, unequal results?" 

 It seems that Amy and District 186 Board of Education president Mike Zimmers have both missed this point.  So it's likely a decade from now someone will look at the achievement results of

African-American students in Springfield's high schools and probably ask the same sad question.

Thomas Kerins

Springfield

LOWER DRUG COSTS

It's time for both sides to bury the hatchet; the American people need lower drug costs. My husband and I both have Plan D for our prescriptions. Yet in 2018, I had to begin paying more for my share. I had been paying $99 per month for my portion but in late July 2018, the particular prescription I was taking had an increase in price. My cost for one month became $388, just for my portion. To take the prescription I needed for six months, I had to pay almost a 400% increase.

Thanks to my doctor, I was given some samples to help with the cost. We were able to pay for all our prescriptions and still buy our food, but lots of people are not that lucky. Our political leaders need to reach across the aisle and make lower drug costs happen for all.

Karen Matthews

Springfield

LAW DOESN'T DISPEL HATRED

Six years ago this week, Governor Quinn signed the watershed legislation that legalized marriage for same-sex couples.  This was a major victory not just for our LGBTQ neighbors, friends and family, but ultimately for every citizen of the state – it marked a triumph of decency, compassion and human rights.  For a moment, allies and the LGBTQ community celebrated. 

But we are reminded on days like the Transgender Day of Remembrance – an annual observance on Nov. 20 that honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of violence – that equality under the law does not dispel hatred and bigotry.  Worse, these past few years have witnessed, at the national level, a deliberate campaign to vilify, ostracize and even punish people based upon their gender identity and sexual orientation.  These efforts have harmed the body politic and the larger commitment to justice. 

Along with many people of faith, I look forward to the time when reason and compassion will once again guide our laws and our behaviors towards one another.

Rev. Martin Woulfe, minister

Dr. Dee Evans, intern minister

Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation

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