Winger's Weekly Wrap-up

Chicago Cubs – 2016 World Series Champions
Cubs win 2016 World Series. The 2016 Fall Classic took all 7 games to play, with Game 7 being an instant classic, fought out into a tiebreaking 10th inning. The Chicago Cubs came back from a 3 games to 1 deficit to become the world champions of baseball, beating Cleveland on the road and breaking a trophy drought that went all the way back to 1908. The Cubs will held a victory parade and rally in Chicago on Friday, November 4. Illinoisans of all sports fandoms are now congratulating loyal Cub fans.

Education – Annual Report Card
Illinois school test results shows improving numbers, participation. The report card for 2015-2016 is based on numbers from 3,700 schools across Illinois. The controversial Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test, administered to school pupils in spring 2016, generated the numbers used to produce this Illinois Report Card.

More than 50 percent of Illinois schools were assessed as demonstrating better PARCC numbers in 2016 than in 2015. However, overall statewide numbers continued to be assessed as highly short of expectations. Illinois school districts, taken as a group, moved from a 33.0 “passing rate” in spring 2015 to a 33.4% “passing rate” in spring 2016, based on test number results in reading and mathematics. The PARCC “passing rate” is a consensus judgment, generated after a consultative process involving a wide variety of professional educators, on the level a school district and its pupils ought to achieve in order to demonstrate readiness for college and career learning. In a PARCC test results report, raw numbers are weighted by school districts in order to generate what is thought to be an objective measurement of how a school district is performing. Adjustments are made for student demographics, student household income, and a wide variety of additional factors.

Future results of the 2017 Illinois Report Card will not be directly comparable to the results released on Monday, October 31. The PARCC test is highly unpopular in Illinois high schools, with many college-exam-oriented teachers and students seeing it as redundant. The State Board of Education is phasing out use of the PARCC test in high schools for 2016-17. Future Illinois high school students will be gauged on the basis of a standardized college entrance exam, a class of exams that many of them already take.

Healthcare – Mental Health
Illinois gets $1.3 million federal grant aimed at improving oversight of mental health coverage. The State of Illinois is currently undertaking a series of initiatives, including a request for a major Medicaid waiver, aimed at helping Illinois residents with behavioral and mental health challenges. The Illinois Department of Insurance announced on Wednesday, November 2, that they have received a favorable response on the Department’s request for a $1.3 million grant aimed at improving the Department’s computer software. The new software will generate data on how private-sector insurance firms are responding to the mental health needs of their policyholders, and will track consumer complaints and appeals.

Supreme Court – Chief Justice Karmeier
Gavel handed over at state Supreme Court. The state’s highest court will be presided over by Chief Justice Lloyd Karmeier. From the Downstate county seat of Nashville, Illinois, Justice Karmeier has experience as the Washington County State’s Attorney, and also worked for more than 20 years in private practice. On Monday, October 31, Justice Karmeier became the 120th chief justice of the state.

Handing over the gavel was Chief Justice Rita Garman. Justice Garman has completed her three-year term as chief justice, a standing which made her the senior judge of the court. The Illinois Supreme Court not only decides cases, but also operates the rules of procedure used by circuit courts all over Illinois. As a circuit judge for almost two decades, Chief Justice Karmeier has experience working with these rules; now, he will be the senior voice in modifying and maintaining them.

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