The [Monday] Papers
* "Did anyone just see Gary Busey grope Jennifer Garner and Laura Linney on the red carpet on E!? Talk about Darwin's waiting room," our very own Julia Gray writes in her Oscar roundup. If you didn't, you can catch up via the video.
* "What was that sound? It couldn't be fireworks could it? In the middle of February? Nope, it was the sound of Bears fans' heads exploding," writes our very own Jim Coffman in SportsMonday.
* "If the Straight Talk Express is rockin', don't come knockin,'" is just one of many slogans we've learned the McCain campaign is considering.
One recent study shows that 44 percent of incoming freshmen in 2001 dropped out by senior year. Another study shows one predictor of those dropouts: 73 percent were "over age" when they entered high school.
School reform groups long critical of the school system's dramatic move under Mayor Daley to curtail social promotion and hold back students say they've been vindicated.
I tend to agree - and, in fact, the district has quietly eased its retention policy over the years after scoring public relations points by talking tough - but on the other hand, these students are clearly the most vulnerable and may not have made it anyway.
Still, holding students back in high school should be reserved for only the most necessary cases. Removing students from their social group likely does more harm than good.
"Marcus Jordan was a junior-year transfer.
"That means he never had to sit through the freshman admission test that eighth-graders take for Chicago's college prep high schools. He was exempt from being judged by a mathematical formula involving tests, attendance and grades that is used by Young and seven other CPS college preps to decide freshmen admission.
"Instead, as a transfer, Marcus' fate was left up to the principal of Young, an academic and basketball powerhouse.
"'Transfers into selective-enrollment high schools are entirely principal discretion,' said CPS spokesman Michael Vaughn."
Whitney Young Principal Joyce Kenner put it this way: "[The Jordan family] has done a great deal for this city."
And this city has done a great deal for the Jordans. We made him rich and famous; rich and famous enough, in fact, to clout his kid into a magnet school.
"Yet, on weekends, Simon uses taxpayer money to drive his county-issued car 320-miles, roundtrip, to and from his family home."
At least someone still makes house calls.
That's almost as much - $3 million - as the city's measly contribution to funding the CTA.
"Sitting upright in the corner of a bedroom off the kitchen was a human skeleton in a red tracksuit. Next to him lay a dead dog. Neighbors told police the corpse was almost certainly Randy Johnson, a middle-age man who lived alone in the North Kenwood house.
"The cause of Johnson's death has not yet been determined, but it is just one of the mysteries about 4578 S. Oakenwald Ave. Somehow, Johnson's house was transferred three times to new owners without anyone noticing he was inside. It's a story involving forged deeds, a corrupt title company and a South Side family that has been under investigation for mortgage fraud."
The Beachwood Tip Line: Be there.
Posted on February 25, 2008
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