Thumbs-down: To news that the Obama administration in its final year spent a record $36.2 million on legal costs defending its refusal to turn over federal records under the Freedom of Information Act, according to an Associated Press analysis of new U.S. data. Today marks the end of Sunshine Week, a week devoted to the importance of public records being kept public. It never has been a partisan issue, but the trend of government using taxpayer dollars to hide records from those same taxpayers continues to be disturbing and the fight will go on.
Thumbs-up: To the DeKalb High School Marching Barbs. After two years spent fundraising, 100 student musicians made the trip to Ireland this week and performed in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin. While the Barbs have marched in many a parade, this performance is probably the one they will remember most. Congratulations to the students, advisers and parents for representing DeKalb overseas with class.
Thumbs-up: To providing prom dresses for students. DeKalb High School’s Black Student Union partnered with that of Northern Illinois University’s Black Student Union to make 25 dresses available to students in need this week, with 22 more dresses becoming available after spring break. We’re pleased to see students working together to help their peers in need. No one should be left out of a special evening with friends because of their family’s income.
Thumbs-down: To more tuition hikes. Next school year, tuition and fees will rise a combined 10.6 percent at Kishwaukee College, to $156 a credit hour, up from $141 this school year. Of course the college has expenses – largely personnel – to pay. State funding for programs such as the Monetary Assistance Program and general aid has been uneven and sometimes nonexistent. But a hike of more than 10 percent is a considerable bite for people, especially those students who may be struggling to make ends meet while working toward an associate degree. If the cost of higher education continues to far outpace the rate of inflation, people will be priced out. That’s not a recipe for success for our state or our country.