It takes a village to get more students interested in science and technology

In Illinois, according to the 2022 Illinois State Readiness Assessments, only 25.8% of students in grades 3-8 met or exceeded state standards in math, down 6.2% from 2019.

Educational lagging puts the future competitiveness of regions and countries at risk, especially in STEM fields where the United States already lags behind other countries.

To solve this problem, it is important for the community to come together and provide children with learning opportunities and a variety of role models. This is especially true for underachieving students and girls, who are epidemically behind their peers in STEM participation.

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Don’t underestimate the challenges and opportunities. If we invest in education today, Illinois and the United States will fill the jobs of the future, prevent workforce shortages, and continue to lead the world in technology.

Developing our youth can unlock and ignite academic passion, change the trajectory of students’ lives, and improve their socioeconomic status.

One example is the Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization (iBIO), a life sciences trade association dedicated to growing Illinois’ economy and nurturing the next generation of life sciences.

Anti-Pandemic iBIO has partnered with Lake County-based Abbott Laboratories to launch the iBIO STEM Kit program for low-income, high-need students. Since January 2021, iBIO has delivered nearly 12,000 kits filled with everything these students need for STEM learning activities, such as testing plant growth and using biometrics to digitally identify people. The kit also includes information about career opportunities, and photos of local STEM heroes highlight women and people of color.

The results of that program are encouraging. More than half of participating students reported being “more” interested in STEM careers; 78% enjoyed learning about local STEM heroes; 82% of parents surveyed said STEM kits had a positive impact on their children’s views on STEM careers.

Thanks to original sponsors Abbott, educators and parents, this positive response speaks to hope and shows how communities can come together to make a difference. But the struggle is not over. iBIO receives support from corporate sponsors in Illinois to help deliver kits, shape lives, and develop tomorrow’s leaders.

Ann Vogel, Senior Vice President of Philanthropic Programs, Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization (iBIO)

City snow ban “over the top”

The city’s winter drag ban doesn’t affect me, but the reality is that December 1st sneaks up on almost everyone. Some sort of warning ticket system should be put in place. After a day or two, proceed with ticketing.

Towing is to reach the top and grab another buck. Unless a blizzard arrives at our doorstep, stop the towing for a longer period of time.

John Petersen, Belmont Heights

You are delusional or stupid

So E claims that Hitler did not kill 6 million Jews. He is not alone. There are people who think like this in elected government positions. I find it terrifying. Hitler didn’t just exterminate the Jews, he executed others as well. Almost 2 million more!

One of them was my great-uncle, who was Polish. He was dragged out of the house and shot in front of his family. My beloved grandmother will never forget it. Serbian civilians were also killed and black children were sterilized. The suffering of generations to this day is the result of this brutality.

Anyone who doesn’t think this has happened is either completely delusional or completely stupid. But we have yet to see those who deny it. That explains it all.

Thomas Bajorek, Burbank

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