News roundup


Illinois schools not meeting standards State lists 694 school on preliminary list :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Illinois schools are not making the grade under the standards set by the federal No Child Left Behind law. The preliminary list of 694 schools that have not met national standards for at least two years includes about 150 suburban schools and 360 Chicago Public Schools.

Schools in wealthy suburbs, such as Washington Elementary School in Evanston, join those in poorer suburbs, such as Bryant Elementary School in Harvey, on the list of underperforming schools. Fewer than 40 percent of students at these schools have scored at grade level on state tests for two years in a row. Under federal law, those students could have the option of transferring to another school.

Schools that fail to make the grade three years in a row must offer tutoring to students. Those that fail for four or five years face overhaul or complete restructuring. Look for your school on the list at the Illinois State Board of Education Web site,, then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the pdf. Grandparents' rights Grandparents in Illinois, like their counterparts in other states, can now sue in state court for the right to see their grandchildren.

The new law lets grandparents, great grandparents and siblings ask judges to reconsider if there has made an "unreasonable denial of visitation."

The law applies in cases where the parent is incompetent, dead or in prison; the parents are divorced or separated and at least one parent OKs the visitation; a parent-child relationship has been terminated by a court, or the child is illegitimate and the parents are not living together.

Those petitioning the court must prove that denying their visitation is harmful to the child's mental, physical or emotional health.

Antidepressants for kids? The Food and Drug Administration estimates 2.7 million antidepressant prescriptions were written for children under 12 in 2002, more than quadruple the number in 2000. All at a time when there are serious questions being raised about whether these drugs are safe for children.

In July, New York state sued GlaxoSmithKline PLC, alleging the pharmaceutical company hid information that its antidepressant, Paxil, could lead to increased risk of suicidal behavior in children. In 2003, the FDA approved Prozac as the first and only selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor for the treatment of major depressive disorder in children 8 to 18 years of age. Yet, other antidepressants are prescribed for children. And while the FDA has not definitively determined an increased risk of suicide, it has asked manufacturers of antidepressants, including Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, Effexor, Luvox and Remeron to add or strengthen suicide-related warning labels.

Chicago Parent staff and Medill News Service

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