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Higher minimum wage for Chicago alone would be devastating

BY MATT O’SHEA: A $13 or $15 minimum wage in Chicago would drive businesses and jobs out of town. Let’s raise the minimumin a smart and uniform manner.

Why I chose a charter school

ERIN FERGUS: As a non-unionized teacher in a city dominated by one of the most influential teachers unions in the nation and where anti-charter school rhetoric is abundant, most people assume I struggled to get a job in a “traditional” Chicago public school and that I “settled” for working in a charter public school. This assumption could not be further from the truth. I chose a charter over a district-run school because I wanted to teach in a school as dedicated as I am to bridging the achievement gap.

College worth it, even if grads only tread water

BY ROBERT REICH: This is the time of year when high school seniors apply to college, and when I get lots of mail about whether college is worth the cost. The answer is unequivocally yes, but with one big qualification.

Thanks for what goes wrong — and right

BY PATRICK T. REARDON: Life brings enough pain and suffering without me looking for it. But many of the good things in my life have resulted from some of the bad things that have occurred.

Blame dwindling paycheck on Obama policies

During the 2012 campaign, President Obama often resorted to his favorite substitute for thinking: ridicule. Before enthusiastic audiences (who were assured his re-election would spell a thriving economy and a revived middle class), the president would mock Republicans by suggesting that “they have the same …

Prevent, not simply treat, Lake Michigan pollution

BY RAHM EMANUEL AND MARK TERCEK: The world’s cities spend billions to clean water, but do comparatively little to prevent it from getting polluted in the first place. Delivering clean and reliable water may be the single largest challenge that our growing cities face. The good news: we have a significant opportunity right now to turn this trend around.

Gene Lyons: Big data doesn’t apply to man’s best friend

As I write, the love of my life is off to the state penitentiary. I expect her back at the farm in late afternoon. She’s a volunteer with Paws in Prison, an organization that matches homeless dogs with inmate trainers. After 12 weeks of living …

Standardized testing stops learning

BY HEN KENNEDY: Ten weeks of uninterrupted learning is a teacher’s dream. Since September, my seventh and eighth grade social studies students have produced a junior high constitution, reenacted the election of 1860 and created a museum exhibit on the Mexican-American War. But it’s all about to come to an abrupt halt. Yes, I know. It’s only November. But standardized testing looms.

What Iran must do to secure a nuclear deal

BY IRWIN COTLER: It has been almost a year since the start of negotiations between the P5 + 1 countries (USA, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) and Iran over the latter’s nuclear program. It appears unlikely that an agreement will be reached by the November 24 deadline. As talks continue, any deal that includes easing sanctions must have a measurable effect on the regime’s nuclear ambitions.

Obama and Dems surrender to love of power

BY MONA CHAREN: We can speculate about why Obama is so disrespectful of the Constitution, the law and the voters. We can imagine that this latest arrogation is impeachment bait — hoping to draw Republicans into a fight that will unite the Democratic base and divide Republicans. Or perhaps he knows that as the first black president, he’s immune from impeachment and is putting a finger in Republicans’ (and voters’) eyes because he can.

Why is drunk driver who killed my sister back at the wheel?

BY EMILY MAINS: A repeat drunk driver killed my stepsister in 2003. Last Saturday, he was arrested for impaired driving for the fourth time. How does a repeat offender get the chance to drive again? How does a judicial system allow a man who has killed to have a second, third and even fourth chance?

Legal case against Obamacare a fiction

BY SIMON MALOY: It’s acceptable, though suspect, when comic book writers rewrite history in order to explore new storylines for existing characters. What makes politicians and lawyers think they can do the very same thing in a blatant attempt to undercut the Affordable Care Act?

Jane Byrne’s Chicago: a city in transition

BY RICHARD C. LONGWORTH: The death of Jane Byrne produced the expected spate of stories on her chaotic one-term reign as Chicago’s mayor, her feisty personality and, especially, the snowstorm that swept her into power. But these eulogies missed the real significance of her election — that she benefitted from and symbolized Chicago’s transformation from an industrial to a global city.

U.S. in poor company on children’s rights

BY ELIZABETH CLARKE: The U.S. lags behind the world as one of the last nations to ratify the universally acclaimed Convention on the Rights of the Child. The only other two nations that have failed to ratify are Somalia and South Sudan.

Pols and pundits distort truth on firefighter staffing

BY PAT DEVANEY: Taxpayer money is financing a propaganda campaign to fool readers into believing that continuing to allow firefighters to negotiate over safe staffing levels will somehow hurt taxpayers in Illinois.

How the banks bamboozled Chicago

BY SAQIB BHATTI: If the banks refuse to renegotiate the interest rate swaps deals voluntarily, Emanuel should use political and economic pressure to force them to the table.

Obama wrong to go it alone on immigration

BY LINDA CHAVEZ: The president shouldn’t go it alone on immigration, but the Republicans must step up and do the right thing by enacting legislation.