Current Issue

Drugs in schools

Most drug violations in CPS involve an ounce or less of marijuana. Schools are quick to call police, yet rarely have the resources to offer education, counseling or other non-punitive help to students.

Lorraine Forte

October 13, 2011

Tamoura Hayes started high school with big dreams for college that she already knew would be tough to reach. “C’mon,” she said. “I go to Marshall High School.”

Obviously, Marshall’s long-standing academic failings weren’t lost on Tamoura, who went on to say that she “wasn’t even supposed to be here.” Marshall was her last option. Her family couldn’t afford the private school that was her first choice, and she wasn’t offered a slot at Raby, one of the newer high schools sprouting up on the West Side.  

July 28, 2014

Jesus Velazquez got caught at school with a marijuana pipe in his backpack. What happened next is exactly what shouldn’t take place if a school district’s goal—or, from a larger perspective, a community’s goal—is to get kids who make dumb mistakes back on track. 

May 07, 2014

Sometimes a telling story emerges virtually by accident. That’s what happened with our report on teacher attrition at turnaround schools, published in this issue of Catalyst In Depth. 

March 10, 2014

Schools, social service agencies, government agencies and other outside institutions can "get on the same page" to help children succeed in school by focusing on tracking key indicators that lead to higher achievement such as attendance and grades. Speakers at this year's first Chicago School Policy Forum on Feb.

February 06, 2014

When Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former CEO Jean-Claude Brizard announced in 2012 that the district would open 10 International Baccalaureate programs in high schools across the city, a small but telling detail didn’t make the news: The IB’s then-new Career Certificate program, designed to give students a rigorous IB-style education while tailoring coursework to their career interests, would be a cornerstone of the “wall-to-wall” programs. 

December 02, 2013

Equal funding and more vocal grassroots advocacy was the focus of Monday's kick-off of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools annual conference. Catalyst Chicago's Twitter coverage is below.

October 07, 2013

Any adult who was successful in school will likely remember that their parents played a defining role in that success. What happens during the roughly six-hour school day is only part of the learning equation. Who else but a parent or guardian will make sure children attend school and complete their homework?

June 18, 2013

Illinois elementary charter school students made more academic gains than students in comparable district-run schools, according to a new report from Stanford University. Latino charter students posted the most impressive results, in math. Yet there are plenty of caveats to be gleaned from the report’s other findings, especially for African American students, who continued to fare worst academically in both traditional schools and charters.

June 06, 2013

A  week after the Board of Education voted to close 50 schools this coming fall, CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett told an audience at the City Club that it was time to leave behind the acrimonious battles that have marked this school year.

“Whatever has happened this past year is done,” Byrd-Bennett said. “It is a new beginning. … It is time to turn the page.”

Sadly, it’s unlikely that the storms of this tumultuous year will dissipate easily or swiftly.

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