Current Issue

College and careers

An overhaul of the district’s career education programs seeks to make classes more challenging and put career-track students on the path to higher ed, but many schools have lost programs, and fewer students are participating overall.

Sarah Karp

April 23, 2014

Two CPS board members had serious questions—some of which went unanswered--about handing over three elementary schools to the Academy for Urban School Leadership. But in the end, the turnarounds were approved at a meeting where opponents as well as supporters of the turnaround model dominated the public participation..  

April 17, 2014

(Editor’s note: This story is an abridged version of an article from the upcoming spring issue of Catalyst In Depth, which will examine teacher retention and turnover in CPS. The issue is scheduled for publication in May. Previous issues of In Depth can be found here.)

April 09, 2014

If only we were all CPS, and every time we were short on cash, a pot of one-time, never-to-be-available-again money appeared that would get us over the hump.

CPS leaders announced Wednesday that, once again, they have found a way out of a budget nightmare and plan to increase basic per-pupil funding to schools by $250 per child--in all, about $70 million more than last year--while also paying the hefty teacher pension payment due this year.

March 21, 2014

CPS officials announced late Friday afternoon that they are proposing turnarounds for three schools: Dvorak in North Lawndale, McNair in Austin and Gresham in Auburn-Gresham.

March 17, 2014

Last week’s episode of “Chicagoland”  on CNN once again featured Fenger High Principal Liz Dozier as a heroine trying to help her students get an education while coping with intense violence in the surrounding Roseland neighborhood. At the same time, Dozier has to deal with the fact that Fenger’s hefty federal grant, which paid for services to support students’ social and emotional needs,  was about to run out.

March 14, 2014

To help sell its plans for closing 50 schools, CPS leaders claimed that it would cost more than $400 million over the next decade to keep the buildings open, repair them and maintain them. Closings the buildings would thus save a big chunk of money.

But now that the district is trying to get the shuttered buildings off the books, officials have dramatically reduced their initial estimate of maintenance costs.

March 10, 2014

In recent years, the district has touted its growth in Advanced Placement course-taking among black and Latino students. Education experts say the introduction to tougher academic coursework in high school helps pave a smoother path to college. But there’s a significant caveat: Far fewer students achieve the ultimate goal of college credit by earning a 3 or higher on AP exams. 

March 03, 2014

On the day that many schools began administering the ISAT, state education officials told parents that they have no legal right to opt their children out of the mandatory test and that all students must be given the test and have the directions for taking it read to them.

March 01, 2014

In talking about her decision to refuse to administer the ISAT next week, Drummond Montessori teacher Ann Carlson said she felt little joy.

“I don’t have the hooray feeling,” she said at a press conference after school on Friday. “I feel like we are standing up, but we are fearful.”

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