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.

Cover Stories

December 27, 2005

In 1994, School Board President D. Sharon Grant and Facilities Director James Harney became the poster children for corruption in the Chicago Public Schools.

In early February, reporters and investigators from WBBM-TV and the Better Government Association (BGA) got their hands on an audit by Arthur Andersen & Co., which the board had been sitting on for months. It showed that under Harney's watch, building contractors had overcharged the board $7 million in a single fiscal year, including a $75 charge for an 80-cent electrical wall plate.

December 27, 2005

In fall 1987, then-Mayor Harold Washington's bid to reform the city's schools was blessed with the city's longest teacher strike. The 19-day walkout triggered the community outcry that resulted some 15 months later in the Chicago School Reform Act.

December 27, 2005

One of the few conclusions that everyone involved in school reform has reached is that local control did not help high schools.

A year into his administration, Paul Vallas acknowledged that progress was "going to take time with the high schools."

In response to steadily declining high school test scores, Vallas reached for a wide variety of remedies.

December 27, 2005

When President Bill Clinton visited Mayer Elementary School in October, he was favorably impressed. "I want what is happening in Chicago to happen all over America," he said, 10 years after then-Secretary of Education William Bennett proclaimed Chicago's school system the worst in the country.

December 27, 2005

Taking office under new financial and labor rules, Mayor Richard M. Daley's school leadership team abruptly reversed more than a decade of program cutbacks.

December 27, 2005

Local school councils have not figured prominently in the efforts of schools chief Paul Vallas to improve Chicago's public schools. He's clashed openly with a number, mainly over principal selection, and routinely belittles LSC advocacy groups.

At the January 1999 School Board meeting, he said, "Tonight, we've heard about quite a few principals that have been doing a good job, but then they are fired [by their LSCs]. We're going to take a look at that."

December 05, 2005

In December, the district will unveil a new high school "score card" that aims to give parents more information to help them pick the best high school for their teenagers.

December 05, 2005

If math teacher Delora Washington had her way, Corliss High in Pullman would be first in line to join the district's initiative to prod schools to adopt new, improved math curricula.

In fact, at the top of her wish list is one of the three mathematics curricula the board has already selected.

December 01, 2005

While the district's curricular models for math and science have won praise from teachers and experts, the models chosen for English have earned criticism.

Many students enter high school with below-average reading skills, skills that are particularly crucial when it comes to reading and analyzing nonfiction text. The current English curriculum does little to address the problem, teachers note. Yet the new curriculum models may not do much more: The district's request-for-proposals states only that new curricula should be developed "with attention to nonfiction text."