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.

In Focus

July 14, 2014

CPS students scored better than predicted this past year on the new and tougher statewide tests used to decide promotion, schools officials said.

But that news, coupled with a revised district promotion policy, means that far fewer students are in now summer school than last year.

July 03, 2014

Last school year drew to a somber close as thousands of children said goodbye to familiar teachers and schools and looked toward a fall in an unfamiliar place.

June 13, 2014

CPS has yet to release its official budget for next fiscal year, but principals have been grappling with their school-level allocations since April.

June 12, 2014

Our third installment of a conversation between principals focuses on how educators are being evaluated, an issue that has taken on greater importance because state law now requires that test scores be part of these evaluations.

June 11, 2014

CPS officials seem to be forging ahead with the second year of a principal professional development contract with the SUPES Academy, despite lingering questions about the quality of the training  and the relationship between CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and the founders of the for-profit business, for whom she previously worked as a consultant.

June 10, 2014

Last week, Catalyst Chicago held a roundtable discussion with a handful of CPS principals to gauge their thoughts on issues that the public usually doesn’t hear them talk about, but that have a significant impact on how well they can do their jobs as school leaders. Catalyst talked with four principals about new, state-mandated evaluations; managing budgets; principal training; and principals’ ability to speak their minds without fear of reprimand from the administration.

May 28, 2014

Sandra Barnes, a mother of six, was trapped in a dead-end retail job because she needed to provide for her family.

Barnes had earned her high school diploma and had become a Certified Nursing Assistant in 2002, but didn’t follow through with finding a job in that field. In 2011, she earned a certificate for medical billing and coding but found herself stuck career-wise.

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 15, 2014

Fewer college students are enrolling in traditional undergraduate teaching programs in Illinois, with whites accounting for the biggest drop. After years of holding steady, enrollment fell significantly in 2011 and 2012—by 23 percent overall, according to a Catalyst Chicago analysis of data from the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) for 2003 through 2012. White student enrollment fell at an even higher rate of 25 percent.