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Fall 2014

Jobs and schools promise to be top issues in next year’s city elections. The mayor’s education agenda faces its toughest test in the African-American communities that gave him strong support in 2011.

Summer 2014

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.

Spring 2014

CPS has never had a strong, districtwide program of teacher induction and mentoring to stem an attrition rate that is higher than the national average. Instead, efforts to retain teachers depend on smaller-scale programs and individual principals who make it a goal to empower—and keep—their teachers.

Winter 2014

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.

Fall 2013

The historic closing of 49 elementary schools in Chicago left many parents bitter and feeling left out as they try to get involved in new schools. Yet parent engagement is essential for school improvement, and principals are faced with the challenge of building trust at schools that scored poorly on surveys of parent involvement.

Summer 2013

A raft of past programs have failed to substantially improve the reading skills of middle grade and high school students. CPS is trying once again, as part of a federal project that aims to help teens learn how to analyze complex non-fiction.

Spring 2013

As CPS prepares to close a record number of schools, the fate of students and communities is in question.

Winter 2013

A special diversity initiative has given promising black students from the worst elementary schools a seat in top high schools. But the program’s success won’t close the gap for poorer students who need better prospects for a good education.

Fall 2012

Chicago Public Schools is seizing the reins on principal preparation and is considered by some observers to be a national model for its $10 million Chicago Leadership Collaborative. The big question: Will the effort dramatically improve the quality of principals at failing schools that need strong leadership the most?

Summer 2012

District leaders understand that children who have witnessed violence or other traumatic events often have trouble in school. But without extra resources or staff, schools are hard-pressed to offer the mental health support that would help students cope with their experience.

Spring 2012

Even as CPS opens more new schools, children with special needs have a tougher time finding options. Placements in private therapeutic schools are scarce, and some charters are reluctant to enroll them.

Winter 2012

Research shows that Latinos who remain in bilingual programs long term risk falling behind in the middle grades and failing once they reach high school. CPS is taking long-awaited steps to launch dual-language programs, a strategy that is gaining steam nationally to help students become proficient in their native language and in English.

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