Become a Catalyst member

Celebrating 25 years of Catalyst


Join the conversation

We encourage our readers to leave comments and engage in dialogue about our stories. But before you do, please check out our "rules of the road."

Subscribe to by e-mail feeds

Current Issue

The race for City Hall

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.

In the News: CPS' parent liaison resigns

The woman hired by CPS chief Jean-Claude Brizard to head the district's family and community engagement efforts has resigned after just seven months on the jobs, the Tribune reports.

The paper called Jamiko Rose's resignation a casualty of the public relations battle over the district's controversial push for school closings, school turnarounds and an extended school day. Rose, a former executive director of an education and social justice nonprofit, was hired to spearhead work with parents and the public during the wholesale restructuring of CPS under Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Across the Chicago region, school boards are spending millions of public dollars employing board members' relatives, a practice exacerbated by weak laws, little oversight and limited disclosure about who gets jobs, a Tribune investigation has found.

Catalyst staffers Sarah Karp and Rebecca Harris won National Awards for Education Reporting from the Education Writers Association this year. Karp won first prize in the Special Interest, Institutional and Trade Publications category. Harris won second prize in the Beat Reporting category for stories on early childhood education. Todd Lighty, Stacy St. Clair, Jodi S. Cohen and Ryan Haggerty of the Tribune won second prize in the Print, Large Market category for their series on campus sexual assaults. Jim Warren, a columnist for the defunct Chicago News Cooperative won first prize for opinion writing.

The Arts Alliance of Illinois is debuting its Arts & Education Exchange, Illinois' first-of-its-kind arts education directory. The free online service connects educators with arts providers to help  Illinois students gain exposure to different forms of art and provides teachers with the resources to make that possible. (Press release)


Schools that get their ground beef from the federal government will now have the option of buying it with or without a product that has been dubbed “pink slime.” Never have schools known whether the ground beef procured by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for use in school lunches contained the ingredient, known in the food industry as “Lean Finely Textured Beef.” (Education Week)

The U.S. Department of Education is ramping up efforts to spur K-12 innovation—though it's still playing catch-up with the private sector. (Education Week)

The Washington Post's Valerie Strauss offer her take on what can be expected from the Council on Foreign Relations’ Independent Task Force on U.S. Education Reform and National Security, chaired by Joel Klein and Condoleezza Rice. The task force was charged, according to the council’s Web site, with “evaluating the U.S. public education system within the context of national security.” Strauss expects the report to say:
"that America doesn’t train teachers well enough, but that Teach for America, somehow, does. (But don’t expect it to explain the contradiction in this position. Teach for America only gives its recruits — college graduates who aren’t interested in careers in education — five weeks of summer training before sending them into some of the country’s most troubled schools. Talk about poor teacher training!)"


Chicago dad wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

I smell fear from the DOE and corporate deformers

Trying to make an argument about the need to continue false reforms and giving TFA kudos for sending untrained shills into schools as a stepping stone to their "real" careers based on NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUES????????? What next, little green men from Mars? These fools are scraping the bottom of a rancid barrel of lies in a desperate attempt to justify their influence.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

New Calendar: We have 98% parent attendance for report card

pick-up and we are a large elementary school-this is a great number. I'm disheartened to see report card pick-up so reduced. We will have less parents as well as less time to talk with parents about their children as they are learning in our school. This decision is one that really shows CPS's lack of understanding or care for the school home connection.
Many of our teachers come in before school starts to get their room ready—I can understand if they do not come in anymore before these 5 PD days.
Our teachers stayed in the evening for our open house, around two weeks after school began, for free. With this calendar and longer school day, why should they stay?
I'm concerned about 5 PD days at the start of the school year and no others accept to get quarter grading completed, throughout the school year. Not having the PD days spread out is an issue. First, this is a great time for principals to meet one-on-one with teachers for their observation post-conference, especially in large schools. Teachers will not be formally observed the first 5 days of school. Prep times are too short and too busy to do this—even with the longer school day. Inevitably, PD issues come forward—a school will discover that they need more Common Core math information, which they did not realize in the first 5 days before school started. Or a grant will come through for a free speaker or workshop. Yet, there will be no PD days to work on this and learn about it together. The lack of spread out PD days curtails vertical alignment planning. And the extra expense: to send so many teachers out for PD on school days is a huge cost tot he school in substitutes.
Saying and getting principal input on this are two different things. Principals in two networks received no information on this until yesterday. Our designees to represent over 65 principals were invited to attend a meeting that was cancelled. CPS can send principals so many emails each day, wasteful webinars, and survey monkeys up the trees, yet no input from principals. There is no CPS interest in parent input; why bother with principals and teachers?
Whoever put this together really needed to get fair and knowledgeable input. They probably do not know that they don’t know.
It is starting to feel like punishment. If this is done even partially as a negotiation tactic, it is not children first.

me wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago


they have set the dates...why dont they make it 45 min more and we got a deal! then they can quit cimplaining! Rahm just wants to say he has the longest school year in the world...but as we know....a bored, abused chid isnt gonna learn anymore in ah hour than 1.5 hours. and it's funny the audlts who run CPsare a bit hypocritcal and clark street. every time i see them at a 2 hour smeeting they are flipping through their ipads....if an adult gets bored quickly,...i bet a child does too!!

Anonymous wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

Esaian sure does not have to eat student lunches!

IS this why these school meals taste so bad?! CPS is making schools go to warming kitchens for even worse food, becasue of no MONEY-Why isn't Chartwells and Preferred responsible for giving her these gifts and taking away form the students?! What you get for hiring people from 'the industry' instead of expereinced, trained and honest CPS food service people.
"Sullivan's report chronicled dozens of instances where it said Esaian met with officials from either Chartwells or Preferred for dinners and drinks."

me wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago


CPS loves to name and chastise its own employees. but brizard didnt mention chartwells as being responsible????????? i find that to be a crime in itself

Add your comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
go here for more