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: Data show truancy, crime link

Using state prison data, the Tribune calculated figures that it says serve as a grim reminder that absence from school in the early grades is often the first warning of criminal misconduct that can destroy young lives as well as burden society with the costs of street violence, welfare and prison.

10 QUESTIONS FOR CPS: Former education blogger Seth Lavin posed 10 questions to Chicago Public Schools officials about the school closing plan, asking "What data exist that shows closing underperforming schools results in academic gains for students?" Lavin shared his answers with Tribune columnist Eric Zorn.

DATA + EMOTIONS: School communities across the city are pulling out all the stops to make their case as the district prepares to make a final decision, due by the end of March, on what schools will be shuttered. Parents, teachers and community leaders are bringing healthy amounts of data and emotion to the meetings in their effort to convince district officials which schools should stay open. (Tribune)

NAVY BACKS STEM: The U.S. Department of the Navy on Friday disclosed plans to make a five-year, $2 million investment in students at Chicago’s Rickover Naval Academy and at five schools specializing in science, technology, engineering and math — known as STEM. (Sun-Times)

PRESCHOOL SPENDING LAG: In 2011, Illinois ranked tops in the nation for its attention to 3-year-olds. But in the decade between 2002 and 2011, it cut its per-child preschool spending from $4,394 to $3,449, less than the national $4,151 per child average. (Sun-Times)

VIOLENCE RECOVERY: The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Healthy Students has awarded Chicago Public Schools an Immediate Project School Emergency Response to Violence grant totaling nearly $50,000. The grant will provide assistance for recovery efforts following 35 shootings this past year at four high schools in the Greater Englewood community. (Campus Safety)

CHARTER CONFLICT: Michele Pastorello, the executive chef for the LEAP Academy University Charter School in Camden, N.J., will make $95,000 this school year—a $24,000 raise from last year. His contract is drawing scrutiny because he's the live-in boyfriend of the founder and board chair of the charter school, Gloria Bonilla-Santiago. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

BUS DRIVERS BACK TO WORK: The main union for New York City’s school bus drivers ended its monthlong strike Friday, handing a victory to the Bloomberg administration, which had refused to give in to the union’s demands for job protections. (The New York Times)


Anonymous wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Make the Parents bring the kids to School!!

If absences burden the welfare system in the long run, why not connect the CPS absentee database on the elementary level by soc-sec-# to the database for "SNAP." Then families on snap could get a warning that if they exceed a certain number of absencs, they have their housing revoked and maybe "SNAP" cancelled. There are folks who keep their children at home when they are not ill, so many children are being trained to be absent.

If you are not on public assistance and your child has a high truancy rate, the City of Chicago can have these parents do community service, like custodians in the schools on weekends. Just Kidding!

Anonymous wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

"Many absent grade schoolers

"Many absent grade schoolers came from single-parent households racked by intense poverty, substance abuse or mental illness, juvenile court records show. Some youths switched schools every year as their families fled foreclosure and debt, while the elementary schools in their South Side and West Side neighborhoods had few resources to retrieve missing students or even connect with their relatives."

Families living in poverty and dysfunction, combined with CPS schools lacking resources on the south and west sides, and it is no surprise that a lot of children drop out.

I'd like to know thee things: when did CPS end truant officers, how many CPS social workers are there now, and whether CPS has any plans to hire either of these professionals?

I read the Kim Lightford wants to mandate school attendance beginning in kindergarten now. As if that is the best solution to stem the rate of dropping out.

Where is the research this idea is based upon?

Kim Lightford realizes, I suppose, that her proposal will not show any pay-off for about 10 years? That is too long to wait to see if the idea is useful. What can CPS do now?

Jeff wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Was this study done by the NS Sherlock Institute?

This is OBVIOUS to anyone who has known a kid whose parents don't care enough to make sure he goes to school! Why is a newspaper wasting money "proving" something that is so blatantly obvious to anyone with common sense? This is why newspapers are dying. This, right here.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

why are not $60K CPS face emplyees visiting homes?

they are to be the bridge between parents and the schools--get them out into the home and have them visit the parents to see why they are not sending their children to school. maybe they no longer even live there. The resource and money are right there in the budget--face is already paid. it is March! --get face people out to the parents-students living places.

Add your comment

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