Catalyst Chicago

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Independent reporting on urban education since 1990 2016-07-27T15:19:01Z
Updated: 39 min 47 sec ago

The challenge of being a black principal in today’s racial and political climate

July 27, 2016 - 10:19am
I currently serve as the leader of an integrated middle school in a diverse community. Leaders can’t be afraid to have tough conversations about race and inequality.

Ban “the box” asking college applicants about criminal, school discipline records

July 19, 2016 - 4:30pm
Black and Latino young people are more likely to face discrimination in college admissions because many institutions ask about criminal records and school discipline--neither of which are race-neutral. Students are beginning to organize to "ban the box" on college applications.

The building blocks for digital learning

July 13, 2016 - 6:00am
Schools that have embraced technology in the classroom have much in common. But the one element that’s indispensable is cash.

A $27 million market

July 13, 2016 - 6:00am
CPS schools that bought ed tech products in 2015 spent an average of $30 per student, but the impact on achievement is still in question.

The question of tech equity

July 13, 2016 - 6:00am
Technology isn’t a silver bullet for learning, but schools can’t reap any benefit if they don’t have what’s needed to make the best use of it: fast internet, enough computers and trained teachers.

Closing the digital divide for all students

July 13, 2016 - 6:00am
A teacher and former Chicago Public Schools student says technology can be a game-changer for ‘young people who need opportunity the most.’

Moving the legacy forward

July 13, 2016 - 6:00am
When Catalyst Chicago went to press with this issue, lawmakers in Springfield had finally passed a stopgap budget that will let schools open in the fall, in Chicago and in other districts that had sounded the alarm about possible shutdowns. After a year-long stalemate, the temporary budget will allow the wheels of state government to continue turning for a time. But there’s no reason to breathe a sigh of relief, at least for longer than a few seconds.

Dual language programs to expand, but fears over money linger

July 7, 2016 - 1:53pm
Five elementary schools are starting programs that will teach children in both English and Spanish, an approach that has gained traction across the country. Community groups played a role in lobbying for the programs.

How a $1 million budget cut could cost CPS millions more

June 29, 2016 - 5:14pm
District officials said they were cutting costs last year by eliminating a tiny unit that helped poor families sign up for public benefits. But now the cash-strapped CPS could lose out on millions of dollars in state poverty grants, while thousands of children go without food and health insurance.

Social-emotional learning gains traction, but leaves out the neediest schools

June 26, 2016 - 3:00pm
Fro years, schools taught social-emotional learning on a piecemeal basis, but state and district policies have slowly moved to a more systemic approach. But low-income schools, where students could use the most support, have been largely left behind. Holding schools accountable for teaching these skills is tricky.

Take 5: Taking to the streets, LSCs speak out, reform in Mexico

June 22, 2016 - 4:58pm
Educators and community activists held demonstrations across the city and inside City Hall, calling for more school funding. Meanwhile, local school councils push their ideas for raising revenue and controversy over education reform in Mexico turns deadly.

Take 5: Court sides with charters, lead in water, fewer kids in summer school, segregation in NYC, homeless students

June 16, 2016 - 11:34am
Three charter schools can stay open despite the district’s move to shut them down, lead is found in the water at more schools, better reading scores mean fewer students in summer school.

Will Common Core spark improvements in adolescent literacy?

June 14, 2016 - 10:56am
When students don't get higher-level reading skills in their middle and high school years, they often wind up in remedial college courses. The push for Common Core standards may be helping their teachers get better tools to take reading to new heights.

At education summit, calls for more revenue for schools

June 13, 2016 - 2:57pm
Eleven aldermen and one state representative joined about 200 teachers, parents, activists and students at an education summit Saturday calling for progressive revenue solutions to the financial crisis at Chicago Public Schools.

Take 5: Persistent racial disparities, good news on grad rates, Hyman leaving, nonprofit colleges

June 9, 2016 - 10:45am
New federal data show continued educational disparities for black and Latino students, neighborhood high schools are driving higher graduation rates, Hyman plans to leave City Colleges, the state budget battle rages on and private, nonprofit colleges have poor outcomes for students.

Dozens of principals quitting CPS, even from “plum schools”

June 7, 2016 - 4:51pm
Chicago Public Schools officials say 54 principals have resigned or quit so far this school year, the highest number in the past five years. The number could go higher, given the threat of even more drastic budget cuts and what principals say is a lack of support from the district.

Can history repeat itself and spark a parent revolution?

May 31, 2016 - 12:18pm
Local school councils brought together parents across geography, race and class. But since they were created, parent organizing has been more fragmented. The current fiscal crisis could create a similar united front.

Take 5: Closing alternative schools, lead testing, more summer jobs, budget news

May 26, 2016 - 12:59pm
Two struggling alternative schools are on the chopping block, CPS decides to test all schools for lead, One Summer Chicago gets thousands more jobs for youth, and the latest on school funding reform and Dunbar’s construction trades program.

50 more schools get privatized building engineers

May 25, 2016 - 3:59pm
The Chicago School Board voted to privatize building engineers in almost 50 more schools, giving more control over school maintenance to two companies that principals have widely criticized for two years.

Charter school shutdowns loom under planned $700 million budget cuts

May 23, 2016 - 11:37am
Up to two dozen charter schools could shut down under budget cuts CPS recently released, sending up to 15,000 students in search of new schools. Charter advocates are working on proposals to reform state education funding.

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