Catalyst Chicago

Subscribe to Catalyst Chicago feed
Independent reporting on urban education since 1990 2016-05-26T19:57:39Z
Updated: 2 hours 59 min ago

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.

LaRaviere wins presidency of principals’ group–and a bigger platform to criticize the mayor

May 19, 2016 - 5:00pm
Troy LaRaviere will become the head of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, a group that has flown under the radar until recently. LaRaviere vows to make sure that the voices of all principals are heard--even those who don't agree with his sharp public critiques of the mayor.

Take 5: Marching against gentrification, Pell grants for dual enrollment, being black at elite high schools, principals’ group election

May 19, 2016 - 11:10am
Hundreds marched against gentrification in Logan Square, a pilot program offers Pell grants for some high schoolers, black students speak up about racism at elite high schools and the election between Troy LaRaviere and Kenneth Hunter ends today.

With no budget relief from Springfield, schools face massive cuts, layoffs

May 17, 2016 - 7:50pm
District officials are now planning cuts of up to 39 percent in per-pupil money given to schools, a loss of about $700 million. A small group of principals was told to prepare for average cuts of 26 percent overall, when other funding streams like grants are taken into account.

Child-parent centers boast strong results for kids, investors

May 16, 2016 - 3:03pm
A preschool expansion program paid for with a private 'social impact bond' has already garnered good results for investors—but also for the mostly low-income children who attend the child-parent centers.

Investors earn max initial payment from Chicago’s ‘social impact bond’

May 16, 2016 - 3:02pm
Private investors will get a half-million dollar payment because of the kindergarten readiness scores from the first cohort of a preschool expansion project they funded. Evaluators won’t calculate special education ‘savings’ until next year.

Will new standards spark a renaissance in science education?

May 16, 2016 - 10:13am
CPS has new science standards, but schools need the basics: training for teachers, engaging curricula and ideally, dedicated science labs. Meanwhile, the district has until May 27 to give this year's science test--which CPS skipped last year.

Take 5: LaRaviere update, charter money questions, New York high schools, New Orleans and local control

May 12, 2016 - 12:58pm
Troy LaRaviere explains more on his dismissal, how Concept Charter got money despite a federal investigation, New Orleans gets back local control—or not, and why New York’s enrollment system hasn’t given low-income students more access to better high schools.

Illinois fiscal crisis threatens progress in college-going for students of color

May 11, 2016 - 1:45pm
A stopgap higher education funding bill will help Illinois colleges and universities stay afloat for now. But experts worry about the long-term impact on college-going rates for low-income students and students of color.

Take 5: No May strike, migrant children, achievement gap analysis, summer jobs

May 5, 2016 - 12:38pm
The Chicago Teachers Union isn’t planning to strike in May and proposes $500 million in new revenue. Plus, migrant children are often illegally denied a public education, how race overshadows income in the achievement gap, and a call for $40 million for summer jobs.

In early childhood mental health, bilingual counselors in short supply

May 2, 2016 - 2:40pm
A recent survey found that language barriers are a major problem when it comes to providing mental health services to families with young children—putting children at risk of being misdiagnosed with learning or behavior problems.

Biggest charter networks given more flexibility to fill open seats

April 28, 2016 - 2:13pm
The city's three largest charter networks were given flexibility to move open seats among their networks, making it easier to fill slots at campuses with space. Critics say the decision will further hurt struggling neighborhood schools.

As principals association prepares to elect a new leader, LaRaviere vows to stay in the race

April 28, 2016 - 2:07pm
Embattled Blaine Elementary Principal Troy LaRaviere will face retired Prosser Career Academy Principal Kenneth Hunter in next month's elections for president of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association. Ballots go out next week and will be counted on May 20.

Take 5: Contingency plans for strike, affording college, big loans, lead tests

April 28, 2016 - 12:27pm
If teachers go on strike in May, Chicago Public Schools officials say they'd cancel final exams, but still hold graduations. Union officials say it's likely teachers won't walk out until September. Meanwhile, the city announced it would begin testing for lead for the first time in a small number of schools.

Mix-up in poverty counts puts school budgets in jeopardy

April 27, 2016 - 2:09pm
Chicago Public Schools officials can’t explain a sharp drop in the number of low-income students this year. Principals got an email warning that they could lose out on money if undercounts are not corrected.

The 40-year war for fair school funding

April 24, 2016 - 6:00am
When it comes to funding schools fairly statewide, Illinois consistently ranks at or near the bottom of the barrel nationally. After more than 40 years of trying, real change remains a long shot.

Walton Foundation stops funding Chicago charters

April 22, 2016 - 6:45am
As the political climate makes charter schools a tougher sell, the Walton Family Foundation decides that Chicago is no longer one of its “priority cities” slated to get millions to help open new charters.

Take 5: Contract talks, school arrests, questions on lead in CPS water, money woes in community college

April 21, 2016 - 12:54pm
School arrests are down, a change that Chicago Public Schools attributes to a shift toward restorative practices like peace circles. Meanwhile, the district made a pitch to the Chicago Teachers Union to enter binding arbitration in lieu of a strike, a request the union quickly dismissed as a "publicity stunt."


Subscribe to CRS Main Feed