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Independent reporting on urban education since 1990 2016-05-05T20:17:22Z
Updated: 2 hours 52 min ago

Take 5: April 1 strike, UNO spending, opt-out issues

March 31, 2016 - 11:58am
The Chicago Teachers Union is billing its one-day strike on Friday as part of a broader labor push for more state revenue to fund education and social services. Meanwhile, after a three-year battle, the Sun-Times obtained financial documents that show lavish spending by the former head of the United Neighborhood Organization.

Take 5: April 1 strike, bilingual ed, REACH

March 24, 2016 - 9:45am
The Chicago Teachers Union voted in favor of a one-day strike on April 1 over unfair labor practices. Meanwhile a former high-ranking CPS official criticized cuts to bilingual education.

CPS sues to overturn state commission vote to keep 3 charters open

March 23, 2016 - 4:30pm
Chicago Public Schools is suing to block the state charter school commission from keeping open three struggling schools the School Board earlier voted to close. It’s likely the schools will be able to stay open as the cases wind their way through court.

Teachers split over CTU vote on one-day strike

March 23, 2016 - 2:21pm
The House of Delegates votes today on whether teachers will go on a one-day strike on April 1. Some educators say they’ll go to work that day regardless of what delegates decide.

How college advising in CPS got a whole lot smarter

March 21, 2016 - 11:59am
Chicago's push to increase college-going has given the work of high school counselors a sharper focus. Even in tough fiscal times, counselors are honing their skills, and the district is bringing in nonprofit partners to support their work.

Grow Your Own up for CPS contract while Teach For America sees cutback

March 21, 2016 - 10:02am
The School Board will vote on contracts for Grow Your Own, Teach For America and the Golden Apple Foundation to recruit and train a diverse pool of teachers for hard-to-fill positions, including special and bilingual education, and in high-needs schools.

Low-income students left out of Illinois gifted programs: Report

March 17, 2016 - 1:46pm
A report from a new Illinois education organization finds that low-income, black and Hispanic students are underrepresented in gifted programs in school districts across the state.

Take 5: Asbestos in schools, property tax trigger, state financial watch list

March 17, 2016 - 10:27am
Environmental inspectors say dozens of Chicago schools have dangerous levels of asbestos. Meanwhile, financial analysts say that if the cash-strapped school district can’t pay its bond debt, taxpayers may have to foot the bill through an automatic property tax increase.

CPS sues Byrd-Bennett, SUPES pals for $65 million

March 10, 2016 - 12:59pm
Chicago Public Schools is seeking to recoup money spent on the crooked SUPES contract and other penalties under a state law that allows government agencies to sue individuals who commit fraud against them.

Take 5: More budget cuts, PARCC investigation, charter unions

March 10, 2016 - 12:21pm
In order to save up for an upcoming pension payment, the cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools told principals this week to stop spending money. Meanwhile anti-testing advocates are questioning a state investigation into the huge number of opt-outs last year of the controversial PARCC test.

Mayor tries again to get more kids into preschool

March 7, 2016 - 4:14pm
The city is trying to unsnarl the tangle of rules governing preschool enrollment and funding that have long created barriers to participation, especially for low-income children.

Pension pickup remains, but union still plans ‘action’

March 4, 2016 - 5:29pm
In a major about-face, Chicago Public Schools officials announced they would delay ending the pension pickup for teachers. But union officials say an end to the payment in the future would still constitute an unfair labor practice.

City gives a little in TIF battle

March 4, 2016 - 5:18pm
Last month, City Hall gave a few inches of ground in the battle over using TIF funds to plug the Chicago Public Schools' budget hole. Though there's a long history of TIF funds coming back to CPS for school construction, it could take major governance change to see more TIF money return to the district.

Take 5: Charter challenges, MAP grants, ed tech

March 3, 2016 - 11:50am
CPS leaders say they’ll lobby to reduce the authority of the state charter commission. Meanwhile the CTU has threatened to go on strike over plans to eliminate the pension pickup.

State commission overrules CPS on charter school closures

March 1, 2016 - 10:38pm
In a series of 6-0 votes, the Illinois State Charter School Commission granted appeals on Tuesday night from three CPS charters the district had sought to close for poor performance. The schools will have to find new buildings, but will be allowed to operate for at least two more school years.

Comings & Goings: Cruzat, Washington

February 29, 2016 - 11:49am
Tasha Green Cruzat will become Voices for Illinois Children's new president, and Kelley Washington is now executive director of the Governor's Office of Early Childhood Education.

Take 5: Computer science requirement, privatized nursing, new job for LaRaviere?

February 25, 2016 - 1:36pm
Chicago high school students will now be required to take at least one computer science class in order to graduate. Not surprisingly, many high schools are not prepared. Meanwhile, Blaine Elementary Principal Troy LaRaviere, one of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's most outspoken critics, is eyeing a new position as the head of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association.

16 charter operators want new schools

February 24, 2016 - 1:38pm
Sixteen charter operators said they're interested in opening new schools in Chicago. The news comes amidst a district financial crisis and stagnant enrollment.

Parents see state commission as ally in keeping charters open

February 20, 2016 - 10:44am
Three charter schools that appealed the School Board's decision to close them this year will learn on March 1 whether a state commission has granted permission for them to remain open. After public hearings, parents were optimistic the commission would vote in their favor.

Citywide reading initiative: Bold start, weak finish

February 19, 2016 - 3:00pm
Most efforts to change teaching in urban schools die very young. In contrast, the Chicago Reading Initiative has been around for 15 years. Yet it doesn't seem to have produced much bang for the buck, for a variety of reasons.

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