Catalyst Chicago

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Independent reporting on urban education since 1990 2015-08-27T21:43:45Z
Updated: 2 hours 32 min ago

Bills awaiting Rauner signature: school discipline, grad requirements, teacher licenses

July 10, 2015 - 12:22pm
About a dozen pieces of important education-related legislation — spanning topics such as school discipline, high school graduation requirements, student health and teacher licenses — await action from Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Take 5: Freshmen on track, City Colleges tuition, pension perk

July 9, 2015 - 3:06pm
The City Colleges of Chicago Board of Trustees approved a budget that includes a tuition hike for the coming school year, while eliminating course fees. Some say the college system should have given students more notice and caution the increase could lead to enrollment declines.

Finding more learning time for teachers and students

July 6, 2015 - 9:00am
Chicago teacher Michelle Gunderson used to look forward to her weekly training sessions about how to work with struggling readers. But since a mandatory seven-hour school day was put in place, she and other teachers are under pressure to spend more time in front of students — and have had to abandon training sessions.

Roots of the Chicago teacher pension crisis

July 2, 2015 - 2:30pm
The seeds of Chicago's current teacher pension crisis were sown in 1995, when Springfield gave Mayor Richard M. Daley greater flexibility in the use of property tax revenue.

Take 5: School budgets, UNO in trouble again, fair-share union fees

July 2, 2015 - 10:49am
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to decide whether public-sector unions may require workers who are not members to help pay for bargaining and grievance processing. A ruling against the union could deliver a severe blow to organized labor.

1,400 positions to be cut, special ed vacancies won’t be filled

July 1, 2015 - 8:23pm
Chicago Public Schools announced Wednesday that it would cut $200 million in spending for the coming school year by eliminating 1,400 positions, leaving special education vacancies open and cutting stipends for elementary school sports coaches, among other reductions.

CPS schools get some high marks for school ‘climate’

June 30, 2015 - 11:07am
In a statewide survey of more than 100,000 teachers and 750,000 students, Chicago schools are viewed as strong in three school climate factors: effective leaders, collaborative teachers and ambitious instruction.

How Corey H. overhauled special education in CPS

June 26, 2015 - 1:27pm
As a plaintiff in a lawsuit that forced major changes in the education of Chicago students with disabilities, Corey H., is perhaps the most recognized student name in CPS history. In the courts for two decades, the lawsuit moved CPS from a de facto policy of segregating special education students to compliance with a federal law requiring students with disabilities to be educated in the least restrictive environment.

Union accuses Urban Prep of retaliatory firings

June 26, 2015 - 8:58am
Urban Prep Academies fired more than a dozen teachers last week, a move activists charge was tied to their union activities.

CTU says contract talks “broken down”

June 25, 2015 - 6:28pm
CTU leaders say contract negotiations broke down today and accused the district of refusing to bargain on what they're calling "non-economic" issues.

Teachers call for better professional development: report

June 25, 2015 - 11:52am
A small-scale study of teachers by an education policy group found that most teachers say the district's professional development is ineffective--a long-standing complaint by teachers.

Take 5: $1.1 billion debt, state spending plan, crowded classrooms

June 25, 2015 - 9:21am
The Chicago Board of Education unanimously — and without any public presentations or discussion — approved borrowing more than $1.1 billion on Wednesday to help the district make it through the summer and open schools on time next fall.

CTU, district closer to contract deal that keeps pension pickup

June 25, 2015 - 8:57am
The Chicago Teachers Union’s bargaining team is considering a proposal for a one-year contract that includes no raises but retains the 7 percent payment that the district “picks up” for teachers in pension costs.

$30 million contract to privatize certified school nurses

June 24, 2015 - 12:10pm
The district has used some private nursing services since the 1990s. A new contract would turn over more such services to a New Jersey-based firm.

Noble Street Charter wins $250,000 Broad Prize

June 22, 2015 - 6:30pm
The majority of Noble Street's $250,000 Broad Prize for charters will go toward supporting former Noble students who are now in college.

Teachers unions tackle social justice to improve schools, communities

June 22, 2015 - 12:20pm
From Saint Paul to Los Angeles, more teachers unions are following the lead of the Chicago Teachers Union, embracing a progressive model that includes building organizing capacity, developing relationships with community groups and other unions and taking broader issues that impact their students’ lives to the bargaining table.

Comings and Goings: Dozier

June 19, 2015 - 4:24pm
Liz Dozier, the Fenger High School principal who had a featured role in the "Chicagoland" series, is leaving CPS at the end of the summer.

How Chicago became a leader in IB

June 19, 2015 - 4:04pm
In 1997, Chicago tapped the International Baccalaureate program as a strategy to hold on to high-achieving elementary graduates. Over time, it has become the district's premier pathway to prepare prospective first-generation college students.

Take 5: Hancock’s award, late pension payment, teacher test bias

June 18, 2015 - 11:47am
Hancock receives a community award, CPS may be late with its teacher pension payment, how test bias is hurting minority teacher recruitment, and competing proposals for Dyett get public scrutiny.

Head Start would become full-day, full school year under proposed changes

June 17, 2015 - 9:28pm
Proposed changes to the rules governing Head Start would make most programs run six hours a day and 180 days a year – a significant expansion that would require additional funding to prevent cuts to teaching jobs and slots.


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