K-Town: Greystones, block clubs and a presidential library bid

Phoebe Tollefson For The West Side Source He is tall and his gait is easy. Aviators block the morning sun and a black jacket hangs from his shoulders. Without looking, he points his lighted cigarette toward the AME Church behind him. “Back there on the same block with St. Paul – when we first moved […]

ESL programs in Illinois prisons limited by lack of data, bureaucratic delays

Students and peer instructors

By Dean DeChiaro and Phoebe Tollefson Ten years after bilingual education programs were discontinued in Illinois prisons, the Department of Corrections has initiated a new pilot aimed at meeting the needs of non-English speaking inmates. Meanwhile, red tape has put classes at the state’s only other bilingual prison education program on hold, worsening the daily […]

Education funding formula gets second look

By Phoebe Tollefson The 2015 reincarnation of a contentious bill that came out last spring, which would shift money away from wealthier school districts and move it into poorer ones, has entered the Springfield pipeline, but opposition and confusion about financial impact means the next steps will be slow. Senate Bill 1 amends the state […]

High Wi-Fi Demand Promising for New Library Program

By Phoebe Tollefson Rebecca De Santiago takes her daughter, Itzel, to Pilsen’s Lozano Public Library after school to help her with homework. They need a computer with Internet access and the library has it – for two hours a day. “Es un lujo con nosotras,” De Santiago said of Internet access. “Como somos madres solteras, […]

Education advocates split over elected, appointed school board

By Phoebe Tollefson Roughly two weeks before citywide elections, education advocates debated the merits of a mayor-appointed and voter-elected school board, while noting issues such as conflicting interests and political pressures. “I do have a concern about inserting more politics into school board operations,” said Jesse Ruiz,, vice president of the Chicago Board of Education, […]

Rahm’s free college offer gets closer look

By Phoebe Tollefson With an average City Colleges of Chicago graduation rate of just 13 percent and student complaints of expensive enrollment mistakes that delay graduation, Mayor Rahm Emanuel still touts his plan to make community college education free for qualifying applicants. Lesley-Anne Camilotes is a good example of what can go wrong. Under her […]