CTU strike finally comes to a close


By Grace Asiegbu Medill Reports Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) agreed on a five-year labor contract, ending the record 11-day strike that kept 35,000 students at home. The two sides had reached an agreement late on Wednesday about the contract, with specifics including a nurse and a social worker in every […]

Out, but not in: Examining barriers to reentry

By Kaisha Young Medill Reports Approximately 11,000 people are released from Illinois prisons each year. In this edition of Medill Newsmakers, we take a look at the challenges returning citizens face when trying to reenter society. Photo at top: A man walks on the sidewalk outside Cook County Jail. (Kaisha Young/MEDILL)

Chicago-area students walk out in protest of school shootings

By Serena Yeh Medill Reports At Oak Park and River Forest High School Wednesday morning, around 1000 students, many wearing orange in solidarity, walked out of their classes at 10 a.m., carrying signs protesting gun violence while marching around their school compound. At Evanston Township High School, almost all 3,500 students entered their football stadium […]

The path least taken


By Karl Bullock As a scrawny 15-year-old freshman in 2013, Rafael Cruz Jr. sauntered up to Von Steuben basketball coach Marvin Williams with confidence. “I told him I was going to play varsity, and he just laughed at me,” Cruz said as he stretched his arms out on his living room couch with a slight […]

Parents, teachers call CPS special education budget an ‘atrocity’

By Meredith Francis and Emily Olsen After several public hearings, two budget drafts and a threatened teachers strike, some parents and teachers say the Chicago Public Schools budget still fails to protect the safety and well-being of special education students. “Students who need one-on-one assistance for feeding and changing, and extreme behavior problems have no […]

Long-awaited elected school board bill down — but not out

Photo at top: Chicagoans, including Aiyanna Allen (far right), wait outside a packed committee room to decide the fate of the elected school board bill. (Emily Olsen / MEDILL)

By Meredith Francis and Emily Olsen Lawmakers are no strangers to the waiting game, but the public is getting antsy. In a packed education committee room in the Springfield state house, parents, students and Chicago community organizers mobilized Nov. 16 to make a fundamental change to the way the nation’s third-largest school district is led — […]

Chicago high school debaters take on the ‘most important things in the world’

By Emily Olsen It’s late on a Friday evening, but the cafeteria at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences is packed, filled with students chatting, eating pizza and prepping for their first debate tournament of the season. “I was nervous for the first bit, but I think it was actually a really great experience […]

Hand-picked CPS board no longer works for parents who want their own vote

If local parents and community groups have their say, the Chicago Board of Education would be an elected body. (Meredith Francis/MEDILL)

By Meredith Francis and Emily Olsen While many are already casting their ballots for the presidential election, some Chicago parent and community groups are demanding the opportunity to cast a vote for their local school board. “Parents, people across the city have had enough. We want an elected school board and we want it now,” […]

Chicago charter school teachers could make history with first-ever strike

Photo at top: United Educators at Uno, picketing outside the charter management offices in the Loop, say they may walk out of the classroom as early as Wednesday. (Meredith Francis/MEDILL)

By Meredith Francis For the first time in U.S. history, charter school teachers could strike. Though the Chicago Teachers Union narrowly avoided a strike last week, over 500 teachers from the Uno Charter School Network still threaten to walk out of the classroom as early as Wednesday if a contract deal is not reached by […]