Illinois' largest school district is in financial turmoil, nearly everyone agrees the school funding formula needs retooling, and the state's contending with both a new federal administration as well as a new federal education law.
Managing all of this is the Illinois State Board of Education, the agency charged with doling out state and federal dollars to school districts, as well as holding them accountable.
Even Gov. Bruce Rauner made a rare appearance at the board's meeting last week to emphasize education standards.
"We have got to drive real quality," Rauner said. "We can't just spend more money and hope for the best. We've got to have an understandable, rigorous high bar of excellence for our schools, for our students. Our students deserve nothing less than that."
Joining Chicago Tonight for a conversation about Illinois schools is ISBE Superintendent Tony Smith.
Feb. 27: Chicago Public Schools students could be in for a shorter school year.
Feb. 7: Despite a shaky confirmation hearing and significant pushback from the public, Republican donor and school choice advocate Betsy DeVos has been confirmed as the new U.S. Secretary of Education.
Nov. 21, 2016: The head of the Illinois State Board of Education will soon have a say in policy issues at the national level.