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Former Chicago Public Schools chiefs Paul Vallas and Terry Mazany will talk with us as part of a series of discussions we are having with education experts and elected officials on the colossal challenges facing Chicago Public Schools and what it means for students and parents.

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The Chicago Teachers Union says contract negotiations with the school board broke down today.  CTU President Karen Lewis says the district is threatening to lay off 3,000 teachers, increase class sizes and make $200 million in budget cuts. 

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In light of a recent report by Ernst & Young regarding the school district's dire finances, the hotly debated issue is expected to be front and center at the last board meeting of the fiscal year. This meeting falls the day after state legislators in Springfield failed to pass a measure allowing the district to delay a substantial payment to the teacher pension fund.

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The Chicago Board of Education is expected to sign off on a $200 million borrowing plan today to help the cash-strapped district manage its financial woes until the end of the month. But the massive cash-crunch facing CPS will remain and some observers fear that teacher layoffs and other school cuts might be inevitable. 

Daily Herald and WBEZ Series Focuses on Education and Poverty

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Credit: Daily Herald

In the first of a four-part series, Daily Herald reporter Melissa Silverberg and WBEZ's Linda Lutton take a look at poverty and education in Illinois. Their studies of state testing over the last decade revealed that the schools with the most low-income students performed the worst. Silverberg and Tim Broderick, data analyst and graphic designer for the project, join us tonight to share their results of the state Poverty-Achievement gap.

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When CPS shuttered 50 elementary schools a couple of years ago, the district promised those neighborhood schools would not be replaced by charter schools. But, as the city's 130 charter schools continue to open and expand, some are having difficulty finding the right real estate for their schools. We take a look at one charter school struggling to find a permanent home.

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Started by a mother’s desire to help other families with children with Down syndrome, Gigi’s Playhouse now has locations in 23 states in the U.S. and Mexico. Elizabeth Brackett reports on how the organization has helped its namesake and many other children.

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An Intrinsic Schools classroom holds roughly 50 to 60 students. Though, it's counterintuitive to what research says about smaller classrooms, the school splits those students into multiple smaller groups. Brandis Friedman takes a closer look at this unique charter school model.

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Students at Haines Elementary School in Chinatown are learning the Next Generation Science Standards by building solar-powered cars and portable homeless shelters. Teachers there are combining all aspects of a STEM education--science, technology, engineering, and math--while students complete fun projects.

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On the heels of former CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett's resignation, and as they are in the middle of contract negotiations with the district, thousands of Chicago Teachers Union members rally in the Loop to demonstrate their frustration with the district. 

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It’s literally a mess at Chicago Public Schools, according to the head of Chicago principals’ union. Clarice Berry, president of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, joins us to discuss a controversial CPS contract for janitorial services that did not include 22 schools, and some ways the cash-strapped district can save money. 

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CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has resigned. She has been on paid leave from her post since mid-April when the district announced it was under a federal investigation. We'll have reaction from the mayor and the Chicago Teachers Union.

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Kids are almost out of school for the summer, but some long days are ahead for Chicago Public Schools as it tries to close a more than $1 billion budget deficit, most of which is tied to a $700 million pension payment that is due. On top of that, district officials are negotiating with the Chicago Teachers Union over a new teacher contract. Chicago Tonight talks with CTU President Karen Lewis.

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The University of Illinois’ new president is a geophysicist who studies the earth’s atmosphere. But his focus now will be on moving the state’s huge university system forward. We’ll talk with him about possible budget cuts, tuition costs, and his vision for the future.

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The School Project is a Chicago-based documentary series that is tracking the past and present status of the city's public school system. The sixth and final episode examines education reforms and teaching philosophies.

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The Chicago Teachers Union is digging in its heels over contract negotiations with the school district. Find out how far they're willing to go over what the union calls a 7 percent pay cut proposal from the city. Brandis Friedman has the details.