Stories by Brandis Friedman

Chicago Teachers Union Rallies Ahead of Possible Strike Vote

| Kristen Thometz

"Chicago Tonight" will have a live report from Butler Field in Grant Park, where the Chicago Teachers Union promises a big display of support for their cause.

Fuller Park: Small Community, Big Problems

Fuller Park

The problem in one of Chicago's most economically depressed communities isn't just crime. We explore what's being done to improve one of the city's small neighborhoods.

Chicago Public Schools to Springfield: 20 for 20

Forrest Claypool

Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool is reiterating his call for funding equity from Springfield, saying that if CPS students make up 20 percent of Illinois public school students then the district should receive 20 percent of funding.

Communities Drive Effort to Consolidate Select Chicago Public Schools

Several Chicago Public Schools could be consolidating with neighboring schools, if residents in at least two Chicago communities are able to convince the district to take action. Brandis Friemdan has the details on a proposed merger that residents on the Near North Side have been considering.

Report: How to Keep Top CPS Principals on the Job

Four out of 10 Chicago Public Schools principals say they are very likely to leave their jobs in the next three years. A new report from The Chicago Public Education Fund surveyed 65 percent of district principals and found four key ways to keep the city's best school leaders on the job longer. Brandis Friedman has the details.

CPS Board of Education Approves More Charters Amid Community Tension

After weeks of public debate, rallies and demonstrations, the Chicago Board of Education on Wednesday approved two new charter schools out of 13 that applied.

Tug-of-War Over Charter Schools Intensifies

The Chicago Board of Education will vote next week on whether to approve applications for two new charter schools, but a group of Chicago aldermen have signed a resolution calling for a moratorium on the schools, while some parents say they have the right to choose which schools their children attend. Hear from all sides of the issue.

Former CPS CEO Pleads Guilty, Apologizes

Courtroom sketch of Barbara Byrd-Bennett (Thomas Gianni)

After pleading guilty in court to one federal count of wire fraud, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett spoke with reporters briefly and apologized to the children and families of CPS. 

Park District Hosts Public Hearings for Lucas Museum

| Sean Keenehan

The Chicago Park District is hosting tonight the second of two public meetings on the proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. Brandis Friedman will have a live report from McCormick Place.

Retooling Special Education at Chicago Public Schools

Amid controversy and an outcry from parents and principals regarding budget cuts to special education and layoffs for teachers and aides, CPS announces plans to change the way the district serves students with special needs. Tonight, find out how the district plans to change its focus. 

Rethinking Chicago's Plastic Bag Ban

The plastic bag ordinance that took effect Aug. 1 may not be having the impact that was intended, as retailers begin to offer thicker plastic bags in place of the older, thinner ones. Environmentalists say that alternatives exist, while retailers insist their customers prefer plastic. However, there may be a way to reduce plastic bag use that both environmentalists and retailers can agree on. Brandis Friedman has the story.

New Chicago Food Museum Pays Homage to the Hot Dog

Kyle Joseph (Photo courtesy the Foodseum)

Block 37 has a new attraction, but you'd better stop for lunch before you go. The Foodseum celebrates the city's love of all things edible with an exhibit that highlights hot dogs and encased meats from around the globe. We visited the pop-up museum to learn more.

Emanuel's Budget Includes Property Tax Hike, Ride-Sharing Fees

Mayor: ‘We have to right our financial ship’

| Kristen Thometz

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday unveiled his proposed 2016 budget. Included is a $543 million property tax increase that would be phased in, beginning with a $318 million hike this year. Fees on garbage collection and ride-sharing services – including taxis – and a new tax on e-cigarettes aim to plug the city's budget hole.

Debating the Value of PARCC Test Results

Karen Lewis

Parents and teachers will get their first glimpse at test results from the controversial PARCC standardized test students took last spring, but the jury is still out on whether those results are useful. Brandis Friedman has the story.

For CPS, It's Back to School Under Cloudy Skies, Murky Finances

Hundreds of thousands of Chicago Public Schools students return to the classroom amid massive financial woes for the district: an expired teacher contract and a $480 million budget hole. On Chicago Tonight, we'll hear from students and principals at some schools experiencing the deepest cuts, and from CPS administrators visiting schools on their first day. 

Fox Lake Mourns Officer's Death as Search for Suspects Enters Day 2

| Sean Keenehan
Lt. Joe Gliniewicz

The far north suburban community of Fox Lake is still grieving as dozens of local, state, and federal law enforcement officers search for three suspects who allegedly shot and killed Fox Lake police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz early Tuesday morning. Brandis Friedman visited Fox Lake on Wednesday and she joins us with the latest.

Summer Pilot Program 'Targets' Violence Perpetrators

For three hundred South and West Side Chicagoans, a summer job meant more than just a few extra bucks – it may have also meant a safer community. A pilot program called Target 7-11 H.I.T. paid neighbors in Englewood and the west side of Garfield Park to work as violence interrupters, during what is a notoriously deadly time of year for those communities. Brandis Friedman explains how it works.

The Fight Over Dyett High School

The fight to reopen a South Side high school has caused 12 parents and activists to go on a hunger strike to get Chicago Public Schools to hear their concerns. We look at the history of the closure and what the new proposals are.

CPS Board Votes on Controversial Budget

| Sean Keenehan

The Chicago Public Schools Board of Education voted unanimously today to pass a much-criticized $5.6 billion budget that includes almost $480 million from the state, $1 billion dollars in borrowing, and what teachers and parents are calling massive cuts to special education. Brandis Friedman joins us tonight with the latest from downtown.

60 Years Later: The Murder of Emmett Till

The death of the 14-year-old Chicago boy, brutally murdered in Mississippi in 1955, became far more than just another lynching during the Jim Crow era. His mother's decision to display the mutilated body of Emmett Till during his funeral altered the course of history by invigorating a movement. Till's family remembers his life and his death, and compares his story to those we hear today.

Project Fire Ignites Passion for Glass Making

Glass blowing is an expensive art, and not a typical means of managing trauma from gun violence. But a University of Chicago pediatric clinical psychologist has teamed up with a local glassblowing non-profit to help teenaged survivors of gun violence mentally recover from their traumatic experiences. Brandis Friedman has the story.

CPS' Budget Proposal Calls for Layoffs, $480 Million from Springfield

Chicago Public Schools unveiled Monday a $5.7 billion operating budget proposal that includes laying off 1,491 employees (479 of which are teachers), raising property taxes by $19 million, and banking on $480 million in pension relief from state lawmakers. Chicago Tonight’s Brandis Friedman walks us through the proposal.

Child Care Advocates Seek Investigation Into Program Changes

There are new rules this summer surrounding child care for low-income families in Illinois. Child care advocates say that the changes–which they argue are not connected to the state budget impasse in Springfield–will eliminate 90 percent of new program applicants from eligibility. 

50 Years Later, Fair Housing Movement on North Shore Marches On

Fifty years ago, a number of white suburban residents started a fair-housing movement called the North Shore Summer Project, and their work caught the attention of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Chicago Tonight’s Brandis Friedman takes a closer look at the movement – then and now – to diversify the area.

Money on the Table at CPS Board Meeting

The summer of 2015 has been rife with financial complications for Chicago Public Schools. The district has long been in a billion dollar budget hole, and school board members today voted to approve taking on just over a billion dollars in additional debt. Chicago Tonight's Brandis Friedman joins us Wednesday with details.