Stories by Brandis Friedman

Walking Again

Doctors told U.S. Army veteran RJ Anderson that he'd never walk again after a motorcycle accident left him paralyzed from the chest down. But, with the help of an advanced medical device, he can. He's the first Chicagoan to take home the Re-Walk exoskeleton -- the only exoskeleton approved by the Food and Drug Administration for at-home, personal use. Find out how it works and how it might have a long-term impact on his health.

The First Lady of the Black Press

Ethel Payne

Chicago's own Ethel Payne was the third African-American to ever receive White House press credentials–and she was only the second black woman to do so. We talk with the author of a biography about the importance of her legacy.

CPS & CTU Begin Contract Talks

Contract negotiations between the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools have formally begun – and the union’s initial list of demands is not the traditional one. We have the details.

Urban Warriors

As a part of its Youth Safety and Violence Prevention program, the YMCA of Metro Chicago has launched the Urban Warriors program. The unique program brings together post-9/11 combat veterans with teens from some of Chicago's tougher neighborhoods for mentoring and bonding over their shared experiences with post-traumatic stress disorder.

PARCC Testing Begins

As schools across the state begin to administer the controversial PARCC test to students, parents and legislators are pushing a movement and legislation to allow parents to let their children opt out of the test.

The 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday

March 7 is the 50th anniversary of what became known in history as “Bloody Sunday.” It was the day a group of southern blacks attempted to march from the town of Selma, Ala. to Montgomery. Hear the voices of some of Selma's own and Chicago's own as they recount their memories of Selma before, during, and after that fateful Sunday.

Chicago's Future Chefs

Over the weekend, students from 13 Illinois high school students competed for their chance to represent Illinois in a national cooking competition. The budding "cheftestants" may be only high school students now, but with the help of the ProStart Invitational competition, they can hope to be the next Grant Achatz or Stephanie Izard.

CPS Will Give PARCC Test District-Wide

Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced this morning that the district will, in fact, administer the PARCC test to all required grades, rather than 10 percent of schools as previously planned. We have the details.

Teach For America Lower on Recruits

Recruiting college graduates into the popular teaching corps Teach For America isn't as easy as it used to be. We talk with them about what the organization thinks is causing the slowdown.

Education Roundup: CPS Debt, Elected School Board & PARCC Testing

In recent weeks, the Chicago Board of Education has received letters from both the state Board of Education and the U.S. Department of Education threatening the loss of more than $1 billion if Chicago Public Schools fails to administer the controversial standardized test, PARCC. Wednesday's meeting is the Board's first since those communications from the state and federal governments. Find out what, if any, action they take. We also have reaction to the referendum on an elected school board, and information on what actions the school board is considering to save $10 million.

Prison Hospice

| Evan Garcia

A local filmmaker was honored with an Academy Award nomination for the documentary, Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall. Though the film buzz has ended, its creator is on a mission to bring more inmate-operated hospice care to prisons all over the country. We talk with him about his efforts and the prison hospice system in Illinois.

PARCC Test Controversy

The federal government is warning Chicago Public Schools against sanctions for its decision to administer the controversial PARCC test to 10 percent of students.

Back on the Job

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis is back at work and talking to Chicago Tonight about her recovery, the mayoral race, and the controversial PARCC testing.

In the Middle

| Kristen Thometz

A new project from the University of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools focuses on preparing middle school students for college readiness.

Impact of School Closures

| Travis Cornejo

The University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research details how students were impacted by the decision to close 50 elementary schools in May 2013.

Out of Jail, Back to School

Whether it’s been 10 years or 30 years since they dropped out of high school, men and women who went on to serve time in jail or prison are finally getting their diplomas. We explain how programs like St. Leonard’s Ministries are getting help from Cook County to keep people out of jail and reduce violence.

Should Schools Close on Cold Days?

For the second day, Chicago Public Schools are closed because of cold weather, but not everyone agrees.

CPS Cancels Classes for Second Day

Chicago Public Schools will be closed for a second day tomorrow because of the extreme weather.

Final Week for Quinn

Gov. Pat Quinn speaks to the City Club of Chicago during his final days in office.

Bitter Cold, Snow for Chicago Area

Chicagoans are bracing for a wintry week to start off the first full week of the New Year. Send us your severe weather photos here.

Sen. Kirk Expands Heroin Overdose Efforts

| Kristen Thometz

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk expands efforts to fight heroin overdoses in Cook and surrounding counties.

Styling the Magnificent Mile

A recent exhibit at the Chicago History Museum explains how the Mile became known for being Magnificent.

Ta-Nehisi Coates Uncut

The Atlantic correspondent and author Ta-Nehisi Coates discusses his thoughts on the students at North Lawndale College Prep, his mea culpa for glossing over the accusations against Bill Cosby in the past, and he explains why The Case for Reparations is unrelated to the black conservatives’ argument.

Learning By Doing

| Kristen Thometz

With support from the Chicago Public Education Fund, a CPS K-12 magnet school is using time and technology to benefit students.

More CPS Freshmen Earn College Degrees

Study Says 14 Percent Earn 4-Year Degrees

| Kristen Thometz

A new report updates the percentage of Chicago Public Schools' ninth-graders who will graduate from college by the time they turn 25.