Stories by Brandis Friedman

State Commission Overturns CPS Decision to Close 3 Low-Performing Charters

Forrest Claypool

Three Chicago charter schools are celebrating a victory today: a state commission has ruled they will be able to remain open, despite Chicago Public Schools' plans to close them for poor performance.

Exploring a School with No Classrooms

Screen shot from "Most Likely to Succeed"

Imagine a high school where classrooms aren't divided by subject matter, and there aren't even class periods or bells – and teachers are told to teach however they want. That's the reality for a high school in California profiled in the documentary, "Most Likely to Succeed."

CPS Teachers Among Those Laid Off in Latest Round of Cuts

CTU vice president Jesse Sharkey

Chicago Public Schools students could see their teachers on the picket lines sooner than expected, as the district announces how many employees are being laid off today.

Study: Slow Thinking Reduces Crime in Chicago

It sounds simple: slow down and make better choices. Most of us don't do that as well as we could, but researchers are studying how the simple act of slowing down can reduce crime. Brandis Friedman has the story.

Group Calls for Special Prosecutor in Laquan McDonald Case

Task Force: Police Videos, Reports Should be Released in 60 Days

Sixty days: That’s the maximum amount of time Chicago Police should take before allowing the public to see recordings or reports of police-involved incidents. The recommendation from the Mayor's Police Accountability Task Force comes on the same day as a group of attorneys and elected officials calls for a special prosecutor in the case that led to the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Basketball Hall of Fame Finalist Sheryl Swoopes Heads LUC Women's Team

Sheryl Swoopes

The basketball legend is now a coach here in Chicago, and she's helping the Loyola women's basketball team give it their best shot.

‘Rocket Docket’ Sends Low-Level Jail Inmates Home

The Cook County Sheriff's Office is finding a way to keep certain criminal defendants at home and on the job, instead of in jail while they await trial. Brandis Friedman takes a look at how a two-year pilot program designed to release inmates jailed for low-level offenses is working so far.

CPS Principals Learn How Deep Budgets Will Be Cut

Blaine Elementary Principal Troy LaRaviere

Today, Chicago Public Schools principals are learning just how deep their budgets will be cut after last week's announcement that the district was slashing more than $100 million from annual school budgets.

‘Downton Abbey’ Costumes Come to Chicago's Driehaus Museum

| Chloe Riley

Afternoon tea in the parlor and dressing in black tie just to have dinner at home: that was everyday life for the fictional, aristocratic Crawley family. Starting today, Downton fans can get an up-close look at those fashions in a new exhibit at the Driehaus Museum. Brandis Friedman takes us inside.

Examining the Impact of a State Takeover of Local Schools

In a report released last month, researchers say they have no consensus over whether local control of a school district is any better for student performance or financial management than state control of a school district. Brandis Friedman takes a look at one district where the state is in charge to see how its schools are faring.

Chicago Public Schools Announces More Cuts

Forrest Claypool

Just a day after the Chicago Teachers Union rejected the school board's latest contract offer, Chicago Public Schools is announcing cuts. CEO Forrest Claypool says the district is still working to avoid teacher layoffs, but some staffers will lose their jobs in order for the district to save money.

Chicago Teachers Union Unanimously Rejects District's Latest Offer

Members of the Chicago Teachers Union bargaining unit say they spent hours and hours considering the school board's "serious" contract offer. But on Monday, the group announced that they could not accept it.

Restoring Classic Cars is Driving Force for Better Futures

For many young men, their first car is also their first love. But for some of Chicago's at-risk teens and young adults their first car isn't theirs to drive–but theirs to fix. Learning classic car restoration is more than just a trade, it's a chance to pave a new future. Brandis Friedman has the story.

CPS Lays Off 227 Central Office Employees

Forrest Claypool

Chicago Public Schools today gave layoff notices to some administrative employees as part of efforts to reduce its $480 million budget shortfall. "There’s no doubt that these cuts are painful," CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said in a statement. "However, with limited resources and a budget crisis not just this year but into the foreseeable future, we had no choice."

Chicago Lawmakers Say TIF Surplus Can Help Close CPS Budget Gap

Just a day after Gov. Bruce Rauner and Republican leaders in the General Assembly proposed a state takeover of the financially distressed Chicago Public Schools, lawmakers propose altering the TIF legislation to allow a surplus to be spent on the district. 

CPS, CTU React to GOP Proposal for State Takeover of District

Teachers, parents and the Chicago Public Schools district may not always agree, but on this point they do: leave the management of CPS in Chicago. We hear from education leaders on the GOP plan for a state takeover of the nation's third-largest school district.

Cook County Democrats Endorse Kimberly Foxx

Kimberly Foxx

The race to be Cook County's top prosecutor is getting even more interesting. Today, Cook County Democrats changed their minds about endorsing a candidate for state's attorney – in August, the party chose not to endorse anybody – and officially backed a challenger to incumbent Anita Alvarez.

Black Firefighters, Paramedics Call for DOJ Investigation into CFD

Chicago's black firefighters and paramedics are calling on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to replace Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago. The group, represented by the African-American Firefighters and Paramedics League, is also asking the U.S. Department of Justice to expand its investigation into the Chicago Police Department to include the Chicago Fire Department.

CPS Inspector General Report Highlights Cheating for Selective Enrollment

An annual report from CPS Inspector General Nick Schuler cites numerous cases of students who live in Chicago suburbs enrolling in the city's elite selective enrollment schools.

Police Officers, Former Inmates Break Bread, Build Bridges

They are an unlikely group of lunch mates: a handful of Chicago police officers and 12 people working to rebuild their lives after serving time in prison. Brandis Friedman has the story.

CTU Members Vote to Authorize a Strike

Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey on Monday morning announced that 88 percent of its membership has voted "yes" to the question of authorizing a strike. The vote was taken over three days last week, in which 92 percent of members voted.

Teaching Laquan McDonald

Whether it's at the water cooler or the dinner table, the Laquan McDonald case has been the topic of much discussion in and around Chicago. But in many city classrooms sit young men and women who may have a lot in common with the teenager. Brandis Friedman has more on how this discussion between students and teachers is unfolding.

Phillips Academy Students Turn Around School's Reputation

Quayvon Skanes

Six seasons ago, the Wendell Phillips Academy High School football team had just 12 football players. Today, not only has the current team won a state championship, but its players are college bound. In fact, many students at this formerly failing school are now headed to college.

Officer Accused of Killing Laquan McDonald is Released from Jail

After posting bail, Jason Van Dyke, the officer accused of killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, is released from jail.

Demonstrators Call for Justice in Shooting Death of Laquan McDonald

Demonstrators who say they want justice for Laquan McDonald kept up their efforts Wednesday at City Hall, the Cook County Courthouse and in the streets where McDonald was killed.