Stories by Brandis Friedman

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.

Chicago Reacts to Release of Laquan McDonald Video

Brandis Friedman reports live with reaction to the video, as well as reaction from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

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.