Stories by Brandis Friedman

Chicago Teachers Union Rallies

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. 

CPS Chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett Resigns

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.

Method Factory

Colorful Factory Brings Green Tech to Pullman

| Kristen Thometz

For the first time in 30 years, a brand-new factory has opened in the historic Pullman neighborhood. We take an inside look at how the Method soap is made and find out why it’s so important to the neighborhood.

Web Extra: On The Table with Brandis Friedman

As part of the Chicago Community Trust’s On The Table, Chicago Tonight's Brandis Friedman hosted a dinner with area residents where they shared their thoughts, concerns, opinions, and hopes for the region's future. Read her blog about the event and watch a video of what participants had to say.

CTU Rallies Against Proposed Pay Cut

| Kristen Thometz

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.

Steep Cuts for CPS's Capital Budget

Citing the district's $1.1 billion deficit, Interim CEO Jesse Ruiz announced that the district is proposing a $160 million capital budget for fiscal year 2016 -- a significant decline compared to FY2015's approved budget of $509 million.

The Importance of Community Colleges

| Kristen Thometz

Chicago is already offering free community college tuition to local students, and nationwide, President Barack Obama is proposing a similar plan. We talk to experts about why community colleges have received a renewed focus.

Recruiting for Advanced Placement

Evanston Township High School takes a unique approach to bringing a diverse group of students into Advanced Placement courses.

Board of Education Suspends Contract with SUPES Academy

In its first meeting since Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett took administrative leave, members of the CPS Board of Education discussed the recent series of events causing further instability for the school district.

Inside Look: The Oprah Collection

Oprah Winfrey is selling hundreds of items from her Chicago condo. Leslie Hindman Auctioneers gives us a guided tour of the lots before the auction takes place on April 25.

Reparations Package for Burge Victims

| Kristen Thometz

Victims of disgraced Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge would receive reparations under a new agreement reached by the mayor, City Council, and advocates of Burge torture victims. Find out what the package includes.

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.