Stories by Matt Masterson

Coonley 2nd-Graders Reimagine Great Chicago Fire on Social Media

View from the south west corner of Dearborn and Monroe, 1871. (Jex Bardwell / Chicago History Museum)

Nearly 150 years after a small barn fire ballooned into a two-day blaze that engulfed the city, the story of the Great Chicago Fire is being retold. On social media.

CPS Files Order to Halt Proposed 1-Day Teacher Strike

(Chicago Tonight)

Chicago Public Schools is seeking to prevent a proposed teacher strike later this spring, claiming the move would be illegal under state law.

Chicago Teachers Calling on CPS to Save its Clerks

As Chicago Public Schools continues seeking cost-cutting measures to balance its annual budget, local teachers are rallying around school staff they believe could be next on the chopping block.

Illinois Education Board Approves State ESSA Plan

(Chicago Tonight)

The latest draft of what will become Illinois' new public education policy plan cleared its first major hurdle Wednesday, earning unanimous support from state education leaders.

CPS Student Files Civil Suit Claiming School Building Violates ADA

(Don Harder / Flickr)

CPS CEO Forrest Claypool and the Board of Education are both named in a civil suit filed Friday by Access Living, a disability advocacy nonprofit, on behalf of the wheelchair-bound student at Drummond Montessori Magnet School in Bucktown.

ASPIRA Teachers Reach Tentative Deal, Averting First-of-its-Kind Strike

(A Council of Educators / Twitter)

Had ASPIRA teachers gone through with their threat to go on strike March 17, it would have been the first labor stoppage for charter teachers in U.S. history.

Chance the Rapper Announces 10 CPS Schools Receiving $10K Donations

(Chicago Tonight)

Days after giving $1 million to Chicago Public Schools to support arts and enrichment programming, the Chicago-born rapper named 10 individual schools that would each receive a separate gift from his nonprofit organization, SocialWorks.

CTU Delegates to Consider 1-day Walkout

(Chicago Tonight)

A union spokesman confirmed the union’s 800-member House of Delegates will begin discussions Wednesday over a “possible May 1 action.” No strike vote has yet been scheduled.

ASPIRA Charter Teachers Set March Strike Date

(Christine Geovanis / Flickr)

If progress isn't made over the next 10 days in ongoing labor negotiations, educators in a small Chicago charter school network say they will walk off the job in what would be the nation’s first charter teachers strike.

Noble Teachers Earn Legislator Support in Unionization Efforts

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, state Sen. Daniel Biss and Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa were among those who pledged their support for Noble charter teachers who are working to create what would be the nation’s largest charter teachers union.

Noble Educators Begin Forming Nation’s Largest Charter Teachers Union

Teachers in Chicago's biggest charter network say a union will allow them to better advocate for their students and colleagues. If successful, it will create the largest charter teachers union in the country.

Urban League Research Highlights Ongoing Racial Disparity in Education

A report released this week by the Chicago Urban League shows minority students in the state are still as likely to attend a racially segregated school today as they would have been 60 years ago.

CPS Receives Proposals to Open up to 20 New Charters

Days after Chicago Public Schools' deadline to submit charter school letters of intent, the district announced it had received word from more than a dozen operators looking to open up to 20 new schools across Chicago.

Judge Tosses Former Governor’s Lawsuit Seeking Elected School Board

(Chicago Tonight)

A second judge has tossed a case brought by former Gov. Pat Quinn calling for the Chicago Board of Education to be transformed into an elected body.

CPS Unfreezing $15M in School Funds After Latino Community Outcry

Chicago Public Schools announced Friday it will return $15 million in frozen discretionary funds to high-poverty district schools, citing a “disproportionate impact” that freeze had on predominantly African-American and Hispanic schools.

Madigan Planning New Education Funding Task Force

The longtime speaker announced Thursday he has appointed a dozen House Democrats to address unanswered questions in the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission’s final report and draw up equitable school funding reform legislation.

ASPIRA Charter Teachers Vote to Strike

(A Council of Educators / Twitter)

The ASPIRA teachers union issued a near-unanimous vote Wednesday evening in favor of walking off the job in what would be the nation’s first-ever charter school teachers strike.

Majority of CPS Latino Council Resigns Amid Budget Cuts

(Chicago Tonight)

Nearly all members of a Chicago Public School advisory council turned in resignation letters to the city's Board of Education on Wednesday morning, citing the disproportionate effect of district budget cuts on Latino schools.

ASPIRA Charter Teachers to Call Strike Vote Wednesday

(A Council of Educators / Twitter)

Teachers in the ASPIRA charter network – comprised of three Chicago high schools and one middle school – say they will vote on a strike Wednesday night after months of contract negotiations.

Chicago Urban League, ISBE Reach Tentative Settlement in Yearslong Suit

Days after CPS filed a lawsuit against the state claiming discriminatory school funding, the Illinois State Board of Education announced it has reached a tentative settlement in a similar case after a yearslong legal battle with the Chicago Urban League.

Chicago Students Join in Day Without Immigrants Protest

Classrooms across the city were left half-empty Thursday as students took the day to join in citywide Day Without Immigrants protests.

State Lawmaker Renews Call for Elected Chicago School Board

State Rep. Rob Martwick, D-Chicago (Chicago Tonight)

Calls for an elected Board of Education in Chicago are nothing new, but a pair of current and former politicians are continuing their efforts to end mayoral control over the city's seven-member board.

CPS, Parents Claim Civil Rights Violations in New Suit Against State

CPS CEO Forrest Claypool (Chicago Tonight)

Chicago Public Schools and five local families announced Tuesday they have filed suit against the state of Illinois in an effort to force equitable funding for the cash-strapped school district.

Parents, Teachers Call on CPS to Take Budget Matters Into Its Own Hands

Chicago parents on Monday called for an end to the finger-pointing between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool, saying the sides need to find common ground to solve the district's ongoing financial issues.

Rauner Calls Trump Immigration Ban ‘Overly Broad,’ ‘Rash’

| Amanda Vinicky

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Friday criticized President Trump’s executive order and discussed ongoing issues with Chicago Public Schools and education funding during an interview on WBEZ.