Stories by Matt Masterson

Passages Charter Teachers Vote to Strike

Nearly all of the 46 teachers, paraprofessionals and teacher assistants at the Passages Charter School in Edgewater say they are in favor of going on strike.

Illinois Weighing Down National Higher Ed Spending Numbers

Overall state and local government support for higher education across the country fell by $130 per student in 2016, the first time that figure failed to grow in four years. And one group is pointing the finger squarely at Illinois.

Summer Safe Passage Program Growing in Chicago

(WBEZ / Flickr)

The Chicago Park District and Chicago Public Schools are teaming up this summer to help ensure safe travel for thousands of youth participating in recreational programs and sports leagues.

Former CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett Sentenced to 4 1/2 Years

Former SUPES co-owner Thomas Vranas receives 18-month sentence

Courtroom sketch of Barbara Byrd-Bennett pleading and crying in front of U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang. (Thomas Gianni)

The disgraced former Chicago Public Schools CEO will spend 54 months in prison after a federal judge sentenced her Friday for the yearslong kickback scheme she ran while chief of the cash-strapped district.

CPS Aims to Simplify High School Applications With New ‘GoCPS’ Model

Chicago Public Schools is hoping to simplify its rigorous high school application process with a new plan promising to save time and limit headaches for families and students.

Parents, Advocates Want Details On CPS Plan For End of School Year

CPS CEO Forrest Claypool speaks in Dec 2016 at a Chicago Board of Education meeting. During Wednesday’s meeting, he offered no new details on the district’s plan for the end of the school year. (Chicago Tonight)

“This could be a critical week for the future of our schools,” CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said Wednesday at a Chicago Board of Education meeting. “Ending school early would be a tragedy for Chicago students.”

CPS Adding New Course on History of Jon Burge Torture Cases

Darrell Cannon, one of the Burge torture victims, speaks before the Chicago City Council in 2015. (Chicago Tonight)

Chicago teachers will spend the coming weeks preparing for a new course on the history of the disgraced former Chicago Police Department commander who, for two decades, systematically abused and tortured suspects on the South Side to force confessions.

Chicago Researchers Pushing For Expanded Social Emotional Learning

Officials from a Chicago-based education collaborative looked at years of studies on social and emotional learning and found consistent, positive effects on student behavior and outcomes.

CPS Scores Top 5 Public High Schools in New Rankings

Lane Tech was ranked as the No. 5 public high school in the state of Illinois, according to U.S. News. Chicago Public Schools took each of the top five spots on the list. (LonelyBeacon / Wikimedia Commons)

In addition to having the top five highest-rated public high schools in the state, Chicago Public Schools has two of the top 100 high schools in the country, according to new rankings from U.S. News and World Report.

Report: Chicago Ranked in Middle for Teacher Rent Affordability

High rent prohibits many U.S. teachers from living in the same cities in which they work. That’s according to a new report from the rental marketplace Apartment List. But in Chicago, teachers are faring better than their coastal peers.

CTU Posts Schedule of May Day Actions

(Chicago Tonight)

While there won’t be a May 1 strike, the Chicago Teachers Union is encouraging its members to take personal days to participate in other rallies and events to celebrate International Workers' Day.

Judge Delays Decision on CPS Motion in Lawsuit Against State

Chicago families will have to wait a little longer to find out when the school year will end for Chicago Public Schools.

Suspended CPS Teacher: ‘I Just Hope To Return to the Classroom Quickly’

(Chicago Tonight)

Students, teachers and community members gathered outside a Little Village elementary school Tuesday to call for the reinstatement of an outspoken Chicago Public Schools teacher who faces termination.

Chicago Activists Call For Action on Elected School Board Bill

(Raise Your Hand Action / Twitter)

Parents and community activists protested outside the Chicago office of Senate President John Cullerton on Tuesday to demand action on a bill that would grant the city an elected Board of Education.

Brighton Park Among Areas That Could be Hit by After-School Funding Cut

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin visited with education and community stakeholders Monday afternoon at Burroughs Elementary in Brighton Park to pledge his support for federal after-school funding that’s facing the ax in President Donald Trump’s proposed budget.

Roosevelt Professor Recommends Chicago Charter Moratorium in New Report

With the immediate future of new charter school openings in Chicago already up in the air, a new study now suggests halting charter growth in the city to avoid saturating low-demand neighborhoods with too many schools.

Betsy DeVos, Mayor Emanuel Talk Chicago Education, Reforms in DC

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos met in the nation’s capital for a “wide ranging” discussion Wednesday morning that centered on the road ahead for Chicago education.

Judge to Rule on CPS, Rauner Motions Next Week

When will Chicago Public Schools hold its last day of class? There could be clarity next week, when a Cook County judge rules on a pair of motions in the district’s ongoing suit against Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Betsy DeVos, Mayor Emanuel Scheduled to Meet Wednesday

Chicago's mayor and the U.S. education secretary have a 10:30 a.m. meeting scheduled Wednesday morning. But the location and content of their talk is not yet known.

Barbara Byrd-Bennett Attorneys Ask for 3.5-Year Sentence in Fraud Case

Attorneys for former Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett have asked a federal judge to sentence their client up to no more than 3.5 years in prison. (Chicago Tonight)

In a sentencing memo filed Friday, Barbara Byrd-Bennett’s attorneys admit she “harbored a very real and greedy sense of entitlement” that she was earning something she deserved by steering millions of dollars in CPS contracts to her former employer.

Noble Charter Teachers File Charges Against Network Administration

Educators say management interfering in unionization process

(Chicago Tonight)

Noble teachers announced Friday they have filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board, citing administration's “use of surveillance” to interfere with their rights granted by the National Labor Relations Act.

CTU Drops Strike Vote, Encourages Other Action on May 1

The Chicago Teachers Union will not hold a May Day strike, but group leadership is planning a “proportional” response to whatever cuts are made to the end of this school year by Chicago Public Schools.

Chicago Charter Advocates Protest Bill Limiting School Growth

(Courtesy of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools)

Dozens of charter school advocates and parents gathered outside Will Guzzardi’s Logan Square office Wednesday to protest a bill from the state representative that would limit charter growth in financially struggling Illinois school districts.

New Illinois Education Model Sent Off for Federal Review

(Chicago Tonight)

After dozens of listening sessions and meetings, the Illinois State Board of Education announced it has submitted its plan to replace the No Child Left Behind Act to the federal government for review.

CPS, ISBE Partnering on New Competency-Based Learning Pilot

(Chicago Tonight)

Six Chicago Public Schools will take part in a new pilot program that lets students move at their own pace as they focus on mastering educational skills rather than spending set amounts of time in the classroom.