Stories by Matt Masterson

CPS Helping Students Explore High School Options With New Website

(Chicago Tonight)

A new Chicago Public Schools website is set to help students sort through scores of local high schools to find the right one for them based on academic and extracurricular interests.

CPS Adding $600 Million in Supplemental Capital Plans

(Chicago Tonight)

Chicago Public Schools says it plans to add $600 million in projects to its capital improvement budget for the upcoming year, but how much money the district will actually spend remains to be seen as it waits to gauge “market conditions and community feedback.”

Rauner Vetoes $215 Million CPS Pension Funding

(Chicago Tonight)

Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed legislation that would have provided Chicago Public Schools with $215 million in pension relief funding, blowing a massive hole in the district’s 2017 budget.

CTU President Karen Lewis Calls for Fewer Charters, More Revenue

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis spent an hour Wednesday afternoon lecturing students and taking questions on education policy at the University of Illinois-Chicago. (Chicago Tonight)

With labor negotiations finished and a new contract finalized, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis is now calling for an end to the “explosion” of charter school chain growth.

Fashion Studies Overhaul Draws Ire of Students, Faculty at Columbia

(afunkydamsel / Flickr)

A proposed overhaul of the fashion studies curriculum at Columbia College Chicago has upset some students and part-time faculty, who’ve criticized what they see as a move away from strictly manufacturing and design courses toward a more marketing- and business-focused program.

Public Voices Concerns Over Special Education in Revised CPS Budget

Board of Education President Frank Clark and CPS officials held a pair of public hearings Monday to discuss the district's revised budget for the 2017 fiscal year. (Chicago Tonight)

Speakers raise questions over special education cuts and $215 million in state funding that has not yet been provided to Chicago Public Schools during dual hearings Monday.

CPS Arts Instruction Growing, But Parts of City Still Lagging Behind

(Chicago Tonight)

Students at Chicago Public Schools have seen greater access to arts education programming in recent years, according to a new study, but many schools on the South and West Sides of the city are still lacking in an equitable distribution of this programming.

Black Teens Report Alienation, Fear in Dealings With Police

(Invisible Institute)

The Invisible Institute, a locally-based nonprofit production company, this week published a new report after spending five years talking with black Chicago high school students about their interactions with police.

Teachers Union Leaders Blast Trump’s Pick for Education Secretary

Betsy DeVos (Keithalmli / Wikimedia Commons)

President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday tabbed billionaire donor and school choice activist Betsy DeVos as the next federal Secretary of Education, a move the head of the Illinois Federation of Teachers immediately called “hugely troubling.”

Illinois Superintendent Tony Smith Elected to National School Council

(Chicago Tonight)

The head of the Illinois State Board of Education will soon have a say in policy issues at the national level.

Study: Selective Enrollment Schools No Better at Closing Achievement Gap

(Alex Cheek / Flickr)

Admission into Chicago’s selective enrollment high schools does not help close the achievement gap between students from high- and low-poverty neighborhoods, according to a new study.

CPS Says Employee Provided Noble Charter Schools With Unauthorized Student Information

(Chicago Tonight)

Chicago Public Schools is investigating an employee who allegedly turned over confidential student information to the Noble Network of Charter Schools earlier this fall, according to a letter sent to district parents this week.

Appointed or Elected? State Committee Weighs Future of Chicago Board of Ed

(Chicago Tonight)

Members of the General Assembly’s Education Committee sounded supportive Wednesday of a bill that would convert Chicago’s appointed Board of Education into an elected body, but Republicans and Democrats alike cautioned that more work is needed before the legislation is ready for a vote.

Chicago Artist Planning Michelle Obama Mural at South Shore Elementary


A Chicago artist is seeking some community help to fund his latest project at Bouchet Elementary Math and Science Academy in the South Shore neighborhood.

How Will Education Policy Be Shaped Under President Trump?

The president-elect did not say much about his education plans during his run for the White House. Here's an explainer of what has been said.

Marist High School Cancels Classes Amid Concerns of Mount Greenwood Protests

School officials cited student safety concerns in canceling classes Friday after the local Black Lives Matter chapter had scheduled a protest nearby.

Solving Chronic Absenteeism Could Be Missing Piece to Classroom Achievement

(Don Harder / Flickr)

A new study suggests states could improve student achievement and boost graduation rates by cutting down the number of students missing 15 or more days per school year.

Chicago Teens Working Polling Sites Get Front-Row Seat on Election Day

(Mikva Challenge / Twitter)

High school students got their first taste of the Democratic process Tuesday, volunteering as election judges at polling sites across Chicago on Election Day.

Millennials Leading Way at Polling Sites as Election Board Deals With Multiple Issues

The city's Board of Elections Commissioners is considering going to court to extend the voting deadline at multiple polling sites after some opened as much as an hour late this morning.

CPS Looks to Recruit, Retain Quality Principals Through New Partnership

Six out of 10 CPS principals leave their position within five years of being hired. The district hopes a new public-private partnerships will help keep principals around beyond their first contract.

CPS, Teacher Contract to Cost District More Than $9.4 Billion

Chicago Public Schools released the first look at the agreement’s financial layout Wednesday morning, hours after more than 70 percent of Chicago Teachers Union members voted in favor of the contract.

CTU Rank and File Ratify Labor Deal with CPS

Results from nearly 60 schools still need to be tallied and the union expects final numbers to be released to its House of Delegates on Wednesday.

Chicago Teens Join Forefront of Climate Change Research

(J.B. Spector / Museum of Science and Industry)

To get children and teens interested in science, technology and engineering careers, Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry is planning a new program examining the world around us and the role of humans in it. 

CPS Nixes Haunted House at Elementary School Depicting Pulse Massacre

An Eventbrite ad for the canceled "The Room" haunted house event.

Event listing says participants in nightclub, church shooting scenarios would have to “face the consequences” of their actions.

Illinois Report Card Shows Student Achievement Stable, in Need of Improvements

(Albert Herring / Wikimedia Commons)

The Illinois State Board of Education on Monday released its annual Report Card – a snapshot of accountability and achievement figures from students, schools and administrators across the state.