Stories by Matt Masterson

As Teacher Strike Looms, Parents Make Plans for Kids Missing School

(Don Harder / Flickr)

Some parents are skipping family events and stockpiling paid time off to make sure they're able to watch children during a possible teacher's strike next month.

Plan to Merge Kellogg, Sutherland Schools Met With Parent Scorn

(Scott Smith)

A proposal designed to eliminate overcrowding at Mount Greenwood Elementary by shuffling around neighboring schools has been met with disdain by local parents.

CTU Overwhelmingly Votes to Authorize Teacher Strike

More than 95 percent of voting union members in favor of strike

| Brandis Friedman
(Chicago Tonight)

More than 95 percent of Chicago Teachers Union members who participated in last week’s three-day authorization vote said they were in favor of another work stoppage. 

New Student Health Center Announced at Bronzeville School

(WBEZ / Flickr)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday announced plans for the city's 33rd school-based student health care center at Drake Elementary.

CPS Data Show Minority Students More Likely to be Suspended, Expelled

More than 96 percent of district suspensions and 99 percent of expulsions affected minority students last school year. (Max Klingensmith / Flickr)

More than 96 percent of district suspensions and 99 percent of expulsions affected minority students last school year.

CTU Voting Underway to Authorize New Strike

CTU teachers protest outside a Chicago Public Schools Board of Education meeting on Aug. 24. Teachers and schools across Chicago will spend the rest of this week voting whether or not to authorize a possible strike later this year. (Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Teachers say they feel the Chicago Board of Education has forced them into a possible strike with repeated staff cuts.

Arne Duncan to Springfield: Change School Funding Model

Arne Duncan (Chicago Tonight)

Former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan talks about education funding, a new University of Chicago program helping more students earn bachelor's degrees, and a potential teachers strike in a one-on-one interview with Chicago Tonight.

CPS Head Investigator Claims District Auditors Interfered in Theft Probe

Nicholas Schuler (Chicago Tonight)

Internal auditors reportedly ignored multiple warnings from the CPS inspector general against conducting its own probe into the theft of tens of thousands of CTA transit passes, which the OIG says jeopardized a possible criminal prosecution and hindered its investigative efforts.

Chicago Education Activists Plan Protest at Presidential Debate

Jitu Brown appears on “Chicago Tonight” in September 2015.

In an election cycle hitting on high notes such as hairdos, walls and mishandled emails, the topic of public education seems to have been left by the wayside.

Tutor Group Helps Principals Transition from PARCC to ‘New’ SAT Exam

As high school juniors across Illinois prepare to take the SAT exam next April, a local tutoring group is helping school leaders prepare for a shift away from the maligned Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test.

UIC Hoping to Boost STEM Inclusion Through New Grant Program

(Nicholas James / Wikimedia Commons)

A new two-year grant program will seek out new community-based methods of getting minorities and women involved in science, technology, engineering and math careers.

University of Chicago Ranked Among Top Colleges in US

Julius Rosenwald Hall at the University of Chicago (Chuck Szmurlo / Wikimedia)

The University of Chicago tied for third place in U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 collegiate rankings, up one spot from where it stood in each of the previous two years.

Aldermen, Public Make Voices Heard on Proposed TIF Funding For CPS

(Parents 4 Teachers)

A proposed change to city law that could divert tens of millions in tax incremental financing (TIF) dollars to the cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools will likely undergo some additional changes before it comes to City Council for approval.

Former CPS Buildings Getting New Life As Residential Apartments

The former Mulligan Elementary School in Lincoln Park has been transformed into residential apartments as part of the city's plan to redevelop shuttered CPS buildings. (Courtesy of Chicago Department of Planning and Development)

Shuttered classrooms and long-closed gymnasiums will soon give way to multi-bedroom suites and rooftop decks overlooking the city skyline as area developers work to resurrect buildings that once served as Chicago Public Schools.

CPS Progress Report Highlights Gains in On-Track, Dropout Rates

Mayor Rahm Emanuel (Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Students at Chicago Public Schools have steadily improved their attendance and on-track-to-graduate rates while trimming back their annual dropout rate over the past five years, according to a new district progress report.

Laid Off CPS Teacher: ‘I’m Not as Optimistic This Time’

Educator Faces Prospect of Another Year Outside the Classroom

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Classes resumed Tuesday for students across Chicago, but many of the 500-plus teachers laid off in August could be left outside the classroom this school year.

CPS Announces Record-High Graduation Rate for Class of 2016

(jeco / Flickr)

Nearly three out of four seniors within Chicago Public Schools earned their diplomas in 2016 – a district record – as graduation rates increased across neighborhood, charter and traditional high schools.

Dyett High School Reopening 1 Year After Activist Hunger Strike

Doors at the school will reopen next week in Bronzeville for the first time since the 2014-15 school year. Chicago Public Schools announced last fall the school would be transformed into a neighborhood school focused on arts.

Suspended Blaine Principal Troy LaRaviere Announces Resignation

Former Blaine Elementary Principal Troy LaRaviere announced Tuesday he was stepping away from the school four month after he was suspended by CPS. (Chicago Tonight)

Troy LaRaviere announced Tuesday he has resigned his position at Blaine Elementary – which was recently named among the top public schools in Chicago – four months after he was suspended, blaming Mayor Rahm Emanuel and "political obstructions."

New Documentary Highlights Students’ Efforts to Keep School Open

Movie poster for the documentary “Saving Barbara Sizemore” showcases student filmmakers and the film’s director.

A new documentary highlights the work of five grade schoolers who worked to keep Barbara A. Sizemore Academy open after CPS voted to shut it down late last year.

‘Nosy Neighbors’ Keeping Kids Safe on Daily School Commute

Hundreds of community members will be hired out this school year to make sure CPS students have a safe walk to and from school each day. (WBEZ / Flickr)

For the seventh straight year, children and teens will be guided along their daily commute by Safe Passage workers – community members hired out by CPS to keep watch over students during as they walk to school in the morning and back home in the afternoon.

Fewer Than Half of Students Proficient in Math, English on Statewide Exam

Math scores up, English scores down over 2015 results

The 2016 PARCC assessment showed Illinois students in grades 3-12 improved slightly in math over a year ago, but fell behind in English language arts. (Pexels)

State superintendent says there is "considerable distance to travel" to make sure students are prepared for life after high school following new PARCC assessment results.

CTU Considers October Strike if New Deal Not Struck

| Brandis Friedman
In a bulletin published this week, the Chicago Teachers Union says it will consider striking if it cannot come to an agreement with Chicago Public Schools on a new contract. (Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Without a new contract agreement with CPS, Chicago teachers are looking at their second work stoppage this year. 

Could Evidence-Based Model Fix Broken Education Funding Formula?

Five other states currently rely on evidence-based school funding, but it remains to be seen how effective it would be in Illinois. (Pexels)

Facing the largest equity gap in the country, Illinois state leaders are considering an evidence-based approach designed to ensure every student has the opportunity to succeed in the classroom.

CPS Looking to Increase Line of Credit up to $1.5 Billion

CPS is asking the Chicago Board of Education to approve an increase to its line of credit by nearly $500 million. (Publicdomainpictures)

On top of a $5.4 billion proposed budget and nearly $950 million in long-term borrowing, Chicago Public Schools is also seeking to increase its line of credit for the upcoming school year by nearly $500 million.