Stories by Matt Masterson

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.

West Englewood Students Call For an End to Gun Violence

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Students, teachers and community activists gathered Friday at Henderson Elementary for their second annual peace rally, marching only feet from where a 12-year-old girl was shot earlier this year.

Chance the Rapper, Chicago Bulls Announce More Funds for CPS

The “New Chance: Arts and Literature” fund will provide Chicago students with new supplies beginning next school year, having already raised $1.2 million through philanthropic donations in just the last month.

Chicago Teachers Weighing Options Before Vote on 1-Day Walkout

As the Chicago Teachers Union continues debate over a possible one-day strike in response to furloughs and cuts from Chicago Public Schools, some members have come out in favor of other options that wouldn't cost teachers another day of lost pay.

Cook County to Sell Off Tax Delinquent Properties to Highest Bidders

The owners of tens of thousands of homes and properties in Cook County who’ve fallen behind on their taxes have only a couple more days to settle their debts – or they could wind up paying a lot more.

New Bill Bars CPS, Cash-Strapped Districts From Opening New Charters

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

“If your district is broke, take care of the schools that you have before you open new schools. We think it’s a pretty straightforward idea,” said state Rep. Will Guzzardi, who introduced the legislation.

Rauner Pushing New Pension Alternative to Restore CPS Funding

(Chicago Tonight)

Facing an ongoing lawsuit brought by Chicago Public Schools and increasing calls to restore vetoed funding to the cash-strapped school district, Gov. Bruce Rauner is urging “swift action” to enact statewide pension reform in a new Republican-led bill.

Gary Solomon, Former SUPES CEO, Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison

Courtroom sketch from October 2015 depicts Gary Solomon, right, and Thomas Vranas, left, in federal court. (Thomas Gianni)

The former SUPES Academy chief charged in connection with the Barbara Byrd-Bennett fraud scandal was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison after pleading guilty last year.

LSC Members Call on Rauner to Restore CPS Pension Funding

(Chicago Tonight)

Local School Council members from across Chicago hand-delivered a letter to Gov. Bruce Rauner this week, urging “immediate action” from the state.

Chicago Teachers Having ‘Hard Discussion’ Before Upcoming Strike Vote

Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey (Chicago Tonight)

Chicago Teachers Union delegates are taking this month to discuss the possible May 1 strike with the union’s rank-and-file members before a vote on the action, scheduled for April 5.

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.