Stories by Rhyan Zuercher

Changing the Status Quo: Public School Reform

Public schools nationally are at a crossroads, according to Joel Klein. After serving as chancellor of the New York City Department of Education for eight years, Klein took on unions, politicians, and the status quo to improve public education and give students and parents more choice. He joins us.

The School Project: Restoring Justice

The School Project is a Chicago-based documentary series that is tracking the past and present status of the city's public school system. The third segment explores school disciplinary policies and the effects they have on students, the community, and society as a whole.

"Believer: My Forty Years in Politics"

David Axelrod has had a long and storied career as a political consultant. His new memoir, Believer: My Forty Years in Politics covers not just his time working for President Obama in the White House, but also delves into his personal struggle in dealing with his father's death, his early career, and family life. Axelrod joins us to discuss his work and political musings.

Election Analysis

The people have spoken as incumbent candidate Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Commissioner Jesús "Chuy" García will face off again April 7 in a runoff vote.

2015 Academy Awards

The 87th Academy Awards are on Sunday and there is substantial buzz over who will win Best Picture. From the innovative film Birdman starring Michael Keaton to Richard Linklater's work Boyhood that spanned 12 years, the competition is stiff. Who made the cut and who got snubbed? Chicago film critics Jeanne Kaplan and Ray Pride join us to discuss the year's best films.

Jackie Robinson West Title Stripped

The South Side Little League team that won the U.S. Championship and was the toast of the town this summer is stripped of its title. We have analysis.

South Pole Discovery

It has been thought that almost nothing can survive in the watery depths near the South Pole. But a group of researchers sent a robot armed with a camera a half-mile below Antarctic ice and discovered an entire ecosystem. It is the farthest south that fish have ever been found. 

Grad Student Uncovers Lost Eastland Disaster Footage

The Eastland Disaster of 1915 marks the capsizing of the SS Eastland on the Chicago River that claimed at least 844 lives. It is considered one of the greatest loss-of-life tragedies in Chicago history.

"The Opposite of Spoiled"

How do you teach your children to be smart about money? New York Times personal finance columnist Ron Lieber seeks to answer that question in his new book, The Opposite of Spoiled. He joins us to discuss how to instill values and the value of the dollar in a younger generation.

Adjuncts and Tenure

Two main tracks exist for professors in the academic world: tenured and non-tenured faculty. Across the nation, some non-tenured, adjunct faculty members are asking for higher wages, benefits and a more equal system. Can these two levels of professorship continue to exist? Is one becoming more predominant than the other? And what is the effect on the cost and quality of education? We discuss these questions and more with our panel.

Discussing Drones

| Kristen Thometz

Drones have been a hot topic in the media nationwide with the FAA working to catch up with the technology and a drone landing on White House property this week. What are the current regulations in Chicago and Illinois? We discuss drones with our panel.

Get In Chicago: Progress Report

| Travis Cornejo

We check in with the leaders of Get In Chicago, a violence prevention group started by the city in response to the national attention paid to Chicago's gun violence.

Chicago's School Closings

Documentary film series, The School Project, releases its second installment focusing on the 50 schools closings conducted by CPS in May 2013. The episode centers around a Chicago family as they navigate the process and what the largest school closing in American history means for education policy in the city.

Race for Representing the 11th Ward

| Evan Garcia

As aldermanic races heat up across the city, the 11th Ward stands out as another Daley makes a go at public office in City Council. We sit down with candidates John Kozlar, Maureen Sullivan and Patrick Daley Thompson to discuss ward issues and City Council politics.

Mayoral Candidate William "Dock" Walls

The mayoral race is in full swing. We sit down with candidate William "Dock" Walls, a former aide to the late mayor Harold Washington, regarding his campaign and how his strategy differs from previous runs for office.

New Head Coach for Bears?

| Kristen Thometz

John Fox, former head coach for the Denver Broncos, was interviewed at Halas Hall Wednesday as the Chicago Bears search for a new head coach. Fox boasts an impressive record and could be what the Bears and quarterback Jay Cutler need to get in gear for the fast-approaching league year.

The Philosophy of Finance

Jeremy Josse has worked in the financial services sector for more than 20 years and has always looked to explore the philosophical paradoxes within the industry. In his new book, Josse examines financial conundrums and economic concepts we accept at face value in a series of philosophical case studies.

New Governor, New Illinois?

| Kristen Thometz

It's official. Bruce Rauner is the 42nd Governor of Illinois. What will be his first steps as governor and how will he begin to rein in the crippling debt the state has become known for? We discuss this and more with our panel.

The Great Pension Debate

| Kristen Thometz

Illinois still has one of the worst funded pension systems in the nation. But reform efforts seem to be at a standstill until the Illinois Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of a pension bill passed last year. The court is scheduled to hear arguments in March.

Obama Library Plot Thickens

Obama Library proposals from The University of Illinois at Chicago and The University of Chicago are getting added help from the mayor's office to ensure the library stays in the Midwest as The U of C finally releases proposal specifics. Hearings are set for next week to aid The U of C in securing city park land for the proposed Jackson Park and Washington Park locations. Some fear the hearings will serve to push through rushed legislation for a land grab.

Mike Leonard is Back

Mike Leonard enjoyed a 32-year career as the features correspondent for the TODAY show. His work focused on the stories of everyday people told with "incredible heart," as Matt Lauer once put it. Now, Leonard is working on a new series called inCommon. We discuss the project and what we can expect in the pilot episode.

Modern Chicago with Blair Kamin

Chicago Tribune's award-winning architecture critic Blair Kamin stops by to discuss Maggie Daley Park and future plans for the city.

Congressman Quigley on Congressional Priorities

Congressman Mike Quigley stops by to talk congressional priorities and the tone that was set by the spending bill passed over the weekend.

Catholic Crisis

More Chicagoans than ever are leaving the church. Why is this and can the new archbishop help turn around the trend?

Winter Gardening Tips

Tis the Season

The holiday season is upon us which means a rundown of winter planting and festive decor with Eliza Fournier from the Chicago Botanic Garden.