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Stories by Matt Masterson

New U of C Website Compiles Best of 2016 Education Research

(Chicago Tonight)

The University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute wants to show school and policy leaders how evidence-based research can help improve schools and student achievement.

Chicago Recovery School to Offer Teen Addicts Chance to Get Clean, Earn Diploma

(Adam / Wikimedia Commons)

Planning is underway to open a recovery-based high school designed specifically for students dealing with substance abuse disorders in downtown Chicago next year.

CPS Expands English Language Tutoring Program

Chicago Public Schools will add 51 new schools and approximately 2,000 new students to its after school English language tutoring program.

Emanuel Calls for School Quality Over School Choice in Op-Ed

(Chicago Tonight)

Days after Rahm Emanuel and President-elect Donald Trump met in New York, The Washington Post ran an op-ed Friday penned by Chicago’s mayor in which he called on state and federal partners to focus on boosting school excellence over school choice.

Frigid Temps Force School Closures Across Chicago Area

(Chicago Tonight)

More than 170 schools in the greater Chicago area were closed or delayed their starting times Thursday due to subzero temperatures and bitter wind chills. But even as temperatures plunge below zero this week, Chicago Public School students probably shouldn’t count on any extra time off leading up to their holiday break.

UIC Offering New Course on Life of Richard J. Daley

(Courtesy of UIC’s Richard J. Daley Library)

Days away from the 40th anniversary of his death, UIC announced it will offer a new honors course next semester on Chicago and its late mayor’s role in local, national and international politics in the late 1960s.

CPS Inspector General Report Highlights ‘Misclassification Scheme’

Nicholas Schuler (Chicago Tonight)

A recount of Chicago Public School graduation rates last year found the district had initially reported inflated figures, but a new report from the district’s Office of the Inspector General suggests that process may not have gone far enough.

CPS Passes ‘Welcoming District’ Resolution to Shield Students From Discrimination

(Albert Herring / Wikimedia Commons)

The Chicago Board of Education this week unanimously approved a resolution affirming Chicago Public Schools’ status as a “welcoming district” for all students, no matter their race, gender or religion.

Parents, Teachers Blast Special Education Funding in Latest CPS Budget

CPS CEO Forrest Claypool speaks during the Chicago Board of Education meeting Wednesday. (Chicago Tonight)

Chicago Public Schools teachers and parents blasted the district's plan for special education funding in its budget for the coming year, saying it pits students against each other in a "Hunger Games"-esque struggle for school resources.

Marist Students Expelled Over Racist Texts Suing School

(Chicago Tonight)

Parents of former Marist High School seniors claim the students are being used as “scapegoats” by the school in response to growing social media pressure and criticism over the incident.

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.