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Stories by Matt Masterson

Illinois Supreme Court Affirms Drew Peterson Murder Conviction

The former Bolingbrook police officer had appealed his conviction in the 2004 death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

Former Northwestern Professor Facing Arraignment in ‘Shocking’ Murder Case

(Chicago Police Department)

Wyndham Lathem and Andrew Warren each face six counts of first-degree murder in the July stabbing death of a 26-year-old man inside Lathem’s River North home.

PARCC Results Stable, Exam Likely Sticking Around

On top of announcing its 2017 PARCC results, the Illinois State Board of Education says it plans to stick with the exam that critics have called confusing and unreliable.

15 Men Seek Exoneration in Lawsuit Claiming Chicago Police Corruption

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

More than a dozen residents of the former Ida B. Wells housing project say they were framed and intimidated by a former Chicago Police Department sergeant. Now they are seeking to have their convictions overturned.

CPS Watchdog: School In Cook County Jail Falsified Attendance, Credit Rates

(Thomas Hawk / Flickr)

A new report from Chicago Public Schools’ legal watchdog states an alternative high school located within the Cook County Jail has been falsifying its enrollment and graduation numbers for years.

Illinois Education Secretary Beth Purvis Stepping Down

Just days after Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a new education funding formula into law, his handpicked education chief announced her departure.

CPS Says Record Number of Grads Earn College, Career Credentials

A week after announcing a record-high graduation rate among students last year, Chicago Public Schools said Monday that more of those students are ready for college than ever before.

Board of Education Sued Over Sexual Abuse Claims Against Former Mentor

(Chicago Tonight)

A former CPS student says he was sexually abused by the head of a district mentoring program from 1988 until 1993. “I feel like it’s time for me to tell my story,” he said.

CPS Graduation Rate Rises as Enrollment Rate Drops

Despite ongoing funding issues and declining enrollment, students at Chicago Public Schools graduated last year at the district’s highest rate on record, with more students earning a diploma than in each of the past six years.

Chance the Rapper Donating $2.2M to 20 CPS Schools

The Chicago-born recording artist said money raised through the New Chance Arts & Literature Fund will be split among nearly two dozen Chicago schools to help boost arts programming and facilities.

Feds Sign Off on Illinois’ Education Accountability Plan

Days after state legislators approved a historic education funding reform bill, Illinois has now received a green light to begin implementing another new system to keep school districts accountable.

What Will Tax Credit Scholarships Mean for Illinois?

Inside Illinois’ plan and how other states run the controversial program

What role should the state have in private school education? A look at Illinois’ plan and how other states run the controversial program.

Chicago Board of Education Backs Springfield School Funding Deal

The head of the Chicago Board of Education on Monday put his full support behind the state education funding reform deal on the table in Springfield, saying it represents a big step toward putting Chicago Public Schools on solid fiscal ground.

CPS to Recommend Controversial South Loop Conversion Plan

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

A controversial plan to convert a high-performing Near South Side elementary school into a neighborhood high school will move forward, Chicago Public Schools announced Friday.

Legislative Leaders Reach Deal on Education Funding Reform

After days of meetings and months of debate, an agreement has been reached on education funding reform in Springfield. What we know about the deal.

UNO Charters Undergo Rebranding in New School Year

(Chicago Tonight)

One of Chicago’s largest charter school networks is rebranding itself for the coming school year and rolling out new names for five of its campuses as it awaits approval for the changes from Chicago Public Schools.

Chicago Teachers to Board of Ed: Find Funding or Reject CPS’ Budget Proposal

Speakers at a CPS-led public hearing Wednesday repeatedly called on board members to vote down the district’s budget proposal, and instead advocate more strongly for sustainable funding.

Emanuel, CPS Using Student Achievement in Fight for Funding

(Chicago Tonight)

Chicago Public Schools says its English language learners have significantly trimmed the achievement gap compared to native English speaking students – a data point Mayor Rahm Emanuel and district officials want to use in their ongoing fight for adequate funding from Springfield.

CPS Officials Hope Charlottesville Can Offer Teachable Moment

In the wake of widespread protests, Chicago Public Schools officials are hoping educators can use the events of Charlottesville, Virginia, as a teaching moment when classes resume next month.

State Board to Begin Measuring Kindergarten Readiness

School districts across the state already track how prepared students are to enter high school, but beginning this fall they’ll also start measuring their development before they enter elementary school.

Federal Feedback Lists Concerns With Illinois’ Education Accountability Plan

(Chicago Tonight)

In its initial feedback on the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act proposal, the U.S. Department of Education has raised concerns over how the plan deals with graduation rates and tracks English-language learner progress.

CPS Budget Hearings: Get Dates, Times for August Meetings

Chicago Public Schools has five hearings scheduled on various aspects of its latest spending plan this month, beginning Monday with meetings on its capital budget. Get complete details.

Parent of Expelled 3-Year-Old: ‘One Day We Had Child Care, the Next We Didn’t’

New Illinois law helps protect pre-K students from expulsion

(Barnaby Wasson / Flickr)

Illinois parents faced with the expulsion of a preschool-age child are often put in a difficult situation, but a new state law seeks to end that practice and get schools thinking about alternative solutions.

CPS Counting on City, State Funding in Fiscal Year 2018 Budget

Chicago Public Schools on Friday finally issued the framework of its operating budget for the 2017-18 school year, but the source of some of its revenue remains unclear.

CPS Students Call For Fair Funding With 606 Protest

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Public school students set up dozens of desks and seats Thursday morning along the 606 trail in protest of Chicago Public Schools’ latest staffing cuts and Gov. Bruce Rauner’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1.