Stories by Brandis Friedman

(WTTW News)

Cook County Program Helps Recovering Drug Addicts Find a New Lease on Life

Breaking the cycle of drug and alcohol addiction is a challenge made even tougher once the criminal justice system gets involved. A new program is helping those recovering find refuge in their own homes.

A sign promoting social distancing is shown inside a Chicago Public Schools building. (WTTW News)

CPS, CTU Announce Tentative Agreement to Reopen High Schools

Chicago Public Schools high school students will return to the classroom on Monday if teachers agree to the framework announced Thursday by the district and the Chicago Teachers Union.

(WTTW News)

Community Groups Offer Remote Learning Support to Families in Need

How neighbors in some Chicago communities are stepping up to help students with remote learning when their parents can’t work from home.

(WTTW News)

CPS to Bring Back Some Students for In-Person Learning As Soon As Jan. 11

Though Illinois will soon see increased restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, some Chicago Public Schools students and teachers are set to head back to the classroom. The head of CPS and Mayor Lightfoot discuss the plan.

A student wears a mask at Sacred Heart School in the city’s South Deering neighborhood. (WTTW News)

Amid COVID-19 Surge, CPS Timeline for In-Person Learning Unclear

The second quarter for Chicago Public Schools students is underway, and it’s still not clear when teachers and students could return to their physical classrooms. But in some other districts, schools have reopened.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, talks Wednesday, Oct, 29, 2020 about the coronavirus pandemic with Brandis Friedman as part of Chicago Ideas Week. (WTTW News via Chicago Ideas Week)

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Current COVID-19 Situation, Vaccine Prospects

Brandis Friedman sits down with Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to talk about where things stand now with the pandemic and where they’re headed. 

(ponce_photography / Pixabay)

Parents React to CPS Plan to Reopen Schools to Some Students Next Month

Chicago Public School parents are having mixed reactions to the district’s new plan to bring some students back into the classroom before the end of the calendar year, just as COVID-19 cases in the city begin to increase again.

(WTTW News)

CPS To Bring Back Pre-K, Some Special Education Students For In-Person Learning: Sources

Under the district’s plan, pre-K and cluster program students would return for full-day learning, five days a week beginning next quarter.

Edwin Morales, a student at Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep in Waukegan. (WTTW News)

How Students in Waukegan Juggle High School with Corporate Jobs

The pandemic has upended how we work and how our children attend school. For one school network, Cristo Rey schools, the students attend school and work. Here’s a look at their model — and how it’s changing.

(ArtisticOperations / Pixabay)

Remote Learning Begins at CPS. Will Virtual Efforts Make the Grade?

Chicago Public Schools students are now back in the classroom — virtually, that is. Students officially began remote learning Monday, but many people argue that nothing can replace time in the classroom.

(WTTW News)

Spotlight Politics: Officials Fear Judge Shortage Could Make Election Day Difficult

The Chicago Board of Elections is pleading with the public in order to find election judges for Tuesday’s primary. Our politics team takes on that story and more election news in this week’s roundtable.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

CPS Teacher’s Assistant Marks 6th Coronavirus Case in Illinois

A Chicago woman in her 50s who works at Chicago Public Schools in the city’s Portage Park neighborhood has tested positive for COVID-19. 

(WTTW News)

City Grades Itself on Implementing Court-Enforced Police Department Overhaul

In a 23-page report filed Friday, the city of Chicago highlights the steps it has taken in the last six months to make progress on implementing a court-ordered consent decree.

(WTTW News)

Cook County Jail Inmates Develop Plans for Business – and Life

If you needed to build a business, how quickly could you pull together a plan? What if you had to do it without access to the internet? These men did just that – in an atypical setting. Here’s how.

(WTTW News)

CPS: Watchdog Report Highlights Need for Standardized Test Improvements

Whether or not Chicago Public Schools students are gaming a standardized test system was the topic of debate during Wednesday’s CPS board meeting.

 Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones appears on “Chicago Tonight.” (WTTW News)

Creator of the 1619 Project Discusses the Legacy of Slavery

This year, the U.S. marks the 400th year since the Pilgrims arrived. But the year before that, a much darker period began with the sailing of the White Lion. We speak with New York Times Magazine journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones about The 1619 Project.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson speaks with WTTW News.

In ‘Keeping Hope Alive,’ Jesse Jackson Reflects on a Lifetime of Speeches, Sermons

A look back at the words of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, whose latest book has been decades in the making.

(WTTW News)

CPS Attendance Dips on Strike Make-Up Days

Only 62% to 66% of Chicago Public Schools students went to class on Jan. 2 and 3 – days that were originally scheduled to be part of winter break but later converted to attendance days following the 11-day teachers strike.

The Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73 hold a massive demonstration in the Loop on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019 -- day five of the Chicago teachers strike. (WTTW News)

Pay for Senior Teachers Still Unresolved, Months after CTU Strike Ended

Why the Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Board of Education are still at odds over the teacher’s contract.

(NeiFo / Pixabay)

As State Rethinks Isolation Rooms, Some Parents Express New Concerns

State education officials are in the process of rewriting rules for timeouts and physical restraints for students across the state. But some parents and educators say those new rules are bringing new challenges to light.

Aislinn Pulley of Black Lives Matter Chicago says the group has a number of problems with Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s appointment of an interim police superintendent. (WTTW News)

Interim Police Superintendent Pick Sounds Alarm Bells for Activists

As former Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck prepares to take over the top job at the Chicago Police Department – at least temporarily – his appointment is sparking criticism. What activists have to say.

The company of “Hamilton.” (Courtesy of Joan Marcus)

Dancing Down Memory Lane Before the Curtain Falls on ‘Hamilton’ Chicago

Just over three years ago, Chicago audiences were introduced to the smash hit musical “Hamilton.” We catch up with two original cast members of the Chicago production.

Chicago Teachers Union members hold a rally at the Lincoln Yards development on day nine of the strike, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019. (WTTW News)

Internal Document Provides Insight into CTU Bargaining

An internal Chicago Teachers Union document obtained by WTTW News shows the union would agree to a five-year contract if the mayor agrees to stop blocking the passage of an elected school board bill in Springfield and “getting back our bargaining rights.”

Chicago Teachers Strike Day 9: Negotiations at a Standstill

Despite a lot of back-and-forth, negotiations between the Chicago Teachers Union and city negotiators appear to be deadlocked. An update on day nine of the strike from CTU headquarters.

Striking Chicago Public Schools teachers carry signs on Monday, Oct. 28, 2019, day eight of the Chicago teachers strike. (WTTW News)

CPS Cancels Tuesday Classes as Sticking Points Stall Deal

The Chicago Teachers Union strike has surpassed its 2012 work stoppage in terms of missed school days. An update on negotiations from Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Teachers Union leaders.

The Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73 hold a massive demonstration in the Loop on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019 -- day five of the Chicago teachers strike. (WTTW News)

Striking CPS Teachers, Staff Take Message to City Hall

Tens of thousands of protesters rallied and marched on city streets outside City Hall on Wednesday morning as Mayor Lori Lightfoot delivered her first budget address.