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Stories by Brandis Friedman

Mayor Appoints New Chicago Board of Education Member

Austan D. Goolsbee appears on “Chicago Tonight” in April 2013.

University of Chicago economics professor Austan D. Goolsbee, a former Cabinet member to former President Barack Obama, will serve as the newest member of the Chicago Board of Education.

Charter Strike Over, But Does it Signal Changing Time in Chicago?

Educators with Acero charter schools strike outside Veterans Memorial Charter School Campus on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. (Tyler LaRiviere / Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

About 500 Chicago charter school teachers and 8,000 students were back in the classroom after a historic, nearly weeklong strike came to an end Sunday.

Reflections on Turning 100 with Chicago’s Remarkable Timuel Black

Few Chicagoans can say they’ve lived through 100 years of change. But historian and civil rights activist Timuel Black can when he marks his 100th birthday on Friday.

Why Fewer Families Are Bringing Home Babies Through Adoption

Adoption advocates have spent the past month working to raise awareness about adoption as a way to grow a family. But whether they are done privately or internationally, adoptions are happening less frequently.

A New Approach to Addressing Hunger in Higher Education

City Colleges student Shabaka Verna

Food pantries are popping up in a surprising, new location: colleges and universities. How City Colleges of Chicago and the Greater Chicago Food Depository are providing for local students.

Former First Lady Comes Home to Kick Off International Book Tour

Michelle Obama discusses life in the White House at the United Center on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018 as part of her “Becoming” book tour.

Two of Chicago’s most famous women sit down for an intimate chat. What Michelle Obama told Oprah Winfrey – and 18,000 of her closest friends – to kick off her book tour.

New System Designates School Performance on Annual Illinois Report Card

Under a new component of the annual Illinois Report Card, 20 percent of schools are eligible for additional federal funding to make improvements.

Charter School Teachers Vote to Authorize Strike

Several hundred Chicago charter school teachers say they’re willing to walk off the job if they can’t reach a contract agreement with their charter operator, Acero.

Cornel West on Van Dyke Verdict, Kanye and President Trump

Cornel West in discussion with “Chicago Tonight” on Oct. 18, 2018.

He’s considered one of the country’s most visible intellectuals, noted for the way he expresses his views on racism, politics and even pop culture. A conversation with author and professor Cornel West.

Remembering Longtime Newsman Warner Saunders

Warner Saunders in an interview with John Callaway in 1980. (WTTW photo)

As Chicago mourns the loss of the Emmy Award-winning journalist, we revisit his memorable interview with John Callaway in 1980.

‘Uneventful’ First Weekend in Jail for Jason Van Dyke

Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke listens to closing arguments Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

Cook County Jail officials say the Chicago cop recently convicted of second-degree murder is being housed in a single cell and closely monitored for his safety and security.

Chicago-Area Universities Commit to Closing College Graduation Gaps

A local education nonprofit unveils an ambitious plan to get first-generation and low-income college students to graduation day.

Olympic Legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee Talks Perseverance, Women’s Sports

She won back-to-back Olympic medals in the seven-event heptathlon and still holds the world record of 7,291 points in the event. We talk sexism in women’s sports and more with Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

Van Dyke Case: Judge Bumps Up Bail Following Media Interviews

Sheriff’s deputies escort Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke from the courtroom Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, after Judge Vincent Gaughan’s ruling that ordered Van Dyke’s bail be raised only slightly for giving an interview to the Chicago Tribune and a local TV station just days before jury selection was set to begin in his murder trial. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

Former Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke will not spend more time in jail for giving interviews with local media.

New Teacher Finds Affirmation on First Day of School

Chicago Public Schools teacher Asia-Ana Williams (Chicago Tonight)

As a new school year gets underway at Chicago Public Schools, we visit a first-year teacher who has her own share of first-day jitters – and excitement for what lies ahead.

CPS Touts Increased Graduation Rate, Acknowledges Work Ahead

More Chicago Public Schools students are earning diplomas than ever before, reaching a record-high graduation rate of 78.2 percent, according to new figures from the district.

New CTU Leader Jesse Sharkey Talks CPS Issues, Teacher Contract

As he takes the helm of the Chicago Teachers Union, Jesse Sharkey discusses school cleanliness and the potential impact of Janus v. AFSCME on union membership.

Karen Lewis Pens Letter to Teachers as She Exits Top CTU Job

Karen Lewis appears on “Chicago Tonight” in March 2016.

As Chicago Public Schools teachers return to the classroom this week, many will have a new leader at the top of their union.

Researchers Evaluate New GoCPS Application Program

The high school class of 2022 will be starting ninth grade in just a few weeks. And for the first time, students at Chicago Public Schools were able to pick their high schools using a new common application called GoCPS.

Lockers for Homeless Youth Meet Critical Needs

How a simple storage system is proving to be so much more for homeless youth trying to unlock a brighter future.

Archaeological Dig at Gray-Cloud Home Attracts Neighbors, History Buffs

Archaeologists are nearing the end of a monthlong dig in the city’s Old Irving Park neighborhood. What they’re looking for – and what they’ve turned up.

Local School Councils: What They Do, What Challenges They Face

Chicago Public Schools implemented local school councils almost 30 years ago with hundreds of thousands of participants. Times have changed.

Critics Say CPS Budget Promotes Inequality Across District

Some are questioning the way Chicago Public Schools is spending its biggest budget in the last five years.

Chicago’s Minimum Wage is Rising, But is it Enough to Live On?

(hanmoohyun / Pixabay)

Despite an increase this week to the city’s minimum wage, many Chicagoans still aren’t earning what some researchers call a “living wage.”

State Names Independent Monitor to Oversee CPS Special Education

Laura Boedeker (Courtesy of Illinois State Board of Education)

Parents of Chicago’s special education students say they have concerns about the state's choice of an independent monitor to oversee the district's special education program.