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Stories by Brandis Friedman

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.

New CPS Office to Investigate, Prevent Sexual Harassment Among Students

The office will be responsible for overseeing investigations into allegations of student-on-student abuse, ensuring students involved in any allegation are paired with an advocate. 

Teacher Shortage Downstate Looks Different From Chicago Shortage

(Don Harder / Flickr)

Statewide, school districts reported more than 2,000 unfilled positions last school year, with 43 percent of those in Chicago Public Schools alone.

Ogden, Jenner Elementary Schools Prepare to Merge as School Year Ends

From neighbors to roommates: How two Chicago schools are getting ready to merge as summer break begins.

In Wake of Scandal, CPS Watchdog to Investigate Sexual Abuse Complaints

Chicago Board of Education President Frank Clark and CPS CEO Janice Jackson speak to the media Tuesday, June 12, 2018. (Chicago Tonight)

Chicago Public Schools says it’s taking a crucial step to protect students from sexual abuse by teachers and staff.

CPS Chief Responds to Scathing Investigation into Student Sexual Abuse

Chicago Public Schools says that by August it expects to have the results of a top-to-bottom review of its practices for handling cases of sexual misconduct. More from CPS CEO Janice Jackson.

Mayor Expands Early Learning, But Critics Are Skeptical

Chicago parents should have more early learning options for their 4-year-olds starting next year. 

State Board Approves Special Education Monitor, Reforms for CPS

What the state says is needed to correct violations in Chicago Public Schools’ special education program.

The Economic Costs of Segregation – And Recommendations to Address It

A new report from the Metropolitan Planning Council makes more than two dozen recommendations to reduce the economic costs of segregation.

Not-So-Secret Menu Item Lands Uptown Restaurant on James Beard Stage

How a “secret” menu item at Sun Wah BBQ landed the Chicago restaurant a prestigious James Beard America’s Classics award.

Mark Zuckerberg Grant to Help CPS Spread ‘Personalized Learning’

Chicago Public Schools gets a $14 million grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the nonprofit started by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan.

Advocates Respond to Special Education Investigation at CPS

CPS CEO Janice Jackson talks with us about school funding and investigations into special education and school cleanliness. 

With Budgets in Hand, CPS Principals Planning Ahead

“If you look at the budget that we rolled out today, there are two themes. Number one: equity, and the other one is stability for schools,” Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson said on April 17, 2018.

For the first time in recent years, CPS principals don’t have to wait until summer to start planning for their next school year.

50 Years Since the Fair Housing Act, Segregation Persists

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 promised equal access to the housing market for African-Americans. But 50 years later, some say the landmark legislation didn’t go far enough.

MLK’s Death, 50 Years Later: Revisiting the Day a Giant Fell

Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his “Mountaintop” speech on April 3, 1968.

It is a moment seared in the memories of so many Americans: the day in 1968 they learned that Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated. The Rev. Jesse Jackson was there, and he shares his memories with Chicago Tonight.