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Stories by Brandis Friedman

Retaining Principals a Chronic Challenge for CPS

Former CPS Principal Kathy Konopasek said her early retirement was a choice to "leave management."

It may not be quite an "exodus" of CPS principals, but more of them are leaving. Why the district is concerned it could get worse.

CPS Finds 14 Schools with High Lead in Water Samples

Parents of students at more than a dozen Chicago schools are receiving notices that testing has found elevated levels of lead in water at their children’s schools.

Reports Show Educational Gains for CPS, Despite Financial Troubles

(jeco / Flickr)

Despite darkening storm clouds that have been looming over Chicago Public Schools’ finances, two reports released this week show some rays of sunshine for student academics.

Making Music Together: A Look at Diversity in Orchestras

The Grant Park Music Festival opens in one week, making classical music accessible to anyone who's interested. But the makeup of orchestras across the country doesn't always reflect the makeup of surrounding communities.

Chicago Teachers Union Wades Into Funding Debate

The day after Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool warned that schools may not open in September, the Chicago Teachers Union weighed in, calling Claypool's leadership a failure. We hear arguments from both sides.

Keeping Up with Vaccinations a Year-Round Challenge for Some Schools

With just three weeks left in the school year, some Chicago Public Schools are finishing work that many schools try to have done at the beginning of the year: making sure all children are up to date on their shots and annual physicals.

CPS Preps for Last-Minute Funding Pitch

As parents rally for education funding outside of CPS headquarters, district officials prepare for an even bigger rally in Springfield.

Sample of CPS Principals See How Deep CPS Budget Will be Cut

As Chicago Public Schools brace for additional budget cuts, some principals find out exactly how much the current financial climate could impact their budgets for the next school year.

Black Flight: Some Chicago African-Americans Flee City’s Violence

To stay or go in the face of Chicago's violence? Many black families are choosing to go. 

Karen Alpert Delivers New Book on ‘Great Pain’ of Having Kids

Karen Alpert

A local author and blogger's hilarious take on parenting in her new book "I Want My Epidural Back."

From Vietnam to Michelin: The Journey of Chef Ryan McCaskey

Chicago chef Ryan McCaskey

In the final days of the Vietnam War, an effort to rescue thousands of babies from the country brought one of them to Chicago. Brandis Friedman shares the story of how he rose to become a Michelin-starred chef.

James Beard Awards Gala Pays Homage to Role of TV Dinner

James Beard (Dan Wynn)

Brandis Friedman takes a look at the inspiring dishes being served after next week's James Beard Awards – and how television is a main ingredient this year.

Confessions of a Mommy Blogger in New Book on ‘Mediocre Parenting’

So what if the kids have a television for a babysitter and a Big Mac for dinner—five nights in a row? They're alive. These are the hilarious confessions of Chicago mommy blogger Karen Alpert, who is out with her second book, "I Want My Epidural Back: Adventures in Mediocre Parenting."

Karen Lewis: Rauner Holding Schoolchildren ‘Hostage’

As the head of the Chicago Teachers Union warns of a strike, the district makes one last pitch to reach a contract agreement. 

Transforming the Classroom to Personalize Learning

Some schools are changing the structure of the classroom and how students are learning. Brandis Friedman visits one West Side charter school that's taking a personal approach to learning.

Cook County Court Removes Cellphone Lockers

People who took public transportation to the Cook County Court building Monday at 26th and California were surprised to find that the lockers they used to protect their phones were gone. And with a courthouse cellphone ban in effect, it left many not knowing what to do.

Chicago Teachers Picket, Rally During 1-Day Walkout

| Nick Blumberg

Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey started his day at Roosevelt High School in Albany Park. He hopes Friday’s walkout sparks action on the state budget. At Beasley Elementary in the Washington Park neighborhood, CTU President Karen Lewis rallied her troops and argued funding is exactly what the strike is about.

CPS, CTU Announce Plans for April 1 Teacher Walkout

Parents of Chicago Public Schools students still searching for alternatives to attending school this Friday will have their pick of 262 contingency sites announced today by the district. Meanwhile, the Chicago Teachers Union has released a tentative schedule of events, which includes picketing schools and rallying downtown during rush hour.

CPS Scrambles to Prepare for April 1 Teacher Walkout

Forrest Claypool

The Chicago Teachers Union says the vote for a one-day strike passed overwhelmingly. But a vocal minority still opposes it.

Report: Cook County Leads in White Youth Employment, Black Youth Joblessness

Criminal backgrounds, homelessness and lack of education and opportunity are all factors in preventing black youth between the ages of 16 and 24 from finding employment, according to a report released by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Great Cities Institute.

Report Highlights Struggles in Chicago's Segregated Communities

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great Migration, but a new report from the Chicago Urban League says many blacks still live in racially segregated and impoverished neighborhoods.

CPS Sues Former CEO, Asks Principals to Save Cash

Chicago Public Schools has filed a lawsuit against former Chief Executive Officer Barbara Byrd-Bennett. The complaint, filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court, seeks $65 million in money damages and civil penalties.

State Commission Overturns CPS Decision to Close 3 Low-Performing Charters

Forrest Claypool

Three Chicago charter schools are celebrating a victory today: a state commission has ruled they will be able to remain open, despite Chicago Public Schools' plans to close them for poor performance.

Exploring a School with No Classrooms

Screen shot from "Most Likely to Succeed"

Imagine a high school where classrooms aren't divided by subject matter, and there aren't even class periods or bells – and teachers are told to teach however they want. That's the reality for a high school in California profiled in the documentary, "Most Likely to Succeed."

CPS Teachers Among Those Laid Off in Latest Round of Cuts

CTU vice president Jesse Sharkey

Chicago Public Schools students could see their teachers on the picket lines sooner than expected, as the district announces how many employees are being laid off today.