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Stories by Matt Masterson

CPS Announces Plans for New $75M Englewood High School

District will merge four existing area schools by 2019-20

(Rendering courtesy of Chicago Public Schools)

Chicago Public Schools says it's making its most significant investment in Englewood in decades, announcing plans Friday to construct a “state-of-the-art” high school that will take in students from four other area schools the district plans to shutter.

Report: Chicago-Area Public Schools Matching Downstate Counterparts

A new study finds that as school effectiveness and achievement levels rise in Chicago, the opposite is occurring downstate, where low-income enrollment is increasing.

How SB1 Would Rewrite Illinois’ Broken Education Funding Formula

The Democrat-backed bill would increase state funding to every public school district in the state. But it still faces an uncertain future as critics chide what they see as preferential treatment for Chicago Public Schools.

Chance the Rapper to Receive Humanitarian Award for CPS Work

Chance the Rapper holds a press conference on March 6, 2017 at Westcott Elementary School to announce a $1 million donation to CPS. (Chicago Tonight)

After winning three Grammys and making national headlines this year for his contributions to the Chicago Public Schools, Chicago-born Chance the Rapper is set to receive another award later this month.

Rauner Says Elected School Board Bill is ‘Political Spin’

Gov. Bruce Rauner reiterated his opposition Friday to a bill that would give Chicago an elected Board of Education, calling the measure “political spin” – a statement one of the legislation’s chief sponsors described as “ridiculous.”

Judge Orders Claypool, Staff to Testify in CTA Whistleblower Case

One week before Chicago Public Schools’ 2017-18 school year begins, district CEO Forrest Claypool and a handful of other high-ranking CPS officials will be called to testify as witnesses in a yearslong whistleblower case that dates back to their time working at the Chicago Transit Authority.

State Commission Could Lose Power to Overturn Charter School Closures

If signed by the governor, a Senate-approved bill would leave authority over charter closures with local school boards.

CPS Says Crime Down by One-Third Along Safe Passage Routes

(WBEZ / Flickr)

Using an analysis of Chicago Police Department data, the district says crime along Safe passage routes has fallen by 32 percent since the 2012-13 school year. 

Illinois House Once Again Backs Elected Chicago School Board

(Raise Your Hand Action / Twitter)

House legislation calling for an elected Chicago Board of Education has once again passed with strong bipartisan support, but the bill may still have a difficult road ahead.

Passages Charter Teachers Reach Late-Night Deal to Avert Strike

Becomes third Chicago charter network to avoid strike this school year

Following a “marathon” bargaining session Wednesday night, educators at Passages Charter School announced they have reached a tentative three-year contract agreement with school management. 

Claypool on CTU, Rauner Criticisms: ‘We’re Doing Something Right’

A day after a CTU vote revealed a widespread lack of confidence in the school district chief, Claypool defended himself before the Chicago Board of Education, comparing objections from union critics to those coming from the governor.

CTU Vote Reveals Little Confidence in CPS CEO Claypool

99 percent of union voters say they have no confidence in schools chief

After a nearly unanimous no-confidence vote in Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool, members of the Chicago Teachers Union took to City Hall Tuesday to push Mayor Rahm Emanuel to fire the school district chief.

CPS Emphasizing Science, Financial Literacy in New Grad Requirements

Chicago high schoolers already take three years of science, but a new policy concentrates that specifically on biology, chemistry and physics, requiring students to achieve one credit in each course in order to graduate.

Former Ed Secretary: ‘No Silver Bullet’ in Elected School Board Debate

(U.S. Department of Education / Flickr)

Despite ongoing calls for an elected school board, John King, the former U.S. chief of public education, said Thursday there’s “no silver bullet” management style to boost school success.

Expansion Plans at Speer Academy Charter School Stall Out

(Courtesy of Noble Network of Charter Schools)

A Chicago charter school looking to expand its building size and enrollment will have to hold off on those plans after an alderwoman refused to support the project.

New ‘GoCPS’ High School Application Site Goes Live

(Chicago Public Schools)

The districts’ common high school application website officially went live this week, less than a month after the Board of Education approved the new model.

Former Yankee Great Mariano Rivera Talks Baseball, Life With CPS Students

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

The future Hall of Fame pitcher stepped back on the mound Tuesday, offering insights and tips to players from four Chicago Public Schools baseball teams.

Middle Schoolers Get 1st Look at Professional Life at Mock Job Fair

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Students at James Madison Elementary may be a few years away from entering the workforce full time, but that isn’t stopping them from getting a leg up on the interviewing process.

CTU Running Full Staff No-Confidence Vote on CPS CEO Claypool

CPS CEO Forrest Claypool speaks to the media on April 19, 2017. (Chicago Tonight)

As the city and Chicago Public Schools scramble to find funding to keep classrooms open through the end of the school year, the Chicago Teachers Union is taking up a staff-wide referendum vote of no confidence in district CEO Forrest Claypool.

New Bill Would Curb Pre-K Expulsions in Public Schools

(Barnaby Wasson / Flickr)

How young is too young for a student to be expelled from school? A new bill going through the state Legislature would keep preschoolers from being kicked out of class.

Agassiz Elementary LSC Votes to Keep School Name

Stakeholders had raised concerns over school’s “racist” namesake

(Agassiz Elementary School / Facebook)

A Lakeview elementary school will keep its name despite a push from community members who wanted to shift away from racist undertones surrounding the school’s namesake.

CPS Expanding Parent University Program

As Chicago Public Schools works to try and improve its parent engagement, the district announced it is expanding a neighborhood-based learning program already used by thousands of families.

Rauner Says Thompson Center Sale Could Net Millions for CPS

Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin filed legislation that would direct future property tax receipts from a possible Thompson Center redevelopment to Chicago Public Schools. (Ken Lund / Flickr)

Gov. Bruce Rauner says property taxes generated from the sale of the James R. Thompson Center could top $45 million per year, and Republican-backed legislation introduced Friday would send every one of those dollars to Chicago Public Schools.

Passages Charter Teachers Vote to Strike

Nearly all of the 46 teachers, paraprofessionals and teacher assistants at the Passages Charter School in Edgewater say they are in favor of going on strike.

Illinois Weighing Down National Higher Ed Spending Numbers

Overall state and local government support for higher education across the country fell by $130 per student in 2016, the first time that figure failed to grow in four years. And one group is pointing the finger squarely at Illinois.