From a contentious Board of Education meeting to the phasing out of a coveted magnet school in Lincoln Park/Old Town, this week and last has been a big moment for Chicago's schools system.
Board of Education Meeting gets 'Occupied'
WBEZ's education reporter Linda Lutton reported from the Chicago Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, where protesters took over, and shouted down school CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. (Click article for audio)
Security guards escorted protesters out of the board chambers. but as quickly the leader could be removed, someone else took up the chanting.
Protesters frequently cited school closing data that was first reported by WBEZ.
City proposals would have Chicago shutter its 100th school since Williams, Terrell and Dodge, the first of many schools closed over 10 years ago. WBEZ and Catalyst plotted out annual school closings and turnarounds over the last decade in Chicago.
Commission that can authorize charter schools, raise its own private funds
WBEZ West Side reporter Chip Mitchell examined the agency responsible for overseeing charter schools and the source of their funding.
The Illinois State Charter School Commission, created by a law enacted this summer, can authorize charter schools that fail to win approval of local school districts. The commission is allowed to raise private money to fund itself. The commission’s sole funding so far is a $50,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation, which supports several Illinois charter school operators and their state trade group.
What would happen if every student in Chicago got a free ride to school and back? Some parents, students and educators think that could help get more kids to school. Kate Dries reports.
Popular magnet school targeted for 'Phase Out' in Lincoln Park: Students respond, diversity questioned
LaSalle Language Academy magnet school in Old Town gets 1,500 applications a year for around 70 openings.Now, CPS wants to slowly convert the magnet to a neighborhood school that draws from the immediate area, one of the ritziest in the city. The school would take no new magnet school kindergartners in the fall, unless they already had a sibling enrolled in the school. Instead, the kindergarten would be filled with neighborhood children.
Students respond in the comments of our report:
"I think that it would be really bad if we lose our magnet status. By losing our magnet status, we lose what we stand for, which is our diversity, ability to learn a new language, and the experience to travel overseas. LaSalle has given us the opportunity to learn multiple languages and celebrate/learn multiple cultures...."
"I am currently an 8th grader at LaSalle. I have cherished the experience that I have had at this school. I will soon be going to France and Washington D.C. With my class, and that is something that many other schools don't have. If the city changes the school from magnet to neighborrhood, no one will have that experience."
"If LaSalle became a neighborhood school, it would lose many qualities that it is known for, today. Its diversity would vanish, and so would the language programs. These could possibly affect kids later in life."