WBEZ | News http://www.wbez.org/news Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en White Sox icon Minnie Minoso dies http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/white-sox-icon-minnie-minoso-dies-111639 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Minnie Minoso 1955 AP crop site_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Minnie Minoso, the seemingly ageless Cuban slugger who broke into the majors just two years after Jackie Robinson and turned into the game&#39;s first black Latino star, has died, a medical examiner in Illinois said Sunday.</p><p>The Cook County medical examiner&#39;s office did not immediately offer further details. There is some question about Minoso&#39;s age but the Chicago White Sox say he was 90.</p><p>Minoso played 12 of his 17 seasons in Chicago, hitting .304 with 135 homers and 808 RBIs for the White Sox. The White Sox retired his No. 9 in 1983 and there is a statue of Minoso at U.S. Cellular Field.</p><blockquote><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/minnie-minosos-first-game-106394"><strong>Hear Minoso tell the story of his first game in Comiskey</strong></a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/white-sox-icon-minnie-minoso-dies-111639#obama"><strong>Obama: Minoso will always be &#39;Mr. White Sox&#39;</strong></a></p></blockquote><p>&quot;We have lost our dear friend and a great man,&quot; White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said in a release. &quot;Many tears are falling.&quot;</p><p>Minoso made his major league debut with Cleveland in 1949 and was dealt to the White Sox in a three-team trade two years later. He became major league baseball&#39;s first black player in Chicago on May 1, 1951, and homered in his first plate appearance against Yankees right-hander Vic Raschi.</p><p>It was the start of a beautiful relationship between the slugger and the White Sox.</p><p>Minoso, regarded as baseball&#39;s first black Latino star, was a Havana native who spent most of his career in left field. He is one of only two players to appear in a major league game in five different decades. He got his final hit in 1976 at age 53 and went 0 for 2 in two games in 1980 for the White Sox, who tried unsuccessfully over the years to get the &quot;Cuban Comet&quot; into baseball&#39;s Hall of Fame.</p><p>&quot;When I watched Minnie Minoso play, I always thought I was looking at a Hall of Fame player,&quot; Reinsdorf said in an informational package produced by the team for a 2011 Cooperstown push. &quot;I never understood why Minnie wasn&#39;t elected.</p><p>&quot;He did everything. He could run, he could field, he could hit with power, he could bunt and steal bases. He was one of the most exciting players I have ever seen.&quot;</p><p>Saturnino Orestes Armas Minoso Arrieta was selected for nine All-Star games and won three Gold Gloves in left. He was hit by a pitch 192 times, ninth on baseball&#39;s career list, and finished in the top four in AL MVP voting four times.</p><p>Despite the push by the White Sox and other prominent Latin players, Minoso has never made it to Cooperstown. His highest percentage during his 15 years on the writers&#39; ballot was 21.1 in 1988. He was considered by the Veterans Committee in 2014 and fell short of the required percentage for induction.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/180618007&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&quot;My last dream is to be in Cooperstown, to be with those guys,&quot; Minoso said in that 2011 package distributed by the White Sox. &quot;I want to be there. This is my life&#39;s dream.&quot;</p><p>Minoso, who made his major league debut with Cleveland in 1949, hit .298 for his career with 186 homers and 1,023 RBIs. The speedy Minoso also led the AL in triples and steals three times in each category.</p><p>Playing in an era dominated by the Yankees, Minoso never played in the postseason.</p><p>&quot;Every young player in Cuba wanted to be like Minnie Minoso, and I was one of them,&quot; Hall of Fame slugger Tony Perez said. &quot;The way he played the game, hard all the time, hard. He was very consistent playing the game. He tried to win every game. And if you want to be like somebody, and I picked Minnie, you have to be consistent.&quot;</p><p>Minoso appeared in just nine games in his first stint with the Indians, but he took off when he was dealt to Chicago as part of a three-team trade in 1951 that also involved the Philadelphia Athletics. He went deep in his first plate appearance against Yankees right-hander Raschi, and hit .375 in his first 45 games with the White Sox.</p><p>Minoso finished that first season in Chicago with a .326 batting average, 10 homers and 76 RBIs in 146 games for the Indians and White Sox. He also had a major league-best 14 triples and an AL-best 31 steals.</p><p>It was Minoso&#39;s first of eight seasons with at least a .300 batting average. He also had four seasons with at least 100 RBIs.</p><p>&quot;I have baseball in my blood,&quot; Minoso said. &quot;Baseball is all I&#39;ve ever wanted to do.&quot;</p><p>President Barack Obama released the following statement on Sunday:<a name="obama"></a></p><blockquote><p>For South Siders and Sox fans all across the country, including me, Minnie Minoso is and will always be &ldquo;Mr. White Sox.&rdquo;</p><p>The first black Major Leaguer in Chicago, Minnie came to the United States from Cuba even though he could have made more money elsewhere.&nbsp; He came up through the Negro Leagues, and didn&rsquo;t speak much English at first.&nbsp; And as he helped to integrate baseball in the 1950s, he was a target of racial slurs from fans and opponents, sometimes forced to stay in different motels from his teammates.&nbsp; But his speed, his power &ndash; and his resilient optimism &ndash; earned him multiple All-Star appearances and Gold Gloves in left field, and he became one of the most dominant and dynamic players of the 1950s.</p><p>Minnie may have been passed over by the Baseball Hall of Fame during his lifetime, but for me and for generations of black and Latino young people, Minnie&rsquo;s quintessentially American story embodies far more than a plaque ever could.</p><p>Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to his family and fans in Chicago, Cleveland, and around the world.</p></blockquote><p>More from the WBEZ archives about baseball legend Minnie Minoso</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/85470411&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Sun, 01 Mar 2015 12:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/white-sox-icon-minnie-minoso-dies-111639 Concerns raised over interrogation tactics aren't unique to Homan Square http://www.wbez.org/news/concerns-raised-over-interrogation-tactics-arent-unique-homan-square-111635 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Chicago Police_Flickr_Isador Ruyter Harcourt.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A few years ago, Maurice Harris got in a car accident on the city&#39;s West Side. He said an &ldquo;unruly mob&rdquo; started to gather so he moved his car halfway up the street.</p><p>He said a police officer came up quickly and started questioning him. Harris offered his drivers license and insurance.</p><p>&ldquo;After that he asked me to step out of the car. He handcuffed me. I&rsquo;m like &lsquo;Officer, what&rsquo;s going on?&rsquo; He gave me no answer,&rdquo; Harris said.</p><p>The police took Harris to a hospital for a blood alcohol test. Then he was taken to a nearby police station.</p><p>&ldquo;I continue to ask him, &lsquo;Officer, am I being charged with anything. What&rsquo;s going on? Let me know something.&rsquo; He did nothing but laugh. I didn&rsquo;t ask for a lawyer then because I didn&rsquo;t know to ask for a lawyer,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Harris estimated he was in a West Side station for four hours and wasn&rsquo;t read his Miranda rights. He was handcuffed to his seat during interrogation and was eventually charged with fleeing the scene of an accident.</p><p>&ldquo;I would say it&rsquo;s the norm,&rdquo; said Cliff Nellis, the lead attorney at Lawndale Christian Legal Center.</p><p>CPD tactics have been scrutinized this week as its Homan Square facility on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/26/police-black-site-chicago-washington-politicians-human-rights">drew national attention</a> (Harris was held at a different facility). While lawyers have raised concerns about illegal interrogation tactics there, many say the problems run across the Chicago Police Department.</p><p>Nellis has provided legal aid to Harris and others. In one case, Nellis said police were transferring a minor from one station to another. The boy&#39;s parents were following the squad car.</p><p>&ldquo;[The police] turned their lights on, blew a red light and bolted and ditched them. So that (allegedly) they could take him back to the crime scene and then interrogate him there, interrogate this 15-year-old there,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Nellis said people taken in by Chicago cops aren&#39;t always read their Miranda rights, namely a right to remain silent and a right to an attorney during questioning.</p><p>&ldquo;They don&rsquo;t want people to be exercising their rights, particularly our young people on the West Side of Chicago while they&rsquo;re in police custody. They don&rsquo;t want attorneys present. They make it abundantly clear,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Nellis said he&rsquo;s had good experiences with police that follow procedure exactly. But he&rsquo;s also had officers yell at him saying they&rsquo;ll let him know if, and when, he can talk to someone in police custody. He and other attorneys agree people are too often mistreated and illegally detained under Chicago police custody.</p><p>In fact, the city paid more than $16 million to settle a 2004 class action lawsuit that claimed people were deprived of adequate sleeping conditions and detained more than 48 hours before receiving a judicial hearing. Separate from those claims, the city settled lawsuits alleging torture from the 1980&rsquo;s under Police Commander Jon Burge.</p><p>A CPD officer spoke to WBEZ under the condition of anonymity. He has worked at the Homan Square facility and said police make sure arrestees know their rights.</p><p>But the officer also admits police might use long stretches of time to sweat a person.</p><p>&ldquo;Law enforcement has the legal right to hold an individual up to 24 hours without charging. At the 24 hour mark you either need to charge the person or release them,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>He also said officers don&rsquo;t want to risk not reading Miranda rights because that could invalidate the case in court.</p><p>Attorney Eliza Solowiej with First Defense Legal Aid said it&rsquo;s true police could hold a person who chooses to remain silent. But if the person doesn&rsquo;t fully understand their rights, they might talk without an attorney.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s reasonable to think that people would hedge their bets and think &lsquo;I better advocate for myself, let me explain why it wasn&rsquo;t me and why I was there on the scene.&rsquo; Well, that&rsquo;s the exact evidence police need to charge you with the crime,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Solowiej said in 2013 police records show only 0.2 percent of people arrested were visited by defense attorneys.</p><p>CPD officials could not confirm this number, nor were they available to comment on this story.</p><p>Solowiej said arrestees should be allowed a phone call early on, rather than before lock up. She says that&#39;s often the first time it&rsquo;s even mentioned.</p><p>She said there&rsquo;s been talk from CPD about posting information about legal aid at police stations for people who are arrested.</p><p>CPD this week released a statement in regards to Homan Square saying the department abides by all laws related to interviews of suspects or witnesses at all facilities.</p><p>&ldquo;There are no issues of access to counsel and making phone calls out of Homan Square or anywhere. I take that to be true at the moment of their release. And I&rsquo;ll hold them to that,&rdquo; Solowiej said.</p><p>Solowiej said the records will show if that does not hold true, and there will have to be accountability.</p><p>Still, Maurice Harris, who has had an number of run-ins with police, said that&#39;s not enough. He now works with youth at the Lawndale Christian Legal Center. He&rsquo;s even seen police incidents with the students he mentors.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m a law abiding citizen. I stand for justice and laws that are put in place. But when those police powers are abused, I do not agree with it at all. And every day police are abusing their powers. That is the norm,&rdquo; Harris said.</p><p>And he said people in the community are starting to accept that this is how it will be.</p><p><em>Susie An is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her @soosieon.</em></p></p> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 10:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/concerns-raised-over-interrogation-tactics-arent-unique-homan-square-111635 Chicago Police's so-called 'black site' mischaracterized http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-polices-so-called-black-site-mischaracterized-111629 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/daley-homan-square.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Lawyers and local crime reporters say <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/24/chicago-police-detain-americans-black-site" target="_blank"> a widely-shared article from <em>The Guardian</em></a> mischaracterized&nbsp;a Chicago Police Department facility called Homan Square as the equivalent of a CIA &quot;black site.&quot;</p><p>Black sites house detainees who undergo interrogation in highly secretive prisons. But the non-descript Homan Square building on the city&rsquo;s West Side is not exactly off-the-books.</p><p>In the past few years WBEZ reporters and other journalists have been to the facility for tours and interviews as well as press conferences.</p><p>The <em>Chicago Sun-Times</em>&rsquo; Frank Main says reporters on the police beat know Homan Square. He&rsquo;s visited 20 or 30 times during his career. He said the massive building located at 1011 S. Homan was once a Sears Roebuck warehouse.</p><p>&ldquo;The reasons I&rsquo;ve been there is going for essentially &lsquo;show and tells&rsquo; where the police will show huge amounts of drugs that they&rsquo;ve seized in various cases. And in those situations you&rsquo;ll have lots of media; television cameras, radio,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Main said Homan Square is a secured site. Visitors need to show ID and give a reason for their visit.<br /><br />&ldquo;There&rsquo;s some sensitive police bureaus there,&quot; he said. &quot;For example, there&rsquo;s the organized crime bureau which runs gang investigations and drug investigations. And a lot of people in those units are undercover.&rdquo;</p><p>The Chicago Police Department says advertising the location would put their lives at risk. A spokesman says gang members have been known to stake out the place to catch glimpses of undercover cops, a reason why some people might be denied access. But the building also has a public entrance where people can pick up stolen property and items inventoried in crimes.</p><p>If people know about this place and the media is invited for press conferences, can it be characterized as a &ldquo;black site&rdquo;?</p><p>&ldquo;No, it wasn&rsquo;t a mischaracterization,&rdquo; said <em>Guardian </em>reporter Spencer Ackerman of <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/24/chicago-police-detain-americans-black-site">his story&rsquo;s headline describing Homan Square</a> as such. &ldquo;You can find certain black sites in Romania and Poland that are out in the open. It&rsquo;s not the visibility of the facility, it&rsquo;s what goes on in the facility that makes it secretive.&rdquo;</p><p>Ackerman reports arrestees are kept out of official booking databases and attorneys are denied access. He also notes a detainee at Homan Square who endured a beating, another a prolonged shackling and one who even died.</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s what makes it, or as [lawyers] characterize, that&rsquo;s what makes it analogous to a black site,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>A CPD statement stands by the department&rsquo;s claim to always record arrests, and that&rsquo;s no different at Homan Square.</p><p>A few lawyers contacted for this story said clients, unfortunately, are sometimes held without being booked and attorneys are delayed in getting to clients, but that could happen anywhere in Chicago.</p><p>Flint Taylor, an attorney with the People&rsquo;s Law Office, was quoted in <em>The</em> <em>Guardian</em> story. He praised the article for highlighting the lack of police transparency, and said it&rsquo;s concerning that such things would happen in a centralized location. However, Taylor said he might&rsquo;ve used different analogies to describe Homan Square. In the end, he said he&#39;ll leave it to the reporter to do the characterization.</p><p>Craig Futterman, a clinical professor of law at the University of Chicago, said prisoners are held without being entered into the system all over the city, not just Homan Square.</p><p>Futterman says it&rsquo;s an exaggeration to call it a &quot;black site.&quot;</p><p>&ldquo;If there&rsquo;s a risk, I think it&rsquo;s elevating this facility,&rdquo; Futterman said. &ldquo;And making it look like there&rsquo;s a problem in one particular station, as opposed to there&rsquo;s a broader systemic problem to people who are very vulnerable who are denied their basic fundamental constitutional right.&rdquo;</p><p>If similar complaints happen at other police facilities, these practices aren&rsquo;t unique to Homan Square. Ackerman said these practices happening at other places around Chicago is disturbing. But would those facilities also be considered black sites?</p><p>&ldquo;If it&rsquo;s not what goes on in Homan Square that you&rsquo;re disputing, the characterization I leave to people then to look at for themselves once they aggressively investigate the facts of what&rsquo;s going on here,&rdquo; Ackerman said.</p><p>Meanwhile, Futterman said policing practices everywhere in Chicago need to be reviewed.</p><p><em>Susie An is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/soosieon">@soosieon</a></em></p></p> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 10:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-polices-so-called-black-site-mischaracterized-111629 The FCC's Net Neutrality vote: Here's what you need to know http://www.wbez.org/news/fccs-net-neutrality-vote-heres-what-you-need-know-111627 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ap409790524380_custom-6eb32bf55f0f5f0d01d82957ef85080a5bb1c2e1-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Later this morning, the Federal Communications Commission will take a vote on adopting new rules that would keep the Internet neutral.</p><p>Here&#39;s a guide to what all of this means.</p><p><strong>&mdash; What does net neutrality mean?</strong></p><p>Here&#39;s the Cliffs Notes version from NPR&#39;s Elise Hu:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Net neutrality is the concept that your Internet provider should be a neutral gateway to everything on the Internet, not a gatekeeper deciding to load some sites slower than others or impose fees for faster service.&quot;</p></blockquote><p>In other words, it&#39;s a concept in which Internet service providers (ISPs) don&#39;t discriminate when it comes to Internet traffic.</p><p>Without net neutrality rules, ISPs could theoretically take money from companies like Netflix or Amazon to speed up traffic to their sites.</p><p>NPR&#39;s Laura Sydell&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2014/01/15/262641067/court-fcc-cant-enforce-net-neutrality">explained one hypothetical like this</a>:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;More than 30 percent of Internet traffic at peak times comes from Netflix, according to studies. So Verizon might say, &#39;Netflix, you need to pay us more.&#39; Or maybe Verizon strikes a deal with Amazon and says your prime video service can get speedier delivery to the home and we&#39;re going to slow down Netflix.&quot;</p></blockquote><p><strong>&mdash; What is the FCC voting on?</strong></p><p>The Federal Communications Commission is voting on whether to reclassify broadband access as a &quot;telecommunications service under Title II.&quot;</p><p>In layman&#39;s terms, the FCC is looking to reclassify broadband as a utility, which would give the commission more regulatory power over Internet providers.</p><p><strong>&mdash; What prompted this FCC vote?</strong></p><p>Back in 2010, the FCC actually passed rules to keep the Internet neutral. But those rules were challenged by Verizon and in January of 2014,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2014/01/15/262641067/court-fcc-cant-enforce-net-neutrality">the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the FCC did not have the regulatory power over broadband to issue those rules</a>.</p><p>The court, however, said that the FCC could reclassify broadband and that would give it broad regulatory powers.</p><p>FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler decided&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/02/04/383782683/fcc-proposal-would-classify-internet-as-a-public-utility">to go that direction in February</a>.</p><p>Earlier this week, Republicans in Congress&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/25/technology/path-clears-for-net-neutrality-ahead-of-fcc-vote.html?_r=0">dropped opposition to the proposed rules</a>, saying they were not going to pass a bill without any Democratic support.</p><p><strong>&mdash; What would the proposed rules do?</strong></p><p>The proposed rules are pretty lengthy, but&nbsp;<a href="http://media.npr.org/documents/2015/feb/fcc-wheeler-openinternet.pdf">from an FCC fact sheet</a>, here are the three things that the rules would ban that matter most to consumers:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;<strong>No Blocking:</strong>&nbsp;broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.</p><p>&quot;<strong>No Throttling</strong>: broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.</p><p>&quot;<strong>No Paid Prioritization</strong>: broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration &mdash; in other words, no &#39;fast lanes.&#39; This rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates.&quot;</p></blockquote><p><strong>&mdash; What does John Oliver have to do with all this?</strong></p><p>The comedian John Oliver brought this issue to the forefront when he dedicated 14 minutes on his program to explain why net neutrality is so important.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fpbOEoRrHyU" width="560"></iframe></p><p>He called on his viewers to write to the FCC to encourage them to adopt new rules. His call &mdash; and the enormous response &mdash;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/03/john-oliver-broke-the-fcc-website_n_5439694.html">broke the commission&#39;s website</a>.</p><p>A bunch of big Internet sites &mdash; Netflix, Etsy and Foursquare among them &mdash; joined the chorus in September when they took part in &quot;Internet Slowdown Day,&quot;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2014/09/10/347157134/your-favorite-sites-will-slow-down-today-for-a-cause">presenting their users with symbolic loading icons</a>&nbsp;&quot;to remind everyone what an Internet without net neutrality would look like.&quot;</p><p><strong>&mdash; When is the FCC voting?</strong></p><p>The FCC is voting during an open meeting at 10:30 a.m. ET. The commission is<a href="http://www.fcc.gov/live">providing a live stream of its meeting here</a>.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/02/26/389089145/the-fccs-net-neutrality-vote-heres-what-you-need-to-know">http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/02/26/389089145/the-fccs-net-neutrality-vote-heres-what-you-need-to-know</a>-via NPR News</em></p></p> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 08:03:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/fccs-net-neutrality-vote-heres-what-you-need-know-111627 Standoff over new state school test continues http://www.wbez.org/news/standoff-over-new-state-school-test-continues-111626 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/IMG_5715.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>All Illinois school children are supposed to take a new state test just a few days from now, but those enrolled in the state&rsquo;s largest school district remain caught in a political standoff.</p><p>The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, is replacing the old ISAT statewide exam. But public backlash against the new test and its corresponding standards &ndash; called the Common Core &ndash; has gotten louder than ever.</p><p>Chicago Public Schools is defying a state mandate that all schoolkids be tested. The district has declared that only 10 percent of city public schools will give the new test.</p><p>The Illinois State Board of Education has told CPS it must give PARCC to all student in third through eighth grades and all eleventh graders or it&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20150130/BLOGS02/150139992/standoff-escalates-over-cps-snub-of-federal-testing-rules">will lose millions in state and federal money</a>.</p><p>&quot;CPS risks anywhere from $400 million to $1.4 billion by not administering this test,&quot; said Illinois State Board of Education spokeswoman Mary Fergus. She noted the state could decide to&nbsp;remove CPS&#39;s recognition status, which could mean a loss of state aid.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">A Chicago campaign gimmick?</span></p><p>The state&rsquo;s strong response to Chicago&#39;s resistance left some wondering if the whole thing was a campaign gimmick to win votes from parents who oppose standardized testing.</p><p>Jennifer Biggs, a member of the parent group Raise Your Hand, said now that the election is over, she expected CPS to quickly take a more clear stand on the issue.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;I really thought today there was going to be a solid PARCC decision announcement,&rdquo; she said at Wednesday&rsquo;s Board of Education meeting.</p><p>Boxes full of test materials <a href="http://catalyst-chicago.org/2015/02/parcc-tests-begin-to-arrive-at-schools/">have been delivered to schools across the city</a> in the last week and Biggs said teachers are frantic.</p><p>&ldquo;They are being told to move forward as if everyone is going to be tested,&rdquo; Biggs said. &ldquo;I am here to ask you to please tell us what is going on. Make a statement please.&rdquo;</p><p>But no statement came.</p><p>At the end of the meeting, Board president David Vitale quietly reiterated that the district&rsquo;s stance has not changed&mdash;only ten percent of schools will take the new test&mdash;but he said they&rsquo;re still talking with the state. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re caught between a rock and a hard place and we&rsquo;re trying to find a way out,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>At a hearing in Springfield, CPS Chief of Accountability John Barker testified to the same effect.</p><p>&ldquo;We do have serious reservations about a full implementation this spring,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;And so, we plan to do an expanded pilot of PARCC, administering it to 10 percent of schools, rather than opting to fully implement this year.&rdquo;</p><p>Barker said the district believes Common Core and the PARCC exam are the right move for the state, but CPS is just not ready.</p><p>Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey disagrees.</p><p>&ldquo;The PARCC is the wrong thing to do,&rdquo; Sharkey said. &ldquo;We shouldn&rsquo;t give this test. It&rsquo;s longer than the bar exam, for God&rsquo;s sakes. It&rsquo;s longer than the MCATs. It&rsquo;s longer than the exam you need to go to medical school. What are we doing? We&rsquo;re over-testing kids. It&rsquo;s gone too far.&rdquo;</p><p>The state board says districts should not administer the 9-hour test in one day. They recommend giving it to students over several days.</p><p>They&rsquo;ve also been encouraging parents and even reporters like me to try some sample questions. I took a handful of <a href="http://parcc.pearson.com/practice-tests/">sample questions</a> from the 5<sup>th</sup> grade math portion of PARCC. One question took me 20 minutes, another took just two.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Not just Chicago</span></p><p>The new test is part of a years-long effort to adopt more uniform standards across the country. Illinois and dozens of other states signed on to PARCC and the Common Core. Several have since backed out, including nearby Indiana.</p><p>The groundswell of opposition comes from all different directions. &nbsp;Some worry that because it&rsquo;s a more rigorous test, schools could end up with lower scores. Others have a problem with a national exam that takes away local control. And many, including the CTU, argue students are way over-tested.</p><p>Suburban parents gathered downtown Thursday to express their own concerns with the test. They want state lawmakers to approve an opt-out bill (<a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&amp;SessionId=88&amp;GA=99&amp;DocTypeId=HB&amp;DocNum=306&amp;GAID=13&amp;LegID=84067&amp;SpecSess=&amp;Session=">HB306</a>) that would give parents the right to refuse to have their children tested. As it stands now, by law, the only way to refuse the test is for students to verbally state they won&#39;t take it.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;They need to say to their teacher, every single time that test is presented, &#39;No&#39;,&quot; said Nicole Keough, a parent of twins in 3rd grade in Palos School District 118.&nbsp;</p><p>It can be a difficult thing for students to do, said Gina Mathews, parent of a 4th&nbsp;grader and a 7th&nbsp;grader at District 36 in Winnetka. She said parents and families are circulating a list of students who plan to &quot;opt-out&quot; so children can know their friends are also refusing the test.&nbsp;</p><p>But one mother, Violeta Gerue, said it&#39;s imperative Illinois lawmakers pass a bill that gives her, as a parent and taxpayer, the ability to speak for her children. Both have autism.</p><p>&quot;I think it is very difficult for children who can speak to do this, and it is impossible for kids who are nonverbal, who have no ability to say it,&quot; Gerue said.</p><p>Fergus said any parent who does not want their child tested should discuss it with local administrators. She said districts are able to implement local policies for handling those situations, but she said, any school that does not test at least 95 percent of its students is in jeopardy of losing state and federal money. That&#39;s the situation CPS is in.</p><p>Fergus also noted that the new test is low-stakes this year.</p><p>&quot;This is just the baseline year,&quot; she said.&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 17:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/standoff-over-new-state-school-test-continues-111626 Photos from Election Night in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/photos-election-night-chicago-111619 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/chuyfan3_ag.jpg" alt="" /><p></p> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 18:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/photos-election-night-chicago-111619 Chicago campaign finance tracker http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-campaign-finance-tracker-111618 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/money_flickr_401k 2012.PNG" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://wbez.org/campaigncash">Explore the cash spent on Chicago&#39;s municipal campaigns.</a></p></p> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 18:03:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-campaign-finance-tracker-111618 Election officials report light voter turnout in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/election-officials-report-light-voter-turnout-chicago-111617 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ballot receipt_me_1.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Election officials in Chicago say they expect turnout in the city&#39;s municipal election to fall well below 2011 levels, when the mayor&#39;s race was wide open.</p><p>Four years ago, about 42 percent of eligible Chicago voters cast ballots. Mayor Richard Daley had retired after more than two decades in office. In municipal contests before 2007, the turnout hovered around 33 percent.</p><p>Chicago Board of Election Commissioners spokesman Jim Allen says turnout reports are citywide, including wards where there are uncontested races. He says there could be an evening rush.</p><p>The cold and wind might be keeping some away. The temperature was 8 degrees with a wind chill of 8 below when polls opened.</p><p>Election officials say the anticipated lower turnout follows higher early voting numbers than in previous years.</p></p> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 17:53:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/election-officials-report-light-voter-turnout-chicago-111617 Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel forced into April runoff election http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-mayor-rahm-emanuel-forced-april-runoff-election-111616 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" andrew="" class="image-original_image" garcia.="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rahmface_ag.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks to supporters after finding out he faces a runoff with Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia. (WBEZ/Andrew Gill)" wbez="" /></div></div><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel failed to capture a majority of the vote Tuesday in his bid for a second term, an embarrassment for the former White House chief of staff who now faces a runoff this spring against Cook County Commissioner Jesus &quot;Chuy&quot; Garcia.</p><p>The result exposed possible vulnerability for an incumbent who has widespread support from business leaders, national name recognition and raised millions of dollars in campaign funds. He participated in half a dozen debates and forums and received a last-minute boost from President Barack Obama.</p><p>Still, he wasn&#39;t able to capture the more than 50 percent necessary to avoid an April 7 runoff against Garcia, a former alderman and state senator, who finished far below Emanuel&#39;s vote total but far above the other three challengers.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" an="" andrew="" april="" class="image-original_image" election="" emanuel="" face="" garcia="" in="" ll="" mayor="" mean="" rahm="" rallies="" response="" results="" runoff.="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chuyspeech_ag.jpg" style="height: 434px; width: 620px;" supporters="" that="" the="" title="Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia rallies supporters in response to the election results that mean he'll face Mayor Rahm Emanuel in an April runoff. (WBEZ/Andrew Gill)" to="" wbez="" /></div><p>&quot;We have come a long way, and we have a little bit further to go,&quot; Emanuel told supporters. &quot;This is the first step in a real important journey for our city.&quot;</p><p>Nodding to the themes in the weeks ahead, Emanuel noted the city&#39;s immigrant history after a bilingual address by U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a Democrat who&#39;s been prominent in the national push for immigration reform and once was a critic of Emanuel.</p><p>Garcia, born in Mexico and raised in Chicago, got his start in politics as an immigrant rights activist in the city. He was a water commissioner under the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington.</p><p>&quot;This city needs a mayor who will listen to people,&quot; Garcia told supporters, noting his support from neighborhood residents.</p><p>Garcia and Emanuel&#39;s other challengers &mdash; Alderman Bob Fioretti, businessman Willie Wilson and activist William Walls &mdash; had hoped to capitalize on resident discontentment over Emanuel&#39;s handling of schools and city violence.</p><p>Emanuel pushed for the closure of about 50 neighborhood schools in 2013, a year after the city&#39;s first teachers&#39; strike in 25 years. The Chicago Teachers Union &mdash; whose fiery leader had once considered a bid to challenge Emanuel &mdash; backed Garcia during the race as the alternative to Emanuel.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/luis_ag.JPG" style="height: 434px; width: 620px;" title="Rep. Luis Gutierrez spoke in support of Rahm Emanuel on election night. (WBEZ/Andrew Gill)" /></div><p>Voters noted both issues at the polls, with early estimates signaling lower turnout than 2011 after former Mayor Richard Daley retired and the mayor&#39;s race was wide open. About 42 percent of eligible voters came to the polls.</p><p>Joyce Rodgers, who is retired, said she believed the school closings cost Emanuel the trust of the African-American community &mdash; and possibly the president&#39;s.</p><p>&quot;There is total disappointment (in Emanuel),&quot; she said. &quot;I believe that Obama&#39;s been let down, too, he&#39;s just not going to say it.&quot;</p><p>Still others in the South Side neighborhood of Englewood said they were supporting Emanuel because he is positive on issues such as job creation, education and safer neighborhoods.</p><p>&quot;Rahm has all (those) contacts and he is getting those corporations here, so he is giving people hope they can get a good job,&quot; said Willie King, a 56-year-old retired janitor.</p><p>On the campaign trail, Emanuel said his first term saw some tough decisions and payoffs, including budgets that didn&#39;t rely on property tax increases, drawing business to the city, getting a longer school day and raising the minimum wage.</p><p>The non-partisan election on Tuesday also featured contests for a new city treasurer, aldermen and advisory-style ballot questions on campaign finance and an elected school board.</p><p>Emanuel won his first mayoral race without a runoff four years ago. He ran an intense re-election bid, raising roughly $16 million, more than four times his challengers combined.</p><p>He vowed to hit the campaign trail on Wednesday morning, shaking hands at El train stops as he&#39;s been doing.</p><p>&quot;We will get back out there, talking to our friends and families and neighbors as they make a critical choice about who has the strength, who has the leadership, who has the ideas to move this great city forward,&quot; Emanuel said.</p></p> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 17:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-mayor-rahm-emanuel-forced-april-runoff-election-111616 Results: 2015 Chicago municipal election http://www.wbez.org/news/results-2015-chicago-municipal-election-111614 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ballot receipt_me_0.PNG" alt="" /><p><div id="all"><a name="all"></a></div><script type="text/javascript" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/scripts/pym.js"></script><script> var pymGov = new pym.Parent('all', 'http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/files/elections/2015/by_state/IL_Page_0224.html?SITE=2015ELECTIONS&SECTION=POLITICS', {}); </script></p> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 17:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/results-2015-chicago-municipal-election-111614