WBEZ | Chicago Public Schools http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-public-schools Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: The role of forgiveness in religion http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-02-26/morning-shift-role-forgiveness-religion-111628 <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/gerrydincher.jpg" style="height: 455px; width: 620px;" title="Flickr/gerrydincher" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/193193932&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 style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Can Garcia capture Harold-sized enthusiasm?</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Commissioner Jesus &ldquo;Chuy&rdquo; Garcia are headed to a runoff in April. Garcia has said he hopes to recreate the type of racial coalition that swept the late Mayor Harold Washington into power in the &lsquo;80s. Many community supporters say that&rsquo;s possible. But Professor Paul Green, Director of the Institute for Politics at Roosevelt University, doesn&rsquo;t think that&rsquo;s the question we should be asking.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest: </strong><em><a href="http://blogs.roosevelt.edu/pgreen/">Paul Green</a>&nbsp;is the Director of the Institute for Politics at Roosevelt University.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/193193927&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 style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">CPS and state continue stand-off over testing</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Chicago Public Schools is refusing to administer the new state test - called the PARCC- to any more than 10 percent of the city&rsquo;s schools. The State Board of Education is threatening to pull funding if the district follows through with that plan. Some parents thought the stand-off was a political ploy and would be over after election day. But they were sorely disappointed at yesterday&rsquo;s Chicago Board of Education meeting. WBEZ&#39;s Becky Vevea joins us with more.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/beckyvevea">Becky Vevea</a> is a WBEZ reporter.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/193193923&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 style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Voter reactions to Schock(ing) spending</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Congressman Aaron Schock was first known for his fast rise in politics and his fabulous abs. Inside GOP circles, he&rsquo;s become known for his ability to make a lot of money for the national party and his fellow Republicans. But over the last few weeks, stories of lavish spending and a Kardashian-esque lifestyle have dogged the representative from the 18th district. But while the national media may be enthralled with tales of fancy cars, trips, and hotels, it&rsquo;s what his constituents think that&rsquo;s most important. Phil Luciano, columnist for the<em> Peoria Journal Star </em>tells us how the stories are playing down on Main Street.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/LucianoPhil">Phil Luciano</a> is a columnist for the </em>Peoria Journal Star.<em>&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/193193916&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 style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Religion and forgiveness</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Starting at noon Friday, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago is offering its first Festival of Forgiveness. Over a 24-hour period, people can come to pray and seek forgiveness whether they&rsquo;re Catholic or not. More than two dozen churches, shrines and university ministries are taking part. The event is modeled after a similar festival Pope Francis held in Rome last year. Monsignor Rich Hynes is joining us by phone to tell us why the Archdiocese is holding its Festival of Forgiveness and Scott Paeth from DePaul University is here to talk about what role forgiveness plays in multiple religions.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guests:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/ScottPaeth">Scott Paeth</a> is a religious studies professor at DePaul University.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><a href="http://www.archchicago.org/DPLF/contact.aspx">Monsignor Rich Hynes</a> is the Director of Parish Life &nbsp;for the Archdiocese of Chicago.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/193193908&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 style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Chicago Irish Film Festival</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">This year marks the 16th year for the <a href="http://www.chicagoirishfilmfestival.com/">Chicago Irish Film Festival</a>, and with it, comes a handful of documentaries and short feature films made by some of the most talented filmmakers in Ireland. Jude Blackburn has been directing the Chicago fest since it&#39;s debut in 1999 and travels to Ireland personally each year to harvest a variety of films and features. She joins us now with this year&#39;s highlights.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em>Jude Blackburn is the Director of the <a href="https://twitter.com/chicagoirishff">Chicago Irish Film Festival</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 08:17:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-02-26/morning-shift-role-forgiveness-religion-111628 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 Same diploma, different school http://www.wbez.org/news/same-diploma-different-school-111581 <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/grace%20d.PNG" style="height: 411px; width: 620px;" title="Students work on courses at an Ombudsman school, one of the district's new, half-day, for-profit alternative schools. (Courtesy of Michelle Kanar)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Updated Friday, February 20</em></div><p>One of the biggest success stories out of Chicago Public Schools in the last decade is the skyrocketing graduation rate.</p><p>Facing re-election, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is promising to take it even higher in the next four years&mdash;from 70 percent to 85 percent.</p><p>To get there, Emanuel and CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett are contracting with for-profit companies to give teenagers a new way to earn their high school diploma in a fraction of the time.</p><p>In 2011, the district commissioned an outside group to do an analysis and found Chicago had 56,000 out-of-school youth. Jennifer Vidis, CPS&rsquo;s chief of alternative schools, says at the time, the district had 5,000 spots for them.</p><p>&quot;We looked at this massive gap and we needed to do something to fill it,&quot; she says.</p><p>So, in the last two years, the district conducted the largest expansion of alternative schools in Chicago&rsquo;s history.Two years ago, Chicago had 30 small alternative schools, and today, there are 50.&nbsp;</p><p>A WBEZ and <em>Catalyst Chicago</em> analysis of that expansion has found that the district is on a troubling path toward its goal to re-enroll dropouts as it turns to new, largely unproven, mostly online alternative schools to educate more students.</p><p>A WBEZ and <em>Catalyst Chicago</em> investigation also found:</p><ul><li>At many of the new schools, students are able to complete courses in a matter of weeks. A 17-year-old boy told reporters he finished the equivalent of a semester&rsquo;s worth of work in three days.</li><li>Many of the for-profit alternative schools offer half-day sessions, with students fulfilling the state requirement that they receive 300 minutes of instruction by promising to do homework.</li><li>Most of the work is done online, with only a few hours of classroom discussion each week.</li><li>Graduates are awarded diplomas from either the last school they attended or the neighborhood high school near where they live. They are also allowed to participate in sports and attend dances at traditional schools.</li><li>Budget documents, obtained through several Freedom of Information Requests, are contradictory and filled with questionable expenses. One operator budgeted more than $400,000 per 200 students for educational materials, then purchased the materials from themselves.</li></ul><p>Experts warn the well-intentioned push is lowering the bar for certain students and making a second chance more appealing than the first. CPS is also laying the groundwork for more students to receive what some contend is a lower-quality diploma.</p><p>It goes against yet another promise of the mayor: that a CPS diploma will mean something.</p><p>&quot;[Parents] will know that a degree from Clemente, South Shore, Back of the Yards, Taft, Westinghouse, Sarah Goode, Rickover means their children will have the education to succeed in college, career or life,&quot; Emanuel said in a January speech announcing his second-term education agenda.</p><p>Jack Wuest, executive director of the Alternative Schools Network and a longtime advocate for helping dropouts, shakes his head and says he is worried that these schools are the &ldquo;McDonalds&rdquo; of education. The principal of one such options school doesn&rsquo;t go quite that far, though he did compare the schools to &ldquo;instant oatmeal&rdquo; and called them &ldquo;a sign of the times.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Just because it is instant oatmeal doesn&rsquo;t necessarily make it worse,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>The schools were approved with so little public debate, few people-- experts on Chicago&rsquo;s education system to high school principals who may send students to them--do not know much about how the new schools function.</p><p>This is the first of three stories co-reported with Catalyst Chicago. Catalyst&rsquo;s <a href="http://catalyst-chicago.org/2015/02/options-schools-raise-questions-of-quality/">initial story can be read here</a>. &nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;"><strong>A diploma on Division Street</strong></span></p><p>Every weekday around 8 a.m., the #70 and #49 CTA buses carry hundreds of teenagers to the intersection of Division and Western on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side. &nbsp;</p><p>Clemente High School dominates two corners, a bridge over Division connects the school&rsquo;s buildings. In order to earn a diploma from this neighborhood school, CPS requires 24 credits total: 4 years of English, 3 years of math, 3 years of science, 3 years of history, 2 years of P.E., 2 years of a foreign language, a credit of career education, and 3 electives. Students also must complete 40 hours of service learning and sit for a state-mandated test.</p><p>If kids stays on track, it&rsquo;ll take four years. No more. No less.</p><p>Or, students can now walk a half block the other way on Division, and enroll at Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy in a non-descript building with a sign in front that still reads: <em>Coming soon, Magic Johnson Bridgescape</em>.</p><p>Ursula Ricketts, the school&#39;s program director, showed us around the storefront school this past October.</p><p>There&rsquo;s one computer lab, two classrooms, and a handful of offices in the back. It looks more like a tech startup than a high school, with hardwood floors, high ceilings and exposed brick throughout. Here, students work at their own pace on computers and can earn high school credits in a matter of weeks.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s like four hours, I don&rsquo;t have to be here 8 hours, listening to teachers that don&rsquo;t even want to teach sometimes,&rdquo; says Estefany&nbsp;Herrera, a student at Magic Johnson Bridgescape. &ldquo;I like it better here. I have earned like 4 credits already.&rdquo;</p><p>A soft-spoken 19-year-old, Herrera says she dropped out of North-Grand High School after her friends turned on her and convinced others to tease her. They even tried to fight her.</p><p>&ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t want to tell anybody because usually when you tell a teacher, everything gets worse,&rdquo; she says. One day she just stopped going to school. The days dragged on, and she spent her time helping to care for nieces and nephews. A year and a half went by. &ldquo;It was depressing,&rdquo; she recalls.</p><p>Herrera found her way to Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy after someone from CPS called her and encouraged her to re-enroll. She visited one of the district&rsquo;s Student Outreach and Re-enrollment centers and got back to school shortly thereafter.</p><p>Bridgescape Academy runs two sessions a day, from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Herrera comes to the Humboldt Park campus for the morning, but she says it&rsquo;s flexible. &ldquo;Last week I didn&rsquo;t come. I just did the work at home.&rdquo;</p><p>Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy is a joint venture between NBA-star-turned-businessman Earvin &lsquo;Magic&rsquo; Johnson and EdisonLearning. They&rsquo;ve opened five of these fast-track schools in Chicago in the past two years. The three other new providers are Pathways, Ombudsman and Camelot.</p><p>Camelot is an outlier. They run full-day programs and students do little work online. They also run the district&rsquo;s Safe Schools, which are reserved for students who are transferred for disciplinary reasons, expelled or facing expulsion.</p><p>Like Bridgescape, Ombudsman and Pathways also offer two sessions of half-day programs in which students mostly work independently, either in workbooks or online, with some small group sessions.</p><p>Students move through the work in record time. Estefany&nbsp;Herrera said she&rsquo;s completed nine credits so far this year. Typically, students earn six credits in an entire traditional school year.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;"><strong>A diploma from the school she left</strong></span></p><p>And when Herrera graduates in June, she&rsquo;ll not only count in the district&rsquo;s graduation rate, she&rsquo;ll count at her home school, North Grand. That&rsquo;s been happening since the 2007-2008 school year, when CPS started including alternative schools in the graduation rate.</p><p>But here&rsquo;s what makes the new for-profit schools different: Herrera&rsquo;s diploma will say North Grand High School. It won&rsquo;t say Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy of Humboldt Park. No one has to know she graduated from an alternative school.</p><p>Herrera had no idea. But her classmate, Kyle Johnson, did.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s way better,&rdquo; Johnson, who would have been a senior this year at Urban Prep&mdash;a high performing charter school. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s way better. Because at Urban Prep, the college acceptance rate is 100 percent, so that&rsquo;ll look good if I&rsquo;m trying to apply for college.&quot;</p><p>That&rsquo;s frustrating for Matthew Rodriguez, the principal of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School, a 40-year-old alternative school, down the street from Bridgescape.</p><p>&ldquo;Yeah, I mean, I feel like that&rsquo;s, what&rsquo;s the word, um, inaccurate,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Rodriguez says schools like his take a more holistic approach, with requirements such as an intensive senior project that gets students to reflect on what they&rsquo;ve learned. The school also has a number of social workers and counselors to make sure that students&rsquo; well-being is addressed.</p><p>Not far away on Division, Clemente Principal Marcey Sorenson is implementing a rigorous International Baccalaureate curriculum. She, like Rodriguez, had no idea that students could earn a diploma that says Clemente, from a totally different school, until WBEZ and Catalyst told her.</p><p>&ldquo;No&hellip; I would be interested in learning more about that. I didn&rsquo;t know that,&rdquo; Sorenson responded. &quot;And that&rsquo;s not to say that their diploma doesn&rsquo;t mean anything. I don&rsquo;t want to make the assumption that because it&rsquo;s from Bridgescape, it means less. I just want to then, ensure that it means, what we think it means.&quot;</p><p>Other principals not only know about this perk, they&rsquo;re using it to help their graduation rates.</p><p>&ldquo;The way that I perceive it and why I think it&rsquo;s so important for me to know how they&rsquo;re doing at that school is that I know they&rsquo;re getting closer to graduation and that affects my graduation rate,&rdquo; said Sullivan High School Principal Chad Addams. &ldquo;They stay here, they dig in a hole, get themselves in more trouble and then drop out.&rdquo;</p><p>Addams and Sorenson say they both want to get to a point where they won&rsquo;t have any students off-track, when there&rsquo;s no need to refer students to alternative schools.</p><p>But until then, they can&rsquo;t just ignore the problem.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been around enough gang members and enough high poverty children to know that that diploma is a golden ticket,&rdquo; Addams said.</p><p>The price tag for doubling the number of for-profit, half-day, mostly online schools, like Magic Johnson Bridgescape is so far hovering around $50 million dollars.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;"><strong>Dropout factories to &lsquo;credit mills&rsquo;?</strong></span></p><p>Herrera walked us through a Spanish 2 lesson last Friday. The online classes, called <em>eCourses</em>, are developed and sold by <em>EdisonLearning</em>, which also operates the school.</p><p>The lesson took less than five minutes. Herrera flipped through the slides explaining the lesson on conjugating &ndash;er and &ndash;ir verbs and immediately took a five-question quiz on what she&rsquo;s just read. She gets 100 percent and moves on.</p><p>There&rsquo;s a range, but each class contains between 80 to 160 lessons. Once Herrera completes the lessons, she will take a final that includes a multiple-choice test and three short essays. Every student has to take the final exam repeatedly until earning a score of more than an 80 percent, thus ensuring that all students pass every class.</p><p>As a native speaker, Spanish is easy for her. Geometry, on the other hand, is not.</p><p>&ldquo;It took three weeks,&rdquo; Herrera said.</p><p>CPS and officials at the new schools emphasize that they do offer small-group instruction, and they all maintain that the curriculum is aligned with the state&rsquo;s Common Core standards. (The schools are accredited.)</p><p>When WBEZ and Catalyst started asking questions about the new schools, district officials&nbsp;did something strange. They stopped calling them schools and started calling them programs. They emphasized the programs are a complement to traditional schools, and are not meant to compete with them.</p><p>But several of the schools spend heavily on advertising. The selling point to students is speed and getting a diploma in record time. Pathways&rsquo; website reads: &ldquo;Graduate High School Faster, Free Programs &amp; Classes, Flexible Scheduling. Get Ahead!&rdquo; Its URL? <a href="http://www.makeupcredits.com/">www.makeupcredits.com</a>.</p><p>Sonja Santelises is head of policy for the Washington D.C.-based Education Trust and a former Chief Academic Officer for Baltimore Public Schools. She cautions that many an online curriculum is often not all it&rsquo;s cracked up to be.</p><p>&ldquo;I have been in classrooms that in the name of giving kids other options, kids are just getting electronic worksheets,&rdquo; Santelises says.</p><p>She says there&rsquo;s a reason a high school diploma is necessary today.</p><p>&ldquo;It takes work and it is not just about saying, &lsquo;Oh we have all these poor young people who aren&rsquo;t going to graduate so let&rsquo;s just get them something so they get the credit,&rsquo;&rdquo; Santelises says. &ldquo;That is not helping anyone. Because we have all these young people that graduate and come back and say I learned nothing.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>The for-profit, half-day schools may be a new thing for Chicago, but other states have had similar programs for years. There&rsquo;s little research on how successful they are with students. CPS is one of the few districts to design a rating system for them, and the early results don&rsquo;t bode well for the new operators: 80 percent of the recently opened options schools had below-average ratings, compared to only 21 percent of long-standing alternative schools.</p><p>CPS&rsquo;s Vidis says the district is looking at the performance results of the new schools very carefully. Those that don&rsquo;t meet quality standards will not be allowed to expand and will be closed down.</p><p>&ldquo;We want to make sure that students who are working through the online courses are actually being challenged,&rdquo; Vidis says. &ldquo;That the courses are rigorous and that we aren&rsquo;t just running credit mills. That is not our interest.&rdquo;&#39;</p><p><em>This story was updated to reflect that Ursula Ricketts is the program director at Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy in Humboldt Park.</em></p></p> Thu, 19 Feb 2015 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/same-diploma-different-school-111581 Morning Shift: Mayoral candidates continue to debate http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-02-05/morning-shift-mayoral-candidates-continue-debate-111500 <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/get%20directly%20down.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Flickr/get directly down" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/189638713&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><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">Mayoral candidates continue to debate</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">The Illinois A</span><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">The five candidates vying for mayor are in full debate mode this week. Wednesday night, four of the candidates faced off for the first live, prime time debate of this cycle. Perennial candidate William &ldquo;Dock&rdquo; Walls was not invited - but he&rsquo;ll get a chance Thursday, as all five candidates will debate live on ABC7. Here to catch us up on WTTW&#39;s debate topics, and to preview what&rsquo;s ahead for round two is WBEZ&rsquo;s political reporter Lauren Chooljian.&nbsp;</span></p><p><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">Lauren Chooligan</a> is a WBEZ reporter.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/189638711&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><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">New report investigates where kids go when they drop out</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">When Chicago closed nearly 50 schools in 2013, Chicago Public Schools vowed to team up with the Illinois State Board of Education about tracking where displaced students go. Last summer CPS CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett boasted that the district knew where almost all these displaced students landed when their schools closed. An investigation by education magazine Catalyst Chicago found that wasn&rsquo;t really the case. Deputy Editor Sarah Karp explains how many students are actually not accounted for by the system. Read the article <a href="http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/news/2015/02/03/66274/record-tracking-434-missing-students-after-closings">here.</a></span></p><p><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;"><a href="http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/author/sarah-karp">Sarah Karp </a>is the Deputy Editor of Catalyst Chicago.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><div><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/189638709&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></div><div><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">On the Table returns with city-wide conversations at the dinner table</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">During campaign season, it&rsquo;s easy to hear about the ills of our city that need to be corrected. Candidates tell us what&rsquo;s wrong and how they&rsquo;d fix it. But how do those problems and potential solutions align with the everyday issues that drive the people who live and work in the region? Last year, Chicago Community Trust offered residents an opportunity to discuss what they would want to see happen in Chicago at the place where so much of these discussions can take place-around a meal at the dinner table. <a href="http://www.onthetable.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/OTT_fact_sheet.pdf">On the Table </a>returns this year to continue those conversations. Chicago Community Trust Chief Marketing Officer Daniel Ash tells us what issues emerged from the series last year, and how that might be different from when groups gather this spring.&nbsp;</span></p><p><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/danoash">Daniel Ash</a> is the <a href="http://www.cct.org/">Chicago Community Trust&#39;s&nbsp;</a>Chief Marketing Officer</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/189638707&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><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">Sikhs taking action to counter confusion, discrimination over religion</span></p></div><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">A national group of Sikhs (seeks) is starting a campaign to help increase awareness of the religion. Studies show discrimination against Sikhs, including bullying of their kids, is rising. With the rise of ISIS, Sikhs are starting to feel the same backlash that many Muslims do. That&rsquo;s because many Americans see a turban, and mistakenly assume the person wearing it is Muslim. We talk about the challenges facing Sikhs locally and nationally, and we&rsquo;re going to get a little Sikh 101. Read Green&#39;s article <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/01/the-trouble-with-wearing-turbans-in-america/384832/">here.</a></span></p><p><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Guests:<a href="https://twitter.com/emmaogreen">&nbsp;</a></strong><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/emmaogreen">Emma Green</a> is the Assistant Managing Editor of <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/">TheAtlantic.com</a></em></p><p><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">Dr. Balwant Singh-Hansra is the Co-founder and past president of the <a href="http://www.srsofchicago.com/">Sikh Religious Society</a></em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/189638706&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><div><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">New sitcom centered around Asian Americans faces screens to Asian Americans</span></p></div><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">Wednesday night ABC premiered a new sitcom called Fresh Off the Boat. It&rsquo;s the first Asian-American family sitcom to hit network TV since the ill-fated All American Girl with Margaret Cho. Fresh off the Boat was inspired by restaurateur and TV host Eddie Huang&rsquo;s memoir by the same name and Asian Americans have harbored some hopes that it may portray their experience with more nuance that they&rsquo;ve seen in past attempts. The Chicago-based Foundation for Asian American Independent Media on Tuesday night hosts a viewing event for the show and WBEZ&rsquo;s Monica Eng was there.</span></p><p><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Guests:&nbsp;</strong><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng">Monica Eng</a> is &nbsp;WBEZ reporter.</em></p><p><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/soosieon">Susie An &nbsp;</a>is a WBEZ reporter.&nbsp;</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/189638705&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><div>&nbsp;</div><div><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">When it comes to television, can there be too much of a good thing?</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">According to a <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/fx-ceo-competition-for-tv-shows-is-now-literally-insane-2015-2">recent report</a>, there were over 370 scripted television series on broadcast, cable and streaming services last year. Back in 1999, there were 26. Having an abundance of anything good is never a bad thing. But even with DVRs and the ability to stream from mobile devices, are there enough hours in the day to take in your favorite shows? Does our tube runneth over? Chicago Sun-Times television critic Lori Rackl weighs in on that and more from TV Land.&nbsp;</span></p></div><p><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng">L</a><a href="https://twitter.com/lorirackl">ori Rackl</a> is a TV critic for the </em><a href="https://twitter.com/Suntimes"><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">Chicago Sun Times.</em></a></p></p> Thu, 05 Feb 2015 07:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-02-05/morning-shift-mayoral-candidates-continue-debate-111500 Morning Shift: Gov. Rauner makes moves on medical marijuana http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-02-03/morning-shift-gov-rauner-makes-moves-medical-marijuana-111490 <p><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/westcoastcannabis_0.jpg" style="height: 404px; width: 620px;" title="(Flickr/westcoastcannabis)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/189308769&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></div></div><p><span style="font-size: 24px;">Snow to continue to fall in Chicago</span></p><p>We host National Weather Service Meterologist Ben Deubelbeiss to discuss the potential of more snow for Chicago and hear snow stories from listeners after the weekend&#39;s blizzard.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em>Ben Deubelbeiss is a&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/nwschicago">National Weather Service</a>&nbsp;Meterologist.</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/189308768&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><span style="font-size: 24px;">Analysis shows elected school boards not the answer to district debt</span></p><p>Chicago Teacher&rsquo;s Union President Karen Lewis often rallies behind the call for Chicago to have an elected school board to oversee the country&rsquo;s third largest district. The current board is hand-picked by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Lewis says this isn&rsquo;t working, but a new analysis from Crain&rsquo;s Chicago Business found that cities with elected school boards still struggle with bad debt. We talk with Crain&rsquo;s Washington Bureau Chief Paul Merrion about how Chicago&rsquo;s finances match up to other cities who do have elected school boards.</p><p><strong>Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/pmerrion">Paul Merrion</a>&nbsp;is the Washington Bureau Chief for&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/CrainsChicago">Crain&#39;s Chicago</a>&nbsp;Business</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/189308765&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><span style="font-size: 24px;">Senate President John Cullerton prepares for new role under Republican Gov</span></p><p>Paul The top Democrat in Illinois&rsquo; State Senate is preparing for a divide between his chamber and the new Republican governor. WBEZ&rsquo;s Tony Arnold sat down with Senate President John Cullerton Friday and talked to him about what he expects when the General Assembly convenes for session on Tuesday with Rauner at the helm.</p><p><strong>Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold">Tony Arnold</a>&nbsp;is the WBEZ statehouse reporter.</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/189308763&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><span style="font-size: 24px;">Gov. Rauner makes moves on medical marijuana</span></p><p>Illinois passed a medical marijuana law in 2013, but former Governor Pat Quinn left office without making any moves on the four year pilot program. Business owners looking to capitalize on the new law were left waiting for licenses. And patients looking for medical relief were hankering for prescriptions. Bruce Rauner on Monday picked up the ball where former Gov. Quinn left it. Rauner announced that after evaluating the process, licenses will be issued. Illinois Public Radio Springfield Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky explains what Gov. Rauner&rsquo;s office outlined for the medical marijuana program. And, WBEZ&rsquo;s Susie An has the latest on businesses that are now getting their licenses and what lies ahead for them.</p><p><strong>Guests:&nbsp;</strong><em></em></p><ul><li><em><a href="https://twitter.com/soosieon">Susie An</a>&nbsp;is a WBEZ reporter.</em></li><li><em><a href="https://twitter.com/AmandaVinicky">Amanda Vinicky</a>&nbsp;is the Illinois Public Radio Springfield Bureau Chief</em></li></ul><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/189308760&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><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><span style="font-size: 24px;">Article profiles John Wayne Gacy chaser</span></div><div class="image-insert-image "><p>You might remember a few years back when Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart announced that the identity of serial killer John Wayne Gacy had been matched to a then 19 year old from Chicago&rsquo;s North Side. The closure for siblings of William Bundy came courtesy of Sheriff&rsquo;s detective Jason Moran. He&rsquo;s the man who heads the department&rsquo;s cold case unit. As a matter of fact the cold case unit consists of just Moran. It&rsquo;s a job he started in the post in 2010 and his most high profile endeavor was finding the identities of eight Gacy victims. Writer Tim Stelloh recently profiled Moran for BuzzFeed. Stelloh joins us with details on Moran and his work.</p><p><strong>Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/timstelloh">Tim Stelloh</a>&nbsp;is a freelance journalist. </em></p></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 03 Feb 2015 07:58:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-02-03/morning-shift-gov-rauner-makes-moves-medical-marijuana-111490 CTU president Karen Lewis speaks up http://www.wbez.org/news/ctu-president-karen-lewis-speaks-111489 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/IMG_5569.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-0b1e0242-4cb2-31b5-92f2-63e7dd3faf91">If 35 minutes behind a microphone after months of silence proves anything about Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, it&rsquo;s this: She hasn&rsquo;t changed much.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-0b1e0242-4cb2-31b5-92f2-63e7dd3faf91">Lewis spoke to a crowd of people for the first time since being diagnosed with a brain tumor last fall. At that time, she was considering a run against Mayor Rahm Emanuel. &nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-0b1e0242-4cb2-31b5-92f2-63e7dd3faf91">&ldquo;I was planning on running for mayor and in doing so I intended to lift up the voices of marginalized people in the city of Chicago,&rdquo; Lewis said at a City Club of Chicago luncheon Monday.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-0b1e0242-4cb2-31b5-92f2-63e7dd3faf91">&ldquo;That also meant that if my mayoral motorcade was blowing through red lights, I was planning on digging deep into my purse to pay those fines,&rdquo; she said, referring to </span><a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/chicago-mayor-rahm-emanuel-says-he-pays-his-motorcades-red-light-tickets/">a recent CBS investigation</a>.</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-0b1e0242-4cb2-31b5-92f2-63e7dd3faf91">Lewis also took aim at newly seated Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-0b1e0242-4cb2-31b5-92f2-63e7dd3faf91">&ldquo;He&rsquo;s wasted no time attacking the wages of working class people, attacking their labor unions and threatening massive cuts to social services programs, which help the most vulnerable people in our state,&rdquo; Lewis said. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s not some easy-going, blue-jean-wearing, $20-dollar-watch-having good guy who&rsquo;s coming to save the day. He is Scott Walker on steroids.&rdquo;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-0b1e0242-4cb2-31b5-92f2-63e7dd3faf91">But unlike Wisconsin&rsquo;s Republican governor, Rauner will have to work with a Democratic state legislature to pass any laws that would limit the rights of public-sector unions.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-0b1e0242-4cb2-31b5-92f2-63e7dd3faf91">When asked for a response to Lewis&rsquo; comparison, Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said, &ldquo;Governor Rauner is happy to see Ms. Lewis back in action. He continues to admire her tenacity and spirit.&rdquo;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-0b1e0242-4cb2-31b5-92f2-63e7dd3faf91">Despite her fiery remarks about politicians, Lewis said she remains focused on the next teachers contract and has no intentions of running for office.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-0b1e0242-4cb2-31b5-92f2-63e7dd3faf91">&ldquo;If you want well-resourced schools, educators with tenure and job security, it&rsquo;s going to cost money,&rdquo; Lewis said. &ldquo;We shouldn&rsquo;t shy away from this.&rdquo;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-0b1e0242-4cb2-31b5-92f2-63e7dd3faf91">Similar to what it did in 2012, the teachers union </span><a href="http://www.ctunet.com/quest-center/research/position-papers/text/A_Just_Chicago.pdf">released a blueprint to outline the issues</a>&nbsp;it plans to push during negotiations. The latest white paper, titled &ldquo;A Just Chicago: Fighting for the City Our Students Deserve,&rdquo; lists a host of things, a number of which are outside of what the union can bargain for under law.</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-0b1e0242-4cb2-31b5-92f2-63e7dd3faf91">Those include: stable jobs for all Chicagoans, decriminalizing marijuana possession, expanding public housing, and reforming the state&rsquo;s formula for funding education.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-0b1e0242-4cb2-31b5-92f2-63e7dd3faf91">Lewis also said although negotiations have just begun, the union would be ready to strike again if talks fail.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-0b1e0242-4cb2-31b5-92f2-63e7dd3faf91">The Chicago arm of Democrats for Education Reform, which supports Emanuel, issued a statement late Monday chiding Lewis and the union for bringing up the possibility of a strike.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-0b1e0242-4cb2-31b5-92f2-63e7dd3faf91">&ldquo;If the CTU hopes to use another strike as revenge if Mayor Emanuel wins re-election it would be even worse,&rdquo; the statement read. &ldquo;There are teachers in every Chicago neighborhood doing amazing work who do not wish to be dragged into the CTU&rsquo;s single-minded political mission.&rdquo;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-0b1e0242-4cb2-31b5-92f2-63e7dd3faf91">Becky Vevea is an education reporter for WBEZ. Follow her </span></em><a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Mon, 02 Feb 2015 17:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/ctu-president-karen-lewis-speaks-111489 Morning Shift: Grading Rahm on education http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-01-27/morning-shift-grading-rahm-education-111459 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AFagen.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We continue our &quot;Grading Rahm&quot; series with a look at how the Mayor has impacted parents, teachers and students dependent on his policies. Former railway administrator Joe Szabo returns to Chicago to work on a roadmap for regional transportation at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-2019/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-2019.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-2019" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Grading Rahm on education" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 07:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-01-27/morning-shift-grading-rahm-education-111459 Morning Shift: New income tax issues for 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-01-20/morning-shift-new-income-tax-issues-2015-111418 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/6984657584_561f45afca.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We discuss the effect of the income tax rollback in Illinois. We find out how the Affordable Care Act may affect your 2014 return. And, author Tom Geoghegan sees a connection between the decline in union power and the rise in income inequality.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-1-20-2015/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-1-20-2015.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-1-20-2015" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: New income tax issues for 2015" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 20 Jan 2015 07:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-01-20/morning-shift-new-income-tax-issues-2015-111418 Emanuel promises 85 percent graduation rate if elected to second term http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-promises-85-percent-graduation-rate-if-elected-second-term-111366 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rahm-file.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is promising an 85 percent graduation rate by 2019, if he&#39;s elected to a second term.</p><p>In an invitation-only event, Emanuel said the future of the city depends on it.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s no challenge the city&rsquo;s facing, and no opportunity we can&rsquo;t seize, that doesn&rsquo;t get answered on graduation day at high schools,&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;Not one.&rdquo;</p><p>Last school year, CPS hit an all-time high, with 69.8 percent of students making it through high school in at least five years.</p><p>To get the dramatic increase he wants, Emanuel said high schools will re-launch a program that his administration cut in 2012. &nbsp;It&#39;s called Freshman Connection. The month-long summer program introduced rising freshman to their high school, and made sure they were academically and socially prepared.</p><p>Jesse Sharkey, acting-president of the Chicago Teachers Union, said the gains in graduation numbers and the focus on freshman is a result of previous administrations&rsquo; efforts, not Emanuel&rsquo;s.</p><p>&ldquo;We were paying attention to that six years ago, when I was in a classroom,&rdquo; Sharkey said. Sharkey was a history teacher at Senn High School before being elected to CTU leadership.</p><p>He also noted that graduation rates are improving all across the country because &ldquo;there aren&rsquo;t very many good options for people who don&rsquo;t stay in school.&rdquo;</p><p>Freshman Connection isn&rsquo;t the only initiative in Emanuel&rsquo;s second term education agenda that was borrowed from the past.</p><p>He said, if elected, he will allow high-performing schools a free pass from most central office mandates, including around things like curriculum, standardized tests and budget. Ironically, his schools team cut a program that did just that. Some schools were designated as Autonomous Management Performance Schools&mdash;or AMPS&mdash;and were able to set their own curriculum and opt-out of many district mandates.</p><p>The new version would label schools that are high-performing three years in a row as &ldquo;Independent Schools.&rdquo; When asked about the criteria that would determine if a school is high-performing, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said she is putting together a task force to determine that.</p><p>However, Byrd-Bennett bristled at the idea that it was the same as the old AMPS designation.</p><p>If elected to a second term, Emanuel also promised to:</p><p>-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Increase the graduation rate at City Colleges to 21 percent by 2018.</p><p>-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Make computer science a high school graduation requirement.</p><p>-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Expand the number of full-day pre-school classrooms from 100 to 300.</p><p>-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Improve the city&rsquo;s high schools by giving them specialty programs, like International Baccalaureate, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), and fine arts.</p><p>-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Double the bandwidth in every school so every classroom has a WiFi connection.</p><p>-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Double the number of parent engagement centers at schools from 31 to 62 by 2017.</p></p> Thu, 08 Jan 2015 20:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-promises-85-percent-graduation-rate-if-elected-second-term-111366 Morning Shift: Tracking convictions in Cook County http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-01-09/morning-shift-tracking-convictions-cook-county-111375 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/3293465641_b6c5081e87_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We look at a new website launched by the Chicago Justice Project crunching arrest and conviction data in Cook County. We also find out what public school students expect from the mayor. Plus, the old school sounds of Chicago&#39;s Treehouse Records.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-tracking-convictions-in-cook-county/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-tracking-convictions-in-cook-county.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-tracking-convictions-in-cook-county" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Tracking convictions in Cook County" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 05 Jan 2015 13:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-01-09/morning-shift-tracking-convictions-cook-county-111375