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Linda Lutton

Linda Lutton

Education Reporter

As a WBEZ education reporter, Linda covers schools, education and issues affecting youth.

Her enterprise coverage has examined Chicago’s dropout crisis, race and segregation in schools, school performance, and youth violence. She covered the 2012 Chicago Teachers Union strike and the historic closing of 50 public schools. Her work has been broadcast on This American Life, Re:sound, Marketplace, The World, and NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. She’s received many honors, including a 2014 Peabody Award.

Prior to joining WBEZ in 2008, Linda worked as a freelance reporter and radio producer in Michoacán, Mexico. Before that, she was the lead education reporter at the Daily Southtown, where she covered education across 85 school districts in Chicago’s south suburbs. Linda’s investigation into a corrupt south suburban school superintendent won a national 2005 Education Writers Association first prize award for investigative journalism and a Chicago Headline Club Watchdog Award. She received a 2004 Studs Terkel Award for excellence in reporting on Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods; it’s one of the awards she’s most proud of.

Linda worked on the award-winning 2013 This American Life “Harper High School” episodes, which documented life in a high school located in a South Side neighborhood racked by violence. The episodes were honored with a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award and the Third Coast/Richard H. Driehaus Best Documentary Gold Award. Linda also worked on the 2008-09 series “Fifty-Fifty: The Odds of Graduating,” about a high school struggling to stop students from dropping out. Linda’s radio work has been recognized with a Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism, a national Edward R. Murrow award, a Sigma Delta Chi Award, and many others.

In 2013, the Chicago Reader included Linda in its annual People Issue about “what makes Chicago work.” She was honored with a Spencer Fellowship in Education Reporting during the 2014-15 school year, where she explored the impact of poverty on school outcomes.

Linda has a B.A. in Urban Studies and English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Born and raised in Minnesota, Linda has lived in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood since 1994. Her husband is artist-muralist Hector Duarte. Their three children attend Chicago public schools.

Recent Stories


Business Group Defunds CPS Anti-Violence Efforts To Fight On Another Front

Schools in some of Chicago's roughest neighborhoods will re-open this fall without programs they say reduced violence.

WBEZ Updates

Pressure Mounting For Governor To Sign Overhaul Of The State’s School Funding Formula

Illinois lawmakers put money for education in the new budget, but there’s no way to distribute it without a new school funding formula.

WBEZ Updates

Vocal Special Education Teacher Sues Chicago Schools

Chicago Teachers Union alleges “retaliation” against a teacher who opposed standardized testing and brought attention to violations.


Even With A Budget, Illinois Education Money Could Be Trapped

The language of the legislation could block schools from getting state funding because there’s no roadmap for passing the money out.


Faltering Scores For Poor Black Students In Chicago And Statewide

An analysis raises serious concerns about the education of African-American students inside Chicago and in the rest of the state.


Are Chicago Public Schools The Worst In The State?

Try this pop quiz: Where on average do students do better — in Chicago or the rest of Illinois? The answer might surprise you: Chicago.

WBEZ Updates

Watchdog: Without State Budget, 'We Are Crushing Our Future'

Laurence Msall, of the Civic Federation, says Illinois is allowing its regional state colleges and universities “to basically wither.”


New $75 Million High School Officially Proposed For Englewood

Four high schools on the South Side would be closed to make way for the new school. In the past, school closings have meant teacher layoffs.

WBEZ Updates

Landmark State School Funding Bill Faces Possible Veto

Supporters of a school funding overhaul that passed in Springfield this week are fighting back against a possible veto by the governor.

WBEZ Updates

Springfield Post-Mortem: School Winners and Losers

School leaders are taking stock of what happened in Springfield this week -- and what didn’t happen.

WBEZ Updates

Chicago Elected School Board Passes But Will It Become Law?

The bill passed in Springfield but must go back to the House for final approval and to the governor, who hasn’t said if he supports it.


CPS Chief Makes Plea To Save District From 'Brink Of Insolvency'

Speaking to business and civic leaders, CPS CEO Forrest Claypool used sweeping language to decry Illinois’ school funding system.


When Playing Outside Is Considered A Protest

Students at a West Side grammar school did something this week they rarely do because of Chicago’s gun violence: they played outside.

WBEZ Updates

Kids Protest Violence At School Where Recess Was A Victim Of Gun Violence

In what feels like a radical act, hundreds of students protest violence by playing in the park


Offline And On Paper: Chicago Teens Make Zines In An Ephemeral World

In a world where kids can publish anything online at any time, making 30 zines by hand and sharing them is surprisingly alluring.


Locker Room Debate To Continue After Transgender Student Graduates

The transgender student at the center of a locker room battle is set to graduate from her Palatine school, but a suit over access continues.

WBEZ Presents

Need To Get Out Of Swim Class? Find Dr. Fong.

WBEZ’s Linda Lutton discovers a pattern of students skipping swim class and follows their trail of sick notes to an elusive Dr. Fong.


Will Chicago Teachers Pension Fund Get Paid On Time?

CPS owes the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund $715.9 million on June 30, and the director of the fund says there will be no more IOUs.


Illinois Struggles To Expand Charter Schools Despite Giant Pot Of Federal Money

Illinois received a $42 million federal grant to open more charter schools throughout the state, but what it didn't get was many takers.

WBEZ Updates

Arne Duncan: All Chicagoans Need To Help Solve Gun Violence

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says he “very naively” thought gun violence couldn’t get worse than it was when he headed Chicago public schools. He’s calling on Chicagoans to mentor and hire kids at risk of violence.

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