Linda Lutton | WBEZ
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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

On Background: WBEZ's Politics Podcast

Chicago Neighborhoods Define The Issues

Many activist groups want the mayoral candidates to take a break from the mudslinging. We hear them describe some of the city's big issues.


Mexican Street Food In Pilsen Now Includes Sweet Potatoes

With a traditional cart he made himself, a new vendor brings a delicious Mexican treat to the Pilsen neighborhood.


Neighborhoods Front And Center At Forum For Mayoral Candidates

Hundreds attended a weekend forum aimed on getting candidates’ concrete plans for helping neighborhoods.


Camping Out For Child Care

Parents brave frosty temperatures for one — or two — of the limited spots in the Chicago Park District's after-school child care program.

On Background: WBEZ's Politics Podcast

How Closing Schools Became A Huge Issue In Chicago Politics

We get the backstory on how a generation of school closings has changed the lives of Chicago's kids and the nature of Chicago politics.


Chicago Closed Or Shook Up 200 Schools: Who Was Helped, Who Was Hurt?

Some 70,000 kids, nearly all black, lived through a school shakeup, WBEZ finds. At the same time, CPS opened almost 200 schools.


4 Of 5 Illinois Public Schools In Top Tiers Despite Low Test Scores

The state's new rating system emphasizes year-over-year improvement, takes a less punitive approach to low performance.


Illinois Schools Push Back On New ‘Underperforming’ And ‘Lowest Performing’ State Labels

State officials insist new labels being unveiled Wednesday aren’t a punishment. But some local school leaders believe the labels will hurt.


New Grades Coming For Illinois Schools: ‘Exemplary’ To ‘Lowest Performing’

On Oct. 31, each school will receive a performance rating from the state — the first ratings issued under a new federal education law.


Illinois Looking To Knock Down Barriers For Incoming Teachers

Faced with a teacher shortage, Illinois wants to smooth the way for would-be teachers, stoking fears of “deprofessionalizing” the field.


‘School Choice’ Divides Gubernatorial Candidates In WBEZ Election Special

Gov. Rauner urges massive expansion of taxpayer funding for private schools while challenger J.B. Pritzker wants to end the new program.


Illinois Proposes Fixes For Teacher Shortage

Suggestions include ditching a basic skills test and elevating the status of teaching — possibly through an ad campaign.


New State Scholarships Save Families Money, Steady Private Schools

For the first time this fall, students are at private schools with Illinois taxpayer support. Some 5,600 kids are getting tuition help.

On Background: WBEZ's Politics Podcast

Public Money, Private Schools, And Politics

It’s back to school season. And for the first time ever, thousands of Illinois students will use taxpayer money to attend private schools.


A Presidential Surprise: Obama Turns Up At Chicago School

Former President Barack Obama showed up unannounced at a summer coding program that he supported with a $1M gift.


New Documentary Sparks Discussions About Race, Equity AT OPRF

A local high school is in the national spotlight around thorny issues of race and equity in education. And that has the community talking.


‘America To Me’ Dives Into Race And Equity In Education

West suburban Oak Park and River Forest High School is the subject of 10-week documentary series, “America to Me,” airing on Sundays.


New This School Year: Taxpayer Dollars Funding Illinois Private Schools

Taxpayers are now paying for private school scholarships. WBEZ digs into early numbers.


Just 24 Percent Of Illinois Kindergartners Ready For School

A new look at Illinois kindergarteners finds most students are behind in language, math and social and emotional development.


Berwyn Homeowners Squeezed By School District Miscalculation

For years, Berwyn schools have been trying to raise more money. Now, they’re trying to give some back.

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