Skip to main content
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

WBEZ Updates

Anti-Hate Groups Say Elected Palos Township Trustee Made Racist Comments, Call For Her Resignation

Various anti-hate groups want a south suburban elected official to resign for what they say are racist comments she made.


Protesters Disrupt Meeting, Call For Palos Trustee To Quit Over ‘Racist’ Comments

Activists want a Palos Township trustee to resign over her social media comments about Middle Eastern students in area schools.

WBEZ Updates

Northwest Suburban Palatine District Is Again Sued By A Transgender Student

Township High School District 211 in the northwest suburbs is once again drawing legal action for its treatment of a transgender student.


School District Makes Health Care ‘A Weapon' In Labor Dispute

The Palatine school district immediately rescinds health care for striking workers, crossing a new line in Illinois public labor relations.

WBEZ Updates

CPS Enrollment Declines Aren’t Limited To Black Students

For years, enrollment increases among Latino students had buffered the district from declines in African American students. Not anymore.


Chicago Schools Struggle To Stay Open With Fewer Students

Some Chicago Public Schools drew only a handful of students back to school this week.


CPS On Pace To Become A Majority Latino School District

Latino students have surpassed blacks as largest group, but some say CPS has been slow to adapt to this new demographic reality.


A Chicago Back-To-School Ritual: Haircuts And Braids

After getting a free braiding, one freshman said she was ready to slay: “I feel like I’m the boss.”


8 Things To Watch In CPS’ New School Year

From dropping student enrollment to a property tax hike, the new school year serves up big challenges for the Chicago Public Schools.


Q&A: The Controversy Over The Tax Credit Scholarship Program

The program is controversial because every dollar donated to the scholarship programs is 75 cents less in tax revenue to the state.


5 Things To Know About Illinois’ School Funding Fight

Schools are preparing to open and Illinois lawmakers still haven’t approved a way to divvy up state money to school districts.

WBEZ Updates

Illinois Schools Won't Get First Payment From The State

Public schools throughout Illinois usually receive their first payment from the state on Aug. 10 — but not this year.


Chicago Students Descend On Rauner’s House To Protest School Funding Veto

Rauner cut parts of the bill benefiting Chicago, calling it a “bailout” for Chicago schools. Students say they need more funding, not less.

WBEZ Updates

Parent To School Board: 500 Black Children Are Being Asked To Move Against Their Will

Parents from National Teachers Academy said the desire for a high school in the gentrifying South Loop shouldn’t wipe out their strong, majority-black school.

WBEZ Updates

Illinois Schools Make Contingency Plans in Case of No State Payments

Illinois schools normally get money from the state on August 10. But that’s in question this year, as Democratic lawmakers continue to wrangle with the Republican governor over a new school funding formula. Meanwhile, schools are coming up with contingency plans.


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.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.