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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


State Finds $20M More For Preschool; Dozens Of Programs Still Lose Out

The state is sending millions more to districts for preschool after appeals, but dozens of programs are still left out.


Protesters Mark 1 Year Of Demanding Palos Township Trustee Resign

Protesters say a trustee’s social media posts about Muslims are racist and that she should resign.


City Colleges Boasts Higher Grad Rates; Defends Numbers As Real

Nearly 23 percent of City Colleges students graduate, but rates are based on just a small percentage of City Colleges’ 80,000 students.


Dozens Of School Districts See Preschool Cuts Even As State Boosts Spending

Illinois preschool funds are distributed through a competitive grant. This year, programs in some needy school districts were slashed.


Furniture From Closed CPS Schools Ends Up In Surprising Places

A teacher’s angry email about an online ad for school furniture leads our reporter to a warehouse of furniture and a gallery of art.


Lucky Zeros Mean Lots Of Lottery Winners

Turns out a lot of people who play the lottery like to wager repeat numbers, like 0-0-0. That strategy paid off for thousands on Sunday.


How Schools Made Out In Springfield

WBEZ details how education funding and education-related bills fared in the state legislative session.


Elgin Teachers Roundly Reject Novel Contract

U-46’s new teacher contract would have boosted pay for beginning teachers and let ambitious teachers move more quickly toward top salaries.


From Columbine To Parkland: Art And Activism

Acting in a theater production about the Columbine shooting deepens a group of Chicago teens’ commitment to fighting gun violence.


Photos: Thousands Turn Out For 'March For Our Lives' In Chicago

Thousands packed Union Park on Saturday on Chicago’s Near West Side first to rally, and then to march for an end to gun violence.


How A Group You’ve Never Heard Of Now Controls $33 Million In Taxpayer Money

Empower Illinois drew millions in donations almost overnight for the state’s scholarship program after teaming up with the Catholic Church.

WBEZ Updates

Students Walk Out Of Class To Advocate For Stricter Gun Laws

Thousands of students from a number of suburban Chicago high schools walked out of class today to advocate for stricter gun laws.


Demand High For State Private School Scholarships

Thousands of Illinois parents wait for a tech fix to apply for private school scholarships under a new taxpayer-funded program.


Another Englewood High School To Close In June

Amandla Charter School’s decision to close means Englewood students could lose five high schools this summer.


Judge Denies Locker Room Access For Transgender Student, Cites Illinois Law

A Cook County judge Thursday turned down a request by a transgender high school student for unrestricted access to the girls’ locker room.

WBEZ Updates

Students From Englewood High Schools Slated To Close Take Protest To New Location

Students from four Englewood high schools slated for closure took their protest to a new location today.

WBEZ Updates

Top State Education Official Defends Request To Double School Funding

Illinois’ top education official is defending his agency’s request to immediately double state funding to schools.


State Board of Education: Double School Funding Now

In the first year of a historic new school funding formula, state board pushes to fully fund all Illinois schools.


Illinois Tax Credits For Private Schools Expected To Be Claimed In Days

Observers say $75 million in credits could be claimed in days, but critics say the “voucher scheme” will hurt public education.

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.

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