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


Feds Investigating Alleged Discrimination Against Cicero Students

A Cicero community group says Spanish-speakers in this mostly Latino district are being discriminated against.


Chicago Activists Protest After DeVos Clears First Hurdle For Ed Secretary

While her nomination cleared a Senate committee, her chances remain uncertain before the full Senate.


The View From Room 205

Can schools make the American dream real for poor kids?


50 Years After King March, Chicagoans Retrace His Steps

Several hundred marchers gathered in Marquette Park to retrace the march that Martin Luther King Jr. made in 1966.


Dr. King’s Anti-Discrimination March

50 years ago today, Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr led a fair housing march through Marquette Park on Chicago's south side.


MLK In Chicago: A Memorial To Mark Bitter History

Fifty years ago Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a march through Marquette Park. It turned violent and King was struck by a rock. Today, Chicago is marking that history.


Arne Duncan's New Gig: Fighting Violence with Jobs

“I don’t think we can police our way out of this,” the former U.S. Secretary of Education said.


Some Chicago Voters Report Receiving The Wrong Ballot

Some Chicago voters report receiving the wrong ballot in primary elections Tuesday; Chicago Board of Elections downplays problem.


Inside Chicago’s Election Central

A look inside the room crammed with people making sure Election Day goes smoothly in all the city’s 2,069 precincts.


50th Anniversary of MLK’s Chicago Plan

Fifty years ago this week, Martin Luther King, Jr. moved into a run-down apartment on Chicago’s West Side. He came to launch what he considered the next phase of the civil rights movement.


Chicago Seeks More Charter Schools

Despite declining enrollment and budget problems, CPS imagines new dual language and “next generation” schools, makes it easier to open multiple campuses.


Need to get out of swim class? Find Dr. Fong.

Since high school swim class  was invented, kids have been trying to get out of it.  Now they’ve enlisted the mysterious and elusive Dr. Fong.


A small tale about school choice and a Home Depot

A father who's been battered by competition in the appliance business has hope for market forces in education. 


Fight over charter school signals philosophical differences

For some, there is no reason to ever say no to a high performing charter school that wants to expand. Others say the impact of new charters on existing schools must be considered. 


Chicago has a high school with 13 freshmen

New numbers show dozens of city high schools are ravaged by low-enrollment. 


Noble maps out charter school expansion

Chicago’s largest charter network has plans for a massive expansion in the city, according to a successful federal grant application.


Proposal would combine Gold Coast and Cabrini Green schools

An idea hatched by parents and neighbors looking to solve enrollment problems on the Near North Side could end up merging two schools on opposite extremes of the income divide.


Illinois test results plummet under new Common Core exams

As expected, the percentage of Illinois schoolchildren deemed to be meeting standards has plunged in the state’s first year of Common Core testing. 


Another clue that school's in session: the traffic

Nationwide, more than half of students are driven to school by parents. In 1969, 20 percent of students got a ride.


A new way to think about school success: The Poverty-Achievement Index

A WBEZ-Daily Herald analysis of Illinois State Report Card data presents a new way to view schools’ performance — through the lens of income.

Get the WBEZ App

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