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WBEZ - 2024 - Charese Munoz - Whitney Young Mom and Spencer Elementary Teacher - June 3, 2024

Charese Munoz and her son, rising senior Antonio Munoz, in front of Whitney Young. She loves the opportunities students are exposed to at the school.

Marc C. Monaghan/For WBEZ

The Rundown: Who gets into CPS’ most elite schools?

Plus, Windy City Smokeout returns this weekend. Here’s what you need to know today.

Good afternoon! We may see flash flooding and heavy rain through tomorrow because of remnants of Hurricane Beryl. Here’s what else you need to know today.

1. Chicago’s most marginalized students have almost no shot of getting into CPS’ elite schools

A student’s elementary school is a key predictor of who gets into the city’s elite high schools, and students from mostly low-income and Black neighborhood schools rarely get into the city’s top test-in, selective enrollment schools, my colleague Sarah Karp reports for WBEZ.

The top five performing schools — Jones, Lane, Payton, Northside and Whitney Young — are the best in the city and considered among the best in the state and even in the nation.

But only 42% of the students at those five schools are Black or Latino, compared to 82% of the CPS student body.

Experts told WBEZ these disparities are rooted in long-standing structural problems. From the earliest grades, there’s a wide gap in performance. Yet 30% of seats at all selective schools are reserved for the highest scoring students, with no consideration of their racial or economic background.

Mayor Brandon Johnson and the Chicago Board of Education have said they want to make the system more equitable and accessible and the board is expected to propose changes to the admissions process this summer. [WBEZ]

2. Most murders of transgender people in Chicago go unsolved

Most law enforcement agencies do not track transgender homicides, but researchers have recorded more than 300 transgender people murdered nationwide between 2010 and 2021, my colleague Sophie Sherry writes for the Chicago Sun-Times.

The national clearance rate was just over 50%, but police in Chicago cleared only 14%.

“There’s no follow-up,” trans activist Zahara Bassett said. “I know a few people who have been murdered, and no one knows what happened still to this day. These are people’s children and family members. As a community, we have to move forward, but how do their families move forward?”

While Chicago Police would not discuss specifics of cases with the Sun-Times, the department stated they are “committed to seeking justice for all homicide victims, including transgender victims.” [Chicago Sun-Times]

3. Michael Madigan’s attorneys are still aiming for a fall trial despite a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling

Prosecutors and defense attorneys in the case of indicted ex-Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan told a judge yesterday they hope to keep his trial on track for October, despite a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court last month that could shake up the case, Jon Seidel reports for the Chicago Sun-Times.

The Supreme Court has ruled that a key statute at play in Madigan’s case does not criminalize after-the-fact rewards known as “gratuities.” Madigan’s attorneys have said seven of the 23 counts he faces are tied to the law.

Under a plan outlined by the judge, Madigan’s attorneys would have until July 18 to file motions related to the Supreme Court ruling. [Chicago Sun-Times]

4. Chicago Police rebuff watchdog’s request to reopen an investigation into cops’ ties to Oath Keepers

City Hall’s independent watchdog urged the Chicago Police Department to reopen its investigation that absolved eight officers with ties to the anti-government, extremist Oath Keepers — but CPD “declined to do so,” my colleagues Tom Schuba and Dan Mihalopoulos report.

Inspector General Deborah Witzburg’s office alleged problems with the Police Department’s interviews of three officers whose names had appeared on leaked membership lists for the Oath Keepers, a national group that played a key role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

But Timothy Moore, deputy Bureau of Internal Affairs director, rebuffed the inspector general’s report. He acknowledged seven of the eight accused officers had signed documents related to the Oath Keepers, but said none “had intentions of joining a violent extremist group,” according to records released today.

Witzburg also said Mayor Brandon Johnson’s office had not taken her recommendation that City Hall convene a new task force to address the problems of extremism in the police ranks. [Chicago Sun-Times/WBEZ]

5. Here’s what to know about Windy City Smokeout 2024

Festival season is in full swing, with another big one this weekend.

Musical headliners at the country-centric Windy City Smokeout include Thomas Rhett and Carrie Underwood — but food will also be the star of the festival, with pitmasters from Chicago and across the country firing up outside the United Center.

My colleague Katie Anthony put together a guide to the event, which returns Thursday through Sunday.

Though four-day wristbands are sold out, single-day tickets are still available. The guide also has information on the festival’s bag policy and what you can and can’t bring. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Here’s what else is happening

  • The NASCAR Chicago Street Race’s TV audience fell short of last year. [Chicago Tribune]
  • Joe Biden is making his case for the presidential nomination during this week’s NATO summit. [AP]
  • A Russian missile hit a children’s hospital in Kyiv. [NPR]
  • Should kids be able to buy nonalcoholic beer, wine and mocktails? [NPR]

Oh, and one more thing …

Even if you live for summertime in Chicago, breaks are warranted. Whether you’re escaping big festivals that choke downtown or the Democratic National Convention’s swarm of lanyards, there are plenty of roads less traveled, WBEZ contributor Lauren Viera writes.

The list narrowed travel time to under four hours and highlighted nature sojourns, tiny towns, architectural icons and more.

Selections include Galena, Ill., and Harbor Country, Mich. [WBEZ]

If you’re looking for more suggestions for things to do this summer, text FUN to 312312 for a weekly pick from our summer guide.

Tell me something good …

It’s no surprise Pizza Hut’s new tavern style isn’t as good as our local options. So I’m wondering, what’s your favorite place to get tavern-style pizza in the Chicago area?

Mark writes:

“Tavern pizza is quintessential Chicago as is deep dish. Our long time favorite is from Pat’s Pizza on North Lincoln. A long time family owned place, they have a cracker thin crust. Insider tip - we order the Quattro Formaggio and add the red sauce. Always wondered how they get it so thin…”

Andrew writes:

“The best tavern style pizza is at Vito & Nick’s on the southwest side. Today 5 generations work in the original location. Owner Rose Barraco is a Cordon [Bleu] trained chef, and a stickler for quality, reportedly using many of the same vendors her father first engaged when starting the business. It’s cash only, leave the credit cards at home.

How do I know all of this? Because I invited Rose to sit down with me one Sunday afternoon and she shared a ton of history and anecdotes about my favorite Chicago tavern style pizza restaurant. Great (and delicious) #Chicago moment.”

And Rebecca writes:

“The best tavern style pizza you will EVER eat is Rich’s Pizza Joint in Frankfort IL. The crust is whisper thin and super crispy, and the toppings are sliced so thinly you can practically see through them. Owners Rich and Colleen are doing Tavern Style at a total TEN in the southwest suburbs!”

Feel free to email me, and your response may be included in the newsletter this week.

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