State Education Reporter, Chalkbeat Chicago
Samantha Smylie is currently the State Education Reporter for Chalkbeat Chicago. Before joining Chalkbeat’s team, she worked at the Hyde Park Herald covering housing, education, retail and development in the Kenwood-Hyde Park neighborhoods on the city’s south-east side. She was a reporter fellow for City Bureau and participated in Propublica’s Data Institute. She had bylines in Block Club Chicago, the Chicago Reader and South Side Weekly.
A boost in early childhood education, more funding for K-12 schools, and a major investment in accessing higher education are in the final version of the 2024 budget that the House passed early Saturday morning. It now heads to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk to be signed.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said there is a deal on the 2024 budget. Here’s what we know about education funding.
The Illinois governor announced Wednesday that there is a 2024 budget deal with lawmakers. Here’s what it could mean for education.
Illinois legislators pass bill that requires school districts to have a full-day kindergarten bill by 2027 as spring legislative session starts to wind down.
Illinois legislators passed a bill on Friday that will require the State Board of Education to create a literacy plan for public schools to ensure that schools are teaching evidence-based reading.
Will Illinois sunset its tax credit scholarship program? Here are four things you should know about Invest in Kids.
The controversial Illinois tax credit scholarship program known as Invest In Kids will sunset unless lawmakers agree to an extension. Here’s four things you should know.
Illinois lawmakers are tasked with drawing Chicago’s elected school board map by July 1. Advocates want to see state officials ensure that Latino families are fairly represented and able to vote for school board members.
After-school providers and students call on Illinois officials to find funding for after-school programs
The Illinois State Board of Education told after-school providers that due to an error, they will not receive additional funding after fiscal year 2024. Now, students, parents, providers, and school districts are calling on the state board, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, and the general assembly to make up the funding to continue programs.
Illinois Teacher of the Year Briana Morales supports her students in East St. Louis District 189 by using written and spoken word to navigate poverty, gun violence, and personal loss.
Illinois education advocates are hoping state lawmakers pass legislation changing how schools teach reading
One bill moving quickly in Illinois’ general assembly would require state education officials to develop a statewide literacy plan aimed at improving reading instruction.
State lawmakers are considering a bill that would require school districts to have a full-day program beginning in 2027.
Leaders with the nationally-recognized charter school network said Wednesday they filed a lawsuit to keep control of its remaining two campuses serving Black boys in Englewood and Bronzeville. Chicago Public Schools has said it plans to keep the schools open under district management.
Illinois lawmakers are considering bills on full-day kindergarten, Native American history, and preventing book bans.
Illinois’ general assembly is at the halfway point of the spring legislative session. Some education bills are moving fast in Springfield and could make it to the governor’s desk.
Two years after Gov. J.B Pritzker signed Chicago’s elected school board bill into law, it’s time for the general assembly to draw new district maps. Advocates and educators want the district mapped in a way that ensures representation for the Black and Latino students who attend CPS.
Early childhood education advocates want the winner of the April 4 runoff to prioritize access to affordable child care, attracting and retaining early childhood education staff.
Chalkbeat Chicago spoke to three Illinois teachers about how they are teaching Black history to their students.
A new report has found that Illinois’ K-12 evidence-based funding formula is working to increase funding for districts that serve students from low-income families, students of color, and students around the state since being implemented in 2017.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker proposed a $70 million pilot program in the 2024 budget to address the state’s teacher shortage.
A new report from Gov. J.B Pritzker’s Children’s Behavioral Transformation Initiative makes 12 recommendations for how the state can support families and children in need of mental health services.
During the Illinois spring legislative session, Chalkbeat Chicago will watch education issues that relate to funding, early childhood education, students with disabilities, support for school-aged migrants, mental health, and literacy.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s 2024 budget proposal includes significant increases for early childhood education in Illinois
Pritzker’s 2024 budget recommendation includes a boost in funding for early childhood education and higher education.
Illinois governor plans to boost child care and early childhood education with $250 million proposal
Gov. J.B. Pritzker announces a plan that will give $250 million more toward the state’s early childhood education and child care programs.
Chalkbeat Chicago spoke with early-career educators who started their careers during the pandemic to highlight their experiences.
Early childhood education needs more funding, say Chicago’s mayoral candidates. However, each candidate’s proposal differs in how to do it.
Nearly 700 school leaders say the Illinois teacher shortage is getting worse and makes it difficult to find qualified teachers and fill vacancies in hard-to-fill positions like special education and bilingual education.
The Illinois State Board of Education named Tony Sanders as the next state superintendent. Sanders, who is currently the superintendent of Elgin’s U-46, will start his new job on Feb. 23.
Illinois public schools saw a 1.7% drop in enrollment this school year, according to data from Dec. 14. But the number of English learners is growing.
Ayala cites concerns about an economic slowdown
‘It’s time to rest’: The state’s top education official looks back at her time in office during the pandemic
On eve of retirement, Superintendent Carmen Ayala talks to Chalkbeat Chicago about her work on equity and teacher recruitment, and what’s still unfinished.
Gun violence and reproductive rights dominated Illinois’ lame-duck session, but state lawmakers did pass education legislation. Here are some school-related bills you might have missed.
A bill that will give Chicago principals and assistant principals collective bargaining rights passed the state Senate 45-7, and heads to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk.