Samantha Smylie

Samantha Smylie

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 new report commissioned by Illinois State Board of Education found that while Illinois public school students scored higher on state tests than tax credit scholarship recipients, students enjoyed private schools they attended.

Illinois lawmakers are back at the capitol filing bills on early childhood education and K-12 schools. Here are five education issues Chalkbeat Chicago will watch during the session.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said his plan to increase early education spending would put the state on track to have universal pre-K by 2027.

Contract negotiations between SEIU Local 73 and Chicago Public Schools have been going on since May 2023. Union leaders say talks have stalled.

The school district has outsourced the management of school janitors and cleaning services since 2014.

Literacy advocates have pushed to get the state to address reading gaps for students. Now, with a state plan finalized, they are looking forward to seeing what’s next

Chicago teachers are trying out different strategies to get young students between kindergarten to second grade interested in math, build their foundational skills, and improve their test scores.

Illinois plans to provide 5,800 additional preschool seats for the state’s youngest learners