Testing the candidates for Illinois governor

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner would veto a bill to restore an elected school board in Chicago, while his Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker would sign it. Rauner would extend the reach of a controversial $100 million tax credit scholarship “to $1 billion” if he could, while Pritzker would curtail the new program, which diverts public tax dollars to tuition at private schools for some 5,600 Illinois students. But plowing more money into public education — from early childhood through college — came up as a rare point of agreement in back-to-back candidate conversations Chalkbeat Chicago conducted in partnership with WBEZ 91.5 FM. To read our analysis and hear the candidates’ responses to our questions, click here.

We’re Cassie Walker Burke, Adeshina Emmanuel and Yana Kunichoff, and we round up Chicago education news every week — just for you. Please send any tips, story ideas, or general shoutouts our way: And support local journalism! Sign up for our newsletter, here, and share it with a friend.

One more reminder: Chalkbeat Chicago is regularly live- tweeting events and meetings on Twitter. Follow us @ChalkbeatCHI, @cassiechicago, @public_ade, and @yanazure.

Week in Review

Moving Costs: Chalkbeat Detroit is out with a groundbreaking series about the alarming frequency with which K-12 students change schools. The series looks at the reasons for these moves, their unintended consequences — including lower test scores, increased behavioral issues, and higher dropout rates — and possible solutions for Detroit and beyond. Read the series, “Moving Costs,” over at Chalkbeat Detroit.

A boost for neighborhood schools?: Schools chief Janice Jackson said Chicago principals have until Oct. 26 to draft letters of intent to apply for sought-after programs for their local schools. Here’s the story, from Chalkbeat Chicago.

Communication issues: Last year, a state investigation found Chicago Public Schools routinely denied or delayed services for students with disabilities in violation of federal law. The state appointed a monitor to oversee improvements within the district’s special education program — but parents say the district hasn’t even sent letters out explaining what the state found, or what comes next for their children. Chalkbeat Chicago has the story.

Kind lessons: Carla Frangella is a guidance counselor at a Southwest Side school where she’s known as the “kindness captain.” Chalkbeat Chicago interviewed Frangella about the enduring power of kindness, how you teach it, and how what happens in the community finds its way into her school. You can read our piece here.

Hidden gems: When a student doesn’t get accepted at a top-tier selective enrollment high school, that doesn’t spell the end of the world. We attended a high school fair over the weekend focused on high-quality but lesser-known high schools and programs. Chalkbeat Chicago has the story.

Blue Ribbon winners: Two of Chicago’s most selective schools were awarded Blue Ribbon status by the U.S. Education Department, an honor designated for schools that have test scores in the top 15 percent in their state, or have shown extraordinary progress in narrowing the gap in scores between ethnic groups. Read more at Chalkbeat Chicago.

Teaching about police torture: The New Yorker took a look at Chicago Public Schools’ new curriculum that teaches students Chicago’s history of police torture under former police Commander Jon Burge, whose so-called midnight crew of officers is notorious for torturing scores of black men from the early 1970s to early ’90s, forcing confessions out of many of the victims. Here’s a great read, from the New Yorker.

There’s room: Charter school advocates boast about long waiting lists for charters in the city — but an analysis shows that there was enough room at city charter high schools for just about every eighth grader who picked a charter as their top choice on the district’s new centralized high school application. WBEZ has the story.

Looking ahead

Special education trainings for parents: The school district’s Parent University and Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services are hosting six trainings this month focused on helping parents and guardians navigate the process for Individualized Education Programs, which identify needs, goals, and services for a student with a disability.

Here’s a list of this month’s trainings, all from 10 a.m. to noon:

Oct. 10, Sullivan High School, 6631 N. Bosworth Ave.
Oct. 18, Corliss High School, 821 E. 103rd St.
Oct. 19, Dyett High School, 555 E. 51st St.
Oct. 23, Perez High School, 2001 S. Throop St.
Oct. 25, Avondale/Logandale, 3212 W. George St.
Oct. 30, Bogan High School, 3939 W. 79th St.

Board meeting: On Oct. 24 at 10:30 a.m., the Chicago Board of Education returns for its monthly board meeting at 42 W. Madison St. The meeting is open to the public. Advance registration for speakers and observers opens on Oct. 22.

Teacher workshop: Registration is open for the annual Chicago Foundation for Education Teacher Workshop, to be held on Saturday, Nov. 3 at Chicago-Kent College of Law. The workshop is one of the only citywide professional development events facilitated by and for Chicago-area teachers and is open to preK-12th grade educators. Attendees may earn five professional development hours. Find out more.


This week’s High Five goes out to Armando Pizano, 18, of the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the South Side. Pizano, a graduate of Jones College Prep, is one of 25 inspiring young people honored with the 2018 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes. He was recognized for creating the Bridge Tutoring Program, which provides students in under-resourced communities with weekly free mentorship and after-school tutoring. Last school year, Bridge paired 100 tutors from a handful of high schools with more than 300 elementary school students.

“Helping people receive opportunities I didn’t have has been one of the most rewarding experiences imaginable,” says Pizano, now a freshman at the University of Chicago “I want to continue supporting people in under-resourced communities as I transition to college and beyond.”