Leveling the playing field

More than 30 years ago, the federal government sued the Chicago Park District for showering money on parks in predominantly white areas. Today, which area has more money often determines who gets park upgrades.

Quick to punish

Students caught with an ounce or less of marijuana are more likely to be arrested in school than a student who starts a fight or steals. Hundreds of teens are arrested each year for drug offenses involving pot—offenses that may warrant only a ticket for adult Chicagoans.

Reclaiming the avenue

The housing recovery has yet to reach the 6200 block of South Fairfield Avenue in Chicago Lawn, but residents aren’t waiting for the market to bring back the street. They’re doing it themselves.

Jumping the ship

The price tag to replace the thousands of teachers who leave CPS schools each year is $71.5 million. The academic cost of turnover is highest for poor students of color in distressed communities, who are most likely to see their teachers leave for easier jobs in other districts and other careers.

Turnaround to turnover

In the summer before a turnaround, schools that have been left to languish for years experience an adrenaline rush of frenetic energy. But at many of the turnarounds, the optimism almost immediately begins to unravel. Nowhere is this more evident than with the revolving door the turnaround sets in motion with teachers. 

Keeping a faculty whole

Principal Brian Metcalf didn’t try to clear the decks when he took over Field Elementary. Instead, he jumped in the trenches to work with teachers instead of showing them the door.

A new end game

Career education is no longer just about preparing students to enter the workforce. In line with a national trend of ‘college for all’ and the reality that most good-paying jobs require education beyond high school, CPS has overhauled its career education programs to make college the ultimate goal.

IB program tackles career ed

A career-related certificate administered by the International Baccalaureate Organization—more widely known for its advanced, rigorous IB Diploma Programme—is the cornerstone of CPS’ efforts to expand its high school IB offerings in new “wall-to-wall” IB schools.

Ticket to a job

Part of the CPS push to improve career education is to have students gain relevant work experience through internships and earn industry-recognized credentials to help them get jobs. But on both fronts, the district is falling short.