Q&A with Alan Anderson

Next school year, CPS is taking a gamble that its “turnaround” strategy will transform six underperforming schools with new principals, teachers and curricula. Signaling that the strategy is here to stay, the district created the new turnarounds office, led by Anderson, a one-time engineer who joined CPS as a Broad Foundation fellow. Data and Research Editor John Myers sat down with Anderson to talk about the challenges ahead.

Q&A with Michael Feinberg

The mantra “no shortcuts” reflects the longer school day, Saturday school and daily homework that are staples of KIPP. Co-founder Michael Feinberg is adamant about the need for more teaching time to improve learning, especially for low-income kids who start school behind their middle-class peers. KIPP now operates a national network of 57 schools, including KIPP Ascend on the West Side. Feinberg, a Teach for America alumnus who was in Chicago recently, talked with Deputy Editor Lorraine Forte about motivation, expectations and lessons learned when another campus here, KIPP Chicago Youth Village, closed in 2006.

Q&A with Jenné Myers

For the last 15 years, Working in the Schools (WITS) has been recruiting volunteers to read with CPS students. Writer Jazmenda McNabb sat down with Executive Director Jenné Myers to talk about the program.

Q&A with David Kirp

David Kirp is an outspoken critic of policies—like those in Illinois—that promote quantity over quality in preschool education. Kirp was in Chicago recently to discuss his engaging new book “The Sandbox Investment: The Preschool Movement and Kids-First Politics” at a conference on early childhood education hosted by the Erikson Institute. He spoke with Consulting Editor Cindy Richards about why Chicago is, as he calls it, “the epicenter of the pre-k universe.”

Q&A with Laura Potts Langdon

“Choices in Little Rock,” a social studies curriculum developed by the non-profit education organization Facing History and Ourselves, examines a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement: the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Ark. Laura Potts Langdon, an 8th-grade social studies teacher at Ames Middle School in Logan Square, talked to writer Yvon Wang about the impact of the curriculum on her students.

Q&A with Timothy Daly

Chicago’s teacher hiring and transfer policies, which allow principals to fill their own vacancies and teachers to choose where they want to work, are the envy of other urban districts, but CPS needs a big-picture strategy to hire and keep the cream of the teaching crop.

Q&A with Thomas E. Darden Jr.

As a young man growing up in Indianapolis, Thomas E. Darden Jr. remembers attending low-performing schools. But good teachers helped him succeed in school and helped spark an interest in public education. He talks about the importance of school leadership and how schools can get corporate support.

Q&A with Errol Stone

Instead of a courtroom or Loop high-rise, Errol Stone now spends most of his workday in classrooms and hallways at Legacy Charter in North Lawndale, the school launched in 2005 by law firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal to commemorate its centennial. Sonnenschein pledged to spend $1 million to get Legacy off the ground; now, Stone says, the firm plans to put an additional $3 million toward construction of a new building for the school. Stone, a managing partner with the firm, talked with Deputy Editor Lorraine Forte about the rewards and challenges of starting a school from scratch.

Q&A with David Roche

Arts programs don’t magically raise test scores, but they can level the playing field for kids of differing academic abilities and teach students skills, like the ability to work cooperatively, that transfer to other life situations, says David Roche, who talked with writer Rebecca Harris about the importance of arts education.

Q&A with Greg Duncan

Economic policies that support work and boost income are a proven way to improve children’s academic achievement, says Greg Duncan of Northwestern University. Duncan is co-author of the new book “Higher Ground: New Hope for the Working Poor and Their Children,” on a three-year program instituted in Milwaukee in the mid-1990s.