Recently in CPS Category

Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown has been against the idea of an elected school board in Chicago. Until Wednesday, May 22. That's the day that the Chicago Board of Education, appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in nearly the blink of an eye, voted to close 50 public schools in the city.

Mark wrote about his change of heart on an appointed body. Here he discusses why he sees need for a change.

When news originally broke in March that more than 50 Chicago Public Schools were on a kill list, Sun-Times reporter Lauren FitzPatrick and multimedia reporter Jessica Koscielniak began working on a deep-dive storytelling venture to show the largest toll that cost-reduction plan would take.

The pair spent months interviewing parents, children and community members in three effected neighborhoods for a series, The Final Bell, that looked at the difficulties children will face simply walking to and from school - often crossing gang territories, past open air drug markets and skirting other dangerous situations.

In this video, Koscielniak talks about a number of the images she made during the reporting for the series and provides added insight into the people who told their stories.

You can find Koscielniak on Instagram as herself and on the Sun-Times page. Her images for the series can also be found on Flickr.


Protesters were led out of Chicago City Hall in handcuffs Monday after a third day of marching against plans to close as many as 54 public schools in the city.

Reporter Jon Seidel was on hand to document via Twitter the story as it developed:

The National Public Radio program "This American Life" profiled Chicago's Harper High school in a powerful two-part series in March. Today, Michelle Obama will visit the South Side school to take part in a discussion about gun violence in the city.

Listen here to both episodes. Find the full report on their site.

Chicago Sun-Times education reporter Lauren FitzPatrick was on hand for the Chicago Public School Board meeting on Tuesday. For the first time since school closings were announced, public comments were taken.

FitzPatrick livetweeted the meeting as part of the coverage:

The schools that CPS identified Wednesday as potential targets for closing are located primarily on the South and West Sides. Most of the schools are considered by CPS to be underutilized or under capacity. They're also level 2 or 3 in terms of academic performance, meaning good or failing. Click on locations on the map to see which schools are on the list.

A timeline of CPS violence

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Earlier today, the coaches for the Simeon and Morgan Park boys basketball teams were suspended for actions stemming from a post-game brawl last weekend. CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett then issued a statement to CPS coaches outlining strict conduct protocol and announced a meeting for February 2 when these issues will be more fully addressed. Until then, here's a timeline of recent violent acts at high school athletic events in Chicago. Below that, find a Storify recap of reaction to Saturday's shooting and brawl at Chicago State following the Simeon-Morgan Park.

With Barbara Byrd-Bennett's approval Friday of only three of her
school closing panel's recommendations, several more schools entered
the pool of the ones that could potentially be closed -- for the
following reasons

1.) Enrollment was over 600 and/or the utilization rate was
close to what the district considers efficient.
2.) The school faced a "significant action" in recent years.

Click on a school to see why it is on the list:

A new report by CPS analyzing school enrollment has determined which schools are:


The school's enrollment is less than 80% of its ideal capacity


The school's enrollment is between 80% and 120% of its capacity


The school's enrollment is more than 120% of its ideal capacity

Use this map to examine the utilization status of schools in your area. These definitions refer to the criteria shown in the map:

Utilization rate: The school's enrollment as a percentage of its ideal capacity

Performance level: How the school has performed academically. Levels 1 (poorest) through 3 (best).

Allotted homeroom classrooms: Ideally, 70-75% of a school's classrooms should be homerooms. A school's ideal capacity is determined by multiplying the number of homerooms by 30 students.

Allotted ancillary classrooms: Other types of rooms such as laboratories, special education rooms, etc.

Source: CPS

Josh Cunningham of Morgan Park flies in for a shot against Notre Dame. | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media

Here are some of the stories that caught our attention during the work day for December 4, 2012.

• Chicago Public Schools released its findings on the number of children in each school, figures that will help determine which schools will be closed or consolidated after the CPS ignores the pleas of parents. [Sun-Times]

• Mayor Emanuel's digital billboard plan got the rubber stamp approval from his minions was approved by the City Council. [WBEZ]

• Speaking of Mayor Emanuel, he doesn't care about the head of a firm with a big O'Hare contract being tied to the mob because the idea of such a thing happening in Chicago, of all places, is just preposterous. [Sun-Times]

• This year's New Years Eve penny rides on the CTA will be free this year, covered by beer megacorp MillerCoors though given the quality of the CTA lately, Malort would have been a better choice. [RedEye]

• A bill to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain state driver's licenses sailed through the state senate today. [Sun-Times]

• Former Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica was sentenced to four months of court supervision after being found guilty of criminal damage because he defaced campaign signs of his opponent in the 2010 election which Peraica lost. Let this be a lesson to other politicians: keep arguments with opponents confined to the bottomless pit of despair that is the Internet, where they belong. [Sun-Times]

• The city has quickly reached an agreement with the bartender beaten by former Chicago cop Anthony Abbate so it can ask the presiding judge to set aside the ruling a jury recently made. [CBS 2]

• It's like Yelp!, except for dirty massage parlors! [CSJ]

• NPR has a fantastic feature about renowned local reissue label Numero Group and its numerous compilations which any of you should feel free to buy me for Christmas. [NPR]

• EVERYBODY PANIC!!!! Bears Edition as Brian Urlacher may be done for the year. [Sun-Times]

• BRIGHT ONE: Carol Marin, one of the three Sun-Times reporters who helped push the David Koschman case, shares why Christmas is no joyful time for Nancy Koschman. [Sun-Times]

• FINALLY: Stop Tweeting from the toilet. [France 24]

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