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Lori Lightfoot’s whirlwind week one

The week in review

Chicago’s curriculum overhaul: Taking aim at uneven curriculum quality across the district, Chicago will bring local teachers and national education companies together to create instructional materials for all subjects and all grades. Chalkbeat looked the $135 million proposal. 

Slow down the rollout: Amid questions and upheaval, the school board greenlighted the plan. At least one parent group still has questions. Chalkbeat had the story. 

Your view from the classroom: Chalkbeat wants to hear from educators about what they’d like to see in the curriculum plans. Take our survey.

Goodbye free pre-K: Some families who attend Oscar Mayer Magnet School in Lincoln Park will have to pay nearly $14,000 a year in tuition next fall for a preschool. Until now it has been offered to neighborhood families for free. Chalkbeat explained the shift. 

Fresh data on choice: Dispelling fears that a universal application system for high schools would drive more students to charters, a new study shows enrollment at neighborhood schools is up slightly in Chicago. Chalkbeat spoke to the researchers behind it. 

Investigating online learning: Welcome to the world of online coursetaking, where regular public high schools farm out some instruction to computer programs, often in an effort to help students rapidly earn course credits. It helps students graduate — but do they learn? New research raises questions. 

Illinois charter battles heat up: Some legislators are working a bill that would spell the end of the state’s charter commission. WBEZ looked at the bill — and why some groups oppose it.  

We’re Cassie Walker Burke, Adeshina Emmanuel, and Yana Kunichoff and we cover public education in Chicago. Have a story idea? Great. Write us at And be sure to follow us on Twitter @chalkbeatCHI. 

Looking ahead

The Chicago Park District will offer free programs in its 97 locations with the goal of keeping kids safe Memorial Day weekend. Here’s the rundown.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot will speak at City Club on Tuesday.

The Chicago Teachers Union will hold an FAQ session for parents and early childhood educators about preschool on Thursday.


PHOTO: Photo by Rich Chapman Photographers LLC
CZR PRZ and the Roosevelt High mural

Students at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Albany Park said their school was a lot brighter this week with the completion of an art mural project that brought together four artists, a premium bottled water brand, and school officials. Four Chicago artists contributed to the project — Merlot, CZR PRZ, Kane One, and Asend One, which was sponsored by Lifewtr. The company also donated 300 art kits to the school. “This makes our school look better and brighter. It shows others that we want to improve who we are as a school,” said one senior art student.

Want to give a #HighFive to an outstanding student, educator, or friend of schools? Send your suggestions to We’d love your ideas!


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