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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Monday, June 24

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Next Year's CPS Schedule Released

Parents may not be thrilled by the 2016-17 school schedule, which thanks to a quirk of the calendar has winter break starting on Christmas Eve and spring break ending on Easter.


Northwestern is opening a "new space" in San Francisco featuring joint programming from the Medill School of Journalism and McCormick School of Engineering.

P Equals NP, Solved?

U of C computer science professor László Babai may have solved a million dollar math problem.

Charter for Misdeeds

Charter management company Concept Schools is suspected of funnelling as much as $5 million in federal grant money away from charter schools and into the pockets of executives and contractors.

Sorry, Baby

Chicago Public Schools will be paying $280k in damages and back pay to a group of Northwest Side teachers who were fired after receiving performance ratings that an federal investigation later revealed were intentionally lowered by their school principal. The reason for this? They were pregnant.

Christian Professor Suspended for Hijab

Wheaton College political science professor Larycia Hawkins was suspended for wearing a hijab during Advent "in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book."

This morning, I partook of the Eucharist, the culmination of the Christian liturgy where Christians through the...

Posted by Larycia Alaine Hawkins on Sunday, December 13, 2015

Another Teacher Strike is Possible

Chicago Teachers Union members voted 96.5% yes on authorizing a strike should current contract negotiations break down.

"Better Make Room"

FLOTUS Michelle Obama raps--yes, raps--a shoutout to the South Side in the CollegeHumor "Go to College" video.

CTU Strike Vote Begins Today

The Chicago Teachers Union begins its strike vote today; CTU President Karen Lewis laid out the argument for a strike in a video.

CPS in Crisis Again

In spite of a five-year ban on school closures agreed upon during the last teacher's strike, CPS wants to close and consolidate two high schools. Meanwhile, CTU teachers may vote next week to strike.

Sick & Tired of Bad Lunches

School food is notoriously bad, but it's gotten even worse under the management of food service giant Aramark. Students in a Roosevelt High School civics class are holding Aramark accountable with a new website.

The U of C to Close Tomorrow in Response to Online Threat

The U of C is cancelling all classes and most other activities on campus tomorrow in response to "an online threat of gun violence" in the main quad.

School Board Loses a Dissenting Voice

CPS students are 45 percent Latino, but there's only one Latino school board member, Jesse Ruiz -- and Mayor Emanuel is pushing him out. Ruiz is moving to the board of the Park District, and his replacement has yet to be named.

You Used to Summon Me with Your Fancy Bells

The noted philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, who donated a 100-ton carillon to UChicago over 80 years ago, would be proud to hear the dulcet tones of Drake's "Hotline Bling" being played on it this past Friday.

Characterize Your Professor

Northwestern Professor Ben Schmidt analyzed the gendered language in professor reviews on, and found, among other things, that female professors were less likely to be called funny than male professors, while more likely to be called caring or unprofessional. Men were more likely to be called arrogant and genius. [via]

Student are Activists

Students who have been protesting CPS budget cuts and school closures are part of a long tradition in Chicago.

Google Aids Local Special Ed Classrooms

Google's charitable foundation fully funded every special education-related campaign in Cook County on Donors Choose, a platform for teachers to request donations for specific projects. There are plenty more Chicago classrooms looking for support.

Post-Assault Plan of Action

After finding errors in the police report of her rape, U of C alumna Michele Beaulieu created a decision matrix for college rape survivors to decide what course of action they want to take.

CPS + Ventra = Winning Combo

A man was caught selling stolen Ventra farecards intended for homeless CPS students, the BGA reports. It's part of an overall pattern of lax control of Ventra cards by the school district, whose budget for CTA fares has more than doubled in the past five years.

Growing Good Students

Schurz High School is building a food science lab and urban farm, and they're looking for help to build an LED grow light system.

Chartered Failure

UNO is on the verge of bankruptcy, endangering the the network of charter schools it runs.

Dive into the Collection

Chicago Collections is a new consortium of libraries, museums, schools and institutions dedicated to preserving and sharing Chicagoland's history and culture. Explore the archives online.

Union-versity of Chicago

The nontenured faculty at the University of Chicago have filed to unionize -- as are adjunct professors as Concordia University.

Divide & Conquer

A dozen CPS high schools enrolled fewer than 50 freshman this year -- typically the school's largest grade. It's partly a result of there being 140 high schools in the city, compared with 88 a decade ago. Meanwhile, CPS is recommending charter school operator Noble Street Network open one more, even as it put six charter high schools on warning.

Few Kids in Classrooms

CPS enrollment has dropped again this year, down to 392,285 from 396,683 in 2014.

Keep Schools Connected

Spring is shutting down its WiMax network in the coming weeks in favor of LTE -- causing schools and libraries to lose access to affordable internet service, a lawsuit alleges.

Jumpman News

Nike is planning a Jordan brand-only store for Stat Street. Meanwhile, Jerry West, the player the NBA's current logo is modeled after, would pick Michael Jordan to replace him.

Graduating the Dead

CPS isn't the only school system fudging the numbers. The City Colleges are finding ways to give diplomas to dropouts -- even if they're dead -- to increase graduation rates.

SUPES Awkward

Barbara Byrd-Bennett pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges Tuesday -- but her co-defendents pleaded not guilty, setting up an opportunity for her to cooperate with investigators for a lenient sentence.

Meanwhile, in Cleveland, there's a "Barbara Byrd-Bennett Professional Development Center" standing vacant, [via]

Amusingly, Watchdog Arena, the citizen journalism arm of the conservative libertarian Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, described Catalyst Chicago reporter Sarah Karp, who broke the no-bid contract story, as a "mother with a blog."

Abolishing Columbus Day? Whaddja say Chicago?

Eight cities around the US have abolished Oct. 12 as Columbus Day in the past two months and instead have named it Indigenous People's Day. Seattle, Minneapolis, Berkeley are some of the big ones who have agreed with this trend. With the Columbus Day Parade and kids getting the day off, ChicagoNow blogger Teresa Puente makes a great argument. What do you think, Chicago?

Opening the Vault

This weekend, archives of various sorts are throwing open the doors as part of Chicago Open Archives. [via]

Byrd-Bennett Indicted

Former CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett, as well as SUPES Academy and its co-owners, Gary Solomon and Tom Vranas, have been indicted on federal fraud charges in connection to the no-bid contract awarded to SUPES for professional training.

To Serve & Protect the School

Juliet Eldred is documenting the borders of the University of Chicago Police Department's patrol coverage, photographing and categorizing where university of police will and won't go.

Teaching at Risk

Teacher Marilyn Rhames worries that CPS's lack of vision and focus is dooming both public and charter schools alike, but that freezing charter schools isn't the answer.

"Rain is bad for a book!"

Slate shares five children's library Modernist posters by graphic artist Arlington Gregg, who created them for the Illinois WPA Federal Art Project in the 1930s.

Karen Lewis Removes her Hat

CTU President Karen Lewis talked with Channel 5's Carol Marin and Mary Ann Ahern to talk about her brain cancer, and took off her hat to show her scars publicly for the first time.

Sausage King of Chicago

No, not Hot Doug, nor Abe Froman. It's Mark Reitman, the guy who runs Vienna Beef's Hot Dog University.

Duncan's Coming Back

Secretary of Education and former CPS chief Arne Duncan announced today that stepping down and returning to Chicago. No word on what he'll be doing here, short of "spending time with his family."

"Yeah Mom, I Totally Graduated."

CPS is revising graduation rates down around 3 percent for the years 201102014, after WBEZ and the Better Government Association uncovered that CPS had inflated graduation rates thanks to such errors as counting dropouts as transfers.

Less Help for the Neediest Students

CPS is cutting funding for special needs students, after already eliminating 500 jobs over the summer.

Griffins Learn About Rape

The Reader tells the story of the UChicago Clothesline Project and how a group of student activists convinced the University of Chicago to include sexual assault awareness in Orientation Week programming.

Joakim Rocks

You may have seen posters of Joakim Noah promoting a "drop of consciousness" pendant to support non-violence programs by his Noah's Arc Foundation. Now Noah and the foundation are teaming up with nonprofit Be Creative to fund arts programs in CPS schools.

The Grid: Circus School at Aloft Loft (360°)

"Circus School at Aloft Loft," the newest 360° installment in our documentary film series, The Grid, goes up in the air with adult circus performers and enthusiasts.

Dyett Hunger Strike Ends

The Dyett High School hunger strikers have ended their strike, after 34 days, citing health issues. They vowed to keep fighting to reopen the South Side high school with a green technology focus; CPS has agreed to reopen the school, but with an arts focus.

Anti-Crime Doesn't Pay

A paper titled "Thinking, Fast and Slow? Some Field Experiments to Reduce Crime and Dropout in Chicago" caught the attention of Freakonomics Radio.

Recycled Barre Dance in Pilsen

Recycled Barre offers free dance and reduced price dance classes in Pilsen. The Reader wrote how they plan to open up Sept. 21 for Chicago's first non-profit community-based dance studio. Finally, a chance to plié and hip hop on a budget.

Dyett Fight Continues

The Dyett hunger strikers entered their fifth week of protest after rejecting the city's latest proposal for an open-enrollment arts school.

History of Kickbacks

Former CPS head Barbara Byrd-Bennett sent more than $3.4 million in contracts to her former employer while working in Detroit, according to the Sun-Times.

New Plans for Dyett

CPS announced Dyett High School will reopen as an arts-focused neighborhood school, with a compromise plan integrating the different proposals for the school.

Activists who are on a hunger strike in support of their own proposal said they're still not satisfied with the new plan.

Turn it up!

A small study of Chicago low-income high school students resulted in the claim that music classes can improve language skills.

Still Hungry for Change

Activists on a hunger strike in support of reopening Dyett High School as a neighborhood school are entering the 8th day of their protest.

Hungry for Change

Parents are staging a hunger strike to protest the closing of Bronzeville's Dyett High School. Follow their progress here.

Out of Chances

The special education school featured in the Vice series "Last Chance High" now has no students.

Out of Session

CPS announced plans to lay off 1,500 teachers and staff due to changes in student enrollment.

New First Bells

CPS released new starting times for 82 of its schools, which were staggered in order to save money on transportation costs.

From Ventra Cards to Diplomas

Mayor Emanuel is expected to appoint former CTA head Forrest Claypool as the new CEO of CPS.

Tuition Going Up at City Colleges

A new pricing system will make community college more expensive for part-time students as part of an effort to encourage full-time enrollment.

Cutbacks Continue

Around 1,400 jobs at CPS will be slashed to compensate for the City's latest pension payment. Officials claim class sizes will not increase.

RIP Marva Collins

Educator Marva Collins, who founded Westside Preparatory School as part of her mission to educate poor black students in Chicago, passed away Wednesday.

Marva Collins, RIP

The Civil Rights activist and pioneering educator, who started West Side Preparatory School in Garfield Park, passed away Wednesday at age 78.

Cramming into Classrooms

One in five CPS students started the school year in overcrowded classrooms, the BGA reports.

The Poverty Curve

Standardized test scores in a school still consistently go down as the proportion of low-income students goes up.

Steered in the Right Direction

Teaching agricultural skills is a method proven effective for community development abroad, and on the South Side.

CCLaP call for submissions for "all-star" student anthology extended to 7/1

The Chicago Center for Literature and Photography (CCLaP) is accepting submissions for their 2nd annual "all-star" student anthology. The theme this year is: The View From Here: Stories from Chicago Neighborhoods. Work is being accepted from students at all Chicago area colleges & universities.

Good Work, Internet

Scholarship money stolen from St. Hyacinth Basilica School has been repaid - and more added - by funds donated to the elementary school online.

Byrd-Bennett Bounces

Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett resigned amid the ongoing federal investigation into a no-bid contract for a training firm she had ties to. She went on paid leave in mid-April. Read more about CPS's long history of corruption scandals.

Caps Off to Her

Formerly homeless and a mother in eighth grade, a high school valedictorian is graduating with more than $600,000 in college scholarship offers.

Partial Credit

CPS left out 22 schools when it estimated the cost of hiring a private company to manage its janitors - and now owes an additional $7 million.

Dreaming of Fields

Sports programs are often under-resourced and the first to face cuts at schools in low-income neighborhoods.

A Buyer's Market

CPS may break its promise not to sell closed school buildings to charters as it struggles to find developers interested in them while paying millions on upkeep.

Three 360° Videos from The Grid

Today GB's documentary video series, The Grid, features three 360° videos shot with a special six-camera rig. The videos, which let you point the "camera" in any direction, are about the April 28th demonstration at the CPD headquarters, droning in the Chicago Park District and the Art Institute's recent MFA show.

Suburbs in the City

A TEDx talk by Ald. Ameya Pawar outlines his big idea for keeping parents from moving to the suburbs: improving and better integrating neighborhood K-12 schools.

School Sucks, Part 2

An 18-year-old Mather High School student headbutted a security guard trying to remove him from a classroom, breaking his nose.

School Sucks, Part 1

Curious City answers the question, Were Chicago's public schools ever good? The answer, as you'd expect, is complicated. Meanwhile, Whet Moser explores how Big Business has pushed school reform over the past 100 years in Chicago.

Defining Quality

Today may be the "golden era" of Chicago's public schools, according to an investigation about whether CPS was ever "good" by WBEZ's Becky Vevea.

Ramblers Repeat on Volleyball Court

Loyola's men's volleyball team beat top-seeded Lewis University to win the NCAA championship for the second year in a row.

Living in 3D

Are you a maker of industrial 3D objects or would you like to be? If so, and if you live on the north side, then you're likely to be thrilled by the opening of the Chicago Industrial Arts & Design Center. Their grand opening is Monday, and they'll be expanding to fully serve people who work with wood, metal, casting, and digital fabrication. I got a sneak peek a few weeks ago and it seems very promising.

The Scav is Back

The University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt has begun. This year's list [PDF] includes holding a wedding, emoji charades, a two-person cocktail-shaking routine ala Cocktail, and a properly balanced breakfast ice cream. You have until Sunday.

CTU Turns Down CPS Pay Cut

Chicag Public Schools ask the Teachers Union for a 7 percent pay cut in their next contract. The CTU filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the National Labor Relations Board yesterday.

No New School

What ever happened to Mayor Emanuel's plans to spend $60 million on a new selective enrollment school on the Near North Side (formerly named after Barack Obama)?

Super Good Guy

One of the owners of SUPES Academy, a principal training company currently under investigation by the FBI for allegedly receiving a no-bid contract with CPS from chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett, was forced out of his job as principal of Niles West High School in 2001 due to allegations of inappropriate contact with minors and other problems. (Read more about CPS's history of corruption at the top in Mechanics.)

Schools Probe Spreads

Federal investigators looking into corruption at CPS are investigating the involvement of the Chicago Public Education Fund, an education reform group once headed by Gov. Rauner.

CPS Chief Under Investigation

The US Attorney is investigating CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett's relationship with north suburban SUPES Academy, which received a no-bid contract to provide leadership training. CPS's own inspector general has been looking into the deal since 2013, spurred by a Catalyst Chicago investigation.

Harrington to Close

Harrington College of Design is shutting down after 84 years, citing declining enrollment. Current students will be transferred to Columbia College (or wherever they choose to go otherwise) and the school's operations will cease by 2018.

Good Behavior

Far fewer CPS students were expelled while also reporting they felt safer in schools during the 2013-2014 school year, Catalyst reports.

A Filthy Education

Six months after principals complained about contract janitorial staff doing a poor job of cleaning schools, things haven't improved, Catalyst reports.

The College Dropout Gets His PhD

Kanye West revealed in a recent interview that he will receiving an honorary doctorate at SAIC's spring commencement; the school has not made an announcement.

Not Going to Harvard

Molly McGaan, a senior at Francis Parker, created a fake rejection letter from Harvard that has gone viral -- and prompted a response from the Harvard Crimson. Meanwhile, McGaan is probably going to Michigan.

Love Your Lit

Columbia College's Story Week kicks off this Sunday, March 15. Programming features writers ranging from Chris Abani to Elizabeth Yokas, from Edwidge Danticat to Rick Kogan.

Can't Skip Test Day

CPS reversed its plans not to give a state-mandated test to all its students after the state said up to $1.4 billion in funding would be at risk.

Quality Versus Quantity

Chicago's high school graduation rate is up, but some alternative schools may be lowering standards and using unproven online instruction methods, according to an investigation by Catalyst and WBEZ.

Elect Me, Don't Appoint Me

A recently released UIC report [PDF] on the impact of having mayor-appointed board members in the Chicago Public Schools (versus elected members, which is the norm in 98% of the nation's school districts) shows the urgent need for more transparency in how the school system is run. By the way, many Chicagoans will be asked to vote on the need for an elected school board in this Tuesday's election.

Stay Warm Out There

It's gonna be really cold today, like no school cold. (All area YMCA locations will be open today should you need a place to take the kids.)

Reading, Writing, and Rubella

Elementary schools in Chicago Lawn, Grand Crossing, and Little Village are among those with the lowest vaccination rates among students.

Persecuting Persepolis

Remember when CPS banned Persepolis, the award-winning graphic novel about a young woman coming of age during Iran's cultural revolution, back in 2013? A grad student recently discovered that the order came from the top.

Thinning the Herd Protection

Twenty-five elementary schools in Chicagoland have vaccination rates under 80 percent, according to an investigation by the Tribune. Most are religiously affiliated private schools.

Kickstarter Class

The Entrepreneurial Product Development class at UIC, taught by FoGB Craighton Berman, is teaching industrial design students how to use Kickstarter as a platform for launching new products.

S'no School

If you've got kids you've already heard, but CPS and a bunch of other school districts have canceled class today due to the blizzard.

Get your BA in Bey

UIC is joining other universities in offering a new course this spring about Beyonce that aims to "explore her attempt to be positioned as a feminist and queer figure, as well as larger issues involving media images and representations of African American women."

Schools Closing Film Opening

The School Project (previously) debuted a new documentary yesterday at the Logan Center for the Arts at UofC. Chicago Public Schools: Closed is the second of a six-part series.

YouTuber Helps Build a School

Steve Chen, one of the co-founders of YouTube, donated $1 million to the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy to help build an innovation center in the Aurora STEM school. The new center was named IN2 Steve and Jamie Chen Center for Innovation & Inquiry after its now-famous alumnus.

CPS Goes Rogue

CPS is refusing to make all of its students take a new state-mandated test, planning to administer it at only 10 percent of schools in the district instead.

Where They Went

What happened to the 10,000 students affected by school closings in 2013? The second installment of the documentary The School Project follows the fates of relocated students.

Huberman Still in Schools

Former CPS Superintendent Ron Huberman is still involved in the school system -- running a company that places teachers at charter schools.

Meeks to Lead Board of Ed

State Senator Rev. James Meeks was appointed chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education by incoming Gov. Rauner. Meeks is a strong proponent of school vouchers.

How Well Colleges Help

Roosevelt University ranks 54th in the higher ed Social Mobility Index from CollegeNET and PayScale, a ranking that measures the impact an institution has on helping lower-income students enter careers that will provide livable wages. Illinois as a whole ranks 17th in the nation, with seven Chicago colleges on the list. University of Chicago ranked 512 out of 539; conspicuously, UIC and U of I weren't included in the survey. (Thanks, Veronica!)

"Our kids can go to school."

As schools remain closed for a second day due to freezing temperatures and subzero wind chills, some think cold isn't a good enough reason to cancel class -- but school district administrators say get used to it.

No Class Today

If you have kids, you already know: CPS and many suburban school districts are closed today due to wind chills expected to reach as low as -35°.

Loyola's New School

Loyola is creating a new two-year college for underprivileged urban students. Arrupe College may open as soon as this fall, and will help diversify a student population characterized by the Loyola Phoenix as "a lot of white, suburban women."

Skimming from Schools

A CPS employee funneled nearly $900,000 away from two struggling high schools through fake purchases and reimbursement claims.

Checking the Connections

CPS' inspector general is investigating a member of the Chicago Board of Education to see whether she's improperly profiting from her position on the board.

How to Be a Funny Lady

Kelsie Huff explains why she teaches an all-female standup comedy class. And if you're interested, the next one starts Jan. 7.

Commuter Students

A study found most neighborhood schools only enroll one-fourth of the students living in their area.

Get Out Your Skates

This year's places to ice skate include Parson's Chicken & Fish and the Maggie Daley Park, opening this Saturday.

Santa's at St. Florian

Santa is living on top of St. Florian School in Hegewisch in an effort to raise funds to save the school from closure. [via]

Hate Hoax

A threatening message posted to a University of Chicago student's Facebook page that sparked a federal investigation was actually done by the student himself, not hackers.

They're Not #1, But They Don't Care

The Guardian profiles Bronzeville's Shimer College, which was recently ranked as one of the nation's worst based on cost, graduation rate, average student debt and default rate (DeVry and Columbia College also received the same honor). Despite the stats, Shimer seems like a pretty good school.

New Grades for Schools

CPS released its latest school ratings, which were calculated using a new system incorporating test score improvements and other factors.

No Need to Hover

Harmful pathogens really can't survive in public restrooms, according to University of Chicago researchers, so feel free to touch that faucet and toilet seat.

Ivory Tower in the Trailer Park

Brianne Bolin, an adjunct instructor at Columbia College, is the poster child for a story on academics who are barely scraping by in Elle magazine.

"We are all taking steps that urgent, not desperate, times call for."

According to the New York Times, many US law schools -- including Northwestern University School of Law -- are battling plunging enrollment figures by increasing financial aid and accepting students with lower academic scores and grades.

A Summer of Promise

Filmmaker Ifé Olatunji presents a snapshot of three young girls' experiences going to school at South Shore Fine Arts Academy, and their mothers' hopes for their future. [via]

Too Sexy for 5th Graders?

After a DNAinfo reported on a new sex ed curriculum for CPS fifth graders at Andrew Jackson Language Academy that included info about female condoms and anal sex, parents and the Internet freaked out, causing CPS officials to do damage control and a parent to start a petition to have the material removed.

The Ratings Game

CPS is changing how it rates schools once again, and some schools still haven't received their rating for this year.

Sharkey's in Charge

Carol Felsenthal interviews Jesse Sharkey, the new head of the Chicago Teachers Union.

Picturing the City

University of Chicago hosts All Out in the Streets, a conference exploring the relationship between photography and the American city, this Thursday through Saturday. It's in connection with the Art Institute's exhibition, The City Lost and Found: Capturing New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, 1960-1980.

How Do You Do College?

In "Freshman Year Sucks--and That's OK," University of Chicago junior Eleanor Hyun explains how expectations and the "immense pressure in TV and movies to have college be the best social experience of one's life" made her first year on campus a difficult one.

Investing in the Market Instead of Schools

A Tribune investigative series details how CPS borrowed $1 billion in bond loans to theoretically save money, but the risky investments might actually cost tens of millions.

Catholic School Closings

Cardinal Francis George said some schools run by the archdiocese will be closed or consolidated due to decreasing enrollment and rising costs.

How CPS Became the Worst

The School Project is a multimedia exploration of the condition of the Chicago Public Schools, including a six-part documentary series, interactive map and collection of stories from students, parents, faculty and staff. The first episode, about how CPS became known as the "worst in the nation," premiered last night.

Charters Don't Make the Grade

A study found charter schools are behind neighborhood schools in graduation rates and their ability to produce students who meet academic standards.

The New Jocks

Robert Morris University plans to start offering athletic scholarships to video gamers.

No More Loans at UofC

The University of Chicago is getting rid of student loans in favor of grants in an effort to even the playing field for lower income students.

A Full Ride for Good Grades

Students graduating high school with at least a 3.0 GPA will qualify for a full ride to a city community college through a new scholarship program.

New Selective School on the Southwest Side

Hancock College Prep will be transformed into a selective enrollment high school one grade at a time, beginning next school year.

School District Shrinks

CPS enrollment has dropped below 400,000 for the first time since 1970, at least in part because of the closure of 50 schools in 2013.

Go-to-School Shopping

A planned school fair would help parents compare neighborhood, charter and private school options.

Goodbye, China

The University of Chicago announced that it's closing the Confucius Institute branch at the university, citing difficulties with negotiations and amid growing resistance to what's seen by some as a Chinese propaganda effort.

Opposite of the Best Colleges List

Columbia College has the dubious honor of placing 11th on Washington Monthly's list of the worst colleges in America. Chicago-based DeVry University landed 13th and Shimer College was 16th.

Bring Out Your Specimens

Scientists at the Field Museum will be identifying rocks, feathers, and other natural mysteries brought in by the public, although they ask that you leave the roadkill at home.

Nobama College Prep

Mayor Emanuel has decided not to name a selective enrollment high school after President Obama after all.

Old Technology Makes Way for New

Lane Tech High School shut down its architecture program, even as it cuts the ribbon on a new robotics lab and maker space.

Fallon's Coming Back

Jimmy Fallon will bring "The Tonight Show" to Chicago soon, after CPS students were able to read more than 2.7 million books as part of the Rahm's Readers Summer Learning Challenge.

No Homework

One CPS school is banning homework for kindergartners, first-graders and second-graders so they can read for fun and spend more time with their families.

Dirty Schools Getting Dirtier

Despite complaints from principals about poor sanitation in schools, nearly 480 janitors will soon be laid off by Aramark, CPS's cleaning contractor.

K4 for the People

Activists and teachers are calling for Chicago to follow New York City's lead in offering universal kindergarten for 4-year-olds.

School's High Marks

Newsweek ranked Northside College Prep as the third best high school in the country. [via]

Let the Kids Play

For 30 years, Jim Jozwiak has taught music to kids at schools with no band program.

Bueller? Anyone?

Only 12 students are enrolled for school at Walter H. Dyett High School in Washington Park; the school is scheduled to be closed at the end of the year.

Teens Design new CPS Logo

Chicago Public Schools debuted a new logo designed by two high school students last month. Designers really don't like it.

Get to School Free

Tomorrow is the first day of school for CPS students. The CTA and Sun-Times have partnered to provide free rides on trains and buses to the students and accompanying parents Tuesday morning.

Learn from Lessig

Net neutrality and intellectual property activist Lawrence Lessig is lecturing at U of C this fall, on institutional corruption.

Our Top Schools

Whitney Young is #151 and Lane Tech is #160 on the Daily Beast's ranking of America's top high schools. Meanwhile, Lake Forest High School was ranked fifth in the Midwest.

Going Private

Chicago Magazine put together a guide for local parents considering private schools for their kids.

Supply the Kids

Sept. 2 is the first day of school for CPS. Help underprivileged students start the year right by donating school supplies to Be Alright Chicago.

Taking Their Seats

Students are calling for CPS to give them a bigger role in deciding the school system's future.

Textbook Tech Deal

Chicago-based Packback Books digital textbook rental company has raised $1 million in angel investments, including some seed money from Mark Cuban on "Shark Tank" this spring.

Walk or Ride the Bus

Since school choice was expanded in 2000, fewer kids are going to the elementary schools closest to them, WBEZ found.


A potential University of Illinois professor lost the job before he started after he made "uncivil" remarks about Israel on social media.

Sexually Harassed on the Job, in the Field

Researchers at U of I and UIC published a study last week finding that 64 percent of researchers in social, life, and earth science had experienced sexual harassment during field research, and that 20 percent reported being sexually assaulted. The problem is severe enough that it may be causing female scientists to abandon the profession.

"This is us."

Fifth graders at Bradwell School of Excellence in South Shore write in the Tribune about how they view their neighborhood.

"An Oasis of Creativity & Learning"

Street Level Youth Media provides a creative outlet for underprivileged kids as an alternative to gangs and violence.

The Sorting Hat

Every wonder how CPS determines which high schools kids go to? WBEZ looked into it.

Madigan Fights Student Loan Scammers

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced yesterday two lawsuits filed against debt-settlement firms, alleging the companies had intentionally scammed people trying to reduce their student loans.

There is Such a Thing as Free Lunch

Chicago Public Schools is taking advantage of the new federal Community Eligibility Option to give free meals to all students next school year.

Still Separate

A decreasing number of students of color at Chicago's selective enrollment schools reflects a larger failure of desegregation in Chicago's public schools, writes Steve Bogira in the Reader.

New Cuts at CPS

Chicago Public Schools will be laying off 1,100 employees, including 550 teachers.

No Degree in Copy Editing?

Northwestern's Medill School is now known as the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications -- which is quite a mouth full. Might be why some of the school's diploma had a typo on it.

Skipping School

Chronic absenteeism rose at 80 percent of CPS elementary schools over the past three years.

A Year After the Final Bells

A year after CPS closed 50 schools, truthout looks back at whether the school district kept its promises, including upgrading technology and increasing resources for receiving schools.

School of Architecture

Chicago Historic Schools is a blog dedicated to documenting the "rich architectural and social history of Chicago's public schools."

Selective Placement

The Reader's Steve Bogira examines the case for picking a different location for the propsed Obama High School.

Nothing But Nets

A Sun-Times investigation found CPS is missing most of its records showing which high school basketball teams and players were actually eligible to play this year.

No Longer Truant

There used to be a team of truancy officers keeping tabs on CPS students skipping class. WBEZ's Curious City finds out what happened to them.

Teachers Speak Up in the Sun-Times

The Sun-Times is running essays by CPS teachers through a partnership with Illinois Writing Project. The first one is about Common Core, written by a social studies teacher. (You might also be interested in GB's Classroom Mechanics oral history project from 2010/11.)

The Thin Maroon Line

The Gate examines the effect of University of Chicago Police in keeping the university and Hyde Park safe -- and separate -- from neighboring communities, for better or worse.

Charter Fraud

The SEC has charged UNO with defrauding investors on a charter school bond by not revealing conflicts of interest. UNO is settling the charge by agreeing to outside monitoring and policy changes.

Rebrand CPS

Chicago Public Schools is holding a contest to redesign its logo. Sadly, it's only open to students in 6th to 12th grade.

Some Park in Chicago

There are a few errors in the Wrigley Field mural commemorating the park's 100th anniversary. Foremost among them is a photo of something that happened at Comiskey.

Principally Silent

Principals speaking out against school closings and other CPS actions say a "code of silence" enforced by the the Emanuel administration keeps most school heads from sharing their opinions of its reforms.

Civic Pride Profalactics

Chicago-themed condom dispensers designed by Columbia students will eventually be installed in two dozen high schools around the city.

To Scav is to Live

The annual University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt list is out, and it's full of fun items, such as Barbie's résumé, a "Canadian tuxedo" made entirely of denim, and a barbershop version of "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins," to be performed in hobbit-Starfleet costume

Backing the Opposition

Yesterday, the Chicago Teachers Union's House of Delegates passed a resolution to join the growing national opposition to Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Rambling to Victory

Loyola's men's volleyball team are national champions, beating Stanford 3-1 Saturday.

RIP Gary Becker

Gary S. Becker, Nobel Prize-winning University of Chicago economist, passed away Saturday. He was 83. In 2004 he started a blog with law professor and federal appeals court judge Richard Posner; Becker's final post was on March 3, on the Cuban embargo.


The percentage of black freshmen in Chicago's top high schools has steadily decreased in the years following a 2009 ruling ending a requirement that no school be more than 35 percent white.

DePaul Scandal Surfacing

Student activists at DePaul are accusing the administration of covering up a sexual assault scandal involving one or more members of the school's sports teams. Anonymous students point to Cleveland Melvin, a basketball player who was abruptly left the school earlier this year.

Let the Naming Begin

The City announced plans to build Barack Obama College Preparatory High School in Stanton Park, adding another selective enrollment school to the North Side just blocks away from where Cabrini-Green used to be. Needless to say, the announcement has rubbed many the wrong way.

Less Students Left Behind

A new push to keep freshmen "on track" in order to make sure they graduate seems to be working in schools across the city.

Working for the School

The NYTimes looks into Northwestern's campaign against the potential football player union, including mandatory one-on-one meetings with Coach Pat Fitzgerald, threats to cancel the construction of a new athletics center and warnings that a union vote would mean fewer employment opportunities after college. Additional details can also be gleaned from the university's internal response to anonymous questions, as published by CBS Sports.

3 Schools "Turned Around"

The school board voted to fire the staffs at three elementary schools and hand control over to the private Academy for Urban School Leadership. Teachers Union president Karen Lewis called it a hostile takeover.

Explore the Whedonverse

On May 3, DePaul is hosting Joss Whedon: A Celebration, a daylong conference on the writer and director's works and the culture that surrounds them.

High Marks

In U.S. News & World Report's latest school rankings five of the top ten public schools in Illinois are part of CPS, with Northside College Prep ranking as the 36th best public high school in the country.

Hot Topic

Mayor Emanuel surprised CPS officials and aldermen alike with a new mandate making it a top priority to add air conditioning to CPS classrooms that don't have it.

Watch Them Repair the Circle

As part of the massive Circle Interchange reconstruction project, IDOT is currently rebuilding the Morgan Street bridge. UIC's Urban Transportation Center has installed a webcam so you can watch it happen. [via]

You're Either In, Or You're Stressed Out

A new documentary explores the joy and "dark side" of applying and acceptance to Whitney Young Magnet HS.

Central Standard: On Education

The team behind GB's The Grid has teamed up with WTTW for a nine-week web series about education in the Chicago region. The first video in the series introduces the five middle school students who will be followed while they wrestle with the transition to high school.

Prom Pride

"Nocturnal Wonderland" will be the theme of CPS's third annual LGBT student prom.

Go Do Stuff, Kids

The City has launched Chicago City of Learning, an project to keep kids engaged and involved this summer.

To Serve and Fight

Chicago cops and firefighters go glove-to-glove in the boxing ring at the annual Battle of the Badges charity event. [via]

Last Chance High

Vice profiles the students of Montefiore Therapeutic Day School, many of whom were kicked out of other schools for issues of aggression and are at risk for ending up in jail or in a mental hospital.

Many Mummies

Chicago has a surprising number of mummies, both human and otherwise.

Racing Hams

Large likenesses of broadcasters Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, Steve Stone, Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson will race against each other during White Sox games this season.

Lego My Intern

Northwestern student Leah Bowman made a LEGO version of her resume in hopes of landing an internship this summer -- and ended up with a viral hit. [via]

Hard Restart

Three low-performing elementary schools are on CPS' list of "turnaround" schools for next year; if approved, their management will be turned over to the Academy for Urban School Learning and teachers will need to re-apply for their jobs.

Don't You Believe It

According to University of Chicago researchers, Americans believe all sorts of medical conspiracy theories, even once they've been debunked. Hey Kristen Cavallari, maybe you should read this.

Truth in Research

A U of C study on how to detect when someone is lying could help TSA agents detect suspicious travelers in the future (and you can participate, too).

No Permission Slip

Some parents of students at a Bucktown elementary school are upset CPS officials questioned their children without their permission, asking the kids about their teacher's behavior during the recent boycott of the ISAT state tests.

To Mr. Wreck It Rahm

At the Louder Than a Bomb Youth Poetry Slam at Metro last weekend, Team Englewood Spoken Word took it to Mayor Emanuel for wrecking their neighborhood.

Permanent Subs

As neighborhood schools shrink, some schools are making do with skeleton crews, leaving some students with substitute teachers for core classes for months.

Gender, Stereotyping & Occupational Hiring

Two Chicago area business school professors helped coordinate a new study that demonstrates some of the ways women are discriminated against in scientific careers.


Less than a third of CPS schools have enough parent applicants to fill the seats on their local school councils.

Yuck Yak

An app allowing users to anonymously message people nearby is taking bullying and gossiping to another level at a Lincoln Park school, where officials are asking parents to delete Yik Yak from students' phones.

ISAT Boycott Intensifies

While two Chicago schools have opted out of the ISATs, the Illinois Board of Education is reminding schools that teachers who boycott the test may face disciplinary action -- and warning parents that they have no legal right to opt their kids out.

Ban Discrimination Instead

Loyola has a policy banning same-sex marriages from being performed on its campus. The school paper published an editorial by the president of one of the university's LGBT organizations calling for the school to eliminate the ban. You can too by signing this petition on

Repeat After Me: "This is appalling"

This undercover video of a professional development training session for CPS teachers truly boggles the mind.

Charter Departures

Students in Chicago charter schools are 11 times more likely to be expelled than their public school counterparts.

Testing Resisters

Teachers at a Little Village magnet school are refusing to administer Illinois' standardized test to their students.

Suck It, Scantron

Hundreds of CPS students will refuse to take state standardized tests next week as parents opt them out ahead of next year's transition to a new, national test.

$25 Million to UC Lab School

Chicago investment executive Mellody Hobson and her husband, Star Wars creator George Lucas, are donating $25 million to support the creation of an arts center at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. The couple's donations make them one of Chicago's biggest philanthropists. With this donation, the couple has given at least $50 million to Chicago institutions since they were married here in 2013.

Funding Anti-Violence

The University of Chicago Crime Lab is receiving a $1 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation to support its anti-violence research. Mayor Emanuel announced last week that the City will give the lab $2 million.

Eugenics 2.0

Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting here in Chicago last weekend, researchers warned against the dangers of scientific racism arising from genomic research.

Sabotaging the Engine of Inequality

Two UIC professors wrote an essay for Jacobin about why the faculty is going on strike next week.

The Mixed Blessing of Snow Days

Summer will start a bit later for CPS students, as makeup days for this winter's closings push the end of the school year back to June 13.

Will Gordon Tech Become DePaul Prep?

The "Gordon Rebranding Committee" will discuss a potential name change from Gordon Tech High School to DePaul College Prep at a meeting today. Gordon Tech's partnership with DePaul University, which began in 2012, has been called one of the most "promising changes" to have happened to the high school.

Staying Cold, so Stay Home

With below-zero wind chills expected to continue through at least Tuesday night, CPS will keep schools closed tomorrow as well.

New Schools, Inc.

CPS recommended the Board of Education approve applications for seven new charter schools, while the CTU and protesters contend taxpayers' money should be spent on neighborhood schools instead.

More Sports and Smocks

CPS is tapping into $21.5 million in extra TIF funds to hire dozens of arts and physical education teachers, helping schools across the district meet minimum requirements for gym and art classes.

You Are the New You

NewCity's Life 101 issue is on newsstands, giving you a guide to classes and self-improvement options to get your year started on the right foot.

UNO to Zero

Chicago mag's Cassie Walker Burke and the BGA take a look at the rise and fall of Juan Rangel, former CEO of the United Neighborhood Organization, and
UNO's charter school mismanagement.

CPS Schools Stay Closed Tuesday

As a result of the dangerously low temperatures, Chicago public schools will remain closed Tuesday.

Stay Home, Kids

CPS announced Sunday that schools will be closed today due to the frigid temperatures. Chicago Park District facilities and city warming centers will be open. Northwestern, DePaul, Kendall, U of C, much of UIC, the City Colleges and most other universities canceled class today as well; Loyola is open.

School Funds Smuggler

A CPS technology coordinator who stole over $400,000 by funneling money through fake equipment vendors was later found dead in Tijuana, Mexico, according to a just-released report from the Board of Education's Inspector General.

Smarten Up

If you're looking for a way to stretch your brain in the new year, Sneaky Smart is here to help with daily 5- to 10-minute lessons delivered by email.

Charter not Good Enough for Rauner's Daughter

Gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner touts his support for charter schools and the need for CPS reform -- but took advantage of clout to get his daughter into Walter Payton College Prep.

Clout is a Concept

CPS wouldn't let Concept Schools Inc. open additional charter schools in Chicago because their Chicago Math & Science Academy wasn't meeting expectations -- but a state commission controlled by Speaker Madigan overruled and let them open two new schools, with more on the way. And somehow Turkish interests are involved, the Sun-Times' Dan Mihalopoulos reports.

Bullshit Money for Classrooms

Cards Against Humanity used more than $100,000 in profits from its 12 Days of Holiday Bullshit project to go on a "classroom shopping spree" with, a site where you can fund projects in classrooms across the country. Maybe you should give a little, too.

A Familiar Concept

When hundreds of charter school supporters came to a hearing at CPS headquarters - but some didn't seem to know why they were there- WBEZ reporter Linda Lutton was reminded of the 2012 rent-a-protester scandal.

CPS Downsizing

This time it's just their headquarters.

Q: Where Does the Tuition of 79 U of C Students Go?

A: To pay U of C President Robert J. Zimmer, who earned more than any other private college president in 2011. His salary also topped that of the highest public university leaders.

89 Forever

During halftime of their polar-temped game against the Cowboys last night, the Bears retired Mike Ditka's jersey number from his days as a tight end in the 1960s. It will supposedly be the last number the team will retire.

Gonna Find Out Who's Naughty or Nice...

Chicago Teachers Union members and allies will converge on City Hall today at 4:15pm to give lumps of petcoke coal to several "Chicago Grinches" and demonstrate what CPS schoolchildren need for the holidays. The event is part of AFT's National Day of Action to save public schools.

UIC Profs Eye the Picket Line

UIC's faculty union voted to authorize a walkout, although the group is still in negotiations for a new labor agreement with the university.

Rangel Out at UNO

Juan Rangel, the CEO of the United Neighborhood Organization, is stepping down today, months after it surfaced that UNO had awarded millions in charter school construction contracts to companies owned by family of board members.

Last Stand for a Neighborhood School

After CPS successfully closed dozens of schools, activists in Bronzeville are focusing their efforts on keeping just one neighborhood high school open.

Putting Force Behind After School Matters

George Lucas and Mellody Hobson donated $25 million to After School Matters.

Jot No More

The board of the Neighborhood Writing Alliance, a nonprofit which encouraged literacy and writing skills in under-served neighborhoods, announced it is closing down the organization due to lack of funding.

A Promise Kept

True to a promise made by CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, no more schools will be closed in Chicago this year, although two will be moved.

Obama's Circle Library?

UIC has made a bid for the Obama presidential library.

Mariachi Music Class

A push for Mexican folk music in the classroom could bring daily mariachi lessons to some local schools.

CSU vs. Blog

Chicago State University is trying to shut down an unauthorized faculty blog that's been critical of the administration.

Protect the Arts in Schools

Columbia College student Daniel Artaega founded Create Change with Art to raise awareness of how the high school arts programs he says kept him out of gangs are being cut by CPS.

Fight for the Right to Read

Remember this spring when CPS tried to ban the book Persepolis? The students at Lane Tech High School who initiated the many student protests were awarded the Illinois Library Association's 2013 Intellectual Freedom Award.

In the Army Now

Mayor Emanuel is pushing for the Marine Military Math and Science Academy to take over a neighborhood middle school in the West Loop.

Chicago's Top High School Hoops

ChicagoSide ranks the top 25 high school basketball stars of all time. You may be surprised that Derrick Rose is only seventh on the list.

Pick the History Museum's Next Show

The Chicago History Museum is "crowdsourcing" its next exhibit by collecting suggestions on Facebook.

Return of the Fauna

Trees and plants left over from George Lucas's epic wedding at Promontory Point were used to build an "outdoor classroom" at a North Side school.

Holding Out for History

The man who discovered a trove of documents belonging to Harvard's first black graduate, Richard T. Greener, is threatening to burn the papers if Harvard doesn't make him a better offer.

Get Your Start-up Booted

Profit and Laws is offering a scholarship to its Business Bootcamp for Entrepreneurs on Nov. 1 to one lucky Gapers Block reader. The bootcamp is like going to business school, only you skip accounting, you're done in one day and there's no debt. They have experts in law, finance, product development and professional client development to give you one-on-one attention to help you create your roadmap to start your business. Apply here.

Starting Up the South Side

The University of Chicago announced plans to build its own tech incubator that will capitalize on research done at the school and provide support to startups.

The CPS Closed School Diaspora

Only about 62 percent of students from closed schools have ended up in "welcoming" schools; instead they've scattered to as many as 57 different schools throughout the city.

Knotting up Fluid Dynamics

Earlier this year, physicists at the University of Chicago figured out how to tie vortex knots, which were previously only a theory.

From a Promise to "Probably"

CPS officials clarified their promise not to close any more schools for five years, saying they would still close them for safety reasons. Obviously, the teacher's union is upset.

Will Report for Food

Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism is facing criticism for an internship program that places students in newsrooms after an investigation revealed the school provided students with a meager living stipend while also getting paid by the host organizations.

New Problem, Same Solution

Chicago Public Schools is looking into addressing overcrowding on the Northwest and Southwest Sides by building new charter schools in the area.

They Know We're All Watching

Jacqui Cheng reflects on her experience teaching 150 inner city kids about social media this summer, as part of Smart Chicago's Civic Innovation Summer -- and what it revealed about how kids use Facebook, Twitter, etc.

All the School's a Stage

DePaul just opened its beautiful new theater school building, designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli.

Out of CPS Means Out of the City

The Reader's Steve Bogira talked with three sets of parents about why the state of CPS school options made them make the age-old move to the suburbs.

School Budget Whiplash

After closing 50 "underutilized" schools in June due to budget limitations, Mayor Emanuel recently announced over $90 million in spending for school upgrades and construction.

UNO Skirts Pension Obligations

The Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund completed a comprehensive independent review on Monday of the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) charter school system's pension fund contributions, finding the charter operator had underreported employees to the fund and neglected to make pension contributions on behalf of 90 employees.

A New East Side School

Just a couple months after closing 47 schools, Mayor Emanuel announced plans yesterday for a new elementary school in the East Side neighborhood -- on possibly tainted land -- to address overcrowding at Gallistel Elementary Language Academy.

Another Safe Passage Safety Concern

If gang warfare on CPS "Safe Passage" routes wasn't bad enough, there are also registered sex offenders living on many of the routes.

Photogs Trot Down the Street

The students who were locked out of the old Trotter's restaurant by the eponymous retired chef last week have a new location and date for their photography show. The exhibition will open Saturday at the Artists Frame Service in Lincoln Park.

Preschoolers Missing Out

A study found that almost half of 3-year-olds and over a third of 4-year-olds missed over 15 days of CPS preschool, usually because they were sick.

RIP Ronald Coase

Nobel Prize-winning U of C economist Ronald H. Coase passed away Monday. At 102, he was the oldest living Nobel laureate, and helped create the field of law and economics.

Quitting Time for "Safe Passage" Workers

CBS 2 is reporting that some corners on "Safe Passage" routes are not covered by workers and some workers are already quitting. [via]

Ask a Teacher

GB contributor Dave Stieber is answering questions about what it's like being a teacher in Chicago Public Schools on the Guardian's website today.

Less Money for Schools, More Protests

The CPS Board passed a reduced budget yesterday while hundreds of parents and students protested outside, boycotting the first day of school to show their opposition to school closings and budget cuts.

Public School Drunkenness

Tickets are now on sale for the annual Kegs for Kids event at Hopleaf. Get your drink on to help a neighborhood school.

CTU Changes Course

After failing in its effort to prevent 50 neighborhood schools from closing, the Chicago Teachers Union is now setting its sights on the next round of state and local elections, where it could be the most disruptive force in decades.

What We Do

The Oriental Institute currently has an exhibit that ties current professions back to their ancient origins.

School's Out Forever

On the first day of school yesterday, Tribune photographer Brian Cassella visited every school closed by CPS and took photos.

Help Find a Mobile Library

The Read/Write Library's amazing bike-based library, the Bibliotreka, was stolen over the weekend in Logan Square. If you spot it, get in touch.

Safe Route to School

This morning will be the first test of the "safe passage" routes for CPS students and those charged with protecting them.

Hindsight is 20/20

In an interview with the Thomas Fordham Institute, former CPS chief Jean-Claude Brizard said, "We severely underestimated the ability of the Chicago Teachers' Union to lead a massive grassroots campaign against our administration." [via]

CPS Boycott Next Week?

A coalition of community activists is calling for CPS students, parents and teachers to boycott class on Aug. 28 -- the third day of school -- in protest of the treatment of disadvantaged students.

Listen All Y'all

The viral video of librarians remaking the music video for the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" was shot at Francis W. Parker School -- and there are other videos to check out, including Assistant Principal Damian R. Jones lip-syncing Michael Jackson's "Bad."

Solis: La Casita Had to Go

Ald. Danny Solis told Pilsen residents Monday that the Whittier Field House demolition "had to happen" due to the poor condition of the building, while apparently dodging questions about why it had to happen under cover of darkness on a Friday night, with no permits.

Documenting School Closures

Local filmmakers including Kartemquin Films, Siskel/Jacobs Productions, Media Process Group, and The Kindling Group have teamed up to make a documentary about the aftermath of Chicago Public School's recent decision to close 50 schools. Students with Free Spirit Media will help with post-production.

School District Administration Drama is Everywhere

The superintendent of the Evanston-Skokie School District announced his resignation last week to pursue "consulting opportunities."

Closed but not Empty

WBEZ's Chip Mitchell toured the closed Pope Elementary School to see what CPS left behind after shutting down the school. There's quite a bit.

Around the World

Marbles the Brain Store put out a music video for "Tour the World," a track on its new kids album Brain Beats 2, featuring a hand drawn globe and illustrations by designer and ex-GB staffer Craighton Berman.

Cutting School

Ben Joravsky talks with a CPS principal about how she decided who to fire due to budget cuts.

CPS Pensions: Can's Been Kicked Before

The executive director of the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund tries to clear up misconceptions about the pension situation at CPS. Short answer: blame state legislators back in 1995.

Chicago-Area Film Degree Programs Among the Best

DePaul University, Columbia College Chicago and Northwestern University all made The Hollywood Reporter's 2013 list of the best film schools. DePaul came in at 21 on the list, while Northwestern and Columbia placed at 13 and 14 respectively.

UIC Unveils the Daley Archives

Speaking of former mayors, UIC opened its Richard J. Daley Library this week. Like his office on the Fifth Floor, it's accessible by appointment only, but WBEZ's Richard Steele got a tour.

Dancing in the Stacks

Andrew Rosner, a member of the PhiNix Dance Crew at University of Chicago, pops and locks in the Regenstein Library. [via]

Helping Kids Write Their Next Verse

Kanye West and Rhymefest are launching a music writing program for at-risk youth on the South Side. The "Got Bars?" program will be run as a collaboration between West's Donda's House and the ARK of St. Sabina. [via]

CPS Laying Off 2,000

Chicago Public Schools announced last night that it is laying off more than 2,000 employees today, including 1,036 teachers. CPS blamed the cuts on stalled pension reform in Springfield.

Chicago Principal Speaks Out Against CPS Budget Cuts

At a City Hall news conference, Blaine Elementary Principal Troy LaRaviere excoriated CPS budget cuts for "turning a full school day into an empty school day."

Books & Tech Mix Well

Gigaom's Signe Brewster thinks public libraries across the country should follow Chicago's lead and create maker labs.

Rahm to Jump in the Lake

Missed this over the weekend: Mayor Emanuel has pledged to do a polar plunge this winter if Chicago students read 2 million books this summer. Write your own punchline.

Making Things at CPL

The maker lab at the Harold Washington Library opened today. Jacqui Cheng at Ars Technica lets us know how it is.

American Dream Less Dreamy

A new study by economists at Wheaton College and Northwestern found that since the 1970s, Americans have not been as upwardly mobile as the British have been.

Here's an earlier article by the study's authors, covering similar ground.

Grandfathers Matter(ed): Occupational Mobility Across Three Generations in the U.S. and Britain, 1850-1910 by Gapers Block

No School in East Garfield

The CPS school closures have left East Garfield Park with no neighborhood schools, and put the neighborhood's recovery from the housing bubble in jeopardy.

Quazzo & Education Innovation

Deborah Quazzo is Emanuel's replacement on the CPS board for Penny Pritzker, who was confirmed as the new Secretary of Commerce this week. Whet Moser digs into what Quazzo's appointment means for the future of CPS.

Wirtz on how the Hawks will Fare

Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz talks about how the Stanley Cup win will affect the team's prospects in the future. Interesting tidbit: the team isn't profitable and still won't be in the black this year despite the trophy.

The Prom King's Out

Seventeen-year-old lesbian Aleksandra "Ola" Wolan was named Prom King at Lane Tech's senior prom earlier this month. She also won the school's Spirit Award in October.

Charge Extra for 7th Hour?

Whitney Young High School is considering charging students $500 for a seventh period in an effort to make up a $1 million budget shortfall, after already cutting back on personnel. Meanwhile, the magnet school's math team recently won the state championship.

Start Harder

The folks behind the Starter League app design and code school have launched Starter School, a nine-month "grad school for people who want to learn how to build software and start companies."

Racist, Homophobic Prank Alleged at UofC

A postman claims he was the subject of a racist and homophobic prank at the hands of a UofC fraternity. A university spokesperson says the school is investigating.

Play with Python, Kids

MIT is teaching high school students to code as part of the Chicago Summer of Learning.

Still Separate

The Reader has launched a new series focusing on segregation in CPS schools, nearly 30 years after the desegregation plan went into effect and four years after it was thrown out.

Kind Words by Mail

Want to show your support for CPS students whose schools are closing? You can send a free postcard to one offering support and encouragement.

Roll Call Gets Repetitive

Highcrest Middle School in Wilmette may soon find itself in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most sets of twins in a single grade. Two dozen sets are about to finish fifth grade. (Thanks, Dee!)

Not Quite Hogwarts

Admit it, you wish there was an adult version: Magic Inc. in Lincoln Square is now enrolling for its summer magic camp for kids ages 7-15.

Turn Around Slowly

The Academy for Urban School Leadership, a charter school operator, has been picked to turn around six schools, despite 10 out of 12 "turnaround" schools it currently manages not meeting CPS standards. Curtis Black dives into the reasons and politics behind the decision.

Make Some Media Connections

It's not too late to register for Making Media Connections, the Community Media Workshop's annual media relations and education conference, which runs from 9am to 7pm this Tuesday.

Reasons to Watch the Bee

Four local kids are semifinalists in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which are being shown live on ESPN2 at 1pm.

Rangel Stepping Down but not Out

Juan Rangel, CEO of UNO, announced that he is stepping down from the political organization's board as well as the board of its charter school system in the wake of the recent insider dealing scandal (previously). He'll remain CEO.

Learn from the Burris

The Roland Burris School of Politics (previously) is enrolling for its June session.

Plead the Fifth, Kids

A high school social studies teacher in Batavia faces disciplinary action after telling students they had a Constitutional right not to incriminate themselves on a survey about drug and alcohol use. A petition has been created defend him.

"This is a longer conversation"

Joel Handley happened to run into Mayor Emanuel in the bathroom at a BuildOn fundraiser, and tried to talk to him about schools. It didn't go so well.

50 Schools to Close

The Chicago Board of Education voted to close 50 schools -- all but the four removed from the list this morning. The board voted unanimously on all but Von Humboldt School, for which the vote was split 4-2.

School Closings Announced Today

Stay tuned to hear which CPS schools are closed by the Board of Ed. today, but there are rumors swirling about which ones have been spared. Josh Kalov created a spreadsheet of rumored safe schools.

The Facts on School Closings

WBEZ has fact-checked a variety of claims made about the CPS school closure plan, including whether students' test scores are likely to improve at the new schools. The Sun-Times editorial board says 21 of the 54 schools on the list should be spared. The Board of Education meets tomorrow to review the closure recommendations.

"Hey Rahm, we're no fools!"

Protestors delivered petitions with 10,000 signatures against the school closings to City Hall and vowed to "create chaos" if their voices weren't heard -- and began chanting, "Hey Rahm, we're no fools! We won't let you close our schools." Police arrested several protestors who blocked access to elevators.

Video streaming by Ustream

U of C Releases Report on Protest Policing

Remember the protest where a U of C police officer posed as a protester? The university issued the independent investigation report today [pdf], which finds that the university was in the right, the protestors were in the wrong and the whole undercover police officer thing was was just a big misunderstanding. Still, the university promises to make some changes.

Fighting Cancer with a Cloud

The University of Chicago's Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology has launched Bionimbus, a secure, cloud-based computing system that will allow researchers to access and analyze cancer data.

High School Manufacturing Startup

Four students at Austin Polytechnical Academy are launching a new manufacturing cooperative within the school today, with help from the Center for Workplace Democracy and Manufacturing Renaissance. MECH Creations will manufacture trumpet mouthpieces. [via]

State Taking Back Grants

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission has shortfall$2 million budget this year, and asked 9,800 students to pay back 10 percent of the MAP grant money they've received. While UIC is helping out its 320 affected students, students at other schools may not be so lucky. (Thanks, Veronica!)

CFD to Provide Safe Passage

Firefighters will be performing security for commuting schoolchildren along the alternative routes planned for the Red Line South Reconstruction project.

The Scav Goes YOLO

The 2013 University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt begins this Sunday. So far, the item list [PDF] is insane. (Then there's the real list [pdf].)

"Becoming a Man" Class Works

A recent economic experiment found that at-risk minority teens in Chicago who took a weekly workshop on improving judgment and decision-making stayed in school more often and had fewer arrests.

The Lab Schools Difference

"I think we should pause to appreciate the irony that Mayor Emanuel sends his children to a unionized private school while working overtime to break the public school teachers' union in Chicago." Ben Joravsky on the University of Chicago Lab Schools.

Helping the Belles of the Ball

Last weekend, the Glass Slipper Project held its last "boutique" date of the 2013 prom season, during which it provided hundreds of prom dresses, shoes, makeup and accessories to needy teens free of charge. If you have a donation to make for next year, get in touch.

Get Girls into Tech

Chicago Girls in Computing is working to "provide a friendly environment for high school girls in the city of Chicago who are interested in technology." They're raising money on Piggybackr to make it happen. (Thanks, Veronica!)

Lincoln Park Students Walk Out

Several hundred students at Lincoln Park High School staged a walk-out today in protest of the firing of several teachers. Here's further coverage.

A Union in UNO

More than 400 teachers and staff at UNO's 13 charter schools have voted to unionize on Thursday.

Music Institute to Open Downtown

The Music Institute of Chicago is opening a new campus at the Fourth Presbyterian Church's Gratz Center this fall, and will move its north suburban school from Highland Park to Lake Forest.

La Biblioteca del Personas

Rachel Perveiler, a teacher at Finkl Academy, has created a library on the back porch of her Little Village apartment.

Fielding Dreams

Leroy Franklin has coached the Simeon Wolverines to victory on the baseball diamond for decades, but one triumph has eluded him: the state championship. Could this be the year?

UNO Gets Cut Off

In light of recent revelations of insider deals at UNO, the state has cut off funding to the charter school operator.

Don't Test Us

Hundreds of CPS students walked out on standardized tests Wednesday to protest mandatory standardized testing as well as school closures.

Insider Trade Work at UNO

The United Neighborhoods Organization has paid the company of an outgoing board member more than $1.8 million in school construction contracts, the Sun-Times reports. It's far from the first time UNO's been caught up in a scandal related to schools or clout.

2.2 Pounds of Space Rock

The Field Museum has received 234 pieces of the Chelyabinsk meteorite, which landed in Russia in February. The donation was from a meteorite collector, and is now on display.

Breakthroughs in Medical Museum Technology

A new satellite branch of the National Museum of Health and Medicine will open in the Loop in 2015. DNAinfo has a sneak peek. Meanwhile, you can visit the Museum of Surgical Science right now.

IIT is It

IIT is a low-profile school. Its current president is working to change that.

Who Wants in on Charters?

How many students are waiting to get into charter schools? The quoted number is 19,000, but nobody knows, exactly.

Emanuel to Close Overperforming Universities

Mayor Emanuel announced this morning that he will immediately be closing all campuses of the University of Chicago (ranked #4 by US News and World Report) and Northwestern University (#12) in a gesture of fairness towards the devastating closures of CPS schools announced last week. "If I'm screwing over one group, it's only right to screw over all of them," he said in a breaking press conference at City Hall. Several charter universities are looking into buying NU and U of C's now-empty campuses.

The Test Runners

CPS students are tested early, often and with regularity. The Reader's Steve Bogira examines the climate of testing in Chicago Public Schools, and why some parents and students are opting out.

Rewards for Failure

Despite Chicago State University's money scandals, financial aid screw-ups, an
abysmal graduation rate, and their inability to hold on to statues purchased with money intended for a financial aid office, several of its administrators are getting significant pay raises.

CPS Protest Coverage Roundup

Hundreds of protestors marched from Daley Plaza to CPS headquarters yesterday to protest the proposed school closings. Police arrested as many as 150 protestors who staged a sit-in in the street.

Catalyst spotified coverage of the protest, while the Sun-Times live-blogged it.

Milosh Kosanovich

I love the #Chicago education flag.
Veronica Arreola

School closings rally
WBEZ/Robin Amer

Almost-360 of #CPS school closing rally
Veronica Arreola

Watch the School Closure Rally

If you're not able to make it to the Loop to watch the rally against CPS school closures, the Sun-Times is live-blogging it.

CPS Closes 54 Schools

The list of schools to be closed numbers 54; principals described it as a bloodbath. Here's a map of the closed schools overlaid on a map of poverty levels by community area.

50+ Schools to Close

CPS is expected to announce closure of around 50 schools today. UPDATE: here's a full list.

Persepolis Rising

In the wake of the CPS Persepolis debacle, several bookstores have sold out of the graphic novel and protests have continued. Eric Zorn and Ben Joravsky do a good job of laying out just how badly CPS handled it.

From Shelters to Hallowed Halls

Lane Gunderman, a senior at University of Chicago Lab High School who was once homeless, is headed to Stanford after making the finals in the Intel Science Talent Search.

Pritzker Steps Down to Step Up

Chicago philanthropist Penny Pritzker resigned from the Chicago School Board in anticipation of being nominated for Secretary of Commerce. CTU head Karen Lewis had a few things to say about her departure.

Why Cut These Schools?

School Cuts provides a clearer picture of the criteria CPS is looking as it determines which schools on the semifinal list by showing you the data as well as other contributing factors.

NU Law Downsizing

Northwestern's law school (ranked #12 nationwide) will begin accepting fewer students, capping tuition increases and working harder to limit student debt to account for the shrinking popularity of law degrees in an oversaturated market (other schools have already implemented similar plans).

Just a Walk Through the Park Away

The Washington Park Arts Incubator, the U of C's first significant arts initiative outside of Hyde Park, opens today.

A Big Yellow Pile

Eight school busses were stolen last night and driven to a West Side scrapyard. While they were quickly located by following their GPS signals, they were torn to shreds when the authorities arrived.

Overpacking Classrooms for the Bottom Line

Ever wonder how the city reached the number of schools it could close? One big part of it is by upping the standard elementary class size to 30 students. That number is far higher than the district's average and nearly 10 students higher than the state's average kindergarten class size.

Help Harper High

If you've listened to one or both of the "This American Life" shows related to Harper High School shooting during last school year, and felt yourself thinking "Man, I wish there was something I could do to help." Well, rest easier because now you can. The school's administrators have started a fundraiser. They'd love to get $2 million to provide ACT prep classes, after-school programming, transportation assistance, college tours and more.

Get a Bachelors in Standup

Columbia College has teamed up with Second City to offer a Comedy Performance and Writing degree program.

U of C Suspends Officers, but Who's Really to Blame?

The U of C has placed two officers on leave after a protesting undercover officer was uncovered by the Chicago Maroon. The school's president and police chief are distancing themselves from the events, so who produced the culture of surveillance?

Let's Move! Didn't Really

Michelle Obama came to town last week to promote Let's Move!, her healthy exercise initiative for children. The plan may be uncontroversial, but a fifth grade teacher says that the local implementation of the event resulted in some unpleasant and unhealthy effects on the kids who participated.

More Controversy for the U of C Police

In other U of C protest news, the Chicago Maroon uncovered that the school planted an undercover detective in a recent demonstration. The officer, who was dressed in plain clothes, carried a protest sign and even symbolically placed a sticker over her mouth, kept contact with the deputy chief throughout the demonstration while covertly probing demonstrators about their plans. UPDATE: The school's provost and president have announced an "external independent reviewer" to investigate the events.

Air Jabari

High school basketball star Jabari Parker only recently announced where he'll play college hoops, but he's already been introduced to the world of sponsorship deals thanks to Simeon Academy's deal with Nike.

Are You Active on the South Side?

The U of C's Cultural Policy Center and the Southside Arts & Humanities Network want to know what you do on the South Side. The survey touches on civic engagement through art, music, work, worship, and research, and should take about 10 minutes.

Charter Revoked

CPS is finally cracking down on underperforming charter schools, closing two and putting six more on a watch list.

Catholic School Closures Announced

Chicago Public Schools aren't the only ones contracting. The Chicago Archdiocese announced it is elimintaing 75 jobs and closing or consolidating five schools.

Buy Something from the U of C Library

If you're looking for something new to read or unusual books for collaging, the U of C library's annual book sale kicks off today. The "good" books tend to go during the first couple of days, but what's left for free by March 1 is usually pretty interesting.

Five Months in Harper High School, Continued

This American Life's second installment of its exploration of youth violence in a Chicago high school is online. If you missed the first part, listen to it here.

Just Buy It

Grid Chicago (not to be confused with Grid Chicago or The Chicago Grid), reports on athletic company endorsements in Chicago high schools.

Bertrand's Shells in a Box

Brennemann School in Buena Park once had a secret hiding behind its simple street-side facade: shell-like Bertrand Goldberg-designed classrooms. Sadly, they've since been enclosed in a box to protect them from the elements. [via]

View Larger Map

Influencing the Moral and Economic Might of Universities

In other student activist news, Chris Bentley surveys the current divestment campaigns on Chicago-area university campuses.

Digging Up the Skeletons in Northwestern's Closet

It turns out that Northwestern's planned demolition of Goldberg's Prentice Women's Hospital isn't its only public relations mess. In the face of mounting criticism, the university is launching an investigation to determine how to assess its historical relationship with John Evans, a university founder and namesake of Evanston implicated in the Sand Creek Massacre.

Who's got a Degree?

Whet Moser delves into race and college completion in Chicago.

Five Months in Harper High School

This American Life has already posted part one of their epic Chicago youth violence episode.

Part two will air this coming Friday, Feb. 22.

Who's Worth a Puck

Now that the NHL lockout is behind us, professors at UofC's Booth School of Business tried to determine if hockey salaries are worth it. According to the researchers, a little Moneyball-style stats analysis could work wonders to find diamonds on the ice.

Estimating Player Contribution in Hockey With Regularized Logistic Regression by Gapers Block

129 Schools on Closure List

Chicago Public Schools released a list of 129 schools recommended for closure yesterday. The Sun-Times editorial board things CPS should "continue listening" -- which it will do in the next round of community meetings; CPS released a set of criteria for determining whether to close a school. The Tribune has a map of the schools on the list. CPS will release a final list on March 31.

No More Charters?

Four aldermen called for a moratorium on new charter schools during the 2014-15 school year so that the effects of pending school closures can be assessed. Meanwhile, the second in command at charter school operator UNO resigned after the Sun-Times found he had paid state grant money to businesses run by family members.

The Great Debate

While it's paczki mania in some parts of the city, at UofC it's all about the Latke-Hamantash Debate, the 66th edition of which occurs tonight. Watch it live online at 7:30pm.

Bleed Wildcat Purple

The Cubs and Northwestern have worked out a deal that will bring football back to Wrigley Field -- along with baseball and lacrosse.

Become a Hack

The city wants 2,000 more cab drivers, so Olive-Harvey College is hosting a free taxi driver recruitment day Feb. 7. Interview with cab companies and learn what's entailed to get licensed.

Oops, Someone Has Been Naughty

And that someone is whoever at Chicago Public Schools mistyped an URL in an email to parents about standardized test scores, instead directing them to a private website about women's sexuality.

Never the N-Word

Is it ever appropriate to say the n-word in a classroom? When a white teacher used it in a conversation about bullying and hurtful language in his all-black 6th grade classroom, it resulted in a suspension, even though the kids didn't take offense.

How to Close a School

The Reader's Ben Joravsky examines how the Emanuel administration is determining which schools to close.

A Decade of School Closures

WBEZ's education team put together an interactive map showing all the CPS school closings and "turn-arounds" since the 2001-2002 school year. Interesting to compare and contrast it with the Sun-Times's map of shootings and homicides.

The Burris School of Politics

Former US Senator (among other things) Roland Burris taught a class in politics this week, and John Kass had a Tribune colleague attend.

Principal Leaves for Charter

Suzanne Velasquez-Sheehy, the principal of LaSalle II Magnet School, is resigning to head a new charter school venture backed by the Gates Foundation.

The Field's New Superpredator

Somewhere in the cut-threatened research halls of the Field Museum is the head of Jim, aka Thalattoarchon saurophagis, the earliest known "apex predator" of the seas 252 million years ago.

Get Your Feet Moving

If your new year's resolution involved learning to dance, the Chicago Human Rhythm Project has a deal for you. It's offering a week of free dance classes next week, Jan. 7-13 at its new American Rhythm Center in the Fine Arts Building.

Southerners are Nice, but Northerners are in Charge

Researchers at UofC have found that attitudes about people based on their accent is determined at a young age.

Try Before You Buy In

Thinking about trying something new in the new year? A class via Dabble will let you dip your toe before diving in.

Undergrad Underground Dining

College dorm food is generally not that great. Unless you happen to live near Robert Lipman. The UofC first-year runs a monthly underground restaurant in various secret locations -- including dorm communal kitchens.

Von Steuben Confidential

Parents of kids at Von Steuben High School aren't thrilled about the portrayal of the school on the latest season of "High School Confidential."

Working Draft of School Closures

A draft document obtained by the Tribune shows that Mayor Emanuel and CPS have had an idea of which schools they want to close for quite some time.

To: Professor Jones -- Redux

The mystery of the package addressed to Indiana Jones that arrived at University of Chicago last week has been solved. It turned out to be a reproduction prop being shipped from Guam to Italy, which fell out of its package in Hawaii and was sent to the only visible address.

To: Professor Jones

The University of Chicago received a mysterious package this week, addressed to Henry Walton Jones, Jr., containing a copy of Prof. Abner Ravenwood's journal.

Choose to Help

Right now there are 591 projects on DonorsChoose for needy classrooms in Chicago schools. Give a hand if you can.

Try a Charter School, Even if it's Terrible

A CPS-promoted school fair featuring "some of Chicago's great public school options, including charter schools," advertised almost no traditional schools -- but still found space for dozens of charter schools with the district's lowest ranking.


With some help from The Civil Rights Agenda and DePaul grad students, Lincoln Park High School's about to launch a mentorship program for lesbian and gay students.

Purple's Millions Majesty

Northwestern is the ninth richest university in the country in terms of its endowment, reports. (Thanks, Dee!)

CPS Wants More Time to Decide School Closings

CPS is asking Springfield for more time to decide which Chicago schools to close. CPS's current deadline is Dec. 1, but proposed legislation would extend the deadline until March 31. The Dec. 1 deadline was chosen so that families would have time to apply for magnet or selective enrollment schools. Legislation to extend CPS's deadline passed unanimously in the House Executive Committee and the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday and now moves on to the the full House and Senate for voting.

Up from Englewood

The Sun-Times profiles Rhianna Gunn-Wright, who grew up in Englewood and is one of this year's Rhodes Scholars.

Empty Classroom Seats

The Tribune launched a series on truancy in Chicago Public Schools this weekend. The full story is behind the subscriber firewall, but there's a summary of the findings here.

Point-Counterpoint on Elected School Boards

Center Square Journal's Mike Fourcher wrote a column giving reasons why voting yes on the referendum on elected school boards is a bad idea. GB's own Ramsin Canon argues that it's a good one.

Studying Inner City Youth

The NY Times reports on the Northwestern Juvenile Project through the eyes of one of its field interviewers.

Another Multi-College Dorm on the South Side

The NY Times profiles La Casa, the Resurrection Project's new multi-college dorm in Pilsen. Apparently, neither the writer nor the expert in the story know about University Center in the South Loop.

"We've got too many buildings and too few children."

So said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett yesterday, as she announced plans to close as many as 120 schools. CPS released guidelines as to how closures will be determined; send feedback here.

Pencils & Lead

Are Chicago Public School students' low test scores a result of lead poisoning? Megan Cottrell investigates in this week's Reader.

Public (School) Health

Since 2011, 35 percent of Chicago's schools have failed at least one health inspection -- due to improper food storage, rodent droppings in the food, and in one case, a live snake caught in a glue trap. [via]

From Rock the Cradle to Rock the Vote

Sixty students from the Chicago-area headed to Wisconsin today to take part in the Mikva Challenge, a non-partisan organization, "Elections in Action" program. The students will spend the weekend learning about and taking part in the presidential campaigns.

Crayons, Naps & REACH Tests

Why is CPS testing kindergarteners?

The Future of City Colleges

Crain's reports on whether Chicago City Colleges' transformation plan is taking it the right direction.

Freestylin' vs. the Irish Jig

A Whitney Young High School student dared to challenge the dean of students to a dance battle. The dean shut him down with his own footwork.

A Tale of Two Students

The Reader's Steve Bogira introduces two freshmen whose paths to college were about as different as could be.

DePaul Takes Over Gordon Tech

DePaul has entered a "partnership" with Gordon Tech to oversee the Catholic high school.

Brizard to Byrd-Bennett

Get to know CPS's new chief, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, through the Sun-Times', Tribune's, and Catalyst's assessment. The Sun-Times offers advice to Mayor Emanuel, while Greg Hinz has the backstory on Brizard's departure.

Girls Can Code

WBEZ reports on Chicago Tech Academy, a charter school bridging the gender gap on technical skills by teaching girls to code.

Brizard Steps Down as CPS CEO

Jean-Claude Brizard is leaving the Chicago Public Schools following a brief, controversial stint as CEO.

Steve Harvey: Mentoring Into Manhood

Comedian Steve Harvey, whose new daytime talk show is taped here, is giving young men (Chicago residents only) who live in female-headed households a chance to be part of the "Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend," an interactive camp Nov. 16-18 designed to teach the "principles of manhood, leadership and community empowerment." The application deadline is Friday, Oct. 12 at 5pm.

Testing for Lead

Whet Moser explores the correlation between student test results and lead exposure. Chicago has one of the highest rates of lead poisoning in the country; here's how to help prevent it.

Money for News Matters

The Robert R. McCormick Foundation gave $3.8 million in grants to organizations encouraging news literacy among young people, with most of the money going to two dozen local organizations.

Teachers Contract Passes, Teachers Grow Closer

The Chicago Teachers Union officially ratified the new contract with CPS, closing the chapter on the strike. WBEZ reports that teachers feel closer to one another thanks to the whole ordeal.

No Swim Test to Help U of C Students Fight Freshman 15

The University of Chicago announced it will do away with its swimming test requirement for incoming students. For nearly 60 years U of C has enforced the rule that students who cannot prove they can successfully swim 100 yards must enroll in a swimming course.

The Grid: Envision Arts Studio

The newest installment of our documentary series, The Grid, gets to know Envision Arts Studio, a branch of the social service agency Envision Unlimited that provides Chicagoans with intellectual and developmental disabilities a disciplined studio practice in a community setting.


The Chicago-based nonprofit National Parent Teacher Association is suing Boston-based, for-profit PTO Today for trademark infringement, false advertising and deceptive business practices.

Writing to Stay Alive

Students in the Columbia Links program produced Don't Shoot, I Want to Grow Up, a collection of essays reflecting on this summer's violence

Silencing NEIU Voices

Big changes are afoot at Northeastern Illinois University. The radio station's student staff was locked out this summer, while two popular professors have struggled with the administration.

The DePaul of the Future

DePaul just released its new Vision 2018 six year plan. Compare it to previous plans here.

Documenting the "Best Book Cave Ever"

Later this year the U of C is kicking the Seminary Co-op Bookstore out of its 50-year warren of rooms and relocating it to a former residence hall. In the meantime, Seminary Co-op Documentation Project has been following the process and producing audio interviews, photographs and other interesting tidbits about the bookstore. Background is available in this 2011 GB feature by one of the documentarians.

Strike May be Over, Possibly

CPS and CTU negotiators have reached a "tentative" "framework" for a contract agreement. Stay tuned for details.

Teacher Strike Continues as Resolution Rumors Circulate

Striking teachers marched in Congress Plaza last night, as word that an agreement may be reached Friday began to spread.

Front Line
Mike Salisbury

Signs of a demonstration
Ann Fischer

Chicago Teachers March
Jonathan Lurie

A School Strike Primer

Gawker's John Cook provides a good overview of the school strike (especially if you're from out of town) -- and suggests a radical solution to school strife overall: ban private schools.

UofC Lab School Director Opposes Test Scores as Teacher Measurement

University of Chicago Lab School Director David Magill is against using standardized testing to determine teacher evaluations, a major sticking point between the Chicago Teachers' Union and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel's children attend the South Side private school.

Ask a Teacher Anything

A CPS teacher is doing a Reddit AMA ("ask me anything") from the picket line with the help of her husband.

Teachers' Strike National News Roundup

The CTU strike is all over the national news, with coverage from The NY Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, CNN, NBC News, Reuters, and pretty much everyone else. Back in Chicago, a demonstrator had some disappointing news about the mayor.

The Teacher Strike Begins

Now that the strike is on and CPS is implementing its "Children First" program, one can view a map of those locations. Other student programs are available below and after the break.

The Lookingglass Theatre is offering daytime drama workshops during the strike; $65 a day to participate.

Buzzfeed collected a few tweets from students last night regarding the strike.

The Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (CORE) released a video telling the history of teacher strikes from 1968 to 1987:

CPS, Teachers Unable to Reach Agreement

"We have failed to reach an agreement that will prevent a labor strike." CPS is implementing its "Children First Plan," in which 144 schools will provide supervision for part of the day, and many churches, community organizations, parks and libraries will provide activities and "safe havens" for students. Additional details about the conflict are available in the CTU statement and CPS statement.

Teacher Strike Grows Closer

The Chicago Teachers Union is expected to file a 10-day strike notice today, and plans to protest at the Daley Center across from City Hall on Labor Day. UPDATE: The strike notice has been filed.

Schoolkids Ride Free

The CTA will provide free rides to students on the first day of school next week, thanks to a $150,000 donation from the Sun-Times. And 500 students at five high schools will get free CTA fare all year through a $50,000 grant from philanthropist Wendy Abrams.

"Call Me Maybe" ...for a Campus Tour

The University of Chicago department of admissions did a nice riff on Carly Rae Jepsen's ubiquitous hit song. Not nearly as over the top as the Chicago Young Republicans' take.

Teacher Strike Risk Escalates

Chicago Public Schools and the Teacher's Union inched closer to a strike on Wednesday, with CTU giving its president authority to call a strike and the school board approving a $25 million contingency plan.

Passover that Exam

Gov. Quinn chose the end of Ramadan to sign into law a bill that gives college students the ability to reschedule tests or assignments when they conflict with a religious holiday.

Find a New School

It's hard for parents to figure out which school their kids can attend when the family moves. Hard enough that CPS has created a School Locator app to aid the process.

Tour the Suburbs

If you're intrigued by suburban companies moving back downtown (including today's United announcement), you may be interested in Forgotten Chicago's "Corporate Kings of the Suburbs & Stern Pinball Tour," which will visit several midcentury suburban corporate campuses. Their upcoming Hyde Park modernist walking tour looks promising too.

Games Before Grades

CBS Sports reports that UNC posted what appears to be the college transcript of Bears' defensive end Julius Peppers. If they're his, let's just say he wasn't hired for his grades.

"Challenge Teachers, Not Books"

The Illinois Family Institute is recommending parents pull their children from classrooms led by gay or LGBT-friendly teachers.

ChallengeTeachers, Not Books

The Opposite of Robin Hood?

The Pritzkers' Hyatt Hotels Corp. is receiving a $5.2 million TIF as part of the Harper Court redevelopment project on 53rd Street. The seven schools surrounding the TIF district are losing $3.4 million from their budgets -- which happens to be the about the amount that CPS loses in property taxes because of the TIF. Meanwhile, Penny Pritzker serves on the CPS board. Curtis Black explains.

Back a Back-to-School Event

Reason to Give is another good way to help students in need. They're gearing up for their annual back-to-school event Aug. 22; a $10 donation sends a kid to class with a full backpack.

5th Happiest in Hyde Park

The University of Chicago is the 5th happiest college in the country, according to a recent survey from Newsweek and The Daily Beast. If the U of C is no longer "where fun comes to die", consider this t-shirt (long a staple of the typical UChicago wardrobe) a collector's item.

Start Their Year With a Bang

Whether you're hanging on to the last days of summer or begging for them to end, the start of the school year is almost here. Since expensive school supplies are a burden for low income families, Heartland Alliance set up a great website for you to sponsor a child for the start of school, or the whole year. Own your geekery, and let some kid know the joy of sharpening brand new pencils this year.

St. Scholastica's Next Chapter

UNO is taking over part of St. Scholastica Academy this fall, and will open a charter school catering to Latino immigrant students. St. Scholastica will continue to run a senior academy until its currently enrolled students graduate.

CPS & CTU Find Middle Ground

CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union reached an agreement last night in which the district will hire 477 new teachers to help offset the longer school day. Negotiations continue on the overall teachers' contract.

Teachers Inch Toward Strike

Both the Board of Education and Chicago Teachers Union rejected a mediator's recommendations, moving the CTU a step closer to striking. (Previously.)

Do (Twice As Much) Good

Bring a new children's book to Next Door in Lakeview, and it will grace the shelves of Manierre Elementary School's library. Next Door'll see your book and raise you a backpack full of school supplies, which will be donated to Lakeview High School.

Growing and Playing

A "vertical play farm" concept from Chicago's Architecture for Humanity is among the finalists for a playground design challenge on GOODmaker. Vote it up!

It's Pronounced "cole-BEAR-ee-un"

Do you speak Colbertian? Learn how now, and it might help you learn another language later.

Better Grammar Through Technology

NoRedInk is a startup created by Jeff Scheur, an English teacher at Whitney Young High School, that aims to teach students improve their grammar and writing skills.

Bid on a Class

ClassFill aims to be a marketplace for vacancies in classes.

Moving for the Schools

If you've got a kid who's nearing school age and you don't want to move to the suburbs, School Sparrow can help you figure out which neighborhood you should move to for the best school options.

Fun Where Fun Goes to Die

UC's annual Scavenger Hunt gets a lengthy profile in this week's New Yorker.

Two Surprises at Fermilab

Apparently, Fermilab has had a bison farm since 1969. The team that oversees them got a surprise when the cows started birthing on May 30.

Real Person Search

CenterSquare Journal profiles Julie Lynch, the "historical search engine" at Sulzer Library.

Peanut Gets Pissed at Packers Propaganda

A suburban teacher's math question claiming the Packers are "a much better team" than the Bears got a written response from Charles Tillman.

Primp My Ride

If the sticker on the back window wasn't enough to let other car drivers know you graduated from U of C, the school's alumni association wants to know if you want personalized license plates.

CTU Strike Authorization Vote Succeeds

The Chicago Teachers Union garnered votes for strike authorization from more than 75 percent of its membership, the Sun-Times reports. Ramsin explains what that means in Mechanics.

Boy Genius, PhD now Also MD

Sho Yano, who in 2003 got a full ride to UofC's Pritzker School of Medicine and in 2009 received his PhD in molecular biology at 18, just became an MD at 21.

Alderman Wants to Ban Pants on the Ground

Calling it "gangster-style clothing," 37th Ward Alderman Emma Mitts introduced a resolution denouncing saggy pants, sideways baseball caps and excessive jewelry at Chicago Public Schools. Saggy pants are already against CPS dress code, but the rule's enforcement has been lax in recent years.

Help Make a TEDx

TEDxUChicago is asking you to help determine who will speak at the conference in 2013. Vote online; you've got until Monday, June 4.

More than 2000 Exonerated

The Center for Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern and the University of the Michigan Law School have set up a national registry of exonerations, which collected more than 2,000 cases of wrongful convictions over 23 years.

Books on the Move

On May 7th and 10th, Open Books partnered with Chicago Public Schools and took their volunteer Reading Buddies and Booksmobile to several elementary schools to offer pop-up book fairs to eager young readers who had participated in the program all year and achieved their literacy goals. That these are students who don't often get to enjoy the gift of a new book only sweetened the deal and, as the photos show, enthusiasm never waned, rain or shine. Interested in becoming a Reading Buddy?

Open Books Buddy Day #6 Cameron -sm.jpeg

Listen to Those Voices

Voices in Your Head, UofC's a capella choral group, placed fourth in the Varsity Vocals national finals with an impressive medley of "We Found Love," "Titanium" and "Little Lion Man."

Missing CTA Map? Blame a DePaul Student

DePaul officials are searching dorm rooms for stolen CTA train maps after the DePaulia published an article about the "rite of passage." You can buy the maps for $36 directly from the CTA. [via]

Columbia's Carter Departs

Columbia College's president, Warrick Carter, announced that he will retire in August 2013. As Chicago Journal notes, Carter led the school's aggressive real estate purchasing campaign. He made headlines earlier this year for telling a student to shut up during a Q&A.

Children's Book Drive to Benefit Tsunami Victims

Chappell Elementary is holding a kids' book drive for Japanese children affected by last year's tsunami. The school, a world language magnet, is starting a Japanese studies program next year -- and the principal's been selected to participate in an educator exchange program sponsored by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Chicago.

An Online Revolt in Academia

Naomi Schaefer Riley, a blogger for the Chronicle of Higher Education, was fired this week after she accused the first dissertation topics of NU's Black Studies doctoral program of being "left-wing victimization claptrap."

School Segregation Persists

Whet Moser delves deeper into the report that Chicago area schools are the second-most segregated in the country.

The Grid: MUNUC at the Palmer House

The newest installment of our documentary series The Grid explores the 24th annual Model United Nations weekend hosted by the University of Chicago's chapter.

"It Gets Better" from a Different Angle

The Illinois Safe Schools Alliance produced a video of local LGBT teens talking to their "40-year-old selves."

Chicago Teachers Ask Illinois for Support

CPS teachers are seeking state support to increase The Chicago Teachers Pension Fund (CTPF), which is currently underfunded by millions of dollars. Senate Bill 3628 would allow $270 million to flow into the CTPF but, after that, state contributions would fall to ten percent of what it provides to the Teachers Retirement Fund, which is for teachers outside of Chicago. If the bill were to pass the senate it would still need to find support in the Illinois House. Controversial spending by the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) of Illinois adds an element of question to the debate.

"Risking Their Lives to Attend School"

A student at Uptown's Uplift Community High School responds to charges that students at the school are responsible for increased violence in the neighborhood.

Malcolm X College to be Recycled

Malcolm X College will be moving into a brand new building in 2015, and its current one will become home to the Chicago High School for the Arts as well as city arts organizations.

Are You Ready for the Summer?

Despite plentiful website problems, the Chicago Park District saw record registration for summer camp on Monday.

Get Hacking for Science!

The Adler Planetarium is hosting a Science Hack Day, 24 hours of serious creative geekery, May 12-13. Register here to join in the fun.

Chicago Hoops Against the Nation

This December, basketball fans will have a new local event to watch: the Chicago Elite Basketball Winter Classic, which will pit some of the country's best high school teams against the best locally, including Simeon, Whitney Young and De La Salle.

Chicago State Shoots Itself in the Foot ... Again

Chicago State's new media policy is so overreaching that faculty may not even be able to speak to reporters about their research.

Rhyming Against the Missionary Complex

Kenwood Academy senior Rachel Smith's poem for Louder Than a Bomb didn't win that contest, but it's reaching a lot further than she expected.

Stuck with the CPS

Yet another unexpected side effect of the housing bubble: fewer young families are able to move to the suburbs for better schools.

U of I President Resigns

University of Illinois president Michael Hogan, whose brief tenure had been marked by faculty complaints over his management style, resigned today. His last day is July 1.

Local School Councils Elections Coming Up

With the primaries over, the next election to focus on is local school councils for Chicago Public Schools March 23. CPS has created a map of LSCs to see whether anyone's running for yours, and CenterSquare Journal and Roscoe View Journal are devoting full coverage to elections in their neighborhoods.

Do the Bells Toll for You?

The University of Chicago is looking for a new carillon player for the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Carillon. Job requirements include being able to play the carillon for 30 minutes straight and "ability to climb 235 winding stairs to reach the playing cabin without medical risk required." Pay? $50 per performance. [via]

The listing, for posterity (click to enlarge):


And a sample of what you'd be getting into:

St. Scholastica to Close

St. Scholastica Academy, an all-girls' school founded by by the Benedictine Sisters in 1872, will close in June.

Happy Pi(e) Day!

You can celebrate the wonders of 3.14159 with special offers on pie thanks to the efforts of the Illinois Science Council and a bunch of local bakeries and restaurants.

Learn by Tinkering

I wish the Chicago Tinkering School existed when I was a kid.

Prioritizing Corporatization at Columbia College

Columbia gets more attention for the recent announcement that it will get rid of an independent Fiction Writing Department, and not renew the contract of longtime Chair Randy Albers. Inside Higher Ed points to a book that may have gotten this whole "prioritization" thing going.

Moving On Up to Tier 4

The Sun-Times has a handy map to see if your neighborhood changed CPS socioeconomic tiers.

A Curious Update

Robert Duffer writes an update on the "curious case" of Columbia not renewing the contract of Fiction Writing Department Chair Randy Albers.

Lab Coats at the Ready

A Northwestern study found that wearing a white lab coat, associated with attentiveness and carefullness, increased scores on tests that involved attention-intensive tasks. [via]

Schools Get No Reprieve

The Chicago School Board voted unanimously to close or turn around all 17 schools under consideration.

CPS Neglect Ahead of Turnarounds?

As the school board meets to consider closing or "turning around" up to 17 CPS schools, a study finds that the turnaround method may not actually work, and WBEZ reported on the possibility that CPS has a policy of not making repairs in schools it's considering for closure or turnaround -- as far as 10 years in advance of any decision.

CTU Rally in Support of Schools

There's a rally this afternoon at 4pm at Lake View High School, Ashland and Irving Park, in support of the schools on CPS's short list for closure and turnaround. The rally will then march up to Mayor Emanuel's home.

Education Reform Sit-in Launched in Humboldt Park

A group of parents, students and supporters have occupied Brian Piccolo Specialty School. The group's first statement was released just before midnight on Friday via Occupy Chicago, and live streaming video has been established inside the school.

Schools Profiting Off Student Fines

The Noble Network of Charter Schools is under fire for fining students for infractions ranging from untied shoelaces to bringing Flamin' Hot Cheetos to school, raising nearly $200,000 last year.

Architectural Design Competition for Teens

The Chicago Architectural Foundation recently launched, a free online tool for aspiring young architectural designers. This month, CAF introduced a design competition for high school students, challenging them to redesign their cafeteria.

Bear Down to Save Crane

The McCaskeys have joined the fight to save Crane High School, "Papa Bear" George Halas' alma mater, from closure.

Speaking to the People in Englewood

Matt Damon and Lupe Fiasco visited TEAM Englewood High School yesterday, following their appearance at the Metro Tuesday as part of The People Speak, Live!

A Map of Arts in the Schools

Ingenuity Incorporated and the Chicago Public Schools Office of Arts Education have teamed up to create ArtLook, a map showing arts programming at every public school in Chicago.

Organic Beats in Oak Park

Chicago hip hop artists Sev Seveer and Defcee launched Organic Beat Market, a youth-mentorship organization set on "breaking down stigmas around the culture by working with parents and teens directly." Two of the program's participants just released the organization's pilot project, The Promse EP.

A Case of "Adjunxploitation"

In Mechanics, Megan Doherty chronicles adjunct instructors' fight to unionize at East-West University.

Axelrod Staying in Town

After working for President Obama's reelection campaign, strategist David Axelrod will be taking his talents to Hyde Park to work for a new political institute at U of C beginning next year.

Teacher and Legal Advisor

Dennis Kass teaches history at a Little Village high school. But he's also a lawyer, and for the past four years, he's offered free legal advice to students and their families through the Chicago Law and Education Foundation.

Facebook Town Hall

Mayor Rahm Emanuel will hold another Facebook town hall meeting on January 23. Emanuel's previous virtual town hall was the first of its kind from a sitting mayor. Chicagoans can submit education-related questions online here.

Learning the Trade

Want to teach yourself how to be an architect -- or at least how to design like one? Black Spectacles can help.

Watching the Clock

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists hosts its third annual Doomsday Clock Symposium next Monday, Jan. 9, after which they'll adjust the clock if deemed necessary. It is currently at six minutes to midnight.

So Much for E-Bullying

A law passed by Illinois congress in August takes effect today, allowing school officials to suspend/expel/discipline students for threats they make against other students or staff online, whether it be a blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Annoying Audio Incentive

Student's at Evanston Township High School raised funds for local cafe by blasting Justin Bieber's repetitive tune, Baby, between class periods, forcing classmates to fork over the dough to get it off the intercom.

If You Scoop It, Scarf It

An internal UIC study found that the amount of leftover cafeteria food on plates after each meal the school served collectively produced enough food to feed 200 people each day.

Making a Mark

The Chicago Portfolio School really wanted to get Sharpie's attention.

Charters Come Up Short for Kirk

Sen. Mark Kirk says nine of the top 10 high schools in Chicago are charters. Ben Joravsky checks his math.

Where's Your Report Card?

The City put CPS school progress report cards on a map, making the data a little easier to sift through. It also includes each school's safety rating.

2 Blue Ribbon Schools

Two Chicago schools, Audubon Elementary and Northside College Prep, were awarded the National Blue Ribbon for excellence in education this year. Roscoeview Journal talks with Audubon's principal, John Price, about his school's accomplishment.

Cutting the Crap Out of Learning

MentorMob, a site for putting together "learning playlists" of tutorials and informational pages, launched this week in alpha.

Dept. of Unlikely Headlines

Scientific American: Internet Porn Fills Gap in Spider Taxonomy [via]

Tastes Like Chicken

Amish-raised, antibiotic-free chicken. That's what will be served in Chicago Public Schools from now on.

A Report from SnookiCon

How'd that "Jersey Shore" academic conference at UofC go? The New York Times and Daily Mail report.

Freedom to Ride

The Associated Press visited the Blackstone Bicycle Works, which gives South Side kids an opportunity to work and gain the "freedom" of a set of wheels.

A Snooki Seminar

The University of Chicago Conference on Jersey Shore Studies is this Friday. There is much to discuss and still time to register.

Higher (Cost) Education

The University of Chicago is the second most expensive college in the nation, according to Forbes' annual survey. Northwestern is ninth. (Thanks, Dee!)

Unitarian Universalists Get a New Home

The Meadville Lombard Theological School made a big move from rural Pennsylvania to Hyde Park in 1926, where it has been located ever since. That's going to change by the end of the year, when it's moving to the Spertus Institute building at 610 S. Michigan Ave.

Mob Knowledge

MentorMob officially launches today. It's a site for crowdsourcing knowledge to help collectively teach a variety of subjects, from salsa dancing to chemistry.

Helping the Kids of Albany Park

Alan Lake introduces you to Sherri Fenton, director of Asian Youth Services in Mechanics.

Professor Rahm?

Education startup Dabble has launched a campaign to get Mayor Emanuel to teach a class. If he does, Dabble will donate all proceeds from the proposed $20 tickets to charities supporting education.

Cheap Books for Everyone!

The U of C Press is hosting its Great Chicago Book Sale at the end of next week for the first time since 2008. It promises more than 10,000 books at $5 a pop.

You Won't be a Principal for a Day Yet

CPS is temporarily canceling its Principal for a Day program, leaving students without guidance from educational luminaries like Nicki Minaj, and some deserving folks too.

Chicago-Raised Nobel Winner

Chicago-born and -educated researcher Dr. Bruce Beutler won a Nobel Prize for his work with two colleagues on immune system diseases and treatment.

Five-Star Rating for Childhood Programs

Give your kid the five-star treatment, at school. The city will implement a five-star rating system for early childhood programs beginning in July 2012.

The Mean School Day is Slightly Longer

After six more schools started a longer day on Monday, a total of 13 schools have answered the Emanuel administration's call to add 90 minutes to their schedules. With, um, hundreds of schools to go, the administration's two month push probably can't be considered a resounding success...

CPS's Longer Day Gets a Website

CPS has launched a website for its longer school day proposal to collect ideas and feedback on the plan.

The Nonviolent Chicago

Incoming DePaul students are introduced to the city with a course called "Discovering Chicago," which covers various aspects of the city. This quarter, there's a new segment: "Discovering Nonviolent Chicago."

Super Nanny Academy of Chicago

The Super Nanny Academy blossomed into a program after a Chicagoland pediatric therapy group and a nanny agency came together. The first-of-its-kind program helps train nannies to care for children with all different types of disabilities.

Volunteer At The Old Town School

The Old Town School of Folk Music is holding one of its volunteer orientation sessions this Saturday, Sept. 17. For helping out at the school, volunteers can earn credit towards free classes or concert tickets. Full details at the school's volunteer page.

That's Right, "Jersey Shore Studies"

If you can't wait for the University of Chicago's Jersey Shore conference, this conference schedule with paper titles should help build some excitement. Paper titles vary widely, from "'You Dirty Little Hamster!': The Abject and the Monstrous Feminine in Jersey Shore" to "Situating the Situation: Psychogeography, Mimetic Desire, and the Resurgent Indo-European Trifunctional Paradigm in Seaside."

Remember the National Louis Groupon Deal?

18 people took the school up on the offer.

Get a Student Discount

National Louis University is offering a graduate-level class class for 57 percent off on Groupon today, to try to reach people considering a career in education.

Street-Level Phoenix

Street-Level Youth Media returns to Wicker Park after a fire destroyed their community center 3 years ago. The new 5,250-square-foot facility features state-of-the-art A/V labs, sound stage and gallery space. A grand opening benefit reception is slated for September 29th.

Look Where The Sun Don't Shine

Each year, the Sun-Times Charity Trust awards grants to Chicago organizations that support youth in education, art and civic engagement. This year, the Trust has set up the Sun Shine Project for the greater Chicago community to "shine a light" on worthy charities and select projects that deserve a grant. The nomination phase is happening right now!

Another Step Towards Diversity in College Admissions

Elmhurst College is now asking prospective students if they consider themselves members of the GLBT community.

You Choose

Most Chicago Public Schools start back on Sept. 7, but there are a ton of teachers who are lacking some sadly basic items for their classrooms. If you have a couple of extra bucks to share, you can be a Donors Choose hero and help. For example, Ms. J's kids need reeds for their instruments, Ms. S's kids need scissors and puzzles, and Mr. W's kids need composition notebooks.

Insect Eating for the Future

That's the slogan of Entom Foods, a company started by some UofC undergrads to get Americans eating more bugs.

Making a Generation of Makers

For a few days this summer, a group of girls went to GADgET Camp to learn about manufacturing. The Girls Adventuring in Design Engineering and Technology Camp focuses on girls between the ages of 12 and 16 and is the only all-girls camp that is is funded by national organizationNuts, Bolts and Thingamajigs. Antigone Sharris, an engineering instructor at Triton College started the program. Can't wait to see what these girls make.

A Park in Danger

The City has started proceedings to rezone Greenbaum Park in Humboldt Park RT-4 residential. Ald. Reboyras says it's so that it can become an "on-campus park" for Grand High School next door, but neighbors are skeptical.

School for Scandal

The Illinois General Assembly Legislative Scholarships have been abused quite a bit over the years -- the latest being Rep. Dan Burke's award of a scholarship to a former secretary's daughter who may not have met the requirements of the program. Gov. Quinn has been trying to get the scholarships eliminated.

Man vs. Mansueto

University of Chicago fourth year Mitchell Kohles challenged the automated storage and retrieval system at the U of C's newest library, the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, to a race. How did Mitchell do? Let's go to the tape, err, YouTube video.

Back to School: More Expensive, Longer Days

CPS head Jean-Claude Brizard has proposed a 2.4 percent property tax hike to help cover the school budget, as well as a longer school day; not surprisingly, not everyone's excited. Brizard was on WBEZ last night answering callers' questions about the tax and everything else.

Tickets to TED

TEDxMidwest isn't until October, but tickets are hard to come by. You'll have to apply for yours.

"Nothing like a good ol' Chicago coincidence."

After School Matters, the nonprofit founded by Maggie Daley, received a $6.5 million grant four days before Mayor Daley left office.

School Selection Gets Tricky

In Mechanics, Monica Reida explains some of the intricacies of getting a student into the CPS school of your choice, and why Mayor Emanuel might have picked a private one.


The NFL lockout just ended, but Phoenix Arizona Cardinals running back Jason Wright is apparently still opting for the backup plan: the former Northwestern Wildcat retired to enroll at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business.

Next Redone Stop: Loyola

Loyola University unveiled a renovation plan for its namesake Red Line station. Work may start as soon as next month. [via]

Saving on Back to School

Groupon and CPS have teamed up to offer a "Kits for Kidz" deal tomorrow through Thursday -- buy it for $12 and provide a needy student with school supplies. (Related, from 2005.)

Public Goes Private

Joravsky and Dumke delve into the privacy grey area surrounding the city's charter schools.

Shuttling Fish Eggs

The final Space Shuttle launched as planned this morning, and on it were goldfish eggs -- part of an experiment created by Chicago public school students.

Pass/Fail on a Whim

The Reader looks into how a CPS teacher could go from "excellent" to "do not hire" in a year.

Gorillas in the Mist

... and on the pill.

Whittier Sit-In Restarts, Police Arrive

The Whittier Parent Committee began their sit-in anew at the fieldhouse last night. Workers delivered debris containers to the site, and according to the Committee's Facebook page, police have arrived to arrest people who are blocking access. We have a reporter on the way; meanwhile, follow our coverage of Whittier in Mechanics.

Battling on Many Fronts

While CPS reneges on its agreement with the Whittier Parent Committee, Ed Hammer says Mayor Emanuel has declared war on teachers.

Good, Messy Summer Fun

School's out -- what's next? Chicago Parent has some fun ways for your kid to spend the summer that let them get hands-deep in grubs, paint, plants and more.

Whittier Fieldhouse Tear-down Imminent

Reports are coming in via Twitter that a demolition has arrived at the Whittier Elementary School fieldhouse, which parents and community members fought to save last year. Earlier this week the CPS board decided to go back on its promise to allow the community to take over the fieldhouse. We've got a reporter heading down and will update as the story unfolds. UPDATE: The sit-in is back on. UPDATE 2: Full story in Mechanics.

This Tour is Money

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago contains a little-known Money Museum, which features some rare numismatic items.

The Battle for Whittier Begins Again

The Whittier School community is once again gearing up for a fight, as the new CPS board decided to go back on the agreement reached last year to renovate the outbuilding that had become an ad hoc library and community center.

Protest Stops Traffic

Michigan Avenue is currently blocked by a Chicago Teachers Union/Stand Up Chicago protest. Former GB staffer/current CTU organizer Kenzo Shibata is tweeting it live. (Thanks for the correction, Ryan!)

Notre Dame, Not Our Women

Roxanne Martino was forced to resign from the Notre Dame University board of trustees over donations to Emily's List and the Chicago Foundation for Women.

The Final F**king Countdown

A U of C student prepares for the end of the semester quarter in style.

A Lunchtime Conversation with David Simon and Wendell Pierce

The keynote speech at the U of C's symposium on the arts and the city is a conversation between David Simon and Wendell Pierce of "The Wire" and "Treme" fame. Watch the conversation live on facebook now.

Printers Row Lit Fest Gets Mobbed

Now this is a flash mob. More in Book Club.

Atomic Time Capsule

At 4pm today, the University of Chicago will open a time capsule placed in the Research Institute Building's cornerstone in 1950. You can watch it live online.

Quite the Pile of Bricks

Lightning struck in Rogers Park this morning and took out some poor defenseless chimney bricks near Pratt and Greenview at the Lake Shore School. Luckily, no one appears to have been injured. Transmission contributor Dan Snedigar took some pictures of the debris.

U of C Students Protest Housekeeper Firings

A coalition of nine U of C student groups is working to stop a contract change that could lead to the firing of 56 U of C staff housekeepers. Their latest effort was a demonstration on Monday.

Daley to Work at UC

See, people are getting good jobs in this economy! Former mayor Richard Daley will become a fellow at the Harris School of Public Policy at University of Chicago starting in July; his primary task is to use his sizeable Rolodex to coordinate ten guest lectures.

Tell a Zebra by its Stripes

Computer scientists at UIC co-developed StripeSpotter, a system that helps researchers tell zebras apart in the wild.

Dabble in Dabble

Dabble launched today, offering Chicagoans the opportunity to take a class on something they've always been curious about -- and also to try their hand at teaching something they're passionate about.

Nicki Minaj Gets Schooled

Rapper Nicki Minaj played principle for a day at Collins Academy yesterday as part of the Get Schooled project.

Superstar Nicki Minaj Surprises Students as "Principal for the Day" at Collins Academy High School in Chicago from Get Schooled on Vimeo.

Local Kids Reaching for Space

Skinner West elementary school is Chicago's representative in NASA's Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, preparing to put an experiment on board the very last Space Shuttle flight.

Another Month at the Museum

That's right, the Museum of Science and Industry is looking for a new month-long resident.

Meet the Robot Librarians

Speaking of the U of C's new Mansueto Library, its Grand Reading Room is opening to U of C students faculty and staff on Monday. So if you know someone affiliated with the school, maybe you should give them a call.

The Robot Librarians

Wired thinks University of Chicago's new Mansueto Library is pretty cool -- especially the robot cranes that fetch the books.

No More Fucksaws

The controversial human sexuality class at Northwestern (previously) will not be returning to the curriculum in the fall, the university announced yesterday. At least one Wildcat hopes the school changes its mind.

Hyde Park Meets Jersey Shore

A U of C student is looking for startup funding to hold an academic conference this fall on "Jersey Shore," so if you're looking for some real discourse on Guidos, Juiceheads, and "GTL as a practice of the self and way of life," this is the event for you.

Scavenging the World

The University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt (previously) successfully broke the world record for largest scavenger hunt.

Envisioning CPS Improvements

Interim CPS chief Terry Mazany shared his vision for improving the city's schools today. Catalyst collects some thoughts.

I am a Wildcat (And So Can You)

Northwestern grad Stephen Colbert will receive an honorary degree from the school during commencement June 17. Think of it as a delayed two-for-one special.

Putting UChicagottabad on the Map

Tomorrow night is University of Chicago's annual Scavenger Hunt; this year's list [PDF] of tasks includes " a glass of red from Osama Zin Laden vineyard" and " Origami Bin Laden." Those crazy kids.

The Indian Languages

At the turn of the last century, the Linguistic Survey of India recorded 179 languages and 544 dialects from around the Indian subcontinent and Burma. The Digital South Asia Library at the University of Chicago recently digitized two dozen of the phonographs and posted them online.

Far Flung Correspondents is a publication by Northwestern students studying abroad.

Probing Probation

A pattern emerges as you look at the Chicago News Cooperative's map of schools on probation in each ward. The accompanying story zooms in on Austin.


Write your own.

New CPS CEO Named

Mayor-elect Emanuel named Jean-Claude Brizard to head the Chicago Public Schools. The rest of the CPS leadership team is listed here.

Apparently Chicago State Still Hasn't Hit Bottom Yet

This time, the problems at Chicago State include not sending out tuition bills for several months.

School Lunch Controversy

Some CPS schools have banned lunches brought from home in an effort to promote healthier eating. Students and parents are, of course, not all happy about this.

Unionization and Innovation

Chicago unions and charter schools are exploring new territory with new kinds of contracts ... and conflicts.

NU Officials: Protess Lied

Northwestern officials now accuse journalism professor David Protess of doctoring records and lying to lawyers and the dean of Medill. The Reader's Michael Miner gets Protess' comment on the allegations. (Previously: 1, 2)

Playing in School?

CPS students may get recess for the first time in 38 years.

Academic Freedom?

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is considered one of the most free-thinking colleges in the country, if not the world. But this article in F Newsmagazine describes the firing of Roxane Assaf and links it to her political thoughts related to how the United States media covers the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Murals to Motivate

Chicago Sojourn takes a tour of Lane Tech, the city's largest high school. [via]

Prentice Hospital Gets a Temporary Respite, Kinda

Alderman Reilly convinced Northwestern to delay entering their demolition permit request for the Bertrand Goldberg designed hospital for 60 days. Of course, the Stone Institute of Psychiatry won't move out until September, so that might not be much of a concession.

Teacher Mocks Student on Facebook

A CPS teacher is in hot water after she took a picture of a student's Jolly Rancher hairstyle and mocked her on Facebook.

Protess to Launch Independent Innocence Project

After being relieved of teaching duties, Northwestern journalism professor David Protess has announced that he will launch the independent Chicago Innocence Project as a non-profit continuing the work of the Medill Innocence Project, which he founded.

Regenstein Romances Redux

UChicago Hookups, which launched just a couple weeks ago, has already transformed into and is now open to Northwestern and Columbia students, with Brown launching next week.

@MayorEmanuel Lives On

Dan Sinker landed a book deal for his @MayorEmanuel twitter project; meanwhile, the academic community continues to debate the ethics of a journalism professor becoming "part of the story."

Making Leaving School Safe

NPR looks at how a mix of security guards prevent after school violence by spending time in and around Woodlawn's Hyde Park Academy.

Win an MBA

Well, win the opportunity to earn one, anyway. Lake Forest Graduate School of Management is running an essay contest, and the payoff for 50 contestants is a scholarship to its executive MBA program. The catch? You have to have been laid off since Oct. 31, 2009. See the site for other stipulations.

Innocence Project Prof Under Fire

Northwestern has removed Professor David Protess, head of the Medill Innocence Project, from teaching an investigative reporting class in the spring quarter amid allegations of mishandling of evidence in one of the project's wrongful conviction cases. Students are protesting.

Regenstein Romances

Apparently not satisfied with LikeALittle (previously), UofC students have created UChicago Hookups, "where fun comes to thrive." [via]

Help Students Stay in School

Umoja, a non-profit working to reduce student dropout rates in North Lawndale and nearby communities, holds its annual Spring Fling fundraiser tonight at the River East Art Center

Lawsuit Alleges Discrimination in Google Apps for Education

Northwestern and its partnership with Google to provide email and other services for its students is targeted in a lawsuit alleging the applications are inaccessible to students with vision impairments and constitute discrimination.

Calling All High School Kids

Chicago loves student design contests. The latest one will feature a CPS high school student's design on 10,000 reusable bags to be handed out at farmers markets. Here's some info from one of the sponsors.


Columbia College and USC have teamed up with YouTube to create "Creator Institutes" to train students in digital media. To be one of the 10 students in the YouTube-Columbia College Creator Institute this summer, apply here.

Argonne and the U of C Create New Major Initiative

After years of resistance to adding another professional program, the U of C is collaborating with the Argonne National Laboratory to create an engineering program -- only this engineering program is molecular engineering.

Further Fucksaw Fallout

The president of Northwestern has announced an investigation into the motorized sex toy (aka "fucksaw") demonstration in a recent human sexuality class. (Previously.) Meanwhile, Rachel Rabbit White got the other side of the story from the people who put on the demo.

Ah, the Joys of Writing Headlines!

"Mortuary school not a haven for 'weird people,' students say."

The Long Bet on Better Education

UofC economics professor John List received some attention for his $10 million experiment tracking 600-plus students from pre-school into adulthood to gauge the impact of different education practices.

Mounting Controversy, Indeed

A popular Human Sexuality class at Northwestern was treated to a live demonstration of a sexual device (the "f*cksaw") last Monday. Some are not amused, but the school's administration has stayed quiet on the issue, claiming that watching a woman get aroused in front of 600 students falls under "the broad range of academic freedoms."

Can a Charter School Block a Union?

While the protests in Madison continue, Chicago has its own labor fight in the works. The Chicago Math and Science Academy is arguing it is "private" and therefore exempt from an Illinois law granting public school employees the right to form unions for contract negotiations. The argument is seen as particularly controversial because the relevant Illinois charter school law defines charter schools as "public."

Skipping School Lunch

A healthier lunch is only good for kids if they eat it -- and apparently CPS students aren't. More food discussion in Drive-Thru.

Innovating the News

Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism and McCormick School of Engineering announced today the creation of the Knight News Innovation Lab, funded by a four-year, $4.2-million grant from the Knight Foundation.

Smart Student Loan Shopping

Founder Sue Khim describes EduLender as "Lending Tree for student loans" -- it allows you to quickly compare your school loan options side by side and pick the one that's right for you.

United States of X: Collegiate Edition

Watch Chicagoland turn darker on this iteractive map of adults with college degrees.

Evanston Brings Back Brothels

...not exactly, but they are not going to use an ancient anti-prostitution law to crack down on problems stemming from NU students living off-campus. (Previously.)

City of Evanston to NU: No More Brothels, Thx Bros

In an effort to control the community problems stemming from Northwestern University students living off-campus, the City of Evanston is resurrecting a long-unenforced law that prohibits more than three unrelated people from living together. The ordinance, which will take effect July 1, was originally intended to shut down prostitution in the city. Somewhere, Chet Haze is writing a song.

WISE Presidential Award-winners

The Women in Science and Engineering Mentoring Initiatives Center for Research on Women and Gender at UIC received a Presidential Award for excellence in science, mathematics and engineering mentoring.

UNCAPing Knowledge

Set aside some time this afternoon to pore through the Uncovering New Chicago Archives Project's stacks.

"Dear Mayor..."

Chicago's youth send letters to our next mayor.

MLK Today

Area schools are finding ways to keep Martin Luther King, Jr.'s message relevant to today's kids.

How to Reach Black Boys

Catalyst Chicago has launched a resource center on the subject.

The Mating Dance of the CoEd

LikeALittle is a college-oriented anonymous "flirting facilitator." Peek at what passes for passes at Columbia, DePaul, Loyola, Northwestern, Roosevelt, UofC, UIC and others.

She Can Blind Them With Science

The deadline for "Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day" is this Friday. Taking place February 24th at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, the event aims to "spark girls' curiosity about engineering and science, and showcase career opportunities." Application forms are available online [PDF] -- act now!

Dueling Cadavers

The Museum of Science & Industry will host the US debut of the third edition of Body Worlds exhibit. "Body Worlds & The Cycle of Life" opens March 18. Meanwhile, the International Museum of Surgical Science is currently hosting a rival show, "Our Body: The Universe Within."

Maroon Beats Crimson

The University of Chicago beat out Harvard and Yale in online brand presence. On the other hand, UofC is only number two -- University of Wisconsin is tops.

Mayoral Hopefuls Talk Education

Several of the top mayoral candidates met yesterday to discuss their plans on education. Curtis Black and Mike Flannery have reports.

Meet Teacher Lara Lindh

On any one day, our latest subject in the Classroom Mechanics oral history project will find herself in a room with up to 20 children who may speak any mixtures of English, Spanish, Arabic or Polish.

Clean Running

Some Whitney Young students are making cleaner biofuel at UIC.

Mad Freshmen

Northwestern University is offering a class this semester called "Consumerism and Social Change in Mad Men America, 1960-1963." No word on whether or not Roger Sterling's "Sterling's Gold: Wit and Wisdom of an Ad Man" is listed on the class syllabus.

Working for Nothing

About 100 graduate assistants at UIC received paychecks for $0 in October and November due to the way the university is interpreting tax codes.

Would You Like Fries with Those Vegan Ribs?

Northwestern is ranked as being the most vegan friendly "small" school in PETA's 2010 ranking of U.S. universities. The U of C made the initial list but was promptly defeated by Northwestern.

One Great Teacher

Dexter Chaney, a third grade teacher at Ryerson Elementary School in East Garfield Park, is the lone Illinois recipient of the Milken Educator Award.

Bullying on the Agenda

Mayoral candidate City Clerk Miguel del Valle tells Gay Chicago Magazine that if elected, bullying in Chicago schools and community policing will be priorities for his administration.

The Schools Are the Thing

Catalyst's latest issue takes a look at the next mayor from an education standpoint.

Your Pun for the Day

Local coffee roaster Crop to Cup is now providing IIT with a custom blend: Mies van der Roast.

Folk, Fandango and Flamenco

The Old Town School of Folk Music is hosting its (free!) annual open house tomorrow night. Try your hand (or foot) at everything from go-go dancing to songwriting to banjo playing during the evening of free classes, workshops and performances.

Columbia's Own PostSecret

Columbia student Tanisha Pina created Columbia Confessions as an experiment in anonymity for students. Their confessions range from sweet to sad to juvenile to heartbreaking.

Another Michigan Ave. Street Wall Building Changes Hands

Columbia College announced it is purchasing 820 S. Michigan Ave., the headquarters of Johnson Publishing. The company, which is the publisher of EBONY and JET, will move out within 18 months as part of a cost-cutting strategy.

New CPS Chief Named

The Sun-Times reports that Terry Mazany, currently president and CEO of the Chicago Community Trust, has been appointed the new chief of Chicago Public Schools, succeeding the outgoing Ron Huberman.

Powering Computers Without Power Lines

A student-faculty collaboration at IIT has designed a "replicable, low-cost, durable, practical laptop charging" device for Haitian primary schools, 95% of which do not have electricity. They just won an award for their work and are raising money to implement the project.

Skating Past the Physics Board

The Reader's cover story this week is about Yung Tae Kim, aka Dr. Tae, your favorite skateboarding physicist.

Limited Athletic Opportunities for Female CPS Students Alleged

The National Women's Law Center has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights against the Chicago Public Schools and another 11 districts for Title IX violations.

Canceling Their Charter

One in 10 charter school students transferred out last year, Catalyst reports. Listen to an interview with Catalyst's Sarah Karp and WBEZ's Linda Lutton about the topic on "Eight Forty-Eight."

Making Sense of 43% More Student Applications

The NY Times and Chronicle of Higher Education feature the U of C as an exemplar of what's happening in college admissions, where the number of applicants to many elite schools is skyrocketing.

From Omaha to Englewood

Our latest oral history from a Chicago school teacher is up in Mechanics; this week, a Spanish teacher at TEAM Englewood Community Academy tells her story.

Ron Huberman Resigning Effective Nov. 29

The Sun-Times story is only one sentence, but cause they already broke the news back on Oct. 6.

Beware of the Sweet Drinks Stalking School Halls

Because they're still widely available, says a UIC researcher.

Northwestern Students Get Schooled

Things are tough for the kids up in Evanston. Northwestern's administration first chastises them for crudely referencing oral sex in front of neighborhood kids, and now they shouldn't go in blackface for Halloween. The holiday is "a time when the normal thoughtfulness and sensitivity of most NU students can be forgotten and some poor decisions are made."

The Holographic Universe

Researchers at Fermilab are testing the hypothesis that the universe we know and love is nothing but a hologram. Check out the Holometer.

Be Principal for a Day!

Since the price to be a CPS Principal for a Day is only suggested, perhaps you'd like to be one.

Introducing Classroom Mechanics

Today marks the start of Classroom Mechanics, a new oral history project in Mechanics, sharing the firsthand stories of teachers in Chicago schools. Micah Uetricht interviews a young teacher at Robeson High School.

Chicago and Poverty, Together Forever

The NY Times draws from research by current University of Chicago sociologist Mario Small and three former U of C sociologists, Maria Kefalas, Robert Sampson and William Julius Wilson, to draw attention to a renewed emphasis on studies of poverty and culture.

I'll Take "Wildcats" for $800, Alex

Speaking of "Jeopardy!," Northwestern student Katie Singh will compete in the show's next College Championship tournament.

Whittier Reconciliation on the Way?

CPS chief Ron Huberman and Ald. Danny Solis met with the Whittier School protesters to discuss several options for ending the sit-in and establishing a library for the school.

Stick It to Education

The City Clerk's office is accepting entries for its annual vehicle sticker art contest. This year's theme is "Education Is Key." The winning entry will be displayed on over a million windshields next year, and will net its designer a $1,000 savings bond. (Nine runners-up will receive savings bond prizes, too.) The contest is open to Chicago high school students and runs through Nov. 5. For official rules, entry forms, and ideas on how to get started, click here.

Education for All

The U of C recently publicly announced that it accepts and funds undocumented students.

Betting on Nobel

A London betting agency has put U of C's Richard Thaler down as a top candidate for the Nobel Prize in Economics.

Heating the House

Speaking of home, the Whittier school occupation just got a little more politically interesting with City Council calling on CPS to reconnect gas heat service to the occupied field house.

Huberman Planning Exit

Ron Huberman, the CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, is planning to leave his post well before the election of the new Mayor according to the Sun-Times. UPDATE: Huberman is denies he's leaving.

2 People, Waiting for Superman

In Mechanics, we've got contrasting perspectives on the new film, Waiting for Superman: one from a conservative, one from a teacher.

Librarians in Training

If you've been following our Whitter Elementary School coverage. You may be happy to know that the parents are continuing to take things into their own hands and have created their own library filled with donations and are getting training from librarians so they can run it themselves. And they have no plans to back down until they get a library.

Groupon is Spawning

Groupon wants to help put a "Groupon baby" (a baby parented by a couple who used a Groupon on their first date) through college.

Kids Fighting for a Library

So far in the battle to save Whittier School's Fieldhouse, we've mostly heard from the adults on both sides. In Mechanics, Cinnamon Cooper finds out what some of the kids have to say.

"Knock Him Upside the Head"

Some financial advice from the Wall Street Journal inspired by the unfortunately vocal U of C law professor who claimed his family was "just getting by" on $250,000 a year.

News on the Whittier

At various times Monday and today, Ald. Danny Solis, the police and demolition crews have shown up at the Whittier School Fieldhouse, which is currently being occupied by parents trying to keep the building standing to serve as the school's desperately needed library. Anne Elizabeth Moore has been reporting from the scene on Twitter and telling the story on her blog.

Museum Day Saturday

Smithsonian magazine has organized a national Museum Day this Sept. 25, and the Adler Planetarium is a featured participant. Many of the other museums in Illinois are also participating; download a ticket here.

Which Schools Make the Grade

Wonder how your local public school is measuring up? The Tribune has an easy site for you to check its 2009 report card.

That's a lot of Apples!

Walter Payton College Prep is the national winner of the Intel Schools of Distinction contest, earning it more than $175,000 worth of cash and prizes.

Hull House Museum Reopened

The Jane Addams Hull House Museum reopened last week after an extensive renovation.

Grown Up Classes

Odd that it's launching at the beginning of the school year rather than the end, but Chicago OnBoard promises to be "life orientation" for post-college.

Help'em Back to School

Chicago Public Schools start the new school year on Sept. 7. Check out DonorsChoose's list of projects in CPS classrooms looking for a little help.

Hacker-Journalist Class

Northwestern's Medill School, Mozilla, Hacks/Hackers and The Media Consortium are collaborating to offer "Open Journalism & the Open Web, a free six-week interactive course that will bring together journalists and programmers. It starts Sept. 15, and just got BoingBoinged, so it may have already filled up; if it proves popular, chances are it'll be offered again.

The Muppets of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry will be invaded by Kermit and the rest of the gang a month from today -- better get your tickets now.

A New Way to Pan Chicago State

Chicago State gets a mention and a thrashing as Washington Monthly tries to develop a new kind of college guide. For what it's worth, the U of C ranks 12th on the list and Northwestern ranks 65th.

Class of 2011

U.S. News and World Report has the University of Chicago ranked at no. 9 (shared with Dartmouth College and Duke University) and Northwestern University at no. 12 in their list of best colleges for 2011.

Vicious Circle of TIF

TIF districts are created to freeze the amount of property tax funding stuff like parks and public schools. Now the Chicago Teachers Union wants to direct TIF money to fix Chicago Public Schools. Hmmm......

Indie Rock to Lit Doc

Hadji Bakara, the former keyboardist for Wolf Parade, is now a PhD student in U of C's Department of English Language and Literature.

Matching Bikes

Experimental Station's refurbished bike shop/youth education program, Blackstone Bicycle Works, just received a matching grant that requires them to bring in new donors. Help out here.

Teach A Man To Fish...And CPS Will Fire You

Layoff notices went out earlier this week for hundreds of Chicago Public School teachers. The Chicago Teachers Union is meeting with CPS today to determine exactly how many, but WBEZ reports the number could be as high as 1,500.

Higgs Bogus

Rumors that Fermilab's particle accelerator has detected a Higgs boson, the so-called "God particle," are untrue unfortunately.

Goals and Prizes for CPS Students

The NYTimes profiles the CPS anti-violence advocate program with a headline that makes less sense the longer one thinks about it.

Have a 3.0 GPA? Have a 3.333 Instead

The NYTimes notes that the U of C Law School's 186 point grading system has helped protect it against the grade inflation pressures felt at other schools.

Star Bright

IT training program i.c.stars gets some attention from tech publisher O'Reilly.

Soccer is Poetry

We've got soccer on the brain in Tailgate right now -- especially a local program that teaches both teamwork and communication skills through a combination of soccer and poetry.

The Angled R

Roosevelt University's recent rebranding got some attention at logo blog Brand New.

The Minds Behind the Velvet Rope

Lauren Rivera, a professor at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, looked into how nightclub bouncers determine who's cool enough to get in and who stays outside.

Good Grades Get Good Music

Kanye West, Common and Lupe Fiasco performed last night for students at three Chicago Public Schools that improved their grades, behavior and attendance this year.

Which Race to Choose?

Unlike the US Census, the Department of Education's survey of students' race or ethnicity doesn't include an option for Latino/Hispanic (or Arab, for that matter), forcing Mexican-Americans and others to choose between White or American Indian or some other inaccurate option.


Chicago Public Schools is apparently on the search for math and reading computer software that could help teach students each day, sans teacher supervision.

A Culture of Misconduct

CPS security guards might be worsening the tension in the halls rather than keeping the peace.

Welcome to College, Here's Your iPad

All incoming IIT students will be receiving iPads when they arrive in the fall.

From Modern to Abstract, One Feather at a Time

Friends of Pritzker School is raising money by auctioning off some pretty cool birdhouses by local architects and others.

Designers' Mantra: Learn in Chicago, Then Leave

The New York Times uses The School of the Art Institute's Fashion Department to illustrate Chicago's most common dilemma in the arts.

Olympic Failure = Sports for Kids

The $6.1 million left over from donations to the Chicago Olympic bid is funding World Sport Chicago's programs for inner-city kids. As the Sun-Times quips: "World Sport Chicago is the only remaining legacy of Daley's Olympic quest."

Cafeteria Peaches, Uncanned

Thanks to an effort bringing Michigan-grown fruits to Chicago Public Schools, one child encountered his first fresh, whole peach.

University of Wyoming to Pal Around with Bill Ayers

A federal court has rejected the University of Wyoming's cancellation of Bill Ayres' talk at the university for "safety reasons." The administration's controversial cancellation of the speech was against the wishes of the school's Social Justice Research Center, who invited Ayres to campus.

CPS Down To Zero

The Chicago Public Schools will be left with zero "top-ranking" officials who have classroom experience after their chief education officer, Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins, leaves to take over the schools in Michigan City, Indiana.

Teaching Reading With Pictures

This Sunday at Northwestern University, comics creators, graphic novelists and education experts lead a one-day workshop on using comics to teach reading and increase literacy in the classroom. It's organized by new local nonprofit Reading With Pictures. Free for educators, librarians and comics professionals.

Flashpoint Dances with DeNiro

Robert DeNiro's Tribeca Enterprises is now a 50 percent partner in Flashpoint Academy. The media arts school will now be known as Tribeca Flashpoint. Does this mean we'll see more of DeNiro in town? [via]

Hey, Check Out These Chicks

The Kohl Children's Museum just north of the city got a surprise in its old-fashioned "Eggs to Chicks" exhibit: three chicks of a very rare variety.

Getting a Seat at the Booth

Ever wondered what it takes to get into the U of C's Booth School of Business? Wonder no more.

Rippling, Splashing and Cascading

A University of Chicago group is taking discussion of education beyond of the classroom and wants you to participate. Ripple is a free conference seeking to bring together those interested in education with Chicago education experts, from Tim Knowles of the Urban Education Institute to Bill Ayers. You can register online, if you're so inclined.

U of C Dorm to Apartments

The Shoreland Hotel, once housing for University of Chicago students, is now set to become apartments. The developer that bought the historic building in 2008 for $16 million has hired Jeanne Gang, the same architect behind Aqua, for the apartment conversion.

Bleacher Heist

The man who stole bleacher seats piece by piece from a West Side high school is finally caught.

Don't Text So Close To Me

Staff at Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 are not permitted to email students from personal email accounts. A new policy that went into effect this week also prohibits online gaming with students as well as communicating with them via text message. [via]

But, Mom, Dirt is Good for Me!

Research out of Northwestern demonstrates that dirt and germs are good for long-term heart health.

Long Weekends Every Weekend

While everyone is discussing healthcare, the Illinois House is clearing the way for four-day school weeks to reduce government spending.

A New Community Orientation in the Suburbs

The NY Times profiles Elmhurst College, its new president and his mission to orient the school towards service and the alleviation of poverty in DuPage County.

Apparently, Not Everyone Wants to Live in Chicago

The Chicago Teachers Union is finding itself in an interesting political game with State Sen. Heather Steans, a charter school supporter. Steans is pushing for the elimination of the residency requirement for CPS teachers as a quid pro quo for earlier union concessions.

Excessive Grade Changes and Automatic A's

The Sun-Times and CPS want to know why Hyde Park Academy had to change more than 3,000 grades last year, which is more than three times as many as the next highest school.

Flip Madness!

Are you the master of flip cup? Form a team of four (or sign up solo and meet new friends) for Flip Madness — a flip cup tournament on 3/27 at Mad River benefiting Rock for Kids. Beer, food, entertainment provided. Details in Slowdown.

The Home of the $215 Teapot and $6,000 Rug

As a perk of the job, UIC's new chancellor has a nice townhouse that recently underwent a $500,000 makeover, which is not sitting pretty with students and staffers facing possible job cuts and tuition hikes.

Lake Forest College (And Everyone Else) Surprised By Donation

Grace Groner, a woman who lived in an austere one-bedroom house in Lake Forest, donated $7 million to Lake Forest College when she passed away in January. The origin of her fortune? Stock purchased for $180 in 1935.

Couldn't Make Blago's Northwestern Lecture?

Well, here are a couple of reviews, including highlights involving "testicular virility" and Thomas Jefferson.

U of I Could Raise Tuition

Chicago Business reports that U of I could raise tuition by up to 20%.

Catalyst Catalyzing School Discussions

Catalyst Chicago is 20 years old this year, and celebrated by launching Catalyst Caucus, a forum asking tough questions about the city's schools.

Enrollment Open at Hot Dog University

"Hot Dog University taught me all the hot dog basics."

The Wrong Way to Get Girls to Study Science

IIT's student body is 73 percent male -- so what are you waiting for, girls? Get an engineering degree and get your man!

No More Foam?

Finance Committee Chairman Edward Burke drafted a citywide ban of Styrofoam today. If approved by City Council, Chicago Public Schools will have to find another way to serve lunch.

Bid on the "Bang Gang"

Probably nobody ever called them that, but a t-shirt featuring the Bulls' Luc Longley, Bill Wennington and Will Perdue is for sale on eBay. [via]

Who Says it's Worthless?

Newcity has a new review of a show at DePaul that features reject art. The art will be sold from its collection to purchase more desired pieces, but visitors can still cast their vote on what they think is good, bad or just plain ugly.

Inside Columbia's Media Production Center

Columbia's Media Production Center is now open for classes, so Chicago Journal stopped in on Lighting 1, the first class held in the space.

Slave Sculpture to Return to Chicago State

As if Chicago State didn't have enough problems, State Representative Monique Davis and the institution have some explaining to do after a $25,000 sculpture owned by the school ended up in her office.

Not All Neighbors have the Same Socioeconomic Status...

The Sun-Times discovered a flaw in the new economics-based CPS admissions categories, due to their Census tract basis.

High Schoolers Challenge School Review Policies

All but three of Adlai E Stevenson High School's first semester staffers quit the school's newspaper over charges of censorship.

How's That for an Increase?

The U of C's applications for undergraduate study jumped 42% from last year.

Chicago's School of Economic Revolt

Last year, Judge Richard Posner, one of the U of C's most famous professors, came out as a Keynesian -- basically the opposite of the storied Chicago School of economics. The New Yorker looks at the aftermath and the rise of Keynesian economics in this week's issue.

"I Accept...You"

The University of Chicago's dean of admissions stirred up controversy recently when he shared with potential applicants an admissions essay that likened the university to a lover. Students and parents on CollegeConfidential shared distress that the essay was praised while other similarly creative ones get ignored.

"Star of Wonder" Darkening

After more than 70 years of projections, the Adler Planetarium will be closing its "Star of Wonder" show for the last time on January 3.

From Race to Socioeconomic Status

The NYTimes explores the use of race as an enrollment criterium in the Chicago Public Schools and what changing to a different criterium might mean.

Huffington Speaks

Ariana Huffington, of the eponymous Post, will be speaking at Columbia College on Jan. 27. It's free, but you'll have to RSVP -- and if you want a seat, you better do it soon.

Scholarships Based on No Merit

Illinois General Assembly Legislative Scholarships can be awarded to just about any student -- even lawmakers' families -- with little or no oversight, an investigation by a team of Columbia College Chicago journalists in collaboration with Illinois Statehouse News found. Read even more coverage on

Tough Week to be a Flame

For the second time in a week, the entire west campus of UIC (Ashland to Damen) is without power, with the exception of the UIC Medical Center, which is running on a generator. The upside: studying for finals via candlelight is so romantic. UPDATE (10:45pm): electricity restored, but heat and hot water are not working.


Dr. Mitra Hartmann wants us all to know about the amazing sensitivity of rat whiskers.

Teacher Absenteeism

Chicago Public Schools has a chronic truancy problem, but the students aren't the only ones who skip school. FOX Chicago's Mark Saxenmeyer analyzed CPS records from last year to find out how often teachers were absent from school -- and how often those absences fell on Mondays or Fridays -- and made the database available online. [via]

Regenstein Graffiti

To celebrate the release of Crescat Graffiti: Vita Excolatur, a book of graffiti found in U of C's Regenstein Library, author/photographer Quinn Dombrowski has launched the RegRemix contest -- do something nifty with the graffiti in any medium by Dec. 20 to be entered. See here for full details. [via]

Graduate Student Strike at UIUC

Members of the Graduate Employees Organization at UIUC are on strike after contract negotiations broke down over tuition waivers.

CPS Board Prez Found Dead In Chicago River

Police have confirmed that Chicago Board of Education President Michael Scott was found in the Chicago River near the Merchandise Mart earlier today. Update: Early investigation has determined that Scott appears to have shot himself.

The Politics of Altgeld

After Daley equated a new school for Altgeld Gardens to a gang victory, funding a new charter school in the area may be the best way out of a sticky political situation; big emphasis on "political."

Kids n' Compost

Elementary school students in Oak Park, Naperville and Villa Park are learning early about making "zero impact" on their environment. They're recycling, composting food scraps after lunch and sending far less trash to area landfills.

On the Spot College Admissions & Scholarship Cash

Thanks to the Chicago Scholars program, over 250 Chicago high school students will meet with reps from over 50 colleges and universities at UIC today. Admissions decisions and a million dollars in scholarships will be handed out on the spot! Check the eligibility guidelines to get some high-schoolers involved in time for next year.

Innocence Project Under Scrutiny

Research from student reporters in Northwestern's Medill Innocence Project has overturned convictions and reopened cases. Now they're being challenged by the Cook County State's Attorney with a subpoena. The Daily Northwestern has more information.

Altgeld Parents Organize to Boycott Fenger

The Committee for Safe Passage to Schools is trying to organize a boycott of Fenger High School for students from Altgeld Gardens next week, after yet more fighting at the school yesterday.

Is CeaseFire Working?

CeaseFire is getting renewed attention in light of the violence at Fenger High School, but Beachwood Reporter's Steve Rhodes thinks it's a load of hooey, likening it to the failed DARE anti-drug program in the '80s and '90s. Related: a profile of CeaseFire gang mediator Tio Hardaway we ran last summer.

Sports Reporting by Robots

Stats Monkey is a project at Northwestern's Intelligent Information Laboratory that might one day make sports reporting obsolete. Of course, that'd just mean more time for sportwriters to be columnists. [via]

How it is at Fenger High School

Salon has an essay from an anonymous 17-year-old at Fenger High School about what life is like for students from Altgeld Gardens before and after Derrion Albert's beating death earlier this month.

115 Students at Robeson High School are Pregnant

That's one out of every eight.

Olmert Unsurprisingly Causing Quite a Stir

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is currently speaking at the University of Chicago. His invitation has been controversial on campus, and a variety of groups have assembled to protest the event. Two counter-protesters are also present.

A Boy Genius Grows Up

An update on a story we covered in the very early days of GB: Sho Yano became the youngest-ever person to earn a doctorate from the University of Chicago when he received his PhD in molecular biology last month -- at age 18.

Getting Schooled on Bad Credit

Chicago Treasurer Stephanie D. Neely and a panel of experts are targeting the Chicago college community tonight at the University Center in the South Loop [PDF] to advise students on overwhelming credit card debts and a lack of budgeting skills. Register here. Oh, and bring credit card offers to shred to win a shredder, because what college student doesn't need one of those?

Gangs Are Terrorists

Michael Salmonowitz makes a case for why Chicago's gangs are like Al-Qaeda. Meanwhile, another fight broke out at Fenger High School while Arne Duncan and Eric Holder were in town to discuss youth violence.

If Chicago's Youth Violence Were Elsewhere

Bernadine Dohrn, writing on the Huffington Post, reminds us that "Were this in Colombia, the Congo or Myanmar, we would recognize that children who are recruited into warring groups by much older adults to fight as child soldiers must be disarmed, demobilized, rehabilitated and reintegrated into the community."

We're Number...What?!

In The Daily Beast's first ever attempt to rank the "civic IQ" of the 55 largest cities in America, Chicago comes in tied with St. Louis at a dismal #24.

Fighting Crime with Statistics

Here's a little background about the $30 million CPS plan to combat student violence.

Another Feather in the U of C's Cap

George E. Smith, one of the three winners of the Nobel Prize in physics received his PhD from the U of C in 1959. He is the 29th Nobel Laureate in physics to be affiliated with the university.

Paid to Teach?

Substance News alleges that at least 540 people on the Chicago Public Schools payroll make more than CPS chief Ron Huberman -- to the tune of nearly $1 billion.


Splash!, a free enrichment program for Chicago area high school students, is happening tomorrow. The classes look really cool, so if you know any high school students looking for something different to do, they can register now.

Supporting School Sustainability

Joey Feinstein, founder of Climate Cycle, is a finalist in Nau's $10,000 Grant for Change. The program seeks to support those who "those who instigate lasting, positive change in their communities." Climate Cycle definitely does that.

Campus of the Future

Chicago Journal focuses on academic architecture as UIC contemplates its future development and new student housing is proposed in the South Loop.

Mapping Mentors

Harnessing the freaky cool power of Google Maps, the Tutor/Mentor Connection shows Chicagoans where to find tutor and mentor programs. But it also goes way further, showing maps of poorly performing schools, crime in the news, and even support groups like churches and universities, all to pinpoint areas in which organizations should create and nurture tutor and mentor programs.

And a Good Morning to You, Langston Hughes!

Today is the first day for five newly built CPS schools. The total cost? $277.8 million.

In-Depth Rereporting

The "Tribune Watchdog" story yesterday about a $40 million given to Chicago State that the university didn't ask for was good -- and awfully familiar to readers of the Chi-Town Daily News, where it's been written about twice already. [via] UPDATE: Ironically, the Reader's Michael Miner reported today on the Tribune as a victim of the same copycat game.

Chicago Road Trip!

US News spent some time in Chicago and profiled DePaul, IIT, Northwestern and UIC. Apparently, that constitutes a "Road Trip" these days.

Dissecting the U of C's Endowment

The Wall Street Journal's recent look at college endowments features changes at the U of C, which has the 10th largest endowment in the country.

Insert Horrible Pun About LEEDing the Way

Bill Clinton told a group of college administrators at the Palmer House that they need to go green faster, giving Columbia College and UIC the chance to discuss their newest efforts.

Daley's Got His Back

About that Chicago alderman who admits he used his clout to get his daughter into Whitney Young High School? Yeah, Mayor Daley's cool with that.

City Colleges Producing More than Students

The Chi-Town Daily News reports that the City Colleges' television station, WYCC, produced "free videos of powerful politicians and friends of the chancellor" and allegedly fired the station manager when she complained.

Take an Intern, Leave an Intern

InternChicago launches later this year as a place for students to find internships, and businesses to find interns.

Curious if Your School has Clout at U of I?

The Trib lets you search a database to see if students from your high school have the political backing to get into the U of I. If that doesn't excite you, you can also look by legislator.

School Reform?

Historically, the South was the area with the highest test score differential between white and black students. Guess who is on the list now.

Hyde Park Hogwarts

The folks over at ApplyWise think the University of Chicago's Hyde Park campus, with its gargoyles, Gothic facades, and house system, provides the best Harry Potter experience. [via]

Mixed Opinions on Mixed-Sex Dorms

As coed dorms--or gender neutral housing--become a reality at U of C next semester, some wonder if it's such a great idea.

The Writing on the Stall

A staffer at the University of Chicago recently decided to document a different sort of creative writing going on at Regenstein Library, with highly entertaining and, at times, insightful results. [via]

Every Student's Nightmare

The thought of year-round school is enough to make any elementary school student pound his or her head on their locker in anguish. So if you hear repeated banging coming from the vicinity of Herzl Elementary School in North Lawndale, you'll know why.

A More Walkable Campus

The U of C's Main Quad will be undergoing a dramatic transformation this summer, including converting its streets into pedestrian thoroughfares. A map is also available through the Facilities Services site.

Kids Have Pride

Students from Nettlehorst Elementary will be marching in this weekend's Pride Parade, which goes right past the East Lakeview school. Some bloggers and commenters on the Tribune's story aren't so happy about it.

Requiem for Spike

Did you know... Laurens Corning "Spike" Shull, a U of C alumnus and WWI war hero whose "doughboy" image graces Rockefeller Chapel, is featured in Wikipedia's "Did You Know..." section today?

The Challenges Facing Today's Doctors

Last week, New Yorker writer Atul Gowande delivered the commencement speech at the University of Chicago Medical School.

School's Out Forever...For Some

Chicago Public Schools intends to cut up to 1,000 non-classroom jobs in an attempt to close a $475 million budget shortfall. Everyone from janitors to management could lose their jobs. CPS CEO Ron Huberman's new executive team will eliminate half the positions within the next two weeks and the other half over the next year.

OTS Mini Classes Starting Soon

The Old Town School of Folk Music is kicking off the summer season with a series of short class sessions. Instead of the usual eight-week session you can sign up for a quick four weeks of music or dance. And the schedule of classes looks amazing; everything from the music of the Muppets to cardio samba. There's probably something in the list that'll appeal to your inner rock star, so check it out and sign up for the next session before classes start (by Monday, June 8) to get a discount price.

Play This on Your Policy Wonkman

The Chicago Area Participatory Economics Society at the University of Chicago recently held a talk on participatory economics and finance, and it's available for download on the Internet Archive. Learn something on your commute for once.

Big Men On Campus?

U of C student Steve Saltarelli has founded Men in Power, the U of C's first and only men's advocacy student group. He first proposed the group in a piece for the Chicago Maroon back in March. The Trib has more.

Fashion Campus Police

Was this U of C student's column about the springtime sartorial choices of his fellow Maroons sexist and misogynistic? That may depend on which version you've read.

Olympic Support, The Chicago Way?

A report in several media outlets (including USA Today) says that the head of the CPS is pressuring principals to support the city's 2016 Olympic bid. The CPS chief, of course, denies it.

Centerfold Research

While researching a post about Playboy's possible de-listing from the NYSE, the Reader's Whet Moser unearthed a database of Playboy centerfolds (NSFW, obviously) maintained by a University of Chicago library employee.

Get Smart at DePaul's Chronic Illness Symposium

"After Graduation: Creating Opportunities for Employment, Education, and Community & Family Involvement" is the focus of this year's Chronic Illness and Post-secondary Education Symposium at DePaul University on April 28. It's designed for those with chronic illness and disability, as well as those who work with them - and this year's keynote speaker is Karen McCulloh, executive director of disabilityworks at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. Get more info on registration and speakers in Slowdown.

CSU Student Paper is Publishing While Fighting

The Chicago State University student newspaper, Tempo, is publishing again, despite an ongoing lawsuit in which it is alleged that the newspaper's advisor was fired and the newspaper has been threatened with censorship and budget cuts following articles critical of the administration.

Will This Be On The iTest?

Loyola University here in Chicago is using something called iclickers to track and increase students' involvement in class.

Moving for Milton

The Invisible Institute takes a look at the 61st Street Community Garden and its troubles, now that the University of Chicago and Chicago Theological Seminary are planning on using it as a staging area [PDF] for the construction of CTS's new building. CTS is moving to make room for the Milton Friedman Institute.

All About Ron

In case you missed it, CPS CEO Ron Huberman was the Friday night guest on "Chicago Tonight". Video of his appearance is available on-line here.

View the Alien Up Close

Speaking of the U of C, the oval outline of its new Helmut Jahn designed Mansueto Library is finally recognizable, as you can see for yourself on its webcam.

Say "Goodbye" to Basketball

Yesterday IIT announced it is canceling its men's and women's basketball teams to free up resources for other activities.

Cheese Pizza, Jello & Chocolate Milk

What was your school lunch like? The Healthy Schools Campaign wants your "most vivid memory of school food" -- and you could win a panini maker for it.

Introducing the Illinois Holocaust Museum

The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center will be opening in Skokie on April 19. You may request tickets to the public grand opening ceremony or get a sneak peek by purchasing tickets for the Inaugural Gala on April 2.

A Life in Layers

Can't make it down to the Oriental Institute but want to learn more about mummies? The University of Chicago Magazine created an interactive mummy dissection that combines photographs, CT scans and interviews with researchers to examine the Institute's 2,800-year-old dummy -- without cracking the seal.

50 Years of Fruit Flies

Speaking of the Drosophila Research Conference, the Tribune has a fun look at some of the odd names mutant fruit flies are given.

The Dean Departs

Theodore "Ted" O'Neill, director of College admissions at the University of Chicago, will be retiring from the job in June. He will remain at the U of C as a full-time teacher, writer, and researcher.

$2.5 Billion

That's how much the U of C's Crime Lab estimates gun violence costs Chicago every year.

Something Sensible from CPS

Following the murders of three South Side students in one day, CPS may soon be paying attention to gang boundaries in its attendance areas and transportation routes. Perhaps Huberman's experience with the CTA will pay off after all...

Out With the Old, In With the Older

There are changes afoot on Mayor Daley's Chicago Board of Education, with current board president Rufus Williams about to tender his resignation and former board president Michael Scott set to return.

Like the CTA Needs More Problems...

Yesterday, 5,000 DePaul students' U-Passes were deactivated by mistake, leaving more than a few students a little less confident about the CTA.

"Writing Their Way Home"

In A/C, Lora Gordon profiles the Arab American Action Network's after-school creative writing program.

What Would You Like to See at the MFI?

The U of C chapter of SDS has issued a request for alternative proposals for the university's Milton Friedman Institute for Research in Economics. The group got the idea from an earlier Chicago project, 3 Acres on the Lake.

Boos For Huberman

Newly-installed Chicago Public Schools chief (and former CTA chief) Ron Huberman was booed today by a crowd of parents, teachers and community officials upset about plans to close and reorganize 22 schools.

Fission & Economics

The Straight Dope examines the details of U of C's nuclear claim to the first nuclear fission, and uncovers some faulty math instead.


The rumors have been confirmed. Ron Huberman will head the Chicago Public Schools. Reaction runs from congratulatory to pragmatic to critical.

Because the CTA is Doing So Well

The Mayor is reportedly considering CTA President Ron Huberman for Arne Duncan's old job at CPS.

Mr. Duncan Officially Goes to Washington

The US Senate has just confirmed CPS CEO Arne Duncan as the next Secretary of Education by unanimous consent.

School Daze

Chicago Public Schools has announced the list of 16 schools that will be closed, relocated or consolidated at the end of this year.

Maroon Volunteers

The University of Chicago is the top volunteer producer for 2009 in the small school category for the Peace Corps. The University of Washington and George Washington University are at the top of the large and medium school lists respectively.

Grande Half-Caf CPS Latte, Extra Foam

Chicago Public Schools spent nearly $70k on 30 cappuccino/espresso machines, 22 of which remained unopened five months after the purchase. This purchase and other actions are covered in a report issued by the CPS Office of the Inspector General. [via]

In Your Face! (Theoretically Speaking)

Ah, there's nothing more exciting than an academic smackdown, like the one between U of C economist and Freakonomics author Steven Levitt and Northwestern Northeastern criminologist James Alan Fox on the subject of black teen murder rates. Levitt criticized Fox for "ominous reports he produced about juvenile the 1990s." Oh, snap!

Chicago Public School's Greatest Hits has put together an iTunes playlist of songs by artists who attended Chicago Public Schools, from Benny Goodman and Nat "King" Cole to Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco.

Is the "Chicago School" Dead?

Has the "Chicago school" of economics, as championed by Milton Friedman, been killed by the current economy and political climate? Some are saying so.

School's Out Forever

As many as 20 CPS schools could be consolidated or closed by the next school year. The list of affected schools will be released in mid-January.

CoEd Cohabitation

Starting next month, male and female students at the University of Chicago will be permitted to live together in university dorm rooms.

Management Problems at Kellogg School

Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management didn't do itself any favors by accidentlally sending out acceptance emails to 50 applicants it rejected.

Northwestern Gets a New Prez

Morton O. Schapiro has been named as Northwestern's new president, effective September 2009. Schapiro is currently the president of Williams College and an expert on "the economics of higher education," which is fitting, as he was the ninth highest-paid college president in the US last year, raking in a $515,000 paycheck.

Showcasing CPS' Musical Progeny

CPS alum Brad Harbaugh has assembled a list of 52 songs performed by the district's former students.

Teaching Jocks at U of I

The U of I is generating controversy with the Irwin Center, a $6 million athletes-only tutoring center.

Good Dogs Get to Ride in the Car

Vote now for your favorite design for next year's Chicago vehicle sticker. It's theme is "Dog Friendly Chicago" and all the stickers were created by Chicago Public School students.

Obama Elementary

The former Ludlum School in Long Island is now the Barack Obama Elementary School.

...And Cingo Was His Name-o.."

Know a University of Chicago student or alumnus? Know two or more? Print out these U of C-centric Bingo cards for them to enjoy during the holidays. Then stand back and watch the geek-tacular fun ensue.

Perfect Power at IIT

Yesterday, IIT announced it will build the first smart microgrid electricity system in the United States. The system promises to "virtually eliminate" power outages and allow the university to sell excess electricity, all the while saving at least $2 million a year.

More Good News for the U of C's Booth GSB

It may not be worth $300 million, but I'm sure the U of C is happy to hold onto its number 1 ranking.

McCain Supporters Should be Killed

So say middle schoolers in Oak Park.

Will We See More of Chief Illiniwek?

In an unusual turn of events, a student group is sponsoring an updated Chief Illiniwek dance at the U of I. One of the reasons, apparently, is that it inspired at least one student "to be a complete man."

Training Elementary Students for Medieval Battle

That's right, Pershing West Magnet School offers elementary school students archery classes [right side of page].

"Barack" to School

I bet you're wondering what happens to all the furniture, supplies, and appliances used by Obama campaign offices now that the election is over. Wonder no more: they're being donated. Two-hundred offices across the country have already donated or have pledged to to schools in their communities via

Meet the Booth School of Business

The University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business just announced a $300 million gift, along with a new name. If you want the information straight from the source, here's the press release.

Affordable Undersea Adventures

If you love pregnant seahorses, endearingly floppy manatees and cephalopods like I do, you'll be excited to learn that every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday during the month of November (except Wednesday, 11/26), the Shedd Aquarium will offer free general admission and discounts on inclusive packages.

Northside Prep At Head of The Class

The city's Northside College Prep high school once again nabbed the top spot in a survey of area schools. But the news wasn't all good: Chicago schools also claimed 42 of the 50 lowest scoring spots on the list as well.

That's a Lot of Ramen has released their list of the 25 most expensive colleges for the 2008-2009 school year, and Hyde Park's own University of Chicago comes in at no. 18 with $48,588 (tuition plus room and board). [via]

Gay High School Plans Dropped

Mayor Daley has apparently pulled the plug on plans for a high school serving gay and lesbian students.

Blinding Them With Science (Funding)

The CPS has received a major donation to create a biotech education program for junior high/high schools to the tune of $5 million over five years. The program, sponsored by Baxter International, includes the creation of a Biotechnology Center of Excellence and two new Ren2010 schools. And not a moment too soon as local math scores reach Third World-levels.

Learn How to Blog

If you're not blogging yet and still want to try, there's a class this weekend that's right up your alley.

Oh THAT Sixties Radical Agitator...

Bowing to pressure from politicians and donors while citing "safety reasons," the University of Nebraska rescinds a months-old speaking invitation for Bill Ayers.

$161.20 is Average Green (for Grades)

The controversial "Green for Grades" program's first payouts totaled $265,986 in cash rewards to 1,650 students at 20 participating CPS high schools for good grades in five subjects. While it sounds like quite a bit, none other than Mayor Daley offered some perspective: "Wealthy parents in the suburban areas give their kids a car."

Friedman Institute Draws More Fire

The controversy over the U of C's proposed Milton Friedman Institute is in the news again following faculty and student denunciation of the Institute at a faculty senate meeting alongside a member of the Institute's faculty committee declaring he is open to changing its name.

School Pride

One of 20 new school proposals unveiled Wednesday, the Pride Campus of Social Justice High School might just be the most interesting, with its promise to provide a safe, "gay-friendly'' atmosphere to students. [via]

Mr. Duncan Goes To Washington?

Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education? That's the buzz according to local education publication Catalyst, which cites Duncan's role as an education advisor and close friend to a certain Barack Obama.

That's Some "Overhead Projector"

Staff at the Adler Planetarium were surprised to make the presidential debates, particularly when their sought-after projection system was ridiculed by McCain.

In a Crunch, Chicago Schools Need You!

We're all feeling the economic pinch, but Chicago schools are really feeling it. You can help fund educational projects through Donors Choose, where you can search by neighborhood, topic and grade level...and help buy kids a new microscope, workbooks or even an area rug to spruce up a dull reading corner.

Science Chicago Launches Today

Science Chicago, "the world's largest science celebration," kicks off today and runs for the next year. Check out the website for events happening around the city.

CPS Testing Crime Fighting with Text Messages

The new CPS/CPD project will let students send anonymous text messages to provide crime tips, but the real story is the ridiculous "CRIME" graffiti photo used in the article.

This School Will Be Queer

High schoolers who are homosexual, bi-sexual, or questioning their sexuality may soon have a school of their own. The Greater Lawndale Little Village School for Social Justice has submitted a proposal to the Chicago Public Schools for a Social Justice High School-Pride Campus to open in 2010. A community hearing will be held at the Center on Halsted on September 18, and CPS will make their decision by the end of October.

The Mash Debuts

The Tribune's school newspaper experiment, The Mash, debuts today in Chicago Public Schools. Read it online. (Previously.)

Busing to New Trier

So, Reverend Senator Meeks' boycott of Chicago Public Schools is pretty much on, and he'll be leading supposedly 125 buses up to New Trier High School in the northern suburbs -- which is playing along by allowing them to come to the Northfield campus, rather than the main one (good thing; there's nowhere to park up there.)

Viewing the Stars from the U of C

NASA named another telescope after a U of C researcher, and this time it's Enrico Fermi. The article also provides a list of other U of C affiliates similarly immortalized, from Chandrasekhar to Hubble.

Meeks Wants To Find The Time

State Sen. Rev. James Meeks says the boycott scheduled for the first day of school in Chicago is still possible. According to NBC5, Meeks was told a meeting time would be planned this morning (Wednesday) to discuss matters, but the meeting has yet to be scheduled.

The Case of the Desert Graveyard

A U of C researcher discovered a 9,500-year-old, 200-body graveyard in the Sahara. Other than being the biggest find from that era, it also shines significant light on the life of humans when the desert wasn't actually a desert.


You know it's not a good day for the Gov when he gets taken to task by a high schooler.


The University of Chicago's Chicago Initiative is complete.

Droppin' the Mad Science

Science Chicago aims to be the longest science fair in the world, running from September through the end of next August.

Welcome to the 21st century, CPS!

Chicago Public Schools finally has a new website. If you want to let 'em know what you think, they're listening.

Professor Obama

The New Republic on what U of C's right-leaning law faculty think of their former colleague.

Animal Welfare Act Violations at Loyola

U.S. Department of Agriculture documented 22 violations for inhumane treatment of animal subjects at Loyola's med school, some of which led to the deaths of rabbits and dogs.

U of C Receives $20 Million for Physical Sciences Division

I guess coming up with a "valid new theory of trading" means one has a lot of money to throw around.

"I've Always Wanted to Write a Book..."

Here's a good place to start. The Beginning Fiction class begins Sept. 9.

A Fishy Discovery

U of C graduate student Matt Friedman discovered evidence that helps fill in the mystery of how flatfish like flounders and halibut evolved to have eyes on one side of their head.

Union VP to Be Tried

An update on this Revenge of the Second City column: the Chicago Teachers Union is going ahead with plans to remove its vice president, Ted Dallas, on allegations of misspending.

A Little Something Extra for Attending School

Ashley Martinez, a 12-year-old CPS student won a new car for having perfect attendance. Well, at least her family will enjoy it...

Another Green Schools Initiative

Well, for Chicago it's a green school initiative, but some media companies are teaming up to fund some green modifications for schools in Chicago, Miami and San Francisco.

Friedman Institute Under Fire

The U of C's plans to create the Milton Friedman Institute are meeting significant resistance from the school's faculty.

Tribune's New Mash-up

The Tribune is launching a new newspaper and website, inexplicably named The Mash, just for Chicago Public School students.

Changing Face of Suburban Schools

Catalyst Chicago, the independent school publication, reports on the recent influx of minority students into suburban school districts and the challenges both groups face.

Really? Never Used a Computer?

"No, I take Marx very seriously; I think [the computer] alienates the worker from his production—I do not understand. With a typewriter, I hit a key, and it goes bam." The Maroon interviews luddite religious studies professor J. Z. Smith. (Full transcript here.)

CME MMC 2008

The Community Media Workshop's Making Media Connections Conference takes place next week, so don't forget to register if you're planning on going. For an outside perspective on the conference, check out Nonprofiteer's assessment.

Northwestern President Leaps into the Fray

The Daley commencement brouhaha is really picking up, with Northwestern President Henry Bienen telling a student, among other things, "By the way you think a commencement speaker has any thing to do with the national stature of Northwestern tells me we failed here in educating you."

And Northwestern's Commencement Speaker is ...

Mayor Daley. At present, 193 comments on The Daily Northwestern suggest students aren't impressed.

Find Any Crystal Skulls Yet?

Undergrads from the University of Chicago have launched the first archeological dig of the site of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, aka the "White City." The students are following in the footsteps of another famous U of C archeologist who's been in the news a lot lately.

A Different Kind of Kids Show

The Center on Halsted will host a screening for "Dottie's Magic Pockets," billed as the first children's program for kids in gay and lesbian families. The show features puppets as well as real-life families. Bert and Ernie approve.

Post-Columbian Artifacts

U of C archeology students are conducting a dig in Jackson Park, looking for artifacts from the 1893 World's Columbian Exhibition.

My School Ruled

Did your high school get closed or torn down? Its memory lives on. [via]

Brutalism, Meet the Dome

Helmut Jahn's proposal for the addition to the U of C's Joseph Regenstein Library would definitely be the most radical building on campus. More details are available in a Trib article, along with these thoughts about the design: "The hesitation is: 'Where is my large, drab rectangular box to have books stored in?' This is very different, but it will still do what that box was going to do."

Another School Arrest

In Waukegan, the staff aren't catching students hacking on school computers, they're catching teachers smoking pot in the teachers' lounge.

Not David Lightman

A New Trier Township High School senior got caught hacking into the school's computer system. How did he get caught? Staff walked around the school and looked at students' screens.

Local Congressman Wants No Second Life

Illinois Congressman Mark Kirk is sponsoring a bill to ban access of Second Life in schools and libraries, citing its lack of robust age verification and the abundance of "wholly inappropriate activities" that may take place there. The American Libraries Association (ALA) is among those who are opposed to this legislation.

Blowing Up Stars

Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory have created some very cool simulations of how a star goes supernova.

Two DePaul Loop Campus Buildings Evacuated

According to an email sent out to those affiliated with DePaul University, two buildings, Lewis Center and O'Malley Place, were evacuated due to bomb threats. Update: Information is also available on the DePaul website.

A Wireless(on) at U of C Law School

The buzz is growing over The University of Chicago Law School's recent decision to cut off wireless Internet access in classrooms. Something about students chatting, checking email or playing solitare during class...

U of C Tackles the Zombie Issue

Some of the greatest minds of our future have been given funds to tackle the pressing problem of zombie attacks, thanks to the University of Chicago's UnCommon Fund, a program designed to provided funding for, um, unique student projects. Other proposals that received modest grants include a clothing-optional Halloween Party. OK, to be fair, other approved projects are a bit more serious.


The SEED Conference is back. Get tickets now.

Serious Cash for Elementary Schoolers

Thanks to Ariel Capital, students at Ariel Community Academy get to practice investing with $20,000 that's given to each first grade class. Don't worry, they don't get to touch it until sixth grade.

A Lesson in Numbers for CPS

A report by Catalyst Chicago finds that the Chicago Public School's faulty enrollment projections are leaving principals with a cash crunch/teacher shortage.

Once Upon a School

Famed author Dave Eggers, the inspiration behind 826CHI, was one of the recipients of a 2008 TED Prize. His wish was for more people to become engaged with their local public schools, and they've launched Once Upon a School to help make this happen.

A Boarding School Without a Madeline in Sight

CPS is now considering public boarding schools for disadvantaged students.

One Blue "PC" Per Child

Engadget points us to the fact that Chicago-based nonprofit Innovations for Learning is supplying 500 Chicago elementary schools with their $50 Teachermate PC over the next two years. Go ahead, get one.

Rooftop Sprouting

The Gary Comer Youth Center's 8,600-square-foot rooftop garden is coming into its own.

School Cameras to be Linked to 911 Center, Everyone to be Watched

Mayor Daley just announced that the 4,500 cameras in 200 (out of over 650) Chicago Public School buildings will be connected to the city's 911 Emergency Center to give the city a "comprehensive school security plan." The Department of Homeland security is reportedly picking up the $418,000 bill.

Bienen retiring as President of NU

Henry S. Bienen, president of Northwestern University since 1995, is stepping down. NU has set up a special site dedicated to his announcement and legacy.

There's Still Time to Go Back to School

While some Newberry Library seminars started earlier this month, plenty of Winter/Spring term courses (in subjects ranging from genealogy to mystery-novel writing) don't start till some time in March, or even April. Click here for details about classes and schedules.

NIU's Cole Hall to be Demolished

Like so many other sites of terrible events, NIU will raze the building where the recent tragedy occurred.

Give a Little Bit

DonorsChoose is a non-profit that allows you to select which educational project you would like to donate money to. There are plenty of worthy projects in the Chicago area; as you do your taxes, consider putting a little of that refund toward furthering a kid's education.

The New

The University of Chicago launched their new homepage today. The result of a massive research, redesign and restructuring effort, the new site focuses on U of C-related stories and news, instead of simply lists of links. This is the university's first major online facelift since 1999. (See for yourself via the Wayback Machine.) Give 'em your feedback here.

Catalyzing District 299

District299, Alexander Russo's excellent blog on Chicago Public Schools, recently made the move to Catalyst Chicago's website.

Chicago's Newest Green Home

Starting May 8, you'll be able to swing by the Museum of Science and Industry and visit Smart Home: Green + Wired, a new exhibit featuring a 2,500 square-foot house.

Another Chapter in Our Postmodern Lives

Five West Chicago eighth graders were suspended for staging and filming a fake fight in the school bathroom. Because, you know, a "student who sneaks into a bathroom for a YouTube shoot could slip and hit his or her head on a sink and be seriously hurt."

Love Letter to High School Basketball

Local teacher Will Okun in the New York Times.

Free Month at the Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry is closed today, but it will reopen Saturday and introduce free general admission for the remainder of the month. Happy 75th!

U + Chicago = Awesome

Congrats to Carlos Kenig of UChicago, recipient of the 2008 Bôcher Prize in mathematics for "important contributions to...nonlinear dispersive partial differential equations." Where's my prize for typing that correctly?

Modular Housing of the Future

If you haven't checked it out already, you may want to swing by the Chicago Center for Green Technology and check out elementhouse, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign entry in the 2007 Solar Decathlon.

"Ren" is Skimpy

While the Chicago Public Schools' "Renaissance 2010" program (or "Ren10") is nearing its goal of opening 100 new schools by 2010, almost half of the communities identified as the most in need of high-performing schools have yet to get them, according to the Chicago Catalyst.

Must Be An Exam Day

Class are cancelled in Barrington today due to "severe bus vandalism."

The First (Slide) Rule of Fight Club...

Wanna see "nerds" beating the hell out of each other? Head over to the University of Chicago where their Fight Club-esque "Thunderdome" combat society is hoping to body slam the image of 90-pound, slide rule-wielding weaklings. Not everyone is in awe of the physical spectacle. "We come almost every week, mostly to laugh," said one second-year student.

As If Middle School Isn't Hard Enough

Hundreds of eighth graders in Chicago are dropping more than $100 an hour this year to get into the city's most selective high schools. Up next: Grade school prep courses for kindergarteners.

The Glory Days of High School Football

The Tribune has compiled an extensive report of the 2007 season for the Mooseheart Red Ramblers. Complete in three parts, with supplemental video and photos. Suburban high school football at its most enthralling.

Spertus Almost Ready

The Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies' new building will be open to the public starting on November 30 with a series of events and a new range of amenities.


U of C palentologist, and beautiful People person (1997 edition), Paul Sereno recently unveiled the remains of a heretofore unknown dinosaur. Called Nigersaurus taqueti, and described as a "cow of the Mesozoic" and "fern mower," due to its herbivorous nature, Sereno and his team discovered the fossils in the Sahara desert in Niger.

Interested in American Culture?

The University of Chicago just opened a center that will study everything from "painting of the 18th Century ... to the history of hip hop music." It promises to have a public presence, so hopefully we'll all have some more interesting events to attend soon.

Does A Teacher's Race Matter?

CPS teacher Will Okun has become something of a celebrity education blogger at the NYTimes "On the Ground" blog sharing the real world challenges of urban educators. His most recent entry details how his students feel about the race of their teachers.

CPS Launches New Email, Flirts with Social Networking

Considering the periodic uproar to "save the children from the evils of social networking," it's more than a little amusing to see the new CPS email/collaboration system so labeled. Teachers began using their shiny new addresses on Nov. 1st, and 5th - 12th graders will be getting accounts throughout the school-year. CPS is using FirstClass from OpenText.

Hup Two Three Four, I Love the CPS Corps

Chicago is number one in public military schools (we'll have six by 2009). Advocates say the schools build better students through military history classes, regular uniform inspections, and marching drills. Critics, however, think the military is taking advantage of a school system composed largely of nonwhite kids from low-income families.

Discovery Center Fall Classes Now Available

Learning opportunities both offbeat and conventional fill the Fall/Winter calendar at The Discovery Center, Chicago's self-proclaimed "Lifelong Learning Center". Can't afford to escape the cold and vacation in a warmer climate this year? Sign up for the "Out of Body Adventuring" seminar and astral-project yourself to Cabo San Lucas for the weekend. Or just learn how to paint, write a screenplay or become a private investigator. Classes start now and run through March 2008.

District 299 on the Move

The "Highly Unofficial Scoop on Chicago Schools" AKA the District299 Blog -- is moving to Catalyst Chicago to create one consolidated powerhouse of a Chicago education-news resource.

Getting Schooled

The Trib made a gadget that lets you measure your high school's performance against schools statewide. It's nice to see the tippy top of the list loaded with Chicago institutions.

College Newspapers Clean Up

Three Chicago-area college newspapers won the 2007 Associated Collegiate Press Newspaper Pacemaker Award: Columbia College's The Columbia Chronicle, the Courier from the College of DuPage, and the University of Chicago's Chicago Maroon.

IIT = Exciting?

Someday this equation will make sense, if soon to be inaugurated IIT President John Anderson gets his way. Anderson would "love to see a little college town develop" around IIT's Bronzeville Campus, and in the meanwhile is charging ahead with efforts to improve student life and the school's national profile.

Back to (Film) School

Facets Film School's first fall term has already started, but the second fall term begins the first week of November and ends right before Christmas. Classes are weekly (with Thanksgiving week off), 7 to 10 PM, and cost under $100 for the term. If you like Woody Allen dramas, outlaw couples, movies out of Hong Kong, or Howard Hawks movies (and who doesn't?), you still have time to enroll. You can find more details here.

Get Growing at Seed Conference

Hobnob and hear the stories and tips from Chicago design heavy hitters at the SEED Conference this October. This one-day event, featuring 37Signals, Coudal Partners and Segura, will be composed of discussions on design, entrepreneurship and inspiration. it's $399, so see if your office will pick up the cost.

18K for Preschool

Chicago City Day School and The Latin School of Chicago grace the Forbes list of most expensive preschools with tuitions of $17,750 and $17,425, respectively. Note that a good portion of the Forbes information about Latin is incorrect. [via]

Day in the Life of a CPS Principal

One in four of Chicago Public School principals are new this year. Chicago Public Radio's David Schaper followed an elementary school principal around for a day to see what challenges she's facing.

Back to School! CPS Stats of the Week

CPS students reported to school this week in record numbers with 93% of the district's 409,000 students attending class on Day 1. CPS managed to record this eventhough their much ballyhooed new attendance system (IMPACT) was down for much of the week. The most eye-catching CPS stat of the week comes from the CCSR: CPS Freshman on average miss/cut 19.6 days of class.

Back to School at the Newberry

Feeling jealous of all the kids going back to school this week? You can join them (sort of) by signing up for a seminar at the Newberry Library. Courses range from genealogy (of your family or your Chicago house), to literature (Dickens, Joyce, Shakespeare, Garcia Marquez, and others are featured), and also include history, art, music, philosophy, and creative writing. Courses start mid-month or later. For more information, click here.

Classes at the Threadless Store

Oh, indie t-shirt buyers! You can do more than support the economy when the new Threadless store opens on September 14. You'll also be able to take basic design classes and advanced design workshops conducted by Digital Bootcamp.

Fab Labbers Confer in Chi-Town

Neil Gershenfeld's Fab Lab (check out his concept video from TED, and more background on "Personal Fabrication") will be in Chicago next week for a conference at UCHICAGO and the MSI. Rumor has it that a Fab Lab installation will be setup at MSI for public consumption, but nothing has been officially announced yet.

We're Tied for 9! We're Tied for 9!

The University of Chicago tied for ninth place with Columbia University on US News & World Report's annual list of America's best colleges.

Class Action Bathroom Suit

Two cousins at Paul Cuffe Math Science Technology Academy are filing a lawsuit because they were denied bathroom breaks.

At School on Day One = Free Day at MSI

CPS students who make it to the first day of school (Sept. 4) will receive a family pass for a free day at the Museum of Science & Industry.

Shooting Racism

A University of Chicago assistant professor in psychology has devised a videogame which tests racial bias based on whether you shoot black or white men holding cellphones, wallets or guns.

It's (Apparently) Not the Teachers...

In 69 of the 87 Chicago Public Schools that were deemed to be failing for two consecutive years, not one teacher's performance was rated "unsatisfactory".

Columbia Goes Green

Sustainablog offers an interesting take on Columbia College's decision to revamp graduate programs in Architectural Studies and Interior Architecture that focus on sustainability. "Green is the mainstream," says Sustainablog's author.

"Loop U." expansion plans afoot

Crain's details some of the expansion (and construction) plans of the DePaul, Roosevelt, Columbia, and John Marshall campuses in the South loop.

The Brush Project

DvA Gallery is auctioning off original artists' brushes to help raise money for Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit working to increase the visibility and stability of arts education across the country. Each brush is signed by the artist and framed in shadow boxes (a few even come with drawings or books). Check out The Brush Project for photos of the brushes and the artists' works. The auction is on ebay, and ends this Friday.

License to Drive

In an interesting move the state legislature passed a law stating kids will need to attend school if they want to be able to drive.

A Pedagogical Factory

Starting on Sunday, the Stockyard Institute, AREA Chicago and other organizations will initiate "Pedagogical Factory: Exploring Strategies for an Educated City" at the Hyde Park Art Center. Throughout its run, topics will include "How We Peoples Make a People's Atlas of Chicago," "How We Grow: Self-Education and Urban Farming Gathering" and "How We Brew/Bake/Mead Etc Cottage Expo."

Cost of Teacher Turnover?!

SIU's study on New Teacher Attrition in Illinois (PDF) reports that "each time a teacher leaves Chicago Public Schools, it costs $17,000 to $22,000 to recruit, hire, process and train a replacement."

Time to Head Elsewhere

Norman Finkelstein, controversial professor of political science at DePaul, has been denied tenure. Read his collection of articles about the situation. UPDATE: He spoke on 848 this morning.

Not Egregious

Chicago State University's President Elnora Daniel finally talked about their recent audit controversy (high travel expenses aboard cruise ships and heavy bar tabs on the state's dime), and generally dismissed the problems as not being egregious. Apparently, we can rest assured that sloppy record-keeping with state funds will not continue. She didn't say that we should go back to not paying them any attention, but might as well have.

Big Money

The University of Chicago was just given $100 million -- anonymously. The gift will launch the new Odyssey Scholarships program, which will serve students from low- to middle-income families. Due to the size of the gift, almost a quarter of enrolled students will benefit from it at any given time.

A Locally Grown Hybrid

Car, that is. A couple of weeks ago, IIT's Armour College of Engineering entered a car in the student 2007 Formula Hybrid competition. They finished in 5th out of 6th in overall points, but more than doubled their previous speed record. They have their eyes on first place next year.

One Heck of a Headline

Bloomberg's recent review of Johan Van Overtveldt's book about the University of Chicago Department of Economics has one heck of a headline, alongside some interesting information about the department. If you like what you see, you may want to catch his upcoming speech.

School Lunch Program

The Reader takes a look at Chicago Public School's lunch program and efforts to improve it. You might also be interested in Lori Barrett's in-person take on the same, awhile back in Drive-Thru.

Let's Hear it for the Scholars

Here's a list of the Chicago-area winners of National Merit college-sponsored scholarships, otherwise known as "the kids everyone wants to sit next to in Science Lab".

The Journalistic Code

The Knight News Challenge has been kind to Chicago. Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism received a grant to create scholarships for programmer-journalists -- such as Adrian Holovaty, creator of, who also received a grant and has left the Washington Post to start EveryBlock. Geoff Dougherty of (recently redesigned) ChiTown Daily News also received a grant to continue his citizen journalism project. UPDATE: Also, Daniel Sinker, co-editor and publisher of Punk Planet, received a Knight Fellowship at Stanford (thanks, Mark).

Radical Educators Gathering

There is a good chance that some of you readers are educators or know an educator and that you've got some ideas about how your politics and your teaching could be better aligned. An impressive collection of leftist education organizations have banned together to produce this summer's Free Minds Free People: Education for Liberation and the deadline for cheap admission is coming up on the 21st. Be sure to check out the national conference June 21-24 here at the Little Village Lawndale High School.

Education Laughs, Onion Style

Today the District 299 Chicago Public Schools Blog collects some education-themed (including some Chicago specific) funnies from the Onion.

Boiling the Frog

The Virgina Tech shootings, in which 32 students were shot in one morning, caused immeasurable grief and a justifiable uproar. Curiously, less notice is given to the fact that 27 Chicago school students have been beaten, stabbed, shot, or suffocated this year alone.

Take a Class

Looking for something to do this summer? How 'bout a project? Classes start soon for furniture making, book and paper making, figure drawing and other arts.

Mature Audiences Only

A substitute teacher at a Chicago elementary school thought it would be a good idea to show the R-rated film Brokeback Mountain to an eighth grade class. Not surprisingly, the family of one of the students is now suing.

You Are Here

South Shore High School students were given stacks of paper and drawing utensils and the single question, "Which Chicago do you live in?" The maps they drew were reviewed to assess the kids' consciousness of their relation to space, perception of where they live beside where power resides (i.e., downtown), and more. The results were quite interesting.

Third Grade Architectural Modeling

Elementary students at the Lab School have been building their favorite pieces of the Chicago skyline in Joyce Carrasco's class for more than a decade. Check out examples from the class of 2004-2005. Dibs on the Morton Salt building! [via]

Major Teacher Purge

Following last year's teacher firing, Chicago Public Schools gave notice to more than 775 probationary teachers on Friday.

Vallas On the Move...

Paul Vallas, former CEO of the Chicago Public Schools and candidate for the governorship of Illinois, is leaving his post as the CEO of the Philadelphia school system this year. Vallas plans to return to Chicago, but the rumor mill is suggesting that his stay at home will be temporary and that the New Orleans Public Schools will make a play to lure him to Cajun Country.

Get Schooled

If you are interested in education research, you may want to check out the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, which is in town this week. Events are open to the public, but you'll need to pay the hefty registration fee.

Northwestern University, Qatar Campus

Northwestern is in negotiations to open a campus in Qatar, where coursework would focus on Journalism and Communications and students would have to meet Northwestern's general admission (and tuition) requirements. The programs may negotiate internship opportunities with Al-Jazeera, which is headquartered in Qatar.

Time Out for Teacher

Bruce Lupori, a teacher at an Evergreen Park elementary school, put a bag over a kid's head in some wacked-out attempt at humor. The student wasn't hurt and no charges will be filed, but Lupori is on paid administration leave.

Don't Forget Yer Milk

Ever get the jones for school lunch? If you're hankering for childhood delicacies such as mini corn dogs, crappy pizza and ham and cheese pinwheels, compare and contrast these school lunch menus from the Francis Parker School, Arlington Heights school district, Morgan Park Academy, and Saukview Elementary.

Jackass of the Week

College newspapers may not be known as paragons of journalism, but some local schools have some trailblazing pieces online, such as Columbia Chronicle's Jackass of the Week column. Other recent college paper wackiness comes from an article about Microsoft vernacular, an apology from a paper that got it all wrong and a pseudo op-ed arguing for a "Star Trek Defense" system against illegal aliens.

Testing, Testing, One, Two...Four?

Have you ever walked out of a test sure to your core that it was rigged? Illinois elementary school kids had good reason this year.

Plug It In, Plug It In!

IIT is about to boost the Chicago Department of Fleet Management's Green Fleets Action Agenda [pdf] with a prototype plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. The city will decide whether it wants more of the cars after a four to six month trial.

I'd Like to Thank the Academy...

They are the Oscar's (not Golden Globes) of education. Today six of the area's finest teachers were presented with Golden Apple Awards for excellence in teaching. Way to go! party in the teacher's lounge.

State Education Report

After being delayed by wack technical problems for months, results of the Prairie State Achievement Tests finally reached Chicago schools. Parents, students and educators are furious at these delays, which prevented them from doing informed prep for next month's test.

The Language of Carnivale

Ever wanted to learn Portuguese? Casa de Cultura Brasileira has you covered. Opened in January, the school and Brazilian cultural center offers classes from beginners up to advanced levels, and the next round starts in March.

Three Decades of Opinions

Now that the locally produced General Social Survey completed its 26th run, the New York Times published a sneak peek of the 2006 results. Some interesting findings include a precipitous drop in the percentage of those who have a "great deal of confidence" in the military since 2004, as well as a 50% decline in daily newspaper readership since 1972.

DEA Targets Chicago (in a museum-y sort of way)

Navy Pier is the home of "Target Chicago," a display of "Chicago-specific content from the DEA Museum's 'Target America' national touring exhibit." A quick search of the museum website yields no exhibits about crack in Los Angeles. Go figure.

No Divestment for U of C

Citing the 1967 Kalven Report [pdf], the University of Chicago will not divest from companies involved with Sudanese business. It is the first top-tier university to make such a statement.

UCHICAGO Understands Black Youth

Or, at least has an intellectual understanding of their attitudes, thanks to the recently completed Black Youth Project. The findings claim to reveal "an unexpected duality in the attitudes of black youth in America," and indicate (among other things) that the majority of black youth would prefer it "if mainstream rappers cleaned up their acts."

The Good News in Education!

Making no mention of what the bad news might be, South Side Congressman Daniel Lipinski's resolution praising "Catholic Schools for their ongoing contributions to education" passed unanimously. The resolution was planned to coincide with Catholic Schools Week (Jan 28-Feb 3). There are over 250 Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

IIT's TechNews Back Online

Fortunately, the irony that the Illinois Institute of Technology's student newspaper hadn't been updated since January 31, 2006 wasn't lost on its editors. Oh, irony, thou must find elsewhere to roost.

Daley Granted Another Wish

Starting in the 2008-2009 school year, Lindblom Math & Science Academy will be the first CPS high school to shift to a year-round schedule. Bonus nonsensical Daley quote: "If we can spend billions of dollars to put a person on the moon, how, in this day and age, can we give kids two months off?"

South Africa Comes to CPS

Eat your heart out, Oprah. While the daytime talk show queen attends to affairs at The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, a musical group made up of ex-political prisoners from that country will tour the Chicago Public Schools. Yes, the kind of schools where students only care about sneakers and iPods. "The Robben Island Singers" were imprisoned with Nelson Mandela during Apartheid. They travel the world riffing on social justice and human rights. The singers will perform at Kenwood, Whitney Young and Roosevelt, among other CPS schools, throughout the first half of February. And a film crew will accompany them for a DVD.

Newberry Winter Registration Open

It's that time again: the Newberry Library is offering seminars on everything from Irish writers to genealogy to the history of the sleeping car. Click here to see if there's a course for you. Seminars begin next month.

Gray Matter

Hanna Holborn Gray was U of C's president from 1978 to 1993, serving as the first female president of a major university. As admirable as the professor's life has been, Gray's official presidential portrait has a more colorful history, having been repeatedly critiqued, stolen, and, in one case, inscribed with Apocalyptic verse.

Northside Prep Selects New Principal

Northside Preparatory High School, one of the Chicago Public School's eight selective enrollment high schools, has selected Barry Rodgers to be its second principal, succeeding Dr. James Lalley. Rodgers was chosen over 38 candidates from around the city and the nation. Northside was recently named one of the top 25 high schools in the nation by Newsweek. Rodgers is a local product-- a graduate of Queen of Angels and Gordon Tech. Northside's student newspaper, the Hoofbeat, gets extra credit for breaking the story on their website and for using Joomla to power it.

Public Art on the Expressway

A number of children working with the Little Black Pearl Art & Design Center have submitted public art concepts for the new Dan Ryan retaining walls. Vote for your favorite today.

Chicago Supernova

The University of Chicago's Center for Astrophysical Thermonuclear Flashes was awarded a couple million hours of time on a government supercomputer to run supernova simulations. The simulations could shed light (heh) on "dark energy" and other little-understood phenomena.

How Do You Feel About Wednesday?

NPR documents the debate over the University of Chicago's future acceptance of the Common Application. The university will continue to use parts of its Uncommon Application, but that doesn't mean everyone's happy. If you're curious about all the fuss, read some previous Uncommon questions.

Fallen Rider Memorial Ride

A group of Chicago cyclists (myself being one of them) have organized a ride to raise awareness of the growing number of cyclist fatalities in the Chicagoland area. Named the "Fallen Rider Memorial Ride", the ride will start at the Thompson Center at 6pm tomorrow, January the 3rd and will ride to Diversey and Pulaski at an easygoing and respectful pace. The goal? To highlight how important driving and cycling are to Chicago and how the two require attention and respect. A PDF flyer can be viewed, downloaded, printed and passed along from here.

Purdue-Calumet Gets an 'F'

Purdue University Calumet, a Division I NAIA school and a member of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, has cancelled the remainder of its mens' basketball season after more than half of the team's members were declared academically ineligible after the fall semester. The Peregrines' entire coaching staff resigned.

Robots in the Library

Wired has a brief story about the robots being used at Chicago State University to retrieve and shelve materials at the library's storage facility.

The Life of a City Squirrel

UIC biologist Joel Brown wants to know how squirrels survive the dangers of city life in Chicago.

The Laboratory Influence

Crain's provides an interesting profile of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and their business and political influence. Bonus: Parker and Latin alumni get a little catty.

Beyond Education Sound Bites

If you'd like to know more about the Chicago Public Schools than what you can discern from short, mass media pieces, check out Catalyst Chicago, the local outpost of the urban education magazine. Be certain to visit the guide to CPS and research sections, which provide original content and links to research institutions.

Matt's Law Coalition

Following the recent sentencing of an Urbana woman who killed a cyclist while driving and downloading a ringtone to her cellphone, the parents of Matt Wilhelm the deceased, have started a coalition to lobby for a law and education to reduce distracted driving. Looks like that cellphone ban hasn't been working out too well.

More Help for CPS Students

Following last month's announcement from Roosevelt University, IIT is offering Chicago Public Schools students a full ride, provided they meet admissions and financial criteria.

The Virtual Quad

Since college kids don't have enough online personae to manage, what with MySpace pages, Facebook profiles and Xanga blogs, UIC is exploring the possibility of a school-wide implementation of LiveJournal. The goal? Building community via an informal mode of student, faculty and staff interaction.

Milton Friedman Dead at 94

Milton Friedman, University of Chicago Nobel laureate in economics, passed away today.

The Underground Economy ... In Person!

If you enjoyed Sudhir Venkatesh's article in the Boston Globe, you may want to check out his talk on Thursday. Details in Slowdown.

Eaaaaarrrrllllyyy Admission

Today Roosevelt University offered all first and second year students at Social Justice High School a full ride, provided they graduate with at least a 3.0 GPA, earn a 20 or higher on the ACTs, and fulfill a handful of other obligations. Good luck, high schoolers!

DIY Holiday Cards

Hoping to stand out from the glut of generic "season's greetings" cards this holiday season? Try this: Sign up for the Chicago Center for Books & Paper's cheap papermaking class (Nov. 4 -- only $25!) and make your cards yourself!

Cafeteria Critiques Not Cutting It

At least five suburban student newspapers are in trouble, and as Northwestern School of Journalism Dean Richard Roth puts it, "I hope they're not going out of business. We have enough problems with newspapers without losing them in high school."

Diversifying the U of C

Inside Higher Education notes that, thanks in part to the Collegiate Scholars Program, which identifies promising Chicago Public Schools students and assists them in applying to top-tier universities, the number of African-American students enrolling at the University of Chicago is at an all-time high.

"For the Not-So-Safe Driver"

Looks like the Chicago Bike Federation has a new website for their Drive With Care campaign. At first, I thought it was real, but then I knew that any memorial like "The Brittany" had to be too good to be true. Well done, chaps.

Business School Dropout

In BusinessWeek's 2006 rankings of graduate business schools, Northwestern's Kellogg slipped from no. 1 to no. 3. The best would-be MBAs won't have to look far for the new top dog, though: University of Chicago's GSB now leads the pack.

How Do You Picket a Virtual School?

Chicago's first virtual charter school, creatively named the Chicago Virtual Charter School, is a month into its first school year -- and just got served its first lawsuit. The Chicago Teacher's Union claim it's more like homeschooling than a true school, and therefore shouldn't get public funding.

Where Fun Comes to...Have Fun?

Check out this quicktime movie of Good Morning America wherein the author of the Princeton Review's The Best 361 Colleges announces that the students themselves picked the University of Chicago as the best undergraduate experience. Who are these students? And how much were they paid? As a former occupant of "The Level of Hell that Dante Forgot," I find this shocking, indeed.

Internships at 826CHI

Are you a college students or a recent grad? 826CHI needs you to assist with day-to-day operations of the writing center. If you've got 10-15 hours per week, then send your resume and a cover letter to Leah Guenther at leah [at] 826chi [dot] org.

About, With and For Design

IIT's Institute of Design hosts its annual About, With & For conference October 6-7, and it's shaping up to be a good one. A few seats are left; bug your boss to get you in.

Shimer College, Welcome to Chicago!

On October 8, the Shimer College Convocation and Reception will take place somewhere new: IIT's main campus. The Great Books college will still have some operations in Waukegan, but most activity will be in Chicago.

Bungalow Resources

If you're the proud owner of one of these traditional Chicago homes (like I am!) then you've got to check out the Historical Chicago Bungalow Association. The HCBA connects homeowners with funds, ideas and vendors to help you make your home even more awesome. Check out October's free seminar on practical interior design solultions at the Woodson or Sulzer libraries. Register now.

On the Ten-Year Plan

What to make of schools like Northeastern Illinois and Chicago State, where graduation rates are among the country's lowest? That question's raised in today's Times, following on a report issued last spring. Since then, debate has swirled, but no one, it seems, can agree on an answer.

Newberry Fall Registration Open

If one of your new year's resolutions was to read Ulysses or Gravity's Rainbow, you're in luck: the Newberry Library is offering courses in each of these notoriously difficult masterpieces. Also offered are courses in Louis Sullivan, Friedrich Nietzsche, history, genealogy, and writing (including a one-day novel workshop). Click here to see if there's a course for you. Seminars begin next month.

Chicago: Gay Student Central

Five Chicago-area colleges and universities were recognized this month as being among the 100 best in the nation for GLBT students. Columbia College, DePaul, Northwestern, UIC, and Northern Illinois are all profiled in The Advocate College Guide For LGBT Students, which scores the 100 gay-friendliest campuses based on school policies and student surveys. U of I Urbana-Champaign campus and western Illinois's Knox College also make the cut.

See Red on the Red? Say So

Sandra Gray is a master's student in urban planning and public administration at UIC. Her thesis project discusses CTA customer service, particularly on the Red Line. If you're a regular rider and have something to say (who doesn't?), she sure could use your help. Take her survey here.

Get In Real Fast

Hey, 37signals is holding a workshop on Getting Real October 9; it's about half-way sold out, so get your boss to approve it quick!


You've been writing that article about wine and trust and deception for a few weeks now, but it's missing that certain something. Could it be a quote from a local expert?

No, Jane, Denver is the Capital of the United States

Becoming a social studies or history teacher just got considerably easier in Illinois. The Illinois State Board of Education lowered the passing grade on their test to 57%. That's right: you can fail and still pass.

Study Architecture at IIT for $5

The Mies van der Rohe Society is offering inexpensive architecture tours at IIT, highlighting not only Mies' work (e.g., Crown Hall and the Carr Memorial Chapel), but also the grounds (designed by Alfred Caldwell), the campus center (designed by Rem Koolhaas), and the new student residence (designed by Helmut Jahn). Click here for details about self-guided and docent-led tours.

Top TEN for Education

The Teaching Excellence Network is "an online professional community for teachers across subject areas, grade levels and school type, from urban, suburban and rural areas all over the state and country." If you or someone you know is a teacher, this is the place for you.

Scholars Wanted

Know any academics? The Illinois Humanities Council is seeking candidates for its Road Scholars speakers bureau, which presents experts in fields ranging from ancient literature to wildlife biology to audiences of ordinary folks throughout the state. While scholars in all fields are welcome, themes emphasized this year include genetic engineering, U.S. roots music, and Abraham Lincoln. Click here for details and an application. The deadline is September 15.

Why I Go to School: Free Tickets!

In a move to boost Chicago Public Schools' attendance rates, the district has partnered with sports teams, radio stations, and even Southwest Airlines for the Back to School Sports Challenge. While some prizes will be handed out just for attendance, essayists can win a trip to Disney World or a chance to be a DJ on Power 92. So, kids, see how rewarding staying in school can be?

Cinema/Chicago Offers Teachers Some Pointers

Do you teach? Curious about how to incorporate documentaries into your classroom activities? Need more ideas for improving your students' media literacy? How about applying hip-hop in the K-12 setting? Cinema/Chicago is presenting a three-day Teacher's Institute from 15 through 17 August, to be held down at Columbia College. It's cheap ($25 a session; $150 for the whole shebang--cheaper if you're a Cinema/Chicago member), promises to be enlightening, and the registration deadline has been extended till this Friday. Click here for details.

Not Your Father's Stockyard

Inside Higher Education profiles DePaul's Jim Duignan in his quest to bring art to kids in Chicago's urban neighborhoods. In addition to making his own work, Duignan's Stockyard Project has been contributing to the development of young artists for the past 10 years.

Looking Over Your Xanga

In more School Boards vs. Blogs news, a 17-year-old student in Plainfield School District 202 has been suspended and threatened with expulsion because of his criticism on his blog of the school's disciplining of another student. His site isn't accessible from the school's computers, but administrators are saying that his comments caused "a disturbance at school".

Big Brother in MySpace

I doubt any of our readers are currently enrolled in Libertyville/Vernon Hills public schools, but you'll still be slightly alarmed to hear that School District 128 is now holding its students responsible for anything posted on MySpace or elsewhere on the Internet. Expect a lot of teenagers suddenly going anonymous in response.

Mapping the Controversy

Who would have thought a map of Chicago's neighborhoods would be so controversial? Not only has the Chicago Neighborhood Map designed by Christopher Devane upset realtors and developers because of a new motto, "Home is Where the Hood Is," printed across the top, but Chicago Public Schools has slapped the mapmaker with a cease-and-desist order to keep him from offering the map to schools.

Beautiful Game Turns Ugly

The Associated Press reports that Northwestern has suspended its women's soccer team in light of hazing allegations. Website posted a number of photographs it attributes to "a public picture sharing site," and the story develops.

Regnef Blogger Speaks

So you know that teacher we told you about who wrote scathing commentary about Fenger High School on his blog, then leaked it on purpose? He wrote an email to Dawn Turner Trice, who'd written a column about him last week. The upshot: the blog was a misunderstood cry for help.

Stallman Speaks at UIC

Richard Stallman, who is the Moses of the Free Software movement, is coming to speak at UIC on Friday morning. Known genius and controversial figure, he's an engaging speaker who doesn't blunt words. Get there early--it is expected that the hall will fill up.

Beer and Geeks

Like beer? Like science? Head to Map Room at 6:30pm on Wednesday for the inaugural session of Cafe Scientific, where UofC's Sean Carroll will present the topic and subsequent discussion, "Why is the past different from the future? -- Cosmological perspectives on the nature of time." Discuss over beers. (Thanks, Ian!)

Geeks Gone Wild

The Times on Vita Excolatur: "Since its inaugural issue in October 2004, Vita has been a constant challenge for a university trying to balance ideals of academic freedom and its role in loco parentis." Which, ya know, is one way of putting it...

Newberry Summer Registration Open

Whether reading Devil in the White City excited your interest in Chicago history, or you've resolved to go back and study some of the classics you avoided in high school, or you're wondering if your life story might make a good novel (or at least a short story), the Newberry Library probably has a course for you. Classes start in June.

Gates-way to Education

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation continues to take an interest in Chicago's schools. The foundation just gave Chicago Public Schools a $21 million grant, the largest it's ever given to a local school district, to fund a more challenging curriculum in English, math and science at 14 local high schools. This just a week after announcing plans to open four Outward Bound schools in the city.

Man, Inventor, Genius

The Museum of Science & Industry unveils a big new exhibit of the works of Leonardo da Vinci tomorrow. The 20,000-square-foot show will feature models of the 15th Century master's inventions, a digital copy of one of his sketchbooks and a lot more. The exhibit runs through Sept. 4 and costs $21 for adults, $15 for kids, which includes admission to the rest of the museum.

Remembering Maggie Dixon

West Point womens' basketball coach Maggie Dixon was remembered at a memorial service yesterday in North Hollywood, California after dying last week of a sudden arrythmic episode. The ceremony was attended by 1200 mourners, including the basketball teams of both West Point and DePaul, where Dixon was an assistant coach for five years before being named head coach for Army just before the start of the last season. After a 5-7 start, Dixon took the Army team to a 20-11 record and the Patriot League championship, earning West Point its first-ever appearance in the womens' NCAA tournament last month. She and her brother Jamie, the mens' coach at Pitt, became the first brother and sister to coach in the NCAA tournament in the same year. Jamie, 11 years her elder, said Tuesday, "I've said this before—when I grow up I want to be just like her." Maggie Dixon will be buried Friday at West Point; she was 28.

A B.A. in Bouffant

DePaul University recently announced the creation of Wigs and Hair Chicago, a certificate program for those who'd like to learn how to make moustaches, side burns, and fancy hairdos for the stage.

Lectures To Go

Lectures and speeches at The University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business are no longer constrained to the classroom. Thanks to VideoBank GSB students can now log-on to a "straightforward Web interface" to view MPEG formatted recordings from twelve classrooms hooked up with cameras.

Not the Most Flattering Picture

Today's Los Angeles Times runs a lengthy story on how Chicago Schools Offer L.A. a Cautionary Tale as its mayor contemplates taking charge of the public education system. Summed up, "Daley's early victories in Chicago gave way to a much murkier, and less clearly successful, effort to make widespread improvements in teaching and student performance."

For the Artist in You

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago has announced its May workshops and summer session courses for adults. Learn to paint, bind books, or make collages. Havent you been meaning to do something like this long enough?

Cow Parading Elsewhere

On Valentines Day, thieves made off with Ogden Elementary's cow statue. The Gold Coast school's prized piece of the city's famous "Cows on Parade" was painted by its students.

School Renamed for Till

On February 24, James McCosh Elementary in Woodlawn will be renamed Emmett Louis Till Math & Science Academy. Till was killed prior to starting 8th grade at McCosh. Since announcement of the name change, ten eighth graders have formed an Emmett Till Club.

Golden Apples

30 Chicago-area teachers are finalists for the 2006 Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching. Of the finalists, 9 are Chicago public-school teachers from Burley, Chicago Academy, Jahn, Marquette, Murphy, Nicholson, Otis, Piccolo, and Pierce schools. Help Golden Apple to support local education: purchase an education license plate designed by a 5th grader from Grace McWayne School.

Save Collins High School

We've posted that CPS will be closing four schools with Collins being the only high school (the others are grammar schools). The leadership committee has started a blog to spread information about their campaign to save Collins High School. [Thanks Brian!]

CPS to Close Four Schools

The Sun-Times is reporting that the Chicago Public School system plans to close four schools -- one high school and three grammar schools -- due to low performance. The grammar schools would close at the end of the year, while the high school, Collins, at 1313 S. Sacramento, would close when the current freshman graduate.

Virtual Insanity

Yesterday, The Chicago Board of Education approved creation of The Chicago Virtual Charter School. The school would serve 600 students from grades K-8 via computer. Illinois would join 12 states, including California, Kansas and Alaska, if the Illinois State Board of Education also approves the virtual school's proposal.

Wacky, Yes. But is He Art?

Columbia College is facing something of a free speech controversy as it grapples with the aftermath of an employee's sacking for his work on the satirical Wacky Warrick website. The previously anonymous site mocks the college's president, and while Mark Phillips contends he did none of its development on the job, he was terminated after investigators documented his involvement by a midnight raid of his office. The Columbia Chronicle has the story.

In True U of C Fashion, Get Statistics

The Chicago Maroon reports on CollegeCuteness, a site started by two male undergrads at the U of C. To evaluate the attractiveness of last year's incoming women, the pair posted a sample of their photos on Hot Or Not and did the same for nine other colleges with the intent of comparing the scores. Chicago may not rank last in many polls, but, alas, this one proved the exception to that rule. [via]

Developing the Future Literary Gangs of Chicago

Poet Cassie Sparkman hosts the reading series, Literary Gangs of Chicago, every third Tuesday. During the daytime, Sparkman teaches weekly poetry classes through The Poetry Center of Chicago's Hands on Stanzas program to over 170 students at Christian Ebinger School in Edison Park. Last week, Sparkman installed her students' "Poetry + Photos Project" featuring student poems in response to images by photographers Krista Peel and Johnny Knight.

On April 5th, Sparkman will read at The Old Town School of Folk Music with fellow Hands on Stanzas poets in residence and selected CPS students.

Art Works

A study published today in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management by researchers at Northwestern Memorial Hospital showed that art therapy can reduce cancer patients' pain and anxiety. Applications for the MA in Art Therapy at the School of the Art Institute are due February 15th.

CPS Disciplines Bullying Bloggers

Three 7th and 8th grade students in the International Baccalaureate program at Taft High School in Edison Park were suspended this week because of threatening and sexually explicit remarks about their teacher posted on a Xanga blog. Next week, Taft's principal will meet with parents and students to discuss the "legal and moral issues involved with blogging." An article in today's Tribune talks about the Taft blog incident in context with others where the blogger was not disciplined.

Shimer on the Move?

Tiny Shimer College is contemplating a move to the big city from its campus in Waukegan. Apparently the liberal arts school, which has just 110 full-time students (many more go part-time), has been invited to move to IIT's campus on the near South Side. A decision is expected in the coming months.

Poetry Out Loud

The Poetry Foundation and the NEA announced that last year's pilot recitation contest for High Schoolers, the National Recitation Contest, (held only in Chicago and Washington D.C.), will hit all 50 state capitals in Spring 2006. Play AP English and visit Poetry Out Loud's website to to browse poems enriched with audio links.

The Chicago winner from last year recited "Susie Asado" by Gertrude Stein. Excited about the educational possibilities, NEA chairman and poet Dana Gioia said to the AP, "I think the competitive energy you see in sports can be brought into the English classroom . . . And you'll have a different set of stars than you find on the basketball court or baseball field."

Chinese in Chicago Public Schools

Today's Monitor runs a story that puts Chicago in the vanguard of US language education trends: teaching Chinese. 3000 students in twenty local schools are learning to speak Mandarin, helped in part by watching Jackie Chan.

Kozol Redux

If you missed Jonathan Kozol's Humanities Festival talk at the Chicago Temple on Sunday afternoon, you still have a chance to hear the author of Death at an Early Age, Savage Inequalities, andmost recentlyShame of the Nation, when he speaks at the University of Chicago's Rockefeller Memorial Chapel on Tuesday evening. Kozol's talk, which is sure to be impassioned and inspiring, will focus on the de facto segregation of America's public schools. Details in Slowdown.

First Day of School

After a little first day nerves, 826CHI opened on Monday to drop-in tutoring. They helped with math, wrote some stories and played a little chess. In all, it sounds pretty successful and the 826 volunteers are excited to see where the next few days take them. They're still accepting volunteer applications, so if you like kids and love teaching and learning, go here to learn how you can spend some of your extra time.

Reading and Writing for Pirates and Spies

As it plans to kick off tutoring operations later this month, 826CHI will host an open house on Thursday night. If you're wondering what to expect from this Eggers&co.-backed venture, this article offers insight into the project's larger goals and motivating philosophy. In part, at least, it aims to support teachers' in-class efforts; after all, they don't have it easy.

No Tenure For You

Just a few months ago, the Chronicle of Higher Education published an article that, in the case of U of C professor Daniel Drezner, at least, may have been prescient. The Chronicle piece argued that if blogging had any impact on an academic's career, it was apt to be a negative one. Drezner expressed that sort of concern at the outset of his own weblog, and he revisited it on Saturday when he posted about having been denied tenure. Inside Higher Ed points out this is the second time in a year that's happened to a blogging junior faculty member at Chicago.

A Class on CSS

If you're not a web designer, go ahead and skip this post. Eric Meyer is going to be in town Nov. 3 for a CSS-XHTML workshop. From the schedule, it looks pretty intensive. Get your boss to send you.

Learn something new every week

Many of the classes began this week, but it's not too late to register for some of the Newberry Library's fall seminars. Topics include Black Letter Calligraphy, Small Theatres in Chicago, multiple literature and genealogy classes, and writing workshops. The evening and weekend classes average about $150 for eight weeks.

Eight Twenty-Six Chicago Needs You

Big doin's over at 826CHI, the children's writing center with folks like Ira Glass and Dave Eggers behind it... For one, the organization announces today that it has found a home in Wicker Park at 1331 N. Milwaukee and plans to open for drop-in tutoring by the end of next month. To get things kick-started and pay its security deposit, 826 is holding a benefit concert at the Metro in late September that will feature the likes of Archer Prewitt and Baby Teeth. Details on that and other events are on their calendar (and, should you forget, Slowdown will remind you). Furthermore, now that there's a space, there's a time-line. That means volunteers are needed. Do it for the kids, man!

The Changing Face of Cicero

As demographics continue to change in Illinois, Inside Higher Ed gives us the story of a suburban community college that's changing with them. Under the leadership of president Brent Knight, Morton College in Cicero has taken huge strides in the past two years to meet the needs of its Hispanic population, this year a striking 74 percent of the total student body -- up from 6.6 percent 25 years ago.

Attention Students: the Food Fight Will Be Held Next Door

According to a new study, more than 80 percent of Chicago public schools have at least one fast food restaurant within half a mile of campus. So while Chicago may be making the food available inside its schools healthier, kids who don't want granola don't have far to walk.

Old Town School classes: From hula to harmonica

The Old Town School of Folk Music starts up another session of classes next week, and if you were thinking about taking a music, dance or voice class there soon, you can sign up today and save $15 on the cost of your class. Browse the list of classes that covers a wide range of musical and dance styles, sign up for your class online, and start making beautiful music.

Preschooling at its best

As part of a special section dedicated to education this weekend, the Times looked at the U of C's Lab School, describing it as "as good as prekindergarten gets." Accordingly, UCLS is serving as a benchmark for early childhood education proponents around the country as they push for broader public funding of pre-elementary schooling. Here in Chicago, the Child-Parent Center program has been offering such services to lower income families for nearly 40 years, and a long-term study by University of Wisconsin researchers has shown just how effective this preparation for later learning can be.

Kits for Kidz

I saw Arnie Duncan, the CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, on the news the other day talking about Kitz for Kids, a program that provides school supplies to disadvantaged students. I thought, "Sign me up." But, of course, the local news didn't provide any actual helpful information, like, say, how to get involved in the program. Well, Eric Zorn to the rescue, posting the link to the Kitz for Kids CPS School Supplies Drive on his blog. More than 9,000 homeless students in Chicago need help purchasing basic school supplies, and the kits (there are three different grade level types) each cost less than $15. All kits will be sent directly to those who need them, so consider helping out.

Fixie (and me) on the radio

A while ago, I was interviewed for a radio piece about fixed gear bikes for Studio 360, a WNYC/Public Radio show that gets aired everywhere across the nation in cities except Chicago. Funny since it was produced here. Fortunately, there's online radio and while thousands across the nation will hear me wax poetic about bikes, we in Chicago can listen online (lower right, Design for the Real World).

Scent of a citrus

A recent study at the University of Chicago has determined that the smell of grapefruit on a woman makes her appear considerably younger to men. However, the scent of grapefruit on men does not affect women's perceptions of a man's age.

The Reg goes massive

The University of Chicago will spend $42m over the next four years to consolidate eight million volumes under the single roof of the Joseph Regenstein Library. That will make the Reg the largest single research library in the country, a title currently held downstate by the main facility of the U. of I. at Urbana-Champaign. Inside Higher Ed runs a story today, as did the Trib earlier this week.

Fish on Form

When Stanley Fish, professor of English and former dean of Arts & Sciences at UIC, talks, people in higher ed tend to listen if only to argue about what he's just said. I figure folks around here may read his op-ed in today's Times from one of two perspectives: either as academics who want to get in on the fight or as former students who recall Fish announcing just exactly how he intends to teach them composition. Either way, let the "content" begin.

Circus Team

CircEsteem is a non-profit aimed at "building self-esteem through circus arts" in kids from diverse ethnic and social backgrounds. The group's annual Spring Circus is this Sunday at Alternatives Inc., 4730 N. Sheridan, at 11am and 3pm. Call 312/593-4242 for more info. (Thanks, Christopher)

Advanced Placement

Newsweek has just published the latest edition of one of those educational ranking surveys that people seem to either love or hate: its list of "America's Best High Schools" for 2005. Out of 27,468 public high schools in the US, Chicago's Lincoln Park appears at no. 31; Stevenson High in Lincolnshire, the only other Illinois school in the top 100, shows up at 86.

We're Better than Harvard, Nyah Nyah

I was one of the few University of Chicago students who didn't go there because she got rejected from Harvard. As a student, however, it's pretty easy to tell that the U of C is just as difficult as Harvard, maybe more so because we also have to prove our worth. Finally, Michael Steinberger at the Wall Street Journal gives us some props, writing that we've "wielded much more influence in recent decades." So there. Now quit punishing yourselves and go have some fun.

Chicago Learning Guide

Want to take a class in drawing, writing, photography, acting or even sports? Then you want to bookmark this site. The Chicago Learning Guide is a directory of "professional, personal and recreational classes" available all over the Chicago area. Just click on a subject area to get a list of links to organizations offering classes in everything from architecture to yoga.

Insert bee pun here

Congratulations to 8th grader Phillip Acevedo, who won this year's Chicagoland spelling bee city championship today. His winning words: "cedilla" and "supernumerary". Acevedo and a winner from tonight's suburban Chicago spelling bee advance to the bee finals, which are held June 1-3 in Washington, DC. (For a description of the grueling spelling bee process, see Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg's great book Complete and Utter Failure.)

826 Chicago

Super-hip writer, and Chicagoland native Dave Eggers began a tutoring project in San Francisco called 826 Valencia, that has bloomed into a nation-wide phenomeonon. Recently 826 Chicago has grown some internet legs and gained some local help as well. Now a part of the official 826 network (joining recently-opened chapters in New York and Los Angeles), Ira Glass has joined the Board of Directors and Chris Ware and Roger Ebert are new members of the Board of Advisors. Look for an article on the project in this week's TimeOut Chicago as well.

Pay It Forward

If putting aside more of your money toward good causes is one of your resolutions, but you're unsure of where it should go, check out DonorsChoose Chicago, an organization dedicated to helping out the city's public schools. Teachers write proposals for activities or supplies not funded by the school system and, once they're approved and published by the site, people like us can start making our contributions. It's an easy and interesting way to keep the karma flowing in the right direction. (Thanks to reader Fil for the tip!)

Dry Frat Flap

Northwestern is abuzz about the New York Times Magazine article (reg. req'd.) on the culture of alcohol consumption in the school's fraternities. "'He made it seem like most NU frats were like Animal House and portrayed us as Revenge of the Nerds,' [Sigma Chi president Diego] Berdakin said."

Career and Planning (Dis)Services

The first thing my Career Advising and Planning Services (CAPS) advisor asked me was where I was from. I answered, "New Mexico." She then proceeded to search for jobs in NM. Was I planning to return to NM upon graduation? No. So you can imagine that the rest of my CAPS experience was a rapid downward spiral from there. The University of Chicago Maroon investigated what I learned the hard way: CAPS just plain SUCKS.

Objectivism for You

Speaking of clubs at local universities, you might be interested in the U. of Chicago Objectivist Club, which meets every Monday night and is open to non-students. (The group probably wouldn't be happy to know that I found their site by googling "Chicago silliness.")

Dame Couture

I've got a huge problem fitting into off-the-rack clothes. I've got some pretty good sewing skills, but every time I've tried sewing my own clothes I've wished there was a cool place where I could learn some tips and tricks to make it go easier. Thankfully the proprietresses of Dame Couture are willing to rescue me from having to take a quilted vest or an applique sweatshirt sewing class. These stylish mavens are offering classes that range from how basic sewing, to pillow-making, to make pajama pants.

After school creativity

Tech37 is a blog showcasing the work of students at Collins High School (at Sacramento and Roosevelt) as part of the After School Matters program, backed by Gallery 37. The theme of the class is "Promoting social change through arts and technology," with curriculum by Lacey Graves and Misha Maynerick. Students are blogging about what they discuss and create in class; it's pretty neat to watch creativity being encouraged.

Redmoon Theater Classes

Redmoon Theater, known for their ethereal location-centric productions, is offering classes to "create objects in the style of Redmoon Theater." The two classes currently offered are Lantern making and miniature mechanical Pop-up cards. Both classes are $60. For more information, call 312.850.8440, ext. 110, or email

Do the Math

Could you pass today's 8th Grade math, or would you be a child left behind? Take the actual test on MSN Encarta and find out. [via Coudal]

Be Big in Japan

If you have the ability (and flexibility) to live abroad for a year, consider this: The JET Programme of the Japanese government pays you 3,600,000/year (about $33,000) tax free, and they fly you over and give you health insurance and vacation time. In exchange, you teach English as a Second Language classes. The only pre-requisite is a bachelors degree -- in any major! More info here, or at an informational session November 6 at the Japan Information Center, 737 N. Michigan Ave.

Public Versus Private

Here's a shocking statistic: nearly 40 percent of Chicago Public School teachers send their own children to private schools, nearly double the national average. Talk about an indictment of CPS.


After months working on a merger of the two schools, Roosevelt University and National-Louis University have scrapped the plan, citing irreconcilable differences. Crain's has more, or you could read the official press release.

Music Classes on the Cheap

The Graham School at the University of Chicago and the DuSable Museum of African-American History have teamed up to sponsor a couple of great classes at bargain prices open to the general public. The first is on Black Protest Music since 1965 and the second is on South Side Blues and Jazz. Registration closes for the classes in September and October, respectively, so act soon.

North Park Drops Price

North Park University is doing the unheard-of: it's cutting tuition by more than 30 percent. The hope is that the lower price will attract more applicants to the small Evangelical Christian college, which ranks among the best in the Midwest according to U.S. News & World Report's annual college survey.

Kids Love School

The campaign to increase attendence at Chicago's public schools apparently paid off. According to officials, 91 percent of students attended the first day of school on Tuesday. Excellent! Everyone gets a gold star.

Newberry Seminars

If you're itching to buy a new binder and some #2 pencils, you can get back into the swing of learning new things by signing up for one of the Newberry Library's more than 60 fall seminars. Classes range from "Newberry a la Cart" to classes on literature, genealogy, religion and even writing workshops. Spaces do tend to go quickly, and the first classes begin on September 21, so sign up soon.

Summer days, drifting away...

As the screaming children outside my window can attest, today's the first day of classes for Chicago Public Schools. This year the school district set up a Back to School website, with information on enrollment options, lists of school supplies, and other crucial stuff for kids and parents, as part of the ongoing campaign to increase first-day attendance, which hit an all-time high of 89 percent last year.

Book and Paper Arts

The fall class schedule for Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts has been posted online. The Center offers excellent classes in papermaking, bookbinding, letterpress and photography. Most classes are starting up in early october with limited space so sign up now!

Goose Island is Cooked

Kendall College, a four-year culinary school, is moving to Goose Island from its current home in Evanston. The college has a preview of its new "Riverworks Campus" online; the old Evanston campus has been sold to a developer.

UIC is full!

When UIC sent out acceptance letters for this fall's freshman class, they were expecting some of the notified students to be going elsewhere. It didn't quite work out that way, and now there are 335 UIC students waiting to get in. About half of the "accepted, but wait-listed" students have been placed, but they still have some left to go. UIC is advising the remaining students to look at other schools, including U of I-Springfield and the ever-popular community colleges.

Make No Little s

A new, experimental class at Northwestern called "Using Technology, Making History," is planning on taking the 95-year-old Plan of Chicago, Daniel Burnham's groundbreaking treatise of urban planning, and re-publishing it using technologies available on the Web. Co-taught by an urban historian and a professor of computer science, the class will have students not only digitizing the contents of the original document, but also creating dynamic versions of the maps, including comparisons of the Plan to the realities of urban development over the last century.

Bring me your broken, your old, your G3 laptops

If you've got some tired and dusty CPUs taking up space in your living room, or if you've upgraded to a new computer and don't feel right just tossing the old one, you can recycle them and help out Chicago's schools, all in one trip. The City of Chicago, Computers for Schools, GM, the UAW, and Electromotive are co-sponsoring Chicago's first annual Recycle Day at the United Center on Saturday. You can even drop off those old cell phones that are bigger than a small child. The groups will clean up and fix donations, and use them where they can in schools in the Chicago area.

8th Graders Test Well

Finally, some good news for Chicago Public Schools: Iowa test reading and math scores for eighth graders were at the national average. The Tribune offers this convenient PDF of test scores by school.

Harper's Oldest Rumor Renewed

As long as I can remember, I've heard rumors that William Rainey Harper (Community) College was going to go four-year. "They just have to build dorms and they can do it." Yeah, right. Well, it turns out the rumors aren't so far off: Harper's board of trustees will be debating adding bachelor degrees in some fields at a meeting tonight.

Sing the Body Electric

Body Electric is a student-edited literary journal presenting work by the students, faculty and staff of UIC's College of Medicine, "based on the experiences of medical education and practice." Although the College of Medicine's website says the journal is still published annually, the online version hasn't been updated in five years, so while you're perusing the fifteen years' worth of material that's there you can experience the height of web design like it's 1999.

Project Citizen: Room 405

Those ambitious Fifth Graders we told you about last month, the ones who were pushing to get their school repaired? They're getting noticed: the class took the information packet they've developed to a Chicago Public School's Capital Improvement Program Open Hearing this week, and they've received word that Ralph Nader will visit the school sometime soon to congratulate them on their work (he already wrote about the program at Common Dreams). Congrats, Room 405!

Book and paper arts summer classes

Columbia's Center for Book and Paper Arts has released their summer schedule. Learn new papermaking, bookbinding, and letterpress techniques at night or on the weekends in their well-equipped facilities.

The Playground For People Who Think

I bet you never suspected that there is a college at the corner of Irving, Lincoln, and Damen? The College Of Complexes has a weekly meeting with some zany topics at the Lincoln Restaurant. This week's topic is "Autoholics Anonymous", quite timely with gas prices what they are. (Also, site has incredibly large number of bizarre gifs, like this fortune-teller or this alien.) 8pm at the Lincoln Restaurant, 4008 N. Lincoln. $3 plus food purchase.

That's a lotta B.S.

Feeling smart today? U.S. Census results show that 27 percent of Chicago residents 25 and older have at least a bachelor's degree. The national average is just under 26 percent. The state average is even better: 28 percent, which ranks Illinois 14th in a list of states by education. (Not surprisingly, Massachusetts is #1, with 35 1/2 percent of its population with college degrees.)

Fifth Graders Take on Ambitious Project

Recently, Ralph Nader visited a crumbling Chicago elementary school and found something strange: all 19 students in Brian Schultz' classroom have taken on a new curriculum. What's this all about? To document the terrible disrepair and lack of facilities in the school; and, to build community, state and national support for a new school. These are fifth graders; they all live in and around the Cabrini-Green housing project and their school, Byrd Community Academy, is literally falling to pieces around them. Read more about this situation, and tell friends - get others involved, they need more media attention! Also, check out the tutoring program and see how you can lend a hand...

Blogging a protest

U of I students are staging a sit-in at one of the administration buildings on campus, protesting the controversial Chief Illiniwek mascot. And, since this is the 21st century, they're blogging the protest.

Walter Payton MVP

Walter Payton Prep's Brian Desmond is among the youngest to attend the exclusive and secretive Microsoft MVP Global Summit in Redmond, Wash. The youngest is a 14-year-old from Australia. (Being a Mac guy, I must take it for granted that this is a big whoop.)

It's Alive! In the Southwest Suburbs!

"Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature" is a traveling exhibition, currently at the Moraine Valley Library in Palos Hills, that encourages audiences to examine the intent of Mary Shelley's novel discuss her and their own views about personal and societal responsibility as it relates to science and other areas of life.


There's a new fraternity at Northwestern: Zeta Zeta Zeta, or ZZZ. The Tri Zetas are a pseudo-fraternity that encourages "excellence through superior sleep," and was created as an alternative to the usual fraternities and sororities for NU students who are more interested in getting some more shut-eye. Great idea!

NYC Looks To Us

In a curious package of articles in today's on-line New York Post, it is revealed that NYC's Mayor Bloomberg looked at CPS Elementary school promotion policies to try to improve achievement before kids move on to higher levels. They refer to the stricter standards, and elimination of "social promotion" as a South Side Success Story. The New York Times confirms this success. All this flattering attention coincides with another New York periodical reporting that perhaps the strict policy isn't what its cracked up to be.

Funny money

Police say two students tried to pass $120 in conterfeit money at Von Steuben High School. The school cafeteria is not where I'd go to spend $120 -- that's a lot of sloppy joe -- but long ago I gave up trying to understand today's youth.

Golden Apples handed out

The Golden Apple Foundation has announced its winners of the 2004 Golden Apple Awards. The Sun-Times reports that the 10 winners were selected from a field of 681 nominees, and each winner will receive a fall-term sabbatical at Northwestern, an Apple computer and $2,500.

4 - 1 walls

"ThreeWalls is a nonprofit organization dedicated to contemporary art and art education. Our mission is to provide workspace for emerging artists who are at pivotal points in their careers, and to offer the public new approaches to contemporary art-practices through unconventional exhibitions and educational programming." They've been busy.

But Those Skirts Are Adorable

The Associated Press is reporting that the Chicago Public Schools misspent $1.5m in federal funds earmarked for improving schools for impoverished children. Apparently, the money was spent on, among other things, cheerleading uniforms and floor waxers. Between the underfunding and misspending, it's a wonder our schools are in such poor shape.

Rat Patrol

The ongoing cafeteria closings at Chicago Public Schools has prompted a top-to-bottom cleaning of all 600 Chicago public schools, reports. The cleaning will start on Monday at a reported cost of $2 to $4 million. Students will receive cold breakfasts and lunches from outside vendors instead of hot meals during the cleaning.

Book and paper arts classes

The spring class schedule for the Center for Book and Paper Arts has been published. Evening and weekend classes are available on such subjects as Paper marbling, Asian bookbindings, Letterpress, and Silkscreening.

Sex and the Windy City

A new study from the University of Chicago suggests city residents aren't getting enough play, to the detriment of their communities and cultural institutions. Between later marriage, the prevalence of divorce, and domestic violence, Chicagoans spend about half their lives single and half of their single lives alone. Researchers also found neighborhood, ethnicity, sexual preference and friends could significantly limit people's sexual behavior. Research leader Edward O. Laumann -- hailed as "the new Kinsey" for his studies of modern sexual health -- will release a book on his findings in the spring. [Trib login: gapers/gapers]

Top Schools Ranking

The Sun-Times' annual rankings of schools were released today, with two public, non-selective elementary schools making the top 50. No non-selective high schools made the list. Of the selective high schools that made the top 50 only one, Whitney Young, is not located in the Loop or North Side.

Scuba Santa!

At Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park this weekend, about a dozen kids helped Santa decorate a Christmas tree ... underwater. The 10th annual decorating event is sponsored by a local scuba club, and is meant to encourage interest in scuba-diving (although the tree was eventually lifted out of the pool, so that non-swimmers could help decorate it).

Beer Academy

The Goose Island brewery on Clybourn turns into Beer Academy this Wednesday at 6:30 pm. Learn from the Brewmaster, brush up on the ins and outs of brewing, and taste a dozen different beers while you're at it. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. To RSVP or for more information, call 312-915-0071.

Business--of Education?

The Society of Jesus--known to lay people as Jesuits and to Southern Baptists as Them Thar Agents of the Papacy--is trying to level the playing field for their students in poorer neighborhoods. By getting them jobs at downtown Chicago firms, they hope to give kids valuable work experience, help them make connections, and also procure funding for the schools themselves. Is this an altruistic concern for these kids futures, or evil exploitation of cheap labor? The students seem to think the former, so I'll go with them. Please ignore the eminently ironic picture of the hopeful kid in front of the Arthur Andersen sign.

Everybody cut Footloose!

Wheaton College is preparing for its very first on-campus dance, ever. The Tribune has the story. [Trib. login: gapers/gapers]

Room 209

Chicago blogger and l33t M3nn0n1t3 Trevor Bechtel's wife teaches second grade at a Chicago public school. The class has just started a blog. I don't know what's more fascinating -- the über-cuteness of kids blogging questions like "Second graders are studing animals. We want to know if you need to eat meat to stay healthy?" or the way A-list bloggers like David Weinberger and Joi Ito put on their "talking to kids" voice when they respond in the comments.

Stanley Fish on Tuition Increases

We all know that college tuitions continue to grow every year. But why, and what should we do about it? The House of Representatives has just written a report on the matter, but academic celebrity and UIC prof Stanley Fish has his doubts.

Free Yoga

Hyde Park's newish Three Pillars Wellness Center offers a free community yoga class on Sundays from 1:30 - 2:30 PM. Who knew?

WiFi Evil

The Oak Park Elementary School District is being sued by a group of parents who claim the wireless computer network in the schools could harm their children. (Wonder how many of those parents gave up their cancer-causing cell phones.)

Fish on College

UIC Prof and intellectual gadfly Stanley Fish has an op-ed piece on education in the New York Times (login: gapers/gapers). I'm not a big Fish fan, but the guy who coined the term 'boutique multiculturalism' can't be that bad.

Kid-run School

The Daily Herald has an interesting article about the Heartlight School in Palatine, an unusual education environment where "troubled kids" basically run the school, deciding what to learn about each day and dealing with discipline themselves. The school is in desparate need of donations, so if you feel generous, contribute.

5-second rule

It seems appropriate that it would take a high school senior to study the validity of the 5-second rule. Jillian Clarke, a senior at the Chicago High School for the Agricultural Sciences, spent her summer in a program at the University of Illinois: Urbana studying how quickly e.coli would tranfer to cookies and candy, who would be more likely to eat food that fell on the floor, and just how clean the university's floors were.

Kids tour prisons

"Bad" kids in public schools will soon be targeted for prison tours as a way to discourage them from future criminal lifestyles. The CPS was not consulted before the specified bill was signed by Blagojevich yesterday. [Trib. login gapers/gapers]

Happy little demons

DePaul University has the happiest students in America, according to the Princeton Review. (Trib login: gapers/gapers)

Stir. Pour. Chop.

Ever thought about cooking school? The Tribune has put together a fine rundown of Chicagoland culinary instruction. Schools, stores, and shops are currently offering classes perfect for any palate. [Trib login/password: gapers/gapers]

Book and Paper Arts classes

Columbia's Center for Book and Paper Arts has published their fall schedule for community classes. Make use of the great facilities and reasonable tuition to learn various forms of papermaking, bookbinding, letterpress and pinhole photography at night.

UIC Campus Goes Wireless

UIC students will soon be on the cutting edge of technology: a plan is in the works to provide campus-wide wireless Internet access. Sections of campus are already active hotspots.

Arne Duncan Profile

Catalyst, a monthly magazine chronicling school reform efforts, has an in-depth profile of new CPS Chief Arne Duncan and what he's done so far.

Chicago Indymedia

Didn't realize this till today but Indymedia has a Chicago sister site. Some interesting activist reporting, especially with Chicago's universities and colleges it seems.

PS2 Supercomputer

The NCSA department at U of I (the people who brought us a little thing called Mosaic) have built a supercomputer out of PlayStation 2s. First application: the most badass game of Quake II EVAR!!!

Art is Everywhere, even Starbucks

Want some drama with your Frappucino this Friday? "On May 23, 2003, at exactly 5:15 p.m., in ten Chicago Starbucks, professional actors will simultaneously perform original monologues written by Chicago Public High School students in Chicago Dramatists' Outreach Program." The press release story in Backstage says to go to for more info, but they don't have any.

Mess with the Bull...

Mess With the Bull, You'll Get the Horns. (A bit late in posting this, but oh well.) Glenbrook North HS graduate and TMN contributor John Warner discusses the hazing debacle at his alma mater.

Public School Closings

This Thursday, May 15 and Friday, May 16 are "Call the Mayor" days. If you care about the Chicago Public Schools, and the children being dispossessed by a rash of school closings without parental input or adequate planning, please let Daley know your opinion by calling (312.744.3300), faxing (312.744.2324), or emailing ( your concern.

Information on the CPS closings is available in the following documents (MS Word .doc format):

- Letter to Daley detailing reasons why schools should not be closed without additional input and planning

- Call the Mayor flier

- Call the Mayor flier in Spanish

Student Bikes

I just finished up a site for the Chicago Bike Federation, called Student Bikes. It promotes, educates and informs university and college students on how they too can bike to school. Also, this Monday, May 12th, DePaul University, the DePaul Bicycle Club and Mayor Daley's Bicycle Ambassador's will be hosting a presentation called Commuting to Class. Details: DePaul's Lincoln Park Campus, Levan Center, Rm 502, 2pm-3pm.

H.S. Hazing

Hazing has gone on in high schools across the country for years, but it usually isn't an organized event, and it usually doesn't get caught on tape. Glenbrook North High School students are eating up their 15 minutes of fame on national television thanks to a video of Powder Puff junior-senior rivalry gone awry. Charges are expected to be filed soon.

Anarchist and Human Rights Film Festival

More Columbia (my, my aren't they busy), as part of their conference taking place at the moment, "Dignity Without Borders: Arts, Media and Human Rights", the Chicago Anarchist Film Festival took place this past May 2-4. Revolutionists should not have missed it. However, the Human Rights Film Festival is balancing that all out starting today, May 5-7.

Irvine Welsh @ Columbia

Speaking of Columbia, but Bloody 'ell! Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting, The Acid House, Filth and Porno, is now teaching at Columbia. Apparently two courses this semester and word on the street is that he is living in Lincoln eyes are peeled.


Congrats to Gravity, Columbia College's three-issue-old general interest magazine, on winning a Gold Medal for excellence in college publications from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. Gravity may be new, but it has plenty of experience behind it -- much of the staff is employees of New City. Catch a great interview with rapper Common in this month's issue.



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