Back Issues

Browse our Feb 1990 — Jun 1995 archives. (Available in PDF format only.)

  • The digital divide: Summer 2016


    District leaders want schools to integrate more personalized learning technology in the classroom. But many schools lack up-to-date computers, fast internet access and quality teacher training, compounding the tech disparities students face at home.

    Download a PDF of the Spring/Summer 2016 issue.

  • The rise of Noble: Winter 2016


    Begun as a mom-and-pop shop in 1999, the Noble Network of Charter Schools has grown into the largest and arguably most successful charter school network in the city. Its expansion has come with growing pains and increased scrutiny of some of its key policies, including discipline and testing.

    Download a PDF of the Winter 2016 issue.

  • 25th Anniversary Issue: Fall 2015


    Catalyst founder Linda Lenz began covering Chicago schools in 1978 as a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. She left in 1989 to create this issues-oriented publication. Here she puts key developments in perspective and talks about what’s changed in the past 25 years.

    Download the Fall 2015 issue in PDF.

  • College Persistence: Winter 2015


    More CPS graduates are enrolling in college than ever before. The district wants to raise college completion for CPS alumni to 60 percent. But money, academics and cultural challenges make for a rocky path to a degree.

    Download issue PDF

  • The race for City Hall: Fall 2014

    Catalyst Chicago issue cover, published Nov 2014

    Jobs and schools promise to be top issues in next year’s city elections. The mayor’s education agenda faces its toughest test in the African-American communities that gave him strong support in 2011.

  • Drugs in schools: Summer 2014

    Catalyst Chicago issue cover, published Jul 2014

    Most drug violations in CPS involve an ounce or less of marijuana. Schools are quick to call police, yet rarely have the resources to offer education, counseling or other non-punitive help to students.

  • Teacher turnover: Spring 2014

    Catalyst Chicago issue cover, published May 2014

    CPS has never had a strong, districtwide program of teacher induction and mentoring to stem an attrition rate that is higher than the national average. Instead, efforts to retain teachers depend on smaller-scale programs and individual principals who make it a goal to empower—and keep—their teachers.

  • College and careers: Winter 2014

    Catalyst Chicago issue cover, published Feb 2014

    An overhaul of the district’s career education programs seeks to make classes more challenging and put career-track students on the path to higher ed, but many schools have lost programs, and fewer students are participating overall.

  • New school transitions: Fall 2013

    Catalyst Chicago issue cover, published Oct 2013

    The historic closing of 49 elementary schools in Chicago left many parents bitter and feeling left out as they try to get involved in new schools. Yet parent engagement is essential for school improvement, and principals are faced with the challenge of building trust at schools that scored poorly on surveys of parent involvement.