Drama in their lives

Last school year, 11 percent of the entire student population—41,771 students—were classified as chronic truants. These students were absent for almost a month: 18 days out of a 170-day school year. In contrast, the average truancy rate elsewhere in Illinois has remained at a stable 2 percent for the past decade. And this fall, CPS is serving 9,000 homeless children, more than the district has ever had so early in the school year. Schools can’t solve these problems on their own. Help must come from the outside.

New union, new day

As City Hall and the school system wait for new leaders, an agressive
new CTU is forging alliances with parents and community organizations
to craft a reform agenda.

Still not good enough

On the eve of a February meeting where the death knell was set to sound
for five Chicago schools, CEO Ron Huberman granted Paderewski
Elementary on the West Side an 11th-hour reprieve. The decision might have yielded relief for teachers, parents and
students in the short term, but in the coming years, the next mayor and
school leader will have to confront a longstanding question: What
should be done with schools like Paderewski, with dwindling enrollment
and little academic improvement?

Facing a critical juncture

Fix another budget mess. Do something—anything?—to improve the worst schools. Curb school violence. Keep labor peace. Almost enough to make you ask, who needs this headache? Making inroads on these vexing problems could easily consume every waking hour of the city’s next mayor and schools chief.