January 2021 Leading News

In today’s Leading News, CPS officials, teachers, and families try to reach agreement on return-to-school. School districts offer vaccination sites in Lake County. Also in the news, Galesburg CUSD 205 and Rockford SD 205 plan returns to the classroom.

CPS-CTU reopening talks: Who’s at the bargaining table — and who’s missing?
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, January 28

10,000 CPS students who chose in-person option change their minds; racial disparities seen in attendance rates
Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, January 27

Stevenson, Round Lake high schools to be COVID-19 vaccination sites for Lake County educators
Bob Goldsborough, Chicago Tribune, January 28

Galesburg schools to present plan Tuesday for return to classroom on Feb. 1
Matt Koester, Galesburg Register-Mail, January 24

More face time, shortened days: 5 things to know about Rockford Public Schools new schedule
Corina Curry, Rockford Register Star, January 22


In today’s Leading News, classroom learning is on hold in CPS as the impasse continues, and other school districts set return dates. The state legislature reschedules its return for February. Also in the news, the IHSA announces its sports and activities schedules.
CPS halts in-person learning for students already back as teachers strike looms; district still aims to open elementary schools Monday
Hannah Leone and Gregory Pratt, Chicago Tribune, January 27
CPS cancels in-person learning Thursday as impasse with CTU continues
Stefano Esposito, Chicago Sun-Times, January 27
Decatur Public Schools to remain all virtual until March 22
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, January 26
Illinois Lawmakers delaying return to Springfield, future plans uncertain
Ben Szalinski, State Journal-Register, Springfield, January 27
IHSA says: Let the games begin
Bucky Dent, The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, January 27

In today’s Leading News, Bourbonnais SD 53 teachers picket to draw attention to ongoing contract talks. Illinois districts consider the future of snow days. Also in the news, school districts find “teachable moments” in the January 6 capitol riot and last week’s presidential inauguration.

Bourbonnais teachers face cold weather for picket
Stephanie Markham, Kankakee Daily Journal, January 26

Districts use remote learning alternatives to snow days
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, January 25

Capitol Riot Becomes Civics Lessons in Schools
Yoree Koh and Jennifer Calfas, Wall Street Journal, January 18

Inauguration offers teachable moment for classes
Dylan Suttles, Alton Telegraph, January 20

CPS students full of pride as Harris, Biden take over
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, January 22
In today’s Leading News, some school districts are closed today the old-fashioned way. COVID brings increased truancy issues in McHenry County and prompts CPS families to call for help. Also in the news, read more about response to the education reform bill.

Closings because of the weather
Quad Cities Dispatch Argus, January 25

Truancy cases see huge rise in McHenry County school districts, with officials blaming remote learning
Sam Lounsberry, Northwest Herald, January 15

Struggling kids, fed-up parents: Chicago families who want CPS schools open say they’re being drowned out by ongoing teachers union pushback
Alice Yin, Chicago Tribune, January 21

Illinois school reforms require more Black history to be taught. Here's what's included.
Peter Hancock, CNI/Peoria Journal Star, January 24

ISBE Concerned About Increasing High School Graduation Requirements
Derek Cantù, NPR Illinois, January 20
In today’s Leading News, some ISBE members question recently approved new graduation requirements. The Chicago Teachers Union has voted to reject a return to in-person learning, with city officials delaying the return date until Wednesday. Also in the news, one district could see a significant drop in revenue with the closure of a local power plant.
State school board member criticizes new graduation requirements
Peter Hancock, State Journal-Register, Capitol News Illinois, January 23
Chicago Teachers Union authorizes collective action to remain remote, but some students may return to school Feb. 1 as negotiations continue
Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas and Bill Ruthhart, Chicago Tribune, January 24
Chicago Teachers Union votes to refuse in-person work, defy Chicago Public Schools’ reopening plan
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, January 24
What Happens If A School Loses 75% Of Its Revenue?
Peter Medlin, Northern Pubic Radio, DeKalb, January 7
In today’s Leading News, a look at possible strike scenarios for Chicago Public Schools, as the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times answer a number of walkout related questions. Also in the news, see how one school turned Wednesday’s inauguration into a history lesson.
CTU delegates approve walkout, send vote to full union membership
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, January 20
As CTU prepares vote on refusing in-person teaching, CPS says union ‘wants to close schools that are already safely open’
Hannah Leone, Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas, and Alice Yin, Chicago Tribune, January 20
Would a Chicago teachers strike be legal? What you need to know about the fight over reopening CPS schools.
Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, January 22
Here’s where CPS, CTU stand on how, when to reopen schools
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, January 22
Watch now: Inauguration is day's lesson for these Decatur students
Valerie Wells, Herald and Review, Decatur, January 20
In today’s Leading News, Illinois public schools are in line to receive more than $2 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funding. Some districts have begun the vaccination process for teachers and staff. IHSA moves forward with a plan for winter sports. Teachers and students look back at their first week of a hybrid-learning schedule. Also in the news, the Lincoln Presidential Library is hosting an art contest for students.
Illinois public schools awarded $2.2 billion in COVID-19 relief funding: Search our list for your district
Karen Ann Cullotta and Jonathon Berlin, Chicago Tribune, January 19

Teachers, staff to get vaccines this week
Dave Clarke, The Star Courier, Kewanee, January 18

IHSA approves a plan for winter sports — except for basketball — to begin and allows contact days for fall, spring and summer sports
Daily Southtown/Chicago Tribune, January 19

Lincoln presidential library hosts art contest for Illinois students
Commercial-News, Danville, January 18

An 'energizing week' as teachers, students complete first week of hybrid learning
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, January 17
In today’s Leading News, hear what Chicago parents think of CPS schools reopening. Peoria high schools have a plan to start regularly testing students for COVID-19. Are snow days a thing of the past with the availability of remote learning? Quincy High School is looking ahead to a May graduation. Also in the News, a bill to allow an elected school board in Chicago failed to pass during the recent lame-duck session.
What Chicagoans say about CPS schools being reopened despite the pandemic
Satchel Price, Chicago Sun-Times, January 15

Peoria schools to do regular COVID-19 testing for high schoolers
Leslie Renken, Peoria Journal Star, January 10

Will remote learning end snow days forever in Central Illinois?
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, January 9

QHS graduation "already on the schedule"
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, January 14

Bill to give Chicago an elected school board fails again as backers cast blame on Mayor Lightfoot: ‘Why are Chicago politicians so afraid of democracy?’
Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, January 13
In Tuesday’s Leading News, families ask CPS to allow the reinstatement of teachers that were locked out of their virtual classrooms for not teaching from their physical classrooms. Urbana Middle School and Elgin SD U-46 share plans to have students back in classrooms this week, while the Galesburg District 205 board will consider a return to school plan tonight.
CPS teacher lockouts are disruptive for students, parents say
Sophie Sherry, Chicago Sun-Times, January 14

As new COVID-19 cases emerge in Chicago Public Schools, families plead for reinstatement of locked-out teachers
Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, January 14

Urbana Middle School puts together puzzle of in-person classes
Anthony Zilis, News Gazette, Champaign, January 15

U-46 leaders plan for return to classrooms Tuesday amid safety concerns
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 11

Galesburg District 205 deliberates over when to return to classroom
Matt Koester, Galesburg Register-Mail, January 11

In today’s Leading News, read more on the education bill now sent to the governor. A measure that would have prohibited police on campus caused a stir, but will not move forward. Also in the news, a national look at vaccines’ impacts on return to classrooms, and CARES Act funding for school districts is in process.
Black Legislative Caucus Education Bill Headed For Governor's Desk
Christine Hatfield, WGLT, Bloomington-Normal, January 11
Black Caucus unveils K-12 reform bill that would create task force to define, establish 'trauma-responsive schools'
Sarah Mansur, Champaign News-Gazette, January 10
Springfield will not prohibit school resource officers on campus
Lawmaker abandons measure a day after introduction
Tom Collins, LaSalle News-Tribune, January 14
Calls to reopen classrooms grow as teachers get vaccinated
Lindsay Whitehurst, Terry Tang, and Allen G. Breed, AP/Belleville News-Democrat, January 13
Local school districts to receive second round of CARES Act funding
WIFR, Rockford, January 8

In today’s Leading News, there is positive news on the state’s COVID positivity rate. Student teachers find frustrations in remote platforms. The IHSA hopes to address scheduling later this month. Time runs out on the timeout and seclusion bill. Also in the news, Illinois has a new Speaker of the House.

Illinois' statewide positivity rate drops for fifth straight day Wednesday
Tim Kirsininkas, CNI/The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale

Unmotivated Students, Confusing Requirements: Illinois Student Teachers Are Struggling
Sidney Madden, Illinois Newsroom, Urbana, January 5

IHSA sports remain on hold; Jan. 27 special meeting to address scheduling
Colin Likas, News-Gazette, Champaign, January 13

Time runs out for ban on locked seclusion and face-down restraints in Illinois schools; advocates vow to try again
Jennifer Smith Richards and Jodi S. Cohen, Chicago Tribune, January 13

Chris Welch Set To Become First Black House Speaker As Madigan Fades Out
Hannah Meisel, NPR Illinois, January 13
In today’s Leading News, CPS deals with coronavirus quarantine upon return, and addresses teachers not in classrooms. Decatur SD 61 delays its return. Elgin-based School District U-46 considers in-person learning next week. Also in the news, students and schools join the conversation surrounding last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol Building.

CPS teacher tests positive for COVID-19, forcing principal into quarantine during 1st week back
Jermaine Nolen and Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, January 12

CPS makes good on promise to cut off pay and access to remote learning platform for teachers who’ve refused to show up for in-person classes
Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas, Chicago Tribune, January 12

Decatur schools' return to in-person learning postponed over transportation issues
Decatur Herald and Review, January 14

U-46 leaders plan for return to classrooms Tuesday amid safety concerns
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 11

As teachers discuss Capitol riot with their classes, students want to know ‘why this happened’
Jennifer Johnson and George Castle, Pioneer Press/Park Ridge Herald Advocate, January 13
In today’s Leading News, the education component of the Illinois Black Caucus omnibus bill has passed the state House and Senate. School personnel may be included in the next wave of coronavirus vaccines. Also in the news, Chicago Public Schools re-opened its classrooms Monday, with Springfield SD 186 scheduled to do so Tuesday.

Black Caucus wins passage of education package, criminal justice reform still under discussion
Rachel Hinton, Chicago Sun-Times, January 11

Illinois to allow local health departments to start vaccinating those 65 and older, plus teachers and other essential workers
Robert Mccoppin and Dan Petrella, Chicago Tribune, January 11

Southern Illinois health departments prepare for next phase of COVID-19 vaccinations
Marilyn Halstead, Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, January 11

CPS schools welcome students back for the first time in 10 months, even as Chicago extends its stay-at-home advisory and the teachers union continues to resist
Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas, Gregory Pratt, Laura Rodríguez Presa, Madeline Buckley, William Lee, and Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, January 11

District 186 readies itself for return of students to classrooms
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, January 11

In today’s Leading News, in session over the weekend, the Illinois General Assembly discusses the Black Caucus’ education reform plan, which includes early childhood education equity, college admissions, diversity in hiring practices for teachers, funding, and curriculum. Also in the news, CPS students return to the classroom while objections and concerns continue.
Illinois Lawmakers Return To Address The Next House Speaker And Black Caucus Agenda
Tony Arnold, WBEZ, Chicago, January 8
Lame Duck Day 3: Licensing officers, education reform, medical emergency
Mike Miletich, WEEK, Peoria, January 10
General Assembly bill would increase diversity in Illinois teacher workforce
Peter Hancock, CNI/Belleville News-Democrat, January 10
First Round of Chicago Public Schools Students to Return Monday, Concerns Remain
NBC-5, Chicago, January 10
Mayor Lori Lightfoot: Chicago Public Schools must and will reopen on Monday to students because ‘to deny parents this option is irresponsible and wrong’
Elyssa Cherney and Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, January 8

In today’s Leading News, U.S. education secretary Betsy DeVos has resigned. As the Illinois coronavirus case count grows past one million, the state looks ahead to vaccine availability for educators. Jesse Ruiz of the governor’s office and IDPH, meet with IHSA officials. Also in the news, the legislature convenes in Springfield.
DeVos said President Donald Trump’s rhetoric’ was an “inflection point.”
AP/Chicago Sun-Times, January 7
Illinois coronavirus case count surges past 1 million as state reports 8,757 new and probable cases, 177 additional deaths
Jamie Munks, Journal Gazette and Times Courier, Charleston/Mattoon, January 8
COVID-19 Q&A: When might teachers get vaccines?
Alison Bowen, Christen A. Johnson and Darcel Rockett, Chicago Tribune, January 6
Illinois teachers could get vaccines within weeks, Pritzker says
Mitchell Armentrout, Chicago Sun-Times, January 7
IHSA meets with deputy governor, health department, but no timeline set for return of sports
Jim Benson, Pantagraph, Bloomington, January 8

Lame-duck session brings lawmakers back to Springfield
Zach Roth, State Journal-Register, Springfield, January 8

In today’s Leading News, coronavirus in Illinois: state officials hope to change mitigations next week. CPS teachers offer a proposal  under which they’d return. Teachers relate stories of the poverty they’ve witnessed during the shutdown of school facilities. Also in the news, Illinois elected officials and the education community respond to the January 6 events at the U.S. Capitol.

Some Illinois regions could have some mitigations loosened starting Jan. 15
Grace Barbic, CNI/ Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, January 6

Chicago Teachers Union proposes extended school year and optional reopening until teachers are vaccinated…
 Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, January 6

When teachers brought free lunch to kids amid COVID-19, they saw poverty up close
Samantha Hernandez, USA Today/Chicago Sun-Times, January 5

Illinois lawmakers condemn violence at US Capitol, two call it a ‘coup’ attempt
 Kelsey Landis, Belleville News-Democrat, January 6

Caring for Students in the Wake of a Traumatic News Event
Evie Blad, Education Week, January 6
In today’s Leading News, suburban school districts consider protocols for testing students for COVID-19. The Springfield SD 186 school board opts for hybrid learning. Many CPS students, teachers stay home on their scheduled first day in classrooms.
School districts to roll out COVID-19 saliva screenings
Lauren Rohr, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 6
University of Illinois’ COVID-19 saliva test moves closer to FDA approval but not fast enough to meet the demand ...
Elyssa Cherney, Chicago Tribune, January 5
District 186 school board, in 4-3 vote, opts to send students back under hybrid model
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, January 4
Chicago teachers defy district, refuse to teach inside schools amid safety concerns
Nader Issa, Cindy Hernandez, and Manny Ramos, Chicago Sun-Times, January 4
Half of CPS teachers expected to return to schools Monday failed to show up, as CEO calls out aldermen who oppose reopening plan ...
Hannah Leone, Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas, and Gregory Pratt, Chicago Tribune, January 5
In today’s Leading News, the state legislature sets the table for 2021. Also in the news, schools decide what mode of learning will begin when breaks end.
State lawmakers to face COVID-19, budget woes, redistricting, House speaker battle in 2021
Dean Olsen, State Journal-Register, December 31
Coronavirus Test Required For Lake Forest High School Students
Jonah Meadows, Lake Forest Patch, December 30
Dist. 229 school board pauses in-person learning over holiday break
Troy E. Taylor, Star Courier, Kewanee, December 28
District 203 backs decision to begin hybrid learning next month
Lauren Rohr, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, December 29
QPS "making it work" heading into second semester
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, December 26
In today’s Leading News, some CTU teachers intend to stay home and teach remotely when CPS buildings open in Chicago. The Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission meets to move forward with recovery. Early childhood education has a statewide focus. The new year brings changes to student data privacy laws. Also in the news, high school students participating in the Sangamon CEO program slide into the new year with development of a new ice rink.  
Defying CPS, some Chicago Teachers Union members won’t return to schools Monday,
say they will teach remotely ‘until buildings are safe’
Diana Wallace and Morgan Greene, Chicago Tribune, January 3
Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission looks ahead to 2021
Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, December 23
Solving the preschool puzzle: State commission will recommend funding and other changes
Rachel Otwell, Illinois Times, Springfield, January 1
School Data Privacy Act Will Give Parents More Control Over Their Kids' Information
Peter Medlin, Northern Pubic Radio, DeKalb, December 27
'It brings joy in a year that hasn't had much of it'
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, January 3

Leading News

IASB's News Clip Service

The links to articles posted here are selected daily from news sources across Illinois, and sometimes beyond, provided as a service to our membership. These links go directly to the original source (print, broadcast, or online media) of the article. The purpose of sharing these links is to give readers of this site a wider perspective on state and local issues impacting public education. IASB neither endorses nor verifies the content.