Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: January 29 – February 4, 2022

Noble Schools CEO Recognized for Leadership and Commitment to Equity

By the Noble Schools

“An outstanding woman in business in Chicago and a leader committed to achieving educational equity in the city. These are the ways Noble Schools’ CEO, Constance Jones, was recognized by the Chicago Bulls and Fortune Magazine in the last few months. Jones was not only featured in Fortune and Entreprenuer Magazine for her leadership at Noble Schools, but she was also honored as an MLK Legacy Honoree by the Chicago Bulls – an award given to those in the city who “embody the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and demonstrate innovative strategies to address persistent challenges to achieving social justice and equity.”


Butler’s Camille Jackson makes history after signing with Illinois

By Mike Clark for The Chicago Sun Times

“Butler’s Camille Jackson has always wanted to be a game-changer. That’s what she is now for the Noble Schools and what she hopes to be for Illinois women’s basketball. Jackson, a senior point guard, signed with the Illini in November. She is looking to help revive a program that hasn’t had a winning season since 2012-13 and hasn’t reached the NCAA Tournament since 2002-03. She is the first athlete in the 23-year history of the Noble Schools network — which currently has more than 12,000 students across 17 charter high schools — to be a Power Five recruit in any sport. “Not only are we a 2A school, but we are an unknown 2A school,” Jackson said. “And then charter schools, Noble in specific, aren’t really known across Chicago. So I think that as far as underdogs, we’re the bottom of the bottom right now.” “I told the girls the last four years as we were trying to grow this, people would not know us,” Walton said. “But in three to four years they would.”


Noble Schools’ Girls of the Gridiron: Pritzker’s Young Women Hit the Football Field

By The Noble Schools

“I feel like in this team, they just accept you. It doesn’t matter what gender you are; they don’t treat you any differently. It’s like we’re all just one team.” Brianna Mendez is one of two female players on the Pritzker College Prep football team. This fall was her first season, where she mainly played as an offensive guard. Her fellow teammate, Jenille Morales, also played as a guard. Jenille first joined the team three years ago, trailblazing the way for Brianna and any other girl who might want to play on the Pritzker team. In the 2018-19 school year, only about 0.2% of high school football players in the U.S. identified as female. (Statista, marketing and consumer research company) At Noble Schools this year, there were a total of four female players on football squads – Brianna and Jenille at Pritzker and Shannasia Cleaves and Le’Andria Hill at Johnson College Prep. This year was also the start of the girls’ flag football teams at Gary Comer College Prep, Mansueto High School, and Chicago Bulls College Prep. Both the Bulls Prep and Comer teams made it to the quarterfinals in this year’s playoffs.”


New report details factors in CPS enrollment drop

By Manny Ramos for The Chicago Sun-Times

“The number of children enrolling in Chicago Public Schools has fallen precipitously over the past 20 years, and a new report examines three key drivers it says have contributed to the well-documented decline. In 2000, more than 430,000 students were enrolled in a CPS school; that’s 100,000 more than the 330,000 students enrolled this school year. The loss of students could have significant funding consequences if the decline continues. The report, produced by Kids First Chicago, contends public schools’ dropping enrollment has been driven by the declining number of births, along with slowing growth of Latino families and a steady out-migration of Black families from Chicago.”


Pritzker proposes 5.4% increase to education funding in 2023 budget

By Samantha Smylie and Cassie Walker Burke for Chalkbeat Chicago

“In the first reveal of his election year budget proposal Wednesday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker outlined a modest increase to the state school funding formula and more money for bus service, special education, college scholarships for low-income students, and the state’s youngest learners. Pritzker laid out plans on Wednesday for a smaller 2023 state operating budget of $45.4 billion compared to the previous year’s. But it includes more investments in education as schools continue to confront the academic and emotional impact of the pandemic on children. This is the first year since the start of the pandemic that the governor has proposed an increase in education spending during his State of the State and Budget Address.”