Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: March 11 – March 17, 2023

Student loan debt is reinforcing economic inequalities

By Constance Jones for The Sun-Times

“The financial freedom of our students, including future home ownership and the ability to invest in themselves and their communities, is hampered by an unsustainable amount of federal student loan debt. Cancel it all. We are familiar with many of the benefits of a college degree, and they stretch far beyond greater job opportunities. At Noble Schools, a network of 18 public charter high schools open to all Chicago residents, we view college as our intervention toward creating educational equity.”


Illinois students are required to learn Black history. But what’s being taught varies.

By Samantha Smylie for Chalkbeat

“Ashley Kannan, an eighth grade history teacher at Oak Park Elementary School in District 97, had long thought about piloting a Black studies course. He even created a lesson plan during the summer of 2020. Then, a conversation with a student convinced him to take the leap. The student liked his lectures, she told him, but thought the history class that Kannan normally teaches was boring.  That inspired Kannan to run with the course that fall. Students in his Black Studies course learn about topics such as the Black church, the Great Migration — when Black Americans migrated from the South to the North for jobs and other opportunities — and Black political figures such as Fannie Lou Hamer, a civil rights activist from Mississippi.”


Illinois school funding formula is closing funding gaps for students of color, says report 

By Samantha Smylie for Chalkbeat Chicago 

Six years after Illinois overhauled how the state funds K-12 public schools, a new report has found that the evidence-based funding formula is working as intended to reduce funding gaps.”  

Mayoral rivals keep their differences mostly issue-focused as they disagree over taxes, vouchers and charter schools at women’s forum

By Gregory Pratt and Alice Yin for The Chicago Tribune 

Mayoral candidates Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson differed on taxes, schools and the privatization of public resources during a robust forum Saturday largely dedicated to women’s issues.” 


Durbin announces $14 million in funding for mental health support at public schools 

By CBS Chicago 

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin has announced more than $14 million in federal funding for Chicago Public Schools students and the Illinois State Board of Education, saying more needs to be done to help kids suffering mental trauma.”