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Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, (right) talks with Walter Jacobson Tuesday night at the Beverly Woods Banquet Hall. | Michael Schmidt/Sun-Times

Million buck pledge changes Lewis’ ‘calculus’ — but not timeline

(AP File Photo/Florida Times-Union, Bruce Lipsky)

Undermining kindergarten, one test at a time

It used to be that kindergarteners were considered too young for school-wide testing, but times have changed, and from September until June they participate in five sets of standardized tests. This is far too many tests, stressing out students, depriving them of precious time to grow and explore and consuming massive amounts of teacher time that could be better spent educating.

Tom Ryan, president of the Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 | Al Podgorski/Chicago Sun-Times

CPS hiring preference not the only thing irking firefighters

A controversial hiring preference for Chicago Public School graduates is not the only thing that has angered union leaders about the December firefighters entrance exam that will be the city’s firs

A packed room listens to Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, as she talks with journalist Walter Jacobson Tuesday night at the Beverly Woods Banquet Hall. File Photo. | Michael Schmidt/Sun-Times

Teachers could help Karen Lewis teach Rahm Emanuel a lesson

A Karen Lewis candidacy has something going for it that could help make up for an expected multi-million fund-raising deficit. In the teachers union and its 30,000 members, Lewis would begin a mayoral campaign with a built-in field organization of energized activists capable of reaching across racial lines into every corner of the city, where they already live and work. Before it’s all over, however, Lewis’ teachers union support could prove a two-edged sword in a campaign against Mayor Rahm Emanuel. 


Then-state Sen. Kirk Dillard leaves the Senate chambers at the state Capitol in Springfield in May. Dillard resigned earlier this month and was named chairman of the Regional Transportation Authority. He presided over his first RTA meeting on Wednesday. | Seth Perlman/AP

Tax revenue surge fuels increase in transit agency budgets

A boost in the six-county sales tax receipts is more than compensating for the operating hit January’s bitter cold caused the region’s transit agencies and should fuel fatter 2015 transit budgets, officials said Wednesday. Regional Transportation Authority officials said they expected regional sales tax revenues to grow 4 percent next year as they proposed doling out a 5.2 percent increase in 2015 operating funds to the CTA, Metra and Pace.

Chicago Teacher's Union President Karen Lewis. | Brian Jackson/Sun-Times

CTU president Lewis opens campaign fund for possible mayoral bid

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis inched closer to a formal bid to unseat Rahm Emanuel as mayor with the creation of a campaign committee with the State Board of Elections Wednesday morning.

Sen. Dick Durbin (second from left) is joined by other local officials at a news conference Wednesday calling for upgrades to tanker rail cars used to haul hazardous or flammable materials. | Sandra Guy/Sun-Times

Durbin wants tank cars upgraded to avoid repeat of Quebec tragedy

Sen. Dick Durbin met with local officials Wednesday to look for ways to make sure a tragedy that occurred last year in Quebec is not repeated here. 

Jackie Robinson West Little League manager Darold Butler lifts third baseman Cam Bufford onto his shoulder and carries him off the field after Bufford's grand slam gave the Chicago team a 10-7 lead en route to a 12-7 win over New Albany, Ind., in the Little League Central Regional baseball championship game in Lawrence, Ind., on Aug. 9, 2014. | Charlie Nye/Indianapolis Star via AP

Gov helps Jackie Robinson West team’s coach cover his bases

Sneed hears that Gov. Pat Quinn, who was awed by Little League coach Darold Butler volunteering his time to Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West team, called Butler’s boss to make sure his job was safe because he had to take time off from work.

Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, (right) talks with Walter Jacobson Tuesday night at the Beverly Woods Banquet Hall. | Michael Schmidt/Sun-Times

Million buck pledge changes Lewis’ ‘calculus’ — but not timeline

Karen Lewis said Tuesday that a $1 million pledge of support from the American Federation of Teachers “automatically changes the calculus” of a potential mayoral campaign. But apparently not enough to push the Chicago Teachers Union president any closer to deciding whether or not to actually run. “I want to run things on my time line,” Lewis told union members at Morgan Park’s Beverly Woods Banquet Hall. It was her third “conversation” with Chicagoans. And she’s got 74 more to go.

Rhea Bell, a parent, listens as speakers voice their opinions at a public hearing on changing the location of Horizon Science Academy-Clay Evans, a charter school that would open next month at 9130-40 S. Vincennes in Chatham. | Richard A. Chapman/Sun-Times

Parents urge CPS to OK new Chatham site for Concept school

Chantay Moore plans to send her 5-year-old to kindergarten at the school, Horizon Science Academy-Clay Evans. She burst into tears while addressing the hearing officer charged with hosting the meeting to discuss the charter school operator’s proposed new location at 9130 S. Vincennes. “We do not have any other options in our neighborhood,” she said. Her daughter, Aniya, told the hearing officer, “I will be happy.”

Jennifer Hodge, principal of Our Lady of Victory school, greets children who entered the school on their very first day of school. Our Lady of Victory was one of three Catholic schools that escaped the budget ax last spring. | Al Podgorski / Sun-Times Media

Northwest Side’s Our Lady of Victory lives up to its name

Tuesday marked the first day of school at Our Lady of Victory in Portage Park, the annual ritual taking on added significance this year. Not a tear was observed to fall from a child’s eye, but I can’t vouch for some of the parents who hurried away. Mostly there were smiles all around, which wasn’t the case just eight months ago when this Catholic elementary school was slated for closing by the Archdiocese of Chicago because of shaky finances


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