What Teachers Know

Chicago’s public school instructors have one of the toughest—and most rewarding—jobs in the city. Here’s what they talk about when parents and principals aren’t listening.
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Chicago magazine

Friends and Fans of Studs Terkel on Their Favorite Interviews from His New Archive

A recurring observation about Studs Terkel is that he never conducted a boring interview. In the 45 years he spent as a broadcaster with WFMT, Terkel recorded more than 5,600 programs where conducted nearly hour-long, nuanced interviews with everyone from James Baldwin to teenage students at the former Metro High School in Old Town. With help from the Library of Congress, the miles of tape have been gradually undergoing a digitization process in order to preserve them and make them accessible to
Chicago magazine

Are Changing Ward Lines a Source of Chicago’s Violence?

The political impact of redrawing voter lines is getting fresh scrutiny thanks to a handful of recent court cases and an upcoming midterm election. A skewed election is the biggest concern that crops up in the wake of redistricting, but University of Chicago sociologist Robert Vargas is looking at another possible outcome: Violence. His results are only preliminary, so it’s too soon to draw firm conclusions, but Vargas says the data thus far shows a correlation between violence and areas with v
Teen Vogue

Experts Say the Trump Administration's Push for Death Penalties for Drug Dealers Is Misguided

In an effort the stem the tide of deaths from the U.S.’s opioid epidemic, the Trump administration is pursuing a policy that could lead to more people dying. Days after President Donald Trump controversially called for the execution of some drug dealers in cases of fatal opioid overdoses, as the BBC reported , attorney general Jeff Sessions formalized the proposal. On Wednesday, March 21, Sessions sent a memo to federal prosecutors outlining how they could pursue the death penalty for certain dr

The Scholar Helping America Grapple with Its Ugly History

Shock has emerged as the signature emotional response to the organized confusion of the Trump era. The president is at war with the same agents of federal law enforcement investigating his old campaign. Just months after an alt-right rally in Charlottesville ended in death, emboldened white supremacists are littering college campuses with propaganda. And an immigration system that was already broken has been thrown into even more chaos by a White House bent on vindictive, nativist policies. All
Chicago magazine

With ‘Making Obama,’ WBEZ Charts His Long Path to the White House

“A story like mine could have happened in another city, but my story could have only happened here,” former President Barack Obama says in an excerpt of the new six-part documentary podcast, “Making Obama,” which WBEZ debuts today. The two decades of Obama’s life between his mid-‘80s arrival in Chicago to his star-making keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention are considered by insiders—and Obama himself—to be his most politically and ideologically formative. That period is t
Chicago magazine

Here’s How an Inexperienced Campaign Aide From Illinois Could Impact the Mueller Investigation

After a weekend of anticipation (or dread, depending on your perspective), special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s influence in the U.S. election started Monday with a bang: the indictment of three former Donald Trump campaign officials. The least recognizable name of the trio—which includes former Trump campaign chair, Paul Manafort, and his longtime associate, Rick Gates—is George Papadopoulos, a 30-year-old suburban Chicago native who served as a foreign policy adviser in Trump’
Chicago magazine

Metra Is Trying Something New to Curb Its Suicide Problem

Early in his career in the 1980s, Paul Piekarski faced the moment every train operator dreads. “I remember it vividly,” says Piekarski, who was working the Union Pacific freight line. “It was a cold January morning. A retired dentist in Broadview. He’s standing alongside the viaduct column, and I think, What’s he doing there? He gets closer, like he’s gonna board the train. And he laid on the tracks.” Piekarski urgently blew his whistle, rang the bell, and hoped the next second would end in a cl
The Atlantic

It's Almost Impossible for Inmates to Get a Divorce

CHICAGO—Testifying one recent Wednesday morning that her marriage was irretrievably broken, a young woman told the Cook County court she was waiving her option to collect spousal support or divide any shared assets with her husband; all she wanted was to be free of him. When the woman’s legal representative asked if she’d tried to work out their differences, she paused. “Well, he had an alcohol problem and had been abusive,” she testified. “You can’t really work that out.” Beyond the age of mass

Deaf Music Fans Are Finally Starting To Be Heard

You can only get so close to an industrial speaker the size of a golf cart before it hijacks your body. A force field of bass vibrates around each limb, and it feels like sound is filling your insides from navel to nape. For most people, this proximity is painfully loud. But Lisa Cryer loves it. My ears are already throbbing when I find her posted up in front of a massive speaker arranged for Zara Larsson’s Swedish electro-pop performance at the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago. Cryer has
WGN Radio - 720 AM

The Download Presents The Week That Was: “Trump and Trubisky, and Nukes, oh my!”

The Download Presents The Week That Was: “Trump and Trubisky, and Nukes, oh my!” Journalist Kim Bellware and Chicago Tribune investigative reporter Jeff Coen join Justin to recap all of the stories making news this week including the ongoing conflict between the United States and North Korea, the FBI raiding Paul Manafort’s home, President Trump considering military response to the political crisis in Venezuela, the continuing battle over school funding in Springfield, a judge throwing out a DJ

The Bernie Sanders Movement Sees Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was slated to be named the party nominee at the Democratic National Convention the following month. Many supporters indulged a fantasy of Sanders winning over superdelegates at the last minute to tip the scales in his favor, while others who resigned themselves to Clinton’s victory were simply ecstatic that a candidate running on a platform of democratic socialism came this far. The result was especially frustrating for the progressive partisans sometim

Donald Trump Is Taking His Clown Show To Europe - So That Happened

So, that happened. This week, President Donald Trump had another one of those weeks where Donald Trump is president. By which I mean, total omnidirectional omnishambles. Building off the controversy of last week's controversial firing of James Comey, Trump revealed highly classified intelligence from a source in Syria to two high-ranking Russian officials, touching off yet another self-immolation. He's ended the week with more trouble from Comey, more indefensible deceptions, fewer allies willin

With A Retail Partner, Anti-Death Penalty Movement Can Smell Success

Lush, the activist-minded cosmetics company, was kicking off an anti-capital punishment campaign at its Michigan Avenue store, complete with speakers, including a death row exonoree, and a mini-documentary about wrongful convictions. Lush launched a special edition of its signature product, the bath bomb, to raised funds for the campaign, and it has drawn the notice of Teen Vogue, the beauty and lifestyle site Refinery29 and others. At a store where customers typically come to sample beauty pro

Doctors Weren't Listening To Somali Immigrants' Autism Concerns. Then Anti-Vaxxers Did.

The Minnesota Department of Public Health now provides a daily update of the increasing totals. As of May 10, there were 51 measles cases confirmed across three counties, with the majority clustered in Hennepin County. All but five of the cases are Somali Minnesotans, and nearly all of them are children. Somali Minnesotan vaccination rates remained among the highest of any group for the next two decades. Inexplicably, around 2008, Somali parents began to notice a cluster of autism cases in thei

Chicago Was On The Verge Of Police Reform. Then Trump Picked Sessions To Run The DOJ.

In an interview with a conservative radio host this month, Sessions seemed to suggest that Justice Department investigations and consent decrees were resulting in “big crime increases.” In an op-ed for USA Today last week, Sessions wrote that consent decrees could amount to “harmful federal intrusion” that could “cost more lives by handcuffing the police instead of the criminals.” There’s too much focus on “a small number of police who are bad actors,” Sessions wrote, and “too many people believ