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It doesn't have to be this way

Chicago Sun-Times Education This Week
Education This Week is our weekly recap of the biggest news in education affecting the Chicago area, Illinois, the region and the nation. Today’s edition was written by Nader Issa, the Sun-Times’ education beat reporter. Follow him on Twitter here.

Hello readers,
We had planned for this newsletter to lay out some context on last week’s Chicago Teachers Union election.
I was going to tell you what it means for Stacy Davis Gates and Jackson Potter, the union’s new president and vice president, respectively. What type of coalition work they’d have to do to re-engage members who have fallen out of love with their leadership. And how they’d need to reconnect with rank-and-file teacher concerns while they undoubtedly continue their advocacy in other avenues.
But then Uvalde, Texas, happened. And I couldn’t bring myself to write about anything else. The sad, infuriating truth is we can call it an “unthinkable” or “unimaginable” tragedy but that’d be a lie. As I’m writing this Tuesday evening, we know at least 19 children and a teacher were killed by a gunman at Robb Elementary school.
I’m not going to have any original thoughts here because anything anyone could say right now has been said after the countless school shootings around the country over the years (there have been so many that it takes a while to scroll through the Wikipedia page dedicated to U.S. school shootings). Whatever we could say was certainly said after the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Conn. — which was 10 years ago this upcoming December — or after the Stoneman Douglas shooting in Parkland, Florida, or after…
No original thoughts, but my mind did jump to every classroom I’ve walked into as a reporter and as a student. The kids’ laughs, screams, cries, and the rollercoaster joy of education. I also thought of all the families I’ve spoken to who have been devastated by gun violence. And particularly the children, parents and educators in this story, who weren’t killed in one incident but were victims of gun violence nonetheless. I thought about the trauma that lingers for lifetimes, the empty desks, the quiet sadness. About the Uvalde parents looking for their kids at a reunification center Tuesday afternoon.
I thought about this Washington Post story that shows “more than 300,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine.” And that the disproportionate impact of school shootings falls on children of color.
My overarching thought was the same as every shooting and likely the same as most of you: It doesn’t have to be this way.
CPS board meets Wednesday
Now, returning to the schools beat in Chicago, today is Board of Education meeting day. I’ll be there, and our coverage will be on the Sun-Times education home page later this afternoon. We also have a ton of stories from the past week about the CTU election, school budgets, a massive data breach, a new Aramark contract for food services and so much more.
And before you go, I’d love for you to give some feedback to our friends at WBEZ, who are planning a back-to-school event for Chicago families later this summer. They’re asking you to fill out this VERY SHORT two-question survey to share your input on what type of event would be most useful to your family.
Until next week,
Nader Issa, Sun-Times education reporter
Got a question you’d like me to look into? Respond to this email or send an email to and your question may be answered in an upcoming newsletter.
Aramark to continue serving meals to CPS kids under new $88.5M food contract
CTU leadership wins reelection as Stacy Davis Gates becomes president
Massive CPS data breach exposes records of 560,000 students, employees
CPS restores $24M in funding as alderpersons grill officials over cuts
What I’ve been reading this week
Thanks for reading Education This Week. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.
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Nader Issa

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