The Policy Shop

A weekly podcast tackling Illinois' most important issues.

The Policy Shop: The crisis facing Chicago Public Schools

This edition of The Policy Shop is brought to you by Policy Analyst Hannah Schmid. Chicago Public Schools math and reading scores are some of the worst in the country. But there’s a little-known subset of schools that are suffering more than others. Empty, failing, forgotten. It’s hard to believe, but Chicago Public Schools is home...

The Policy Shop: How bad is Illinois’ pension problem?

This edition of The Policy Shop is brought to you by Director of Fiscal and Economic Research Bryce Hill. Three years ago, Illinois state lawmakers wrote to Washington, D.C., asking for a favor. Nothing major. Just $40 billion. A cool $10 billion to bail out state and local public pensions, plus extra to prop up...

The Policy Shop: The crime plan Chicago needs

This edition of The Policy Shop comes to you from Paul Vallas, policy adviser for the Illinois Policy Institute. Chicago can’t afford to wait before working to reduce crime – the city needs a plan. Unfortunately, no concrete details have emerged on how the new administration plans to address public safety, the No. 1 issue...

The Policy Shop: The mismatch between Illinois voter demands and lawmaker behavior

This edition of The Policy Shop comes to you from Executive Vice President Amy Korte. It’s been several months since headlines featured troubling stories about bank failures at the likes of SVB. It spooked a lot of us, because big shocks raise the odds of a recession. The most recent data’s indication of easing inflation...

The Policy Shop: What are Mayor Brandon Johnson’s political allies thinking?

This edition of The Policy Shop is written by policy analyst Justin Carlson. “First We Get The Money” sounds like the title of a pretty dope, 1990s rap album. It’s not. It’s the name given to what’s intended to be a serious academic paper detailing the various means the city of Chicago can deploy (taxes, taxes,...

The Policy Shop: Chicago Public Schools’ graduation inflation

This edition of The Policy Shop comes from policy analyst Hannah Max. The New York Times shocked many readers when it reported last week that student test scores in our public schools aren’t great. To some of us, this was unsurprising. Still, it’s bad. “The math and reading performance of 13-year-olds in the United States has...

The Policy Shop: The past, present and future of worker freedom

This edition of The Policy Shop is by Mailee Smith, staff attorney and senior director of labor policy. On this fifth anniversary of U.S. Supreme Court justices issuing their ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, we’re witnessing a radical transformation in the labor movement and of government unions across America. The Supreme Court’s ruling. In their decision, justices acknowledged...

The Policy Shop: The Chicago Teachers Union’s Fringe Ideology, Explained

This edition of The Policy Shop is by Mailee Smith, staff attorney and director of labor policy. People who go to the Illinois Statehouse almost always want something. One way to tell what they want is by looking at the legislation they support or oppose. That’s one way we’ve learned so much about just how...