Category Archives: Those Who Can, Do

Those Who Can, Do
These are personal stories of people doing what it takes to make education work. They’re about why some people take big risks to try to make schools better — and why sometimes they have to walk away. “Those Who Can, Do” aired as part of Chicago Public Radio’s “Chicago Matters: Valuing Education” series – which won several awards, including a Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. Versions of these stories also aired on Radio Netherland Worldwide’s “The State We’re In.” “Those Who Can, Do” was edited by the multi-talented Jonathan Mitchell.

Paint the Walls Hot Pink

Parent and Lakeview resident Jacqueline Edelberg had a problem. She loved living in her urban neighborhood, but she had a young daughter about to reach school-age. Most moms in her shoes, convinced all city public schools were awful, chose at this point either to move to the suburbs, or resign themselves to a life of long, stressful car drives to distant private or magnet schools. Jacqueline tells the story of how she fought against this fate by working to transform the public school down the street into a school the neighborhood would notice – and how she became what felt like a freak in the process.

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Fall of the Cool Teacher

7th grade teacher Steve Hartley tell his story of struggling to be the kind of teacher they make movies about. He encountered all sorts of barriers that got in the way – access to resources, disinterested students, a Kafka-esque school system, and – most of all – his own ego.

Starving for Education


Math teacher Patricia Buenrostro was born and raised in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood. But her father, worried about the growing problems of the transitioning area, moved her Mexican-American family out to a largely white, middle-class suburb. As an adult, to her family’s surprise and confusion, she returned to live and teach, wanting the help troubled kids. After getting more and more involved with the fight for a better high school, she found herself on the center stage of a hunger strike – and finally in a place where she felt she truly belonged.