RSVP for Unchartered Territory, episode five of the The School Project

What's the future of Charter Schools in Chicago? The School Project, a collaboratively-made transmedia documentary series about public education, will explore this question in its fifth episode. UnChartered Territory, at the Chicago Cultural Center at 2pm on April 25th. RSVP to attend this free event.

This 10-minute film examines issues such as the growing trend toward privatization of public schools, the idea of ‘choice’ and how it affects the system, and the role of innovation in charter schools. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with community leaders, educators, and education experts. The segment will launch simultaneously on the interactive website

Discussion moderated by Chicago Tonight's Elizabeth Brackett includes: CPS Board Member Dr. Carlos Azcoitia, who has voted repeatedly against charter school expansions; Nia Abdullah, Principal of Bowen High School, which is confronting charter expansions in its neighborhood; Michael Milkie, CEO and Superintendent of the Noble Network of Charter Schools; Stacy Davis Gates, Legislative Coordinator for the Chicago Teachers Union; and Sarah Karp, Deputy Editor, Catalyst Chicago.

Follow a live discussion held at the Chicago Cultural Center through the hashtags #TheSchoolProject and #CharterSchools.

The School Project series examines the interrelated issues that are affecting Chicago Public Schools right now and helps to define terms and dispel misinformation about the context of public education. This is the first series to gather so many voices of the major public figures of education in Chicago: Terry Mazany, Karen Lewis, Mike Koldyke, Andrea Zopp, Linda Lutton, Elaine Allensworth, Linda Lenz, David Vitale, Jitu Brown, and Diane Ravitch, along with many parents, teachers and students whose voices are seldom heard. Future segments will look at the expansion of charter schools and the history of reforms and educational models, while the first three were about education reform in Chicago in the 1980s, the Chicago School Closings of 2013, and the consequences of harsh disciplinary measures. The series examines the roots of these issues and how each policy impacts the wider school community in Chicago and its implications on a national level. The first three segments premiered to sold-out crowds in October of 2014, January of 2015, and March 2015. This is the fourth in a series of six live, free public events, premiering new installments of The School Project over the 2014-2015 school year.

The School Project co-production partners include Free Spirit Media, Kartemquin Films, Kindling Group, Media Process Group, Siskel/Jacobs Productions, and producers Rachel Dickson and Melissa Sterne. Outreach partners include WTTW/Channel 11, the Chicago Sun-Times, Catalyst Chicago, the Chicago History Museum,, CANTV, StoryCorps, and Community Media Workshop.

The interactive website,, allows visitors to watch the documentary and see how it maps to the Chicago Public Schools system. Users can explore news media and content related to individual schools, data trends and demographics, and share their stories and opinions about public school education.