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Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

Education Desk: Barickman Talks School Funding

Back in July, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced the formation of a 25-member commission, and gave them six months to rewrite the state’s school funding formula. State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) is one of 20 lawmakers on the bipartisan, bicameral commission. We asked him for an update on the commission's progress.
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Kirk and Duckworth arriving at the Illinois State Fair
Amanda Vinicky (Kirk); Brian Mackey (Duckworth) / NPR Illinois

Our two-part series looks at where Sen. Mark Kirk and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth are on a few key issues, and why the politics of 2016 mean those policy positions may not have much effect on the outcome.

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Education Desk

In a working-class city in southeast Michigan there's a barbershop where kids get a $2 discount for reading a book aloud to their barber.

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Health & Harvest Desk

When scientists want to know what our ancient ancestors ate, they can look at a few things: fossilized animal bones with marks from tools used to butcher and cut them; fossilized poop; and teeth. The first two can tell us a lot, but they're hard to come by in the fossil record. Thankfully, there are a lot of teeth to fill in the gaps.

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Arts & Life

Friday a 100th birthday bash is taking place for the Lincoln Square Theatre in Decatur. We hear about its storied past and plans for the future, in this spoooooky episode of The Scene. We also hear about a Halloween themed show at the Black Sheep venue in Springfield on Saturday, plus much more... Tune in!

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Netflix / courtesy

In this critical time it’s necessary to understand both the historical and present analysis of our oppression. It is connected to this country's long history of police brutality, as well as its flawed legal system and the evils of mass incarceration within. There is an overall framework of anti-blackness and white supremacy that has been imbedded in the US since the colonization of African people.

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Election 2016

Two weeks from Election Day, it looks more likely than ever that Democrats will win control of the Senate.

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

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Gary Brown via Flickr (gsbrown99)

Past Due: The Cases For And Against The Transportation Lockbox Amendment

Voters in the general election will be asked to weigh in on a proposed amendment to the state’s Constitution that would protect money set aside for transportation projects. The plan is sometimes referred to as the transportation funding lockbox amendment.
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Illinois Issues

hourglass with dollar signs instead of sand filtering through
flickr/ Bill Brooks

Illinois Issues: The Budget Impasse Backstory

Before he ran for governor, Bruce Rauner described a plan to use funding for social services as a “wedge” issue to persuade Democrats to support anti-union proposals. The fact that lawmakers did nothing to address the rollback of the temporary income tax increase, which was passed in 2011, set the stage for him to try out his strategy.
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The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Illinois Issues: Slave State

Because Illinois is a northern state and the former home of Abraham Lincoln, it isn’t typically associated with slavery. But there was slavery in Illinois for more than 100 years. Even after Illinois entered the Union, loopholes in its laws allowed the practice to continue, making the future Land of Lincoln a quasi-slave state.
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Kirk and Duckworth arriving at the Illinois State Fair
Amanda Vinicky (Kirk); Brian Mackey (Duckworth) / NPR Illinois

Our two-part series looks at where Sen. Mark Kirk and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth are on a few key issues, and why the politics of 2016 mean those policy positions may not have much effect on the outcome.

Illinois has created a network of emergency foster care homes.

Department of Children and Family Services Director George Sheldon says these homes are places youth in the state's care can be sent in lieu of emergency shelters.

Sheldon told a legislative panel Tuesday that there's currently capacity for 36 kids. His goal is to have room for 50.

"Frankly, this state had a series of emergency foster homes a decade or so ago," he said. "I don't know why that was abandoned. I think it's a much more appropriate facility."

screen shot

Politicians will not be ON the field as the Chicago Cubs compete in the World Series for the first time since 1945. But some have found another way to get in on the game.

The Chicago Cubs versus the Cleveland Indians is pitting Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner against Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Rauner stood outside Wrigley Field earlier this week (alongside Cubs owner Tom Ricketts) to say he'll send Kasich Chicago-style, deep dish pizza and a Chicago microbrew if Cleveland is victorious.

For the first time, an American has won the Man Booker Prize, Britain's most coveted literary award. Paul Beatty will take home the award and the purse, 50,000 pounds (about $61,000), for his novel The Sellout, a satire about race in the U.S. Amanda Foreman, chair of the judges, called the book "a novel for our times," and said Beatty "slays sacred cows with abandon and takes aim at racial and political taboos with verve and a snarl."

The New York Giants have released kicker Josh Brown over his admitted abuse of his then-wife, in a case that has previously raised questions about the NFL's willingness to punish players who commit acts of domestic violence.

"We believed we did the right thing at every juncture in our relationship with Josh," team President John Mara said in a statement. "Our beliefs, our judgments and our decisions were misguided. We accept that responsibility."

When you're facing a major life change, it helps to talk to someone who's already been through it. All Things Considered is connecting people on either side of a shared experience, and they're letting us eavesdrop on their conversations in our series Been There.

Liv Aannestad has known she wanted kids as long as she can remember.

For years, the United Nations has refused to publicly acknowledge that its troops were the source of a massive cholera outbreak in Haiti in the wake of the 2010 earthquake.

But now the U.N. is accepting "moral responsibility" for the outbreak that has sickened nearly 800,000 people and killed more than 9,000 others.

Along the border between the U.S. and Mexico, armed groups on patrol — mostly men — look for illegal immigrants and drug traffickers. They're not U.S. Border Patrol, but regular people who've decided to take matters into their own hands.

They call themselves militias. Groups such as these have been around for decades, but they exploded in number after Barack Obama was elected president. Today, there are 276 militia groups around the country, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

We keep hearing that this election is like no other, but when I watch old movies, I often hear echoes of what's going on in the campaign.

The guy who opines in A Face in the Crowd (1957), say, that in the then-new age of television, "instead of long-winded public debates, people want capsule slogans."

Two weeks from Election Day, it looks more likely than ever that Democrats will win control of the Senate.



20 Years Later, Humans Still No Match For Computers On The Chessboard

Next month, there's a world chess championship match in New York City, and the two competitors, the assembled grandmasters, the budding chess prodigies, the older chess fans — everyone paying attention — will know this indisputable fact: A computer could win the match hands down.They've known as much for almost 20 years — ever since May 11, 1997. On that day, IBM's Deep Blue defeated the great Garry Kasparov who, after an early blunder, resigned in defeat."I am ashamed by what I did at the...
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