The Economic Ripple of Learning Loss and its Impact on Chicago's Future - City Club of Chicago
The Economic Ripple of Learning Loss and its Impact on Chicago's Future

The Economic Ripple of Learning Loss and its Impact on Chicago's Future

Moderated by Lorraine Forte (Chicago Sun Times)
Panelists: Jens Ludwig (University of Chicago's Crime and Education Labs), Pedro Martinez (Chicago Public Schools), Laura Thonn (PricewaterhouseCoopers)

Tuesday, Feb 20, 2024
Doors Open at 11:30 am / Event Begins at 12:00 pm


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111 W. Grand Avenue
ChicagoIL 60654

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The once-a-century public health crisis of the pandemic has also created a once-a-century crisis for public education. In Chicago, math proficiency for 8th graders dropped by 40%, with the largest declines in test scores for Black and Latino students and those from low-income households. These short-term declines in test scores will – if unremediated – harm the long-term life outcomes of a whole generation of children and threaten Chicago's long-term prosperity because education is the most important determinant of economic growth in the 21st century. The good news is that if we act with urgency, there is something we can do about it. Join Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez, University of Chicago's Dr. Jens Ludwig and PricewaterCooper's Laura Thonn to discuss what can be done to ensure Chicago students thrive. Moderated by Chicago Sun Times Editorial Page Editor Lorraine Forte. 


Jens Ludwig

Jens Ludwig is the Edwin A. & Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, the Pritzker Director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab, and co-director of the University of Chicago Education Lab. The work of these research centers has helped inform policy decisions by the city of Chicago about how to deploy social programs to help control gun violence in the city, and how the public schools might respond to pandemic-related learning loss. Crime Lab projects have also helped inform New York City’s efforts to close the Rikers Island jail without compromising public safety, New Jersey’s landmark criminal justice reforms, and the Illinois Attorney General’s consent decree with the Chicago Police Department, and have been featured in national news outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, NPR, and PBS News Hour. He served on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Neurobiological and Socio-behavioral Science of Adolescent Development and Its Applications, and is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academies of Science.

Pedro Martinez

Pedro Martinez is CEO of Chicago Public Schools. With more than 30 years of experience in the private, nonprofit, and public education sectors, Pedro Martinez is a data-driven, results-oriented leader with a strong record of improving student outcomes in school districts around the country.

Mr. Martinez began his tenure as CEO of Chicago Public Schools in late 2021 — his third position leading a major urban school district, and his second time in a leadership role at CPS. As a nationally recognized leader with in-depth knowledge of academic reform strategies, CEO Martinez has achieved success by focusing on academic excellence, talent recruitment, culture shift, stakeholder engagement, and strong fiscal management. Read more about CEO Martinez’s vision for the district in CPS’ Three-Year Blueprint, which details the steps CPS is taking to help students recover from the pandemic and reimagine a better, more equitable District for Chicago’s children.

Born in Aguascalientes, Mexico, Mr. Martinez came to Chicago with his family at the age of five in search of a better life. His CPS journey began as a student on Chicago’s west side, and he credits the education he received in the District’s schools with changing the trajectory of his life and inspiring him to dedicate his career to education.

Mr. Martinez earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Illinois. And his M.B.A. from DePaul University. He is also a graduate of the Broad Superintendent Academy and completed a Superintendent Certification Program at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He holds both a Texas Superintendent Certificate and a Professional Education License in Illinois with a Superintendent Endorsement.

Laura Thonn

Laura is the Chicago Office Managing Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) and has 27 years of experience serving clients primarily as a Trust Solutions partner in the consumer markets and industrial products industries. She has spent her entire career based in Chicago, while working with large global teams and clients. Laura is passionate about serving others and has a hands-on, collaborative style that values balanced and transparent communications.

Laura has extensive experience leading global audit relationships and advising her clients on acquisitions, divestitures and complex transactions. She has held various leadership roles across our consumer markets sector, DE&I strategy implementation, and serving as a senior relationship partner across a variety of our Chicago based clients. Laura is a recognized leader with our people and is passionate about being of service to others.

Lorraine Forte

Lorraine Forte was named Editorial Page Editor at the Chicago Sun-Times in 2021, after rejoining the paper in 2018 as an editorial writer. She has also worked as an editor for two nonprofit media outlets, the Chicago Reporter and Catalyst Chicago, which focused on education policy and reform; taught journalism at Columbia College; worked as a newswriter/producer in TV news; and was a reporter for the Sun-Times and the former Daily Southtown, a suburban newspaper. Lorraine received a master's degree from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism and a bachelor's degree in English from Ohio State University. 

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