Maureen Foertsch McKinney

Managing Editor/ Code Switch Illinois Blog

Read Maureen's "Code Switch Illinois" blog.

Maureen Foertsch McKinney is a lead editor of Illinois Issues' feature articles, working with freelance writers. She is editor of the magazine's Briefly section. And she is responsible for working with the art director to conceptualize the art and photography used in the magazine. Maureen joined the staff in 1998 as projects editor. Previously, she worked at three Illinois daily newspapers, most recently the suburban Chicago-based Daily Herald, where she served stints as an education reporter and copy editor. She also has taught newswriting at Eastern Illinois University, where she graduated in 1985 with a bachelor's in journalism. She also has a master's degree in English from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Illinois Issues - Noteworthy
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Murders Of Young Black Males Are Less Likely To Be Solved, Report Says

Isaiah Milton holds a candle during a memorial for his 19-year-old cousin who was shot in Chicago last year.
Credit Alex Wroblewski

When young black males in poor inner-city areas are murdered, their cases are less likely to be resolved, particularly if a gun is involved.

That’s the finding of Alonzo DeCarlo, division chair of social and behavioral sciences at the Springfield campus of Benedictine University. His findings, after a look into 10 years of Uniform Crime Reporting data kept by the FBI, were published in January by the journal Contemporary Social Science.

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Illinois Issues - Noteworthy
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Poverty Rate Doesn’t Budge Despite Recession’s End

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population universe used to calculate poverty is smaller than the total population of the state because certain groups of people, like unrelated children under age 15, are excluded.
Credit Social IMPACT Research Center / Heartland Alliance

The poverty rate in Illinois has held steady in recent years despite the fact that the nation has emerged from the Great Recession.

That’s according to a report issued recently by the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance’s Social IMPACT Research Center. The group reported that the 14.7 percent poverty rate in Illinois for 2013, which is the most recent data available for the analysis, has been unchanged since 2012. The 2011 poverty rate was slightly higher at 15 percent.

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Illinois Issues - Noteworthy
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Study Offers A Possible Answer To Why Women Are Underrepresented In Some Corners Of Academia

Women are underrepresented in some academic fields because of stereotypes that make it seem that they are not as brilliant as men, according to a recent study produced by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Princeton University.

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Illinois Issues - Noteworthy
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Book Outlines Illinois Corruption In One Volume

Author Thomas Gradel says when he first thought about the project that would become the book Corrupt Illinois: Patronage, Cronyism, and Criminality, he envisioned it as an encyclopedia of corruption. But his collaborator Dick Simpson couldn’t picture that approach.

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Illinois Issues - Noteworthy
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Lawmakers Aim To Prohibit Sexual Orientation Conversion Therapy For Minors

Rep. Kelly Cassidy

Lawmakers in Springfield are renewing efforts to pass legislation that would ban the practice of sexual orientation conversion therapy for minors.

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Code Switch Illinois
4:01 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Income Levels Influence Success In Avoiding Pregnancy, Report Says

Credit The Brookings Institute

A report released today found that women who are the poorest are five times more likely to have an unplanned pregnancy as opposed to wealthy women.

The Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institute prepared a report that compared sexual activity, contraception use and abortion rates among women representing different economic levels. Women who were the poorest had the greatest number of unintended pregnancies, while abortion rates were highest for the most affluent, according to researchers.

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Illinois Issues - Code Switch
12:21 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Young black male victims are less likely to get justice

A boy in Chicago mourns for his slain cousin
Credit Alex Wroblewki

One of the major sources for our November Illinois Issues story on young black males is the author of a recently released study that points to a way things are tougher for that demographic group in poor inner-city environments. 

As victims of crime, they are less likely to get their murder cases resolved, particularly if a gun is involved. 

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Code Switch
11:37 am
Fri February 6, 2015

Illinois' female students in science, math classes fall behind nation

Illinois girls lag behind other states in the number that enroll in science, technology, engineering and math classes, according to a recent University of Illinois report commissioned by the Illinois State Board of Education.

In STEM courses, Illinois females represent 15 percent of the enrollments as opposed to 31 percent nationwide.

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Illinois Issues – Code Switch
12:00 am
Sun February 1, 2015

Question & Answer: Michael Schlosser - The Intersection Of Policing And Race

Michael Schlosser

Schlosser, a retired Rantoul police lieutenant with 20 years of experience, has been director of the University of Illinois’ Police Training Institute since 2012. Among other degrees, he holds a doctorate in education from the U of I, and his studies have focused on what he calls the intersection of policing and race. This an edited, condensed version of his conversation with Managing Editor Maureen Foertsch McKinney.

Q. As an academic, I believe your research focused on the intersection of race and policing.

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Illinois Issues - Code Switch
12:00 am
Sun February 1, 2015

Declining Fortunes - Middle Class Faced Threats Prior to Great Recession

Gloria Davis, a meatpacker from Chicago, tell a state Senate committee that she is homeless because of working a minimum-wage job.
Credit Senate Democratic Caucus

America’s middle class faced threats to its financial well-being even prior to the Great Recession.

When Jorge Chapa was a student at the University of Chicago, he had a lab job collecting brain samples from a meatpacking plant. That’s how, in 1974, he became familiar with the industry and its bloody and backbreaking disassembly line. He revisited meatpacking 30 years later, as a sociologist. This time he analyzed it for a study showing how the once high-paying job had slid from providing a middle-class living into one paying minimum wage.

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Illinois Issues - Code Switch
12:00 am
Sun February 1, 2015

A Personal Story - I’ve Come To Re-Evaluate What It MeansTo Be Raped

This personal account is a sidebar to the feature story Rape laws by Kristy Kennedy

Three different men sexually assaulted me when I was a sophomore in college. That was 30 years ago or so. In that time, I’ve come to re-evaluate what it means to be to be raped. And I’ve kept in mind what I can do to help protect my daughter, who at 22 is a little older than I was in the early 1980s when I was assaulted while a student at Eastern Illinois University.

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Illinois Issues - Code Switch
1:08 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Post-Recession Illinois Poverty Rates Didn't Decline

 The poverty rate in Illinois has held steady in recent years despite the nation’s post-Great Recession status.

That’s according to a report issued this week by the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance’s Social IMPACT Research Center. The group reported that the 14.7 percent poverty rate in Illinois for the 2013 (the most recent data available for the analysis) has been unchanged since 2012. The 2011 poverty rate was slightly higher than that at 15 percent.

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Illinois Issues - Code Switch
2:22 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Congressional ethnic, racial diversity at a record high

Credit Pew Research Center

The newly seated 114th Congress is the most ethically diverse in the nation’s history, but the numbers are still far from proportionate to the country’s population. The information comes from an analysis from the Pew Research Center that was released yesterday.

Non-whites account for 17 percent of the Congress seated earlier this month — but that trails far behind the share of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States, which accounts for 38 percent of the total population.

When looking specifically at new members, they account for 15 percent of Congress. 

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Illinois Issues - Code Switch
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Introducing The 'Code Switch Illinois' Blog

Credit mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Editor's note:
January marks a new phase in our journalism.  Due to the merger between WUIS and Illinois Issues, we now have a number of journalists that enable reporting on a beat model.  A beat allows a reporter to learn events and people more thoroughly than general assignment reporting.  Each reporter is focusing on key issues in the state.  We're calling it the "Illinois Issues Initiative." 

CODE SWITCH ILLINOIS
Maureen Foertsch McKinney

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Illinois Issues - Code Switch Illinois
12:25 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

After Ferguson -- A Look At Obstacles Facing Young Black Males

"Isaiah Milton, 10, at a memorial for his 19-year-old cousin Jeremiah Shaw, who was shot to death in the Back of the Yards neighborhood in Chicago."
Credit Photograph by Alex Wroblewski

The shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri has brought to national attention the obstacles that many young black males face - including racial profiling and a world where media portrayals of their peers are often less-than-flattering. Maureen McKinney took a look at the topic in Illinois. She joined Rachel Otwell for this interview: 

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Illinois Issues
1:13 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Big Predators In Illinois Inspire New Law

Nov. 21 photo of male mountain lion, euthanized by IDNR
Credit Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources (IDNR)

A little over a decade ago, cougars and wolves started showing up in Illinois for the first time since the late 1800s. In August, Governor Pat Quinn signed a measure that aims to protect and manage the animals. Maureen McKinney reported on the topic for Illinois Issues magazine. She spoke with us about it for this interview:

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Illinois Issues - Code Switch Illinois
12:00 am
Mon September 1, 2014

Just a Dollar: Not Since 2009 has the State Allocated Funds for Homeless Education -Well, There's $1

Marilyn Escoe and her children — Kayla, Kyla and Kyle Escoe and Kaleyah Wesley — were homeless until November.
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

For Kaleyah Wesley, thoughts of her family’s life in a Chicago homeless shelter made it difficult to focus on school, particularly in math, the subject she found hardest.

The then-sixth-grader woke at 5 a.m. on weekdays to take a pair of trains from the north side Rogers Park shelter to her school in the North Lawndale neighborhood, which is on the west side. She says she had a negative attitude that rubbed off on her three younger siblings.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Q&A: Don Fullerton

Don Fullerton
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

 Don Fullerton, a finance professor at the University of Illinois and a former deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department, served as co-author of a chapter of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's fifth assessment report, which was released this spring.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Editor's Note: Authors Contemplate How to Fix the Funk in Illinois

Maureen Foertsch McKinney
Credit mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

 Illinois is in a funk. It’s clear.

Last month, a Gallup survey found by a wide margin Illinoisans are less trusting of their state government than residents of any other place in the nation. 

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Illinois Issues - Code Switch Illinois
12:00 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Editor's Note: Cutting Support for Kids Will Lead to Larger Costs Later

Maureen Foertsch McKinney
Credit mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Odds are, if a child doesn’t experience good parenting, schooling in early development programs and care for mental illness or other health care needs, he or she will face arrest for a violent crime.

A tragedy for the child and the victim or victims. But the long-range consequences of the child’s situation touch the rest of society. Those costs are tangible and will grow exponentially. 

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Sun December 1, 2013

Pensions Will be Subject of Special Session

 After years of inaction on changes to the state's employee pension systems, legislative leaders say they have hammered out a deal that could be presented to lawmakers December 3.

 

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Fri June 1, 2012

The Social Worker: Dept. of Children & Family Services Director Aims to Get More Front-Line Workers

Richard Calica, executive director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

Richard Calica’s Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is beset with problems. One Chicago Tribune investigation this spring found that investigators into suspected cases of abuse are spread too thin, putting the agency in violation of a 1991 federal consent decree that resulted from a series of lawsuits. Later, another of the newspaper’s probes showed that more than half of the day-care operations in the state weren’t inspected within a three-year licensing period.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Thu December 1, 2011

A Governor's Inspiration: The Illinois Artisan Program

The Illinois Artisan Program
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

The way former Gov. James R. Thompson tells it, the idea for the Illinois Artisans Program came to him on a trip out east.

“We went through Vermont, and Vermont had these artisan shops at their rest stops — a couple of them anyway — in which they exhibited and sold crafts and art done by Vermont artists and folk artists. It was a very impressive display, and I thought, ‘You know what, I’ll bet Illinois has artists and artisans as good as those in Vermont. Why aren’t we promoting Illinois arts and crafts?’”

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Wed December 1, 2010

The Headliner: One Artist's Evolution

Jim Nutt, Bump, 2008.Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO
Credit Jim Nutt / David Nolan Gallery, New York

Jim Nutt can take more than a year producing his paintings of women’s heads.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Tue December 1, 2009

Museum Misery: Illinois Institutions Dealt Dwindling Endowments

The Art Institute of Chicago. North View of Michigan Avenue Facade, courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

Hours cut. Salaries trimmed. Pay frozen. Staff reduced. An exhibition canceled in part because of budget woes. Sharply reduced endowments have forced Illinois museums into distasteful decisions over the past year.

“I’m not trying to put any icing on this. It’s been a difficult time. The most difficult time in my 30-year career in museums,’’ says Jim Richerson, president and CEO of the Lakeview Museum of Arts & Sciences in Peoria.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Thu October 1, 2009

Voice For The Man: Jerry Stermer Spent Over Two Decades as a Lobbyist for Children's Programs

Jerry Stermer and Governor Pat Quinn
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

After 22 years as the state’s top advocate for children, Jerry Stermer became the chief administrator in Illinois government. So instead of advocating for the expansion of child care, he was explaining why such services were in danger of being cut. As his son Dan tells it, “You’re fighting against the man, and then you get a job where you are the man, and it’s like, wait, what are you going to do?”

Well, you can’t fight against the man — not when, as Gov. Pat Quinn’s chief of staff, you’ve become the voice for the man. 

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Mon December 1, 2008

Active Voice: Out of the Black Arts Movement Into the Classroom

Haki Madhubuti
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

Poet. Publisher. Professor. Editor. Essayist. Activist. All these titles fit Haki Madhubuti, who is about to celebrate his 25th anniversary at Chicago State University, where he is a distinguished professor and the director emeritus of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing.

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