Photo: Twenty20 / @monsterphotoiso

This month, the best and the brightest innovators, creators and thought-leaders gather in the Windy City for Chicago Ideas Week, an idea-inspiring festival unlike any other. No challenge is too great when we share our ideas with one another. This week, The Idea Forge will cover some of the festival’s broader topics that affect not just the city of Chicago, but our country and international community as well.

Chicago is one of our country’s brightest cities filled some no-kidding-around smart people. Some of our most innovative products have come from Chicago minds. But if you were to take a look at the educational system in the Windy City, you might think a little differently.

There is a fiscal crisis going on now in Chicago’s educational system that’s creating some unrest between a variety of communities. A possible strike planned for today, which could have shut schools down until there’s an agreement between the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and the city, was narrowly avoided. The disagreement has been over funding, particularly the lack of it in Chicago’s schools.

So how can Chicago’s educational system improve? Right now, Chicago’s state of education feels pretty dire, and for good reason: there’s financial instability, complicated loopholes, lopsided funding and petty bickering that has reached a boiling point in recent months.

And, unfortunately, there’s only so much we as citizens can do if unions and politicians are duking it out. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t any hope for Chicago’s knowledge-hungry children. There are plenty of innovative and thoughtful methods for improving Chicago’s schools. That’s why some of our country’s greatest thought-leaders have gathered in the city for Chicago Ideas Week.

If you want to learn how you can help Chicago’s schools, or if you’re simply interested in hearing education professionals sharing their own ideas for improvement, check out some of these talks going down at CIW.

Rebuilding the South Side: Comer Education Campus Tour with Architect John Ronan

Discover how education and architecture can transform a neighborhood at this CIW Lab with award-winning architect John Ronan on Tuesday, October 18th from 1:30pm to 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Go Back to School with Urban Initiatives

Urban Initiatives uses the power of sport and play to build a path for more than 15,000 Chicago Public School students to become part of a smarter, safer and stronger Chicago. On Wednesday, October 19th, from 11:00 to 12:30 p.m., Urban Initiatives Founder and Executive Director Jim Dower will take attendees back to school by giving them the chance to see how his organization redefines how play can build positive community spaces.

That’s not all that’s going on at Chicago Ideas Week. There are events covering every topic from community development to health and fitness. Everyone has an idea, and CIW is the perfect place for you to share that idea with everyone else. Take your idea and make it a reality at this one-of-a-kind festival.