Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or [email protected] where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "Education Department" ...

  • ProPublica: Civil Wrongs

    Nowhere has the Trump administration's pullback on civil rights been more pronounced or damaging than in education. Under Secretary Betsy DeVos, the Education Department has deep-sixed thousands of civil rights complaints — especially those alleging systemic discrimination by school districts and colleges. In their series, "Civil Wrongs," reporters Annie Waldman of ProPublica and Erica L. Green of The New York Times exposed the department's indifference, and the toll on African-American, Latino, and Native American students from Virginia to Montana. Their work has already had significant impact, and is likely to be even more influential in 2019 as Democrats who now control the U.S. House of Representatives tackle DeVos’ civil rights record. Alongside their reporting, the team, which included news app developers Lena Groeger and David Eads, created two interactive databases: one allowing readers to look up civil rights investigations into their school districts and colleges and another illustrating racial disparities in educational opportunities and discipline.
  • Education Grant Debacle Fixed: Teachers to Get Millions Back After NPR Investigation

    NPR’s Chris Arnold and Cory Turner started digging into a Department of Education grant program after spotting a brief mention in a broader lawsuit. What they uncovered was shocking: a program gone horribly wrong for thousands of public school teachers. "It's ridiculous; it's mind-boggling. It's been two years of torture," was how teacher Kaitlyn McCollum of Columbia, Tenn described it. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The program has a noble goal - to encourage aspiring young teachers like McCollum to work in the nation’s most disadvantaged communities. They agree to teach a high-need subject, like math, for four years in a public school serving low income families. In return, they get grants to pay for their own education. But the reporters found that’s not how it worked out at all. Thousands of teachers had their grants unfairly converted to loans due to a paperwork debacle at the U.S. Department of Education - leaving some bearing the burden of more than $20,000 in debt. Cory and Chris’ work not only exposed the program’s brutal inflexibility and it’s devastating impact on the lives of teachers; their seven stories, reported over the previous ten months, convinced the Department to offer teachers a dramatic fix. As a result of their reporting, the Education Department is now reaching out to thousands of teachers to return millions of dollars of grant money that was unfairly taken away from them.
  • How Texas Keeps Tens of Thousands of Children Out of Special Education

    In “Denied,” the Houston Chronicle revealed that a group of Texas state officials had arbitrarily decided what percentage of students should receive special education services and had enforced the benchmark by intensely auditing school districts for “over-identification.” The effort, which began in 2004 but was never announced and remained completely unknown outside of district special education departments, saved the state billions of dollars but denied critical help to tens of thousands of children with disabilities. As a result, the Chronicle reported, Texas now provides special education services to a lower percentage of its students than any other state in the country – by far. If Texas gave services at the same rate as everybody else, more than 250,000 more children in the state would be receiving services such as tutoring, counseling and therapy.
  • Denied: How Texas Keeps Tens of Thousands of Children Out of Special Education

    In “Denied,” the Houston Chronicle revealed that a group of Texas state officials had arbitrarily decided what percentage of students should receive special education services and had enforced the benchmark by intensely auditing school districts for “over-identification.” The effort, which began in 2004 but was never announced and remained completely unknown outside of district special education departments, saved the state billions of dollars but denied critical help to tens of thousands of children with disabilities. As a result, the Chronicle reported, Texas now provides special education services to a lower percentage of its students than any other state in the country – by far. If Texas gave services at the same rate as everybody else, more than 250,000 more children in the state would be receiving services such as tutoring, counseling and therapy.
  • Most who fail get a pass

    Georgia law mandates that students in grades 3, 5, and 8 pass standardized tests in certain subjects to move on to the next grade. Our analysis showed school districts were ignoring the law - with the blessing of the state education department - by regularly using an appeals process that was supposed to be a last resort.
  • Government Vastly Undercounts Defaults

    The story explores the problem of student loan defaults, using unpublished data from the Education Department. It looks at what defaults costs borrowers and taxpayers and examines why for-profit colleges have the worst default rates.
  • Federal Government Propaganda

    The series began with the breaking news that the Bush administration paid pundit Armstrong Williams $240,000 to endorse its "No Child Left Behind" education law. The authors extended their investigation to look at how the government spends millions of dollars in taxpayer money to secretly sell America on a few of its most controversial policies.
  • Special Report: Best Schools

    Reporters from the Buffalo News investigate how poverty level affect student test scores in nine local elementary schools. What they found was that, in most cases, schools with children from lower ecomonic backgrounds often faired better than higher income students in suburban schools. "We considered these to be the schools doing the best job educating students--rather than the schools that happened to have students from the best economic backgrounds." This investigation also looks into how financial contributions from each school district affected student academic success.
  • East St. Louis Test Cheating

    This series of stories documented how the East St. Louis School District deliberately excluded nearly 160 special needs students from required standardized tests to boost overall school test scores. This represented a major violation of state and federal laws governing the provision of services for the disabled.
  • Politics and Student Aid Intersect in Controversy Over Jordan College

    A whistle blower in the Education Department was punished for his efforts to show how a college with a dubious track record of safeguarding federal student aid funs was allowed to continue disbursing money to its students. The article describes how federal investigators were examining whether top political appointees at the Education Department had retaliated against Arthur L. Hardwick for complaining to the department's Inspector General about their failure to punish Jordan College despite findings that the college misspent Pell Grants. Mr. Hardwick alleged -- and the department's Inspector General agreed -- that political pressure from Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) kept the college in the student aid programs.