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Reporting by Craig Harris, starting in the spring, revealed one questionable deal after another with Arizona charter schools, as his reporting detailed how the industry had created millionaires through insider deals. By the time lawmakers were calling for reforms, The Arizona Republic built a team to take the next big bite. The deep dive by Harris, along with Anne Ryman, Justin Price and Alden Woods, spun out a five-part series that told the story of Arizona’s charter schools from inception to present day.
This investigative story shines a light on why Chicago students who’ve died are most likely to attend an alternative school and the lack of resources these schools have historically been provided by Chicago Public Schools to help students cope with the deaths of their classmates and other traumas. While many stories have focused on how Chicago’s gun violence hurts children and teens, this story used never-before-published data and more than 50 interviews to examine how gun violence is impacting the education of some of the city’s most vulnerable students. Public alternative high schools are often considered schools of “last resort” that take in children who’ve had discipline, attendance and academic issues in their prior schools. It’s often where students with gang affiliations and safety concerns are sent. And it’s where students are most likely to die.