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 "public schools" ...

  • What Transparency Looks Like

    Baltimore City Public Schools spends nearly $16,000 per student, per year, making it the third most funded among America’s 100 largest (Source: U.S. Census). But federal data (NAEP) ranks Baltimore schools as the third lowest performing. In 2017, Fox45 spoke with multiple sources who described a system-wide culture of pushing students through at any cost.
  • You, Too - The Public Cost of Sex Harassment

    In a three-month investigation, NBC5 Investigates, Telemundo Chicago, and the Better Government Association tracked down case after case of government employees in the Chicago area, accused of sexual misconduct, harassment, abuse, assault, or even rape. We filed nearly 2,000 public records requests for documents from local governmental agencies, and – so far – found it cost taxpayers $55 million over more than 400 cases. Tracking hundreds of lawsuits, complaints, and internal investigations filed over the past ten years, we found scores of complaints with local police departments, city halls, public schools, community colleges, park districts, townships and more.
  • The Daily News: Yellow School Bus Crisis

    This Daily News series dealt with yellow school buses and a crisis that included extensive delays, fraud in hiring bus staffers with criminal pasts, and how bus contracts were awarded.
  • PublicSource: Failing the Future

    The project documents the wide economic and academic disparities among school districts in Pennsylvania. It tells the stories through the voices of students and educators in under-resourced districts and takes a deep dive into how school funding in Pennsylvania creates a system of "haves and have-nots." It uses both print and multi-media display.
  • NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Toxic School Water

    This yearlong investigation – more than two dozen stories that culminated in an hourlong, primetime special -- exposed students drinking lead-contaminated water inside Nashville schools, parents being kept in the dark about the test results, as well as officials secretly plotting to bypass lead filters to save money and using testing methods that disguised the real contamination. Through persistence and dogged reporting, we exposed a scandal that would make national news in 2018. As a result, the head of facilities for the school district was forced to resign. District officials were also pressured by Nashville’s mayor and health department to reform their testing practices. In addition, our intense focus on the issue in 2018 would be credited with reviving legislation that’s designed to help keep children across Tennessee safe.
  • NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Schoolhouse Scandal

    This exclusive investigation -- developed over the course of some two dozen individual stories -- revealed how Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) ignored the lessons of the #MeToo movement, creating a culture where allegations of sexual harassment and other misconduct were routinely swept under the rug. Giving a voice to those whose voices had previously been ignored, this investigation forced the district to confront the long-neglected issue.
  • Nearly 750 charter schools are whiter than the nearby district schools

    Politicians often sell charters as a solution for low-income black and brown students stuck in chronically poor-performing public schools. But Lake Oconee Academy in Georgia is one of at least 747 public charter schools around the country that enroll a higher percentage of white students than any of the traditional public schools in the school districts where they are located.
  • Fox45: What Transparency Looks Like

    Baltimore is a city in crisis. Its murder rate is the highest in the nation. Its school system is among the lowest performing. For decades, its government has hidden behind a culture of secrecy and corruption. More than one year ago, Fox45 decided it had enough and challenged the status quo. On behalf of students, parents and taxpayers, Fox45 took the drastic step of suing Baltimore’s $1.4 billion school system - one of the nation’s largest. In the fall of 2017, when City Schools denied the entirety of a Project Baltimore public records request concerning the results of an internal grade changing investigation, Fox45 sued the school board. That internal investigation stemmed from a series of Fox45 reports which exposed a culture of grade fixing and pushing students through a broken school system. To date, Fox45 has accrued more than $100,000 in legal fees. But, so far, City Schools has been forced to capitulate. Bit by bit, over the year, they have handed over more than 10,000 pages of documents. And our fight is not over yet. The trial is scheduled for February 11. When it concludes, Fox45 will take another drastic step and send a strong message by filing a motion to recuperate our legal fees from Baltimore City Public Schools. “What Transparency Looks Like” was produced by Project Baltimore, a team of Fox45 journalists committed to a long-term investigation into Baltimore area schools.
  • 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.
  • BETRAYED: Chicago schools fail to protect students from sexual abuse and assault, leaving lasting damage

    In “Betrayed,” Tribune reporters for the first time quantified the staggering prevalence of sexual violence against students in a large U.S. school district. Using confidential records, innovative data analysis and sensitive interviews with young people, the team discovered and verified 523 times when police investigated a case of sexual assault or abuse of a child inside a Chicago public school in the last decade. Reporters told the wrenching stories of young victims and uncovered child-protection failures that extended from neighborhood schools to the district's downtown offices and the state capital. For years, media outlets attempted to measure the problem of sexual violence against students by examining the cases of disciplined educators or those convicted of crimes. But those efforts failed to account for cases where students are abused by peers or the adult abuser was not punished. By pursuing crimes against students that were documented in police records, the Tribune shed light on a hidden injustice. The reporting proved to be a catalyst for change, leading to massive reforms by district officials, 12 state reform bills and enforcement efforts by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.