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 rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "public schools" ...

  • 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.
  • CALmatters: California teacher pension debt swamps school budgets

    California’s tax revenue may be surging thanks to a strong economy, but rapidly rising employee pension costs mean public school budgets are being squeezed.
  • Alternative schools bear the brunt of student deaths in Chicago

    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.
  • Toxic City: Sick Schools

    Children in Philadelphia public schools endure environmental hazards -- deteriorated asbestos, damaged lead paint, festering mold and rodent droppings -- that deprive them of a healthy place to learn and thrive. In reaching our major findings, we conducted 175 scientific tests at 19 elementary schools at a cost of nearly $9,000, built a custom database to analyze more than 250,000 room-by-room environmental records, and interviewed more than 120 teachers, parents, students and experts.
  • Food Plight: Cafeteria Inspections Reveal Critical Health Violations at New York City Schools

    Our reporters scoured reams of health inspection records and discovered that nearly half of New York City public school cafeterias were hit with at least one critical violation in 2017. A closer look found that the four dozen schools with the worst inspections records largely serve some of the city’s poorest students. The most sickening cases include schools where 600 rodent droppings and 1,500 flies were found in food preparation and consumption areas – conditions that are breeding grounds for potentially dangerous food-borne illnesses. Our team of students conceived of the story and used the data, obtained from the New York City Health Department under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, to create a filterable interactive graphic that parents can use to uncover details of violations found at their child’s school.
  • Testing the Waters

    "Testing the Waters" is a two-part investigation into concerns of lead contamination in local drinking water on the Alabama Gulf Coast. After an extensive analysis of public records, FOX10 News Investigates found eight water systems across Mobile and Baldwin counties have had testing results above the legal limit for lead content in the last three years. Further, FOX10 News found local public schools were not previously testing for lead content, so we requested to test for them. As a result of our investigation, both Mobile and Baldwin County Public Schools started testing some of its older schools that could be at risk. Moreover, during the course of our investigation, the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) has announced it will help test all public schools over the next three years.