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" ...

  • 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.
  • Making the Grade

    This continuing NewsChannel 5 investigation exposed questionable testing and grading practices inside one of the most highly applauded school districts in the nation. Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) had earned high praise – dubbed a “District of Distinction” – for its turnaround efforts.
  • The PCB Plague

    We discovered that a majority of public schools in Connecticut could be contaminated with toxic, cancer-causing PCBs, but no state or federal law requires schools to test for the carcinogenic chemical. Even though PCBs were banned in 1979, a loophole in federal regulations allows schools to avoid testing for PCBs, leaving the chemical in place where it emits gaseous toxins, and sending PCB particles into the air and ground during and after construction projects where it can remain for decades.
  • Chicago Public Schools' Fuzzy Math

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has bragged about the Chicago Public Schools graduation rate improving. But records show his numbers are inflated. Is CPS cooking the books? The Better Government Association investigates the graduation rate, and other claims made by the Emanuel administration about public education improvements in the city, and finds that the math doesn't always add up.
  • Restraints and Seclusion in Public Schools

    Public schoolchildren across the country were physically restrained or isolated in rooms they couldn’t leave at least 267,000 times in the 2011-2012 school year, despite a near-consensus that such practices are dangerous and have no therapeutic benefit. Many states have little regulation or oversight of such practices.
  • Borrowing Trouble

    For years, Chicago taxpayers have been paying an exorbitant price for the faulty financial decisions of school officials – only they didn’t know it. Not surprisingly, leaders of the city’s public schools weren’t advertising the high costs of the losing bets they had placed in a risky debt market. Over the life of the deals, Chicago Public Schools will likely end up paying $100 million more than it would have if officials had stuck with traditional fixed-rate bonds. The story implicated state lawmakers, the school district's financial advisors, and the current school board president in the disastrous deals.
  • CLOSING COSTS

    In an unprecedented move -- billed to cut costs -- Chicago Public Schools shut down 49 of their school buildings in the summer of 2013, leaving them vacant and abandoned. Late in the fall of 2013, NBC5 Investigates filed a FOIA request to see how much was still being spent on these empty buildings in utility costs. For months, CPS delayed and then ignored our FOIA request, and it ultimately took a lawsuit by NBC5 to finally get CPS to turn over the documents, They showed that taxpayers were spending nearly as much on utilities for these vacant buildings as they were when the schools were open. NBC5 Investigates also obtained secret CPS reports showing extensive vandalism at some abandoned schools, resulting in additional costs for taxpayers to repair the damage.