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 "school district" ...

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Alabama Media Group: Dirty Business

    In 2017, federal prosecutors charged Balch & Bingham lawyer Joel Gilbert and Drummond vice president David Roberson with bribing state Rep. Oliver Robinson to help them fight the EPA. However, as Whitmire revealed, their astroturfing scheme went much further, involving public officials from a school superintendent to U.S. senators. When Whitmire requested records from the Alabama Attorney General's Office showing Luther Strange's role in the scheme, the office denied those records existed. Whitmire proved, not once but twice, that officials there were lying, and that Strange had put his name on Gilbert's work product to persuade the EPA not to help poor residents in north Birmingham clean their soil of toxins. Further, Whitmire showed a small local school district had agreed to help resist the EPA, too, denying EPA access to test schoolyards for toxins.
  • 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.
  • 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 100-Yard Deception

    Insider records reveal trail of deceit and potential fraud as largest U.S. maker of artificial sports fields, FieldTurf, and its executives for years made ballooning profits off taxpayers in cities, towns and school districts across the country, selling a product they knew was falling apart and would fall short of marketing and advertising claims. http://fieldturf.nj.com/