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Three Orlando Sentinel reporters spent six-months investigating Florida’s scholarship programs, which will send nearly $1 billion to private schools this year. The project meant reviewing thousands of pages of documents and making in-person visits to dozens of private schools. The reporters discovered soon-to-be evicted schools set up in rundown buildings, campuses where teachers lacked college degrees, and a principal under investigation for child molestation who was able to keep taking Florida vouchers by closing one school and then opening another under a new name. This behind-the-story session will go through how reporters handled the school visits (most were unannounced), how they requested and organized data (from enrollment numbers to parent complaints sent to the state) and searched for other needed information. They’ll also cover what worked, and what didn’t, as they tried to stay organized while still doing other stories on their beats.
10 excellent tips on how to gain access to schools, whom to (or not to) speak with and several basic rules on school investigations.
This tipsheet includes a source list for education reporters, a list of a half-dozen school investigation that you can do and ten tips for education reporters.