Investigative Reporting: Education and School Systems

By Carolyn VanBrocklin

As a journalist, one might be expected to investigate the education system.  To me, this is an incredibly important institution to inspect, as my children will be there someday and I will want them to have the best education.  Often, investigating the education system becomes split between compulsory education and higher education because most resources and publications are split along those lines. tips62

When evaluating education, it is very important to look at test scores.  With the recent No Child Left Behind initiative, test scores can show some interesting statistics about schools.  Unfortunately, because of the pressure the initiative has brought on schools to improve their test scores, some schools have been falsifying information. 

Often, journalists can investigate schools for their racial equality.  While there are now supposed to be equal opportunities for all, sometimes it happens that minorities end up clustered in schools that are not as well run.  This can also lead journalists to look into crime statistics and graduation rates for schools and see how they compare.   

Since schools are businesses, journalists have the option of following the money.  Money is important for running the school, no matter whether it is a smaller elementary school or a large university.  There are many ways journalists can look into this particular aspect of education.  There is often a difference between funding for inner city schools versus schools in nicer suburbs, or between public and private schools.

It is also important for journalists to investigate the standards to which teachers are held.  Teachers wield a great deal of authority, particularly over younger children. Sometimes incompetent teachers can prevent students from excelling in school and getting to the next grade level.   

This Puliter Prize-winning story by Daniel Golden discusses a part of the corruption that can occur in college.  Students, despite their stellar performances, are not getting into the schools they should be because often more prestigious schools favor children of donors and other affluent connections.   

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One Response

  1. This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

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