Florida Re-Segregation Story Wins Prestigious IRE Award

Screenshot 2015-08-12 12.46.01

Slide from the beautifully-rendered Tampa Bay Times look at how one Florida district’s 2007 decision resulted in five neighborhood schools (in orange) becoming racially isolated.

Big, big congratulations to the Tampa Bay Times team behind the much-lauded series about Pinellas County schools, “Failure Factories” which just won the Phillip Meyer Award from the prestigious Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) organization.

The series summary: “On Dec. 18, 2007, the Pinellas County School Board abandoned integration. They justified the vote with bold promises: Schools in poor, black neighborhoods would get more money, more staff, more resources. They delivered none of that. This is the story of how district leaders turned five once-average schools into Failure Factories.”

Michael LaForgia, Lisa Gartner, Nathaniel Lash and Connie Humburg “used statistical analysis and linear regression of data from dozens of records requests to document how steady resegregation of Pinellas County schools left black children to fail at increasingly higher rates than anywhere else in Florida,” according to the IRE citation.

The series has already been named one of CJR’s “Best of 2015” and touted nearly incessantly by me here and on Twitter.

Kudos also to longtime education reporter Greg Toppo who was part of the USA Today team that won 2nd place for a series on demographic shifts called “Changing Face of America.”

Related posts: How FLA Reporters Almost Missed That School Resegregation StorySteal This School Segregation Story [Visualization]!School Segregation’s BackThe Strange Off-Balance State Of Local Investigative Journalism.

Alexander Russo

Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer who has created several long-running blogs such as the national news site This Week In Education, District 299 (about Chicago schools), and LA School Report. He can be reached on Twitter at @alexanderrusso, on Facebook, or directly at alexanderrusso@gmail.com.