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The good news for the Tampa Bay Times’ investigative team keeps coming in.

Last week, the team was named a finalist in the EWA education writing awards.

This week, the USDE announced it opening a civil rights investigation into the district that had allowed some of its schools to become overwhelmingly black and poor.

“The U.S. Department of Education on Monday opened a civil rights investigation into whether the Pinellas County School District systematically discriminates against black children, the agency said…

“The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights took the rare step of launching the review on its own initiative in response to “Failure Factories,” a yearlong investigation by the Tampa Bay Times that traced the decline of five schools in St. Petersburg’s black neighborhoods.”

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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