Education in the News Wasteland

Meet Chalkbeat, the nonprofit that’s filling the local education journalism void created by shrinking daily newspapers.

Elizabeth Green — author, co-founder, and edtior-in-chief of Chalkbeat. Photo by Daniel Deitch.

Even as a high school student in Silver Spring, Maryland, Elizabeth Green noticed that education policy needed more scrutiny. The seed had been planted for what would become Chalkbeat — a nonprofit news organization that’s bringing high-quality local education journalism to areas of the United States that need it most.

Green recalled her Montgomery Blair High School principal, who was black, announcing over the loudspeaker during lunch that black and Latino students needed to improve their test scores. In that diverse but self-segregated cafeteria, Green crossed race lines to interview a girl for a school newspaper story about why kids lie to their parents, but the conversation took an unexpected turn.

“She said she had to work to prove us all wrong about our low expectations,” Green recalled. “I said, ‘Prove to who?’ ‘You!’ she said.”

She meant white people, said Green.

This interview led to others for a series of stories about the often insidious dance between the ambitions of black and Latino students and their teachers’ frequently low expectations for them.

3/30/2019 11:09:00 AM

Profound, brave approach in a teaching field where, more often than not, lack of controversy is what later yields job longevity.

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