Sign up to receive our free Watchdog email newsletter, a weekly investigation in inequality from Public Integrity.

Use the unsubscribe link in those emails to opt out at any time.

Posted inInstitution of One

Why we translated this story into plain language

To make this story more accessible to a wide range of readers, we are including a plain language version, translated by Rebecca Monteleone. Plain language is a writing style that makes difficult concepts easier for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities to read. It uses shorter sentences and simpler words, but it doesn’t leave out […]

Posted inEducation

Many schools find ways to solve absenteeism without suspensions

Pandemic-related school closures wreaked havoc on attendance. Strict quarantine periods and policies demanding students stay home at any hint of a cough or runny nose tormented schools even after they reopened. Students got out of the habit of getting to school on time or going consistently at all. By the 2021-22 school year, districts and […]

Posted inUnhoused and Undercounted

Officials: Federal government must do better for homeless students

A leading advocate for homeless rights in Congress says the federal government must do a better job helping schools identify and assist students who are experiencing housing instability, a serious barrier to graduation for many youth. U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver’s comments come in the wake of a Center for Public Integrity analysis of federal education […]

Posted inEducation

Disparities in suspensions for missing school could violate civil rights law

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Camron Olivas has been suspended at least five times throughout middle and high school for being late to class. While his mother cares for his toddler sister, his older brother drives him in, and they frequently arrive after the first bell. During the day, Camron said he sometimes remains in the hallways […]

Posted inLabor

Attacked behind the wheel

This story also appeared in Newsy Update: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration provided the following statement: “There is no acceptable number of incidents of harassment and violence against women, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is committed to dedicating its time and resources to working with the trucking industry, unions, stakeholders, agencies, and […]

Posted inFinance

How financial barriers stifle formerly incarcerated people

PHILADELPHIA — In the second year of J. Jondhi Harrell’s 20-year sentence, he began to contemplate what would alter a person’s life for good. Financial literacy, employment, mentorship and community support were essential, he recalled thinking.  “If you can’t feed yourself, if you can’t manage your money, you can’t build a solid foundation for the […]

Posted inEducation

When the punishment is the same as the crime: Suspended for missing class

PHOENIX — Guadalupe Hernandez’s attendance problems started in kindergarten.  The boy, who has two attention disorders and oppositional defiant disorder, often refused to sit still for circle time. He also experienced separation anxiety while away from his grandmother, Frances Yduarte, who raised him. He’d spend his days distracted from lessons, wishing he was home with […]

Posted inUnhoused and Undercounted

Public Integrity student homelessness project breaks ground

The Center for Public Integrity is the only national investigative newsroom solely focusing on the causes and effects of inequality. Telling these stories well takes time, resources and expertise. Investigating inequality often requires employing the tools of social scientists to do original analyses. These techniques have been used by newsrooms to show disparities in home […]

Posted inUnhoused and Undercounted

Schools can get funds to help homeless students. Why do so many miss out?

Towanda Chew has gone to extraordinary lengths to prioritize her children’s education. Like many parents navigating homelessness, keeping this promise remains a harrowing challenge. It requires that she first keep them safe and sheltered.  “I wish I could have walked on the stage,” said Chew, who didn’t graduate from high school, but got her GED. […]

Posted inUnhoused and Undercounted

Making visible the hidden toll of student homelessness around the country

What happens to students experiencing homelessness? Federal law requires that public schools assist to help break what could become an inescapable cycle of hardship. But many of the students who need that aid fall through the cracks. Read our investigation Thousands of schools are failing to identify and help homeless students, despite a federal mandate […]

Posted inUnhoused and Undercounted

The graduation gap hurting homeless students

Nationwide, homeless students graduate from high school at lower rates than average, blunting their opportunities for stable jobs and increasing the risk of continued housing insecurity in adulthood. The gap is often stark: In 18 states, graduation rates for students who experienced homelessness lagged more than 20 percentage points behind the overall rate in both […]

Posted inUnhoused and Undercounted

Facts and figures: The grim numbers on homeless students

A Center for Public Integrity analysis of federal education data suggests roughly 300,000 students entitled to essential rights reserved for homeless students have slipped through the cracks, unidentified by the school districts mandated to help them.  Some 2,400 districts did not report having even one homeless student despite levels of financial need that make those […]

Posted inUnhoused and Undercounted

Schools must help homeless students. Here’s what you should know.

When is a student considered homeless? The definition of homelessness among K-12 students is laid out in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, a federal law that details the help public schools must give unstably housed children. That includes students living in the following conditions: More than 75% of children identified as homeless under the McKinney-Vento […]