OSAGE NATION — On a crisp November morning, Teresa Bates Rutherford gazed at the construction site of her future home — her mind on her tax struggle with the state of Oklahoma. The trust land she is building on has passed down through generations of her family on the Osage Reservation, located in northeastern Oklahoma. […]
Million-dollar question: How to find safe homes for those with complex needs
This story also appeared in KJZZ and Slate Zainab Edwards is an ice skater. It runs in the family. Edwards’ mother, Cynthia Elliott, grew up on the ice in Minnesota and her older daughter skated competitively for years. So when Elliott and her husband Dave agreed to foster Edwards five days after her fourth birthday, […]
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 […]
Why it’s hard to find safe homes for some people with disabilities
Zainab Edwards is an ice skater. Ice skating runs in Zainab’s family. Zainab’s mom is an ice skater too. Her name is Cynthia Elliot. Cynthia’s other daughter used to ice skate too. Cynthia and Dave are Zainab’s foster parents. They have been fostering Zainab since she was 4 years old. Zainab is 23 years old. […]
Finding joy in the moment
Living in the community can be challenging for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities that have complex needs. Families often need to be persistent and creative to get their loved ones the services they need.
How my daughter changed my reporting
By the time my second daughter was born, I’d been a journalist for more than a decade. As a general assignment reporter at the local alternative newsweekly, I didn’t have a beat. I could pitch anything. But as I looked at Sophie, tiny in her hospital bassinet, I realized that I had never written about […]
Schooling educators on homeless student rights
Breezy Napier dropped out of high school in ninth grade. He was homeless — and, on many days, hopeless, struggling to get to school from the local shelter and to focus in class when he did. “I did love going to school, but at the same time, it’s kind of hard to juggle school, plus […]
This year’s ballot measures will change how many Americans vote
Voting itself was on the ballot in the 2022 midterm elections, with initiatives seeking to revamp election laws in states across the country. Measures that promoted early voting and increased access to the ballot box saw wins in multiple states, but so did restrictive proposals that tightened voter ID laws or barred non-citizens from voting […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
How a Jim Crow-era strategy blocked 4.6 million people from voting in 2022
A type of law first created after the end of slavery to prohibit Black men from voting prevented more than 4.6 million Americans from participating in the 2022 midterm elections. Forty-eight states strip voting rights from people convicted of felonies, no small decision in the country with the highest incarceration rate in the world. A […]
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 […]
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 […]
Discussion: How four decades of tax cuts fueled inequality
Wealth inequality in the U.S. has widened to historic levels, exacerbating a range of societal problems. A new investigation by the Center for Public Integrity points to one of the main culprits: Our nation’s tax code. Over the last 40 years, Congress has cut the income tax rate five times for the wealthiest people. Corporations […]
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. […]
This school district helped homeless students graduate. Here’s what it took.
LACEY, Wash. — In April of his senior year at Timberline High School, after years of conflict at home, Mikel Jake “MJ” Dizon became homeless. He was a few months from graduation, but considered dropping out of school to focus on his job as a Starbucks barista to make money for rent. This decision could […]
I set out to tell his story. Then he found out he was ill.
As the second winter of the COVID-19 pandemic approached, I journeyed to Blue Gap, Arizona, to at last meet the man whose steady, calm voice on the other end of the phone line had been a constant for me since the start of the global health crisis. I first connected with Earl Tulley in early […]
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 […]
Nuclear buildup sickened his community. Then it caught up with him.
Blue Gap-Tachee Community — Growing up in this corner of the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona, Earl Tulley experienced all the bounties that the high desert community of sage-covered hills, valleys and plateaus had to offer. He knew that uranium had been pulled from the depths of the mesas here during his Cold War childhood. […]
How four decades of tax cuts fueled inequality
A dense fog rolling in off the Pacific enveloped President Ronald Reagan’s majestic 688-acre ranch, high in the hills above Santa Barbara, California. Visibility was limited, but a crowd of cameramen, photographers and reporters were gathered on that day in 1981 to record the president signing a major piece of legislation. Wearing jeans, a faded […]
Cities want noncitizens to vote on local matters. GOP sees a target
WASHINGTON – Abel Amene was born in Ethiopia and came to the U.S. when he was 13 years old. Amene, who is a green card holder, has lived in the D.C.-area for the past 23 years, where he helps seniors sign up for vaccine appointments and volunteers in political campaigns. In 2021, he wrote a […]
What voter turnout shows, and hides, about elections
The voter turnout in 2020 was a stunning 67%, according to one source. Another had it at 94%. A third fixed 2020 voter turnout at 63%. All three are correct — because they do the math differently. They’re comparing actual voters with the number of eligible voters, registered voters and Americans of voting age, respectively. […]
Hidden toll: Thousands of schools fail to count homeless students
Roughly 300,000 students entitled to rights reserved for homeless students have slipped through the cracks, unidentified by the school districts mandated to help them.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]