We expect government secrecy from the Pentagon or the CIA — not from our universities and our schools.
But in many cases, institutions designed to protect our children are instead hiding critical information.
It leaves us asking a lot of questions. One of which is simple … Why Don't We Know?
Over the following episodes, we are trying to figure that out.
EXTRA: Why don't we know where all the lead pipes are?
In April, President Joe Biden announced an infrastructure plan that includes removing and replacing all of America's lead drinking water pipes. It's an ambitious plan that would help millions of American children, and it was met with a lot of praise. But we couldn't help but wonder if this plan sounded too easy. Because as we've seen on a much smaller scale, sometimes it's really hard to know where all the lead pipes are. Host: Sara Ganim. Guests: Erik Olsen, Alex Stubblefield.
EXTRA: The Human Toll Of Missing Data
Depending on where you look, you can find a statistic that will tell you any number you want to see about how often students are bullied in school. Why is that? Why are bullying numbers all over the place? And how does it cause students to fall through the cracks? Host: Gabriella Paul. Reporter: McKenna Beery. Guests: Itea Aslanian, Deborah Temkin, Brooke Greier.
Any Other Law
Why can public institutions of education continue to get away with keeping crucial information from students and parents? In the final episode of season one, we break down the three main reasons - a lack of university willpower, the trainers who keep status quo, and the fear of big data.
EXTRA: Why Don't We Know how many kids are attending virtual learning?
This was the most disruptive academic year in modern history, and we have collected very little data to help our students recover from it. This Extra episode tackles the question of Why Don't We Know how many students are actually attending virtual learning and which ones fell behind. Host: Sara Ganim. Reporter: Gabriella Paul. Guest: Paige Kowalski.
There is no nationwide tracking mechanism for physical attacks on teachers in American classrooms. But a 2018 survey suggests that more than 210,000 of them are in fact attacked each year. In one school district in New Hampshire, it led the union president to push for statewide change and a new law -- but that came at a personal price.
From Columbine to Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook to Parkland, we have struggled to answer the question of how to stop gun violence in schools. And the vague and overbroad privacy law, FERPA, has not helped with solutions. In fact, in at least two instances, it prevented red flags from being raised, ultimately costing lives.
When we asked all 50 states for the number of times that guns were brought to school campuses, 14 states told us that the number is too small to share. Fear of violating privacy seems to eclipse even the fear of a school shooting.
"I don't think we're surprised by the information," said Tony Montalto, who lost his daughter at the Parkland High School shooting.
And Ryan Petty, who also lost his daugher added that many schools " still use it as a convenient excuse to not report or inform parents about what's going on in campus."
Must listen content and host
This podcast is fascinating, smart and well researched. Sara is an exceptional journalist and tells these stories with insight and compassion. Can’t wait to hear what’s next.
Real Reporting Presented Well
Sara Ganim is a talented and driven journalist. She’s telling important stories with this project.