Mining Federal Civil Rights Data for Local Stories


Every year, the U.S. Department of Education investigates thousands of school districts and colleges around the country for civil rights violations. The issues include racial discrimination in school discipline, sexual violence on campus and inequitable access to advanced coursework, to name a few. What should journalists know before diving into this notoriously messy data? What are some tips for using the data as the backbone of local news stories?

In this webinar, Annie Waldman, who covers education at ProPublica, and Ryann Jones, ProPublica’s deputy editor for data, demonstrate Miseducation, a new interactive database of federal civil rights data that journalists can use to report on issues of fairness and access at the local level. In recent years, Waldman and Jones have worked extensively with available data to identify national patterns and report on problems with specific school districts.

Get answers to questions, including:

  • What data is available to evaluate how your local schools and districts perform on measures of equal opportunity for students?
  • How can reporters assess differences across their state or district to identify promising angles for their stories?
  • What additional information and resources are available for reporters to go beyond the civil rights data?

ProPublica presentation slides

This webinar was presented on October 30, 2018