As 2022 comes to a close, Chalkbeat is reflecting on another year of covering public education across America.
The following stories are among many made possible by the hundreds of readers who shared their experiences with us throughout the year.
We thank you for reading Chalkbeat and being a core part of our work.
In May, Chalkbeat asked teachers who quit why they left.
The 80 teachers we heard from said respect, support, better pay, and more flexibility are just a few of the things that might have kept them working in education. The insights shared here are diverse, touching on burnout, school funding, teacher training, and cultural representation in curriculum.
Read the full story for more insight on why teachers quit the profession.
The readers we heard from helped inform a story months later on how schools nationwide couldn’t keep up with demand for staff psychologists and counselors.
In October, Chalkbeat Chicago wanted to hear more about how local schools were finding joy after a few tough years. We asked readers to share their stories with us, and we heard about a free peer tutoring and mentoring program at Infinity Math, Science & Technology High School in Chicago’s Little Village.
“I feel like tutoring does make a change and a difference,” one student tutor said. “It really does make an impact.”
Read more about the Infinity High School tutoring program, which offers tutoring every Thursday and a four-hour session one Saturday per quarter.
Days before the school year started, New York City officials said they made good on a major promise: ensuring every public school classroom has air conditioning.
But as students and educators returned to their classrooms, some were still sweltering.
Dozens of educators, students, and parents told Chalkbeat New York that there were still gaps in air conditioning coverage. In some cases, AC units were installed, but have fallen into disrepair and have not been fixed or replaced. In others, units have yet to be delivered, or school officials are waiting for upgrades to outdated electrical systems before switching them on. Some areas, including auditoriums and gyms, were never guaranteed air conditioning in the first place.
How can educators make classrooms more inclusive for LGBTQ+ youth? One small way, Chalkbeat readers said, is to incorporate stories that are reflective of the student body throughout the school year.
We asked parents, students, and teachers for their book list suggestions — and you responded with titles ranging from picture books to young adult literature.
Read the full story for more LGBTQ+ reading recommendations from Chalkbeat readers.
How you can participate in our journalism in 2023
Share your own story with Chalkbeat journalists
From Chalkbeat Detroit
- Tell us: What attendance barriers does your family face in Detroit? Chronic absenteeism is widespread. Last year, two-thirds of students in the city of Detroit missed school at least 10% of the time. Half a million students across the state missed that much school.
- Share your story as part of Chalkbeat Detroit’s reporting on the causes and solutions to absenteeism.
From Chalkbeat Newark
- Have you faced barriers to special education services in Newark schools? Chalkbeat wants to hear your story. Take our short survey.
From Chalkbeat Indiana
- Parents and teachers: Tell us how your school works with English learner students. Chalkbeat Indiana wants to hear from parents and teachers about English learner education. Tell us your story in our quick survey.
Subscribe to text updates from local school board meetings
Do you live in Detroit, Indianapolis, Memphis or Newark, New Jersey?
You can sign up for monthly text from reporters in your community on what’s happening in your local school board meetings.
How to sign up:
- In Detroit, text SCHOOL to 313-637-3777 for updates on the Detroit Public Schools Community District Board of Education from Chalkbeat Detroit reporter Ethan Bakuli.
- In Indianapolis, text SCHOOLS to 317-932-3900 to receive monthly updates from the Indianapolis Public Schools board from Chalkbeat Indiana reporter Amelia Pak-Harvey.
- For Memphis, text SCHOOL to 901-565-5550 for monthly updates on Memphis-Shelby County school board decisions from Chalkbeat Tennessee reporter Samantha West.
- In Newark, text SCHOOL to 973-327-7774 for monthly updates on the Newark Board of Education from Chalkbeat Newark reporter Jessie Gomez.
Do you want this service in your community? Let us know by reaching out to us at email@example.com.
Submit a first-person essay
Chalkbeat regularly publishes personal essays in our First Person series, which aims to highlight the views of educators, students, parents, advocates, and others on the front lines of working to improve public education.
These aren’t traditional opinion pieces or newspaper editorials. We’re looking for essays, about 800 words or so, that center your individual experiences or observations in education.
Recent First Person essays include:
- After a gun scare, our school district is reeling from the trauma — and the financial toll.
- I’m stepping down from the Chicago Board of Education. Here are my thoughts on its future.
- Out of the classroom, I feel less jaded but also less joy.
- Calculus is seen as a proxy for high-achieving students. That’s a problem.
Here’s how to pitch your written personal essay to Chalkbeat.
Attend a local (virtual) event
Join Chalkbeat Colorado for our annual discussion of key education topics that are likely to surface during the upcoming 2023 legislative session. This year’s conversation will take place virtually on Thursday, Jan. 5, from noon – 1:30 MT.
Chalkbeat will be joined by:
- Senate Minority Leader Paul Lundeen, R-Monument
- Senate Education Committee Chair Sen. Janet Buckner, D-Aurora
- House Education Committee Chair Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango
- Joint Budget Committee Chair Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, D-Arvada
- House Education Vice Chair Rep. Matthew Martinez, D-Monte Vista
We’ll discuss a potential rewrite of the school funding formula, student discipline and school safety, the state of math instruction, the future of the accountability system, the impending launch of universal preschool, and how to make higher education pay off.
For even more ways to be involved with Chalkbeat’s journalism, check out chalkbeat.org/get-involved.