January 18, 2017

In 2015 the Tampa Bay Times began publishing an investigative series which explored the effects of a school district’s decision to re-segregate its schools. The series, Failure Factories, exposed how failed promises of money and resources resulted in five “average” schools becoming some of the worst over an eight year period. The series was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2016

Michael LaForgia, one of the award-winning reporters, spoke at the Bob Graham Center on January 18 at 6 p.m. in the Pugh Hall Ocora about his investigation into the Pinellas County school district and the tremendous impact that the investigative series had on education policy and programs in the district.

Facing tremendous scrutiny after the release of Failure Factories, Pinellas County began proposing sweeping fixes to the school district—three of the five schools profiled have now been designated magnets to attract diversity and better teachers.

The U.S. Department of Education opened a civil rights investigation into the matter and additionally opened an investigation into the district’s use of federal Title I dollars to determine if the money was properly spent.