MCLEAN, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The year long, exclusive investigation into teacher misconduct by the USA TODAY NETWORK, part of Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), has prompted an audit of teacher-misconduct reports in all 50 states, plus further investigations by eight states.
The investigation found that a patchwork system of laws and regulations — combined with inconsistent execution and flawed coordination between states — fails to keep potentially dangerous teachers with histories of serious misconduct, including sexual and physical assault, out of classrooms and away from schoolchildren. It was the first investigation to be published both online and in print by all USA TODAY NETWORK news organizations, which include USA TODAY and 92 local sites such as The Des Moines Register, The Indianapolis Star, and The Tennessean.
States are moving fast to respond to the investigation, with at least 8 pledging further reviews, audits of investigations of their submissions of disciplined teachers to the national tracking system and/or reviews of their teacher-screening systems. With USA TODAY NETWORK properties in these states including the Asheville Citizen-Times, The Des Moines Register, Iowa City Press-Citizen, The Indianapolis Star, Journal and Courier, The Star Press, Palladium-Item, The Leaf-Chronicle, The Jackson Sun, The Daily News Journal, The Tennessean, The News Journal, El Paso Times, Hattiesburg American and The Clarion-Ledger, we applaud the following states for taking action, and strongly encourage others to follow lead: North Carolina, Iowa, Indiana, Tennessee, Delaware, Texas, Georgia, and Mississippi.
The nation’s only central repository for tracking disciplined teachers, The NASDTEC Clearinghouse, a privately-run database operated by a nonprofit, announced it will order a state by state audit of all 50 states’ submissions as a direct result of the USA TODAY NETWORK investigation. The states that are members of the organization that submit information will be required to review their past submissions and improve future ones.
“As the nation’s largest nationwide news organization with more than 3,100 journalists and 100 million unique visitors each month, the USA TODAY NETWORK has the power to drive the nation’s conversation and create major impact like no other media organization can today,” said Joanne Lipman, Gannett’s Chief Content Officer. “Every day we are empowering the communities we serve by providing trusted information that has relevance at both the local and national level. We are asking the questions that matter most, at the core, is our commitment to investigative journalism.”
This special investigation is one of many from the USA TODAY NETWORK that is all made possible by the collaborative reporting by dozens of journalists at the local and national level within the network led by Data and Investigations Editor, John Kelly. A few other notable investigations as of late from the USA TODAY NETWORK include a detailed look into untested rape kits, which ignited major impact through a change of laws and/or policies on rape kit testing in at least 20 states as well as at the federal level with $125 million in grants for state and local police departments to process and test rape kits. Another recent investigation on police agencies using cellphone data to collect data from people, often without a warrant and regardless of whether they were a criminal target, sparked attention and action from the U.S. Department of Justice and at least 20 states who have passed legislation and new rules/guidelines to set limits on local and federal agents gathering information from cellphones.
About USA TODAY NETWORK
The USA TODAY NETWORK is the largest local to national media network in the country. Powered by integrated and award-winning news organizations with deep roots in 92 local communities, plus USA TODAY, the multiplatform news network informs and engages more than 100 million people every month through its diverse portfolio of digital, mobile, and publishing products.