The Boston Globe will launch an investigative team focused on public education in Massachusetts, an expansion of the Globe’s editorial staffing that is being partially financed for the next two years by a $600,000 grant from the Barr Foundation.
A dedicated editor and a team of reporters will explore educational programs that succeed and identify those that fail the students and communities they are supposed to serve.
“Inequality of opportunity is one of the defining issues of our times, and our failure to give all kids the opportunity to get a quality public school education is where it all begins,’’ the Globe’s editor, Brian McGrory, said in a statement. “This team is charged with probing where we’ve gone so wrong and what can be done to help make it right.”
While the team will be supported by a grant from the Boston-based foundation, the Globe will retain complete editorial control over the issues, people, and communities examined.
McGrory said the economic turmoil that has engulfed journalism with the ascendancy of the Internet has forced news organizations like the Globe to search out new funding mechanisms.
“A grant like this means we can devote ourselves to one of the most important issues that this region faces,” McGrory said. “The digital age has been a mixed blessing for places like the Globe — allowing for greater reach and more immediacy, but far less revenue.”
Leah Hamilton, director of education at the Barr Foundation, said in a statement that the Globe’s Spotlight report on racism in the region in 2017 and a separate examination of how valedictorians from Boston Public Schools fared after graduation helped convince the foundation to support the plan.
“As with the Globe’s series on racism in Boston in December 2017, The Valedictorians Project struck a nerve locally and stimulated a larger conversation about public education,” Hamilton said. “We believe the Globe is uniquely positioned to keep this issue front and center, to deepen public knowledge, inform civic leaders and policymakers as they advance solutions, and inspire a community-wide conversation about our boldest aspirations for public education.”