My favorite work from 2016

Last December I did a roundup of the pieces I was most proud of writing in 2015. It was nice to take the opportunity to reflect on my year, and I decided to do the same for 2016.


1. Can Charlotte-Mecklenburg Desegregate Its Schools … Again?
In 1971, the Supreme Court legalized busing as a means to desegregate public schools in the landmark case, Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. I covered this metropolitan school district grappling with school segregation 45 years later.

2. Under Armour’s Slam-Dunk Deal
I reported on a massive and controversial development project that Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank has been pushing for in Baltimore.

3. Rethinking School Discipline
I published a feature on racial disparities in school discipline, and the growing political pressures to address them in the age of Black Lives Matter.

4. School Desegregation Lawsuit Threatens Charters
I explored a new school desegregation lawsuit in Minnesota that involves charter schools and could impact education nationally.

5. United Workers Organize For Fair Development
For Baltimore City Paper I profiled an awesome organization that’s doing some of the most important social justice work across the city.

6. School Closures: A Blunt Instrument
In The American Prospect‘s spring 2016 issue I wrote about low-income communities fighting to save their schools from closure. I was lucky to travel to Newark and Chicago while reporting this story to meet with parents and activists.

7. The Complicated History of America’s First ‘Union-Backed’ Charter School Authorizer
I investigated the nation’s only “union-backed” charter school authorizer, and how it became such a bizarre scandal.

8. Can Baltimore Recover from Its 2015 Murder Wave?
I wrote this VICE piece in January, following a year where Baltimore saw a shocking 344 homicides in 2015. As of this writing, 316 individuals were murdered in Baltimore in 2016.

9. North Carolina Educators Fight Deportations of Central American Students
This story looked at how North Carolina teachers organized to protect their undocumented students from Obama’s deportation raids. Officials at the Department of Education actually invited one of the teachers I interviewed to D.C. following the article’s publication.

10. California’s Ed Reform Wars
This feature looked at the heated legislative fights in California over changes to their teacher tenure laws following the high-profile Vergara litigation.

11. How Cops Have Turned Baltimore into a Surveillance State
With a secret aerial surveillance program, a scathing DOJ report on Baltimore’s discriminatory policing, and the end of the Freddie Gray trials, Baltimore was left figuring out how to move forward with police reform.

12. The Afrocentric Education Crisis
I looked at the challenges faced by the dwindling number of Afrocentric schools, coupled with the rise of the education reform movement.

13. Fining Teachers for Switching Schools
I discovered a bunch of strange provisions in charter school employment contracts, like mandatory arbitration clauses and non-compete agreements.


As you can probably tell, the pieces I felt most proud of in 2016 dealt primarily with schools and Baltimore. Thanks for reading, and happy New Year!


2 thoughts on “My favorite work from 2016

  1. Pingback: My Top 5 Articles from 2016 – Corey R. Payne

  2. Pingback: My favorite work from 2018 | Rachel M. Cohen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s