Students investigate the pros and cons of education grants

Richwood High School | Richwood, WV

In West Virginia, schools throughout the state saw a drop in test scores while they transitioned to new Common Core standards. But at Richwood High School, scores stayed steady, a fact that some members of the community credited to a U.S. Department of Education grant that gave the school $1.4 million. The grant has received a mixed reaction among education professionals who say that the funding is not a sustainable way to help schools.

Kendra Lipps, a student who worked on the report, said that her classmates felt a stake in the conversation.

“The students are the ones being affected by the changes that they made,” she said. “It’s important to get our point of view because we’re the ones that it’s helping or hurting.”

Students’ personal involvement in the story was beneficial to the reporting process, Tarrin Neel, a producer on the report, said. “If it wouldn’t have affected us as much, I don’t think we would have been as knowledgeable as to what happened, so we wouldn’t have been able to get as detailed. It made it a little bit easier,” he said.

By reporting on the issue, students can help raise awareness about how grant funding works for other schools, Lipps said. “There’s other schools in the state and in the whole country that might need to go through the same process…maybe other schools can realize that it can help them too,” she said.

This video was produced with mentor support from West Virginia Public Broadcasting.