I started following Chalkbeat closely when I began reporting for The Statehouse File. I found the organization’s commitment to elevating diverse voices to be a vital model for my own work. Soon, I realized I wanted in — and in time, I was blessed with an opportunity to learn and grow as a Chalkbeat intern.
Growing up, it was easy to take the education I received for granted. I had it easy in a stable community, and remained blind to the inequities actively hurting people — some of whom sat next to me in class, and others who came from my own family in Indianapolis.
It was a huge undertaking to minimize my individual perception of my home community and state to best understand the stories that I told over my 10 weeks here— from the impact of a virtual school scandal on its graduating students, to the complexities that urban transportation poses to charter schools and the difficulty of teacher recruitment and retention in Indianapolis schools.
I bore witness to schools in the midst of change, and to students who overcame unimaginable odds. But not without you: Our community of readers, education leaders, and policymakers who, like us, demand more for students everywhere.
Thank you all — and especially to Stephanie and Dylan, who treated me with respect and authenticity every day — for a summer of lessons I’ll never forget.
— Erica Irish, reporter