Journalism in the Public Interest

A Broken System of Background Checks and More in MuckReads Weekly

Some of the best #MuckReads we read this week. Want to receive these by email? Sign up to get this briefing delivered to your inbox every weekend.

Some of the best #MuckReads we read this week. Want to receive these by email?  Sign up to get this briefing delivered to your inbox every weekend.

Broken discipline tracking systems let teachers flee troubled pasts, USA TODAY

Teachers who lose their licenses can get back into the classroom – often simply by moving states. This USA TODAY Network investigation found "fundamental defects" in the system of background checks for teachers, often leaving students at risk.

More: How we graded the states on teacher background checks

The Middlemen, Reuters

Loose regulations and lax punishments are allowing labor brokers, the "middlemen" hired by U.S. companies to recruit foreign workers, to exploit, abuse and profit off of the workers they bring in for temporary jobs, according to this Reuters investigation. According to one EEOC attorney representing workers, these many of these brokers "are able to secure legitimate visas and operate within the system" and then "disappear and reinvent as a new company."

This Is How Boko Haram Is Trying To Turn Captives Into Suicide Bombers, Buzzfeed

This inside look at Boko Haram – the Nigerian terror group responsible for driving more than 2.5 million people from their homes since 2013 – reveals how, with morale of fighters worsening, the group is aiming to turn captives into suicide bombers.

No Place for Old Men, Texas Observer

The prison population in Texas is becoming increasingly more expensive. That's because among the 109 prisons are 27,000 prisoners over the age of 50, and as the prison population continues to age, the issue will only get worse. According to a 2012 ACLU report, it costs around $68,000 per year to keep a prisoner over the age of 50 — twice the national average.

Brokers of junk science?, Center for Public Integrity

Among the medical journals indexed by the National Institute of Health, at least two journals stand out for publishing industry-funded "junk science" — articles that "are often used to stall regulatory efforts and defend court cases."

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