Alec MacGillis


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Alec MacGillis is a reporter for ProPublica, focusing on gun violence, economic inequality and the pandemic-era schools crisis. MacGillis previously reported for The New Republic, The Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun. He won the 2016 Robin Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting, the 2017 Polk Award for National Reporting and the 2017 Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, The Atlantic, New York and The New York Times Magazine, among other publications.

A resident of Baltimore, MacGillis is the author of “The Cynic,” a 2014 biography of Sen. Mitch McConnell, and “Fulfillment: America in the Shadow of Amazon.”

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Private Schools, Public Money: School Leaders Are Pushing Parents to Exploit Voucher Programs

Voucher expansions have unleashed a flood of additional taxpayer dollars to the benefit of families already enrolled in private schools. In Ohio, some schools are now “strongly encouraging” parents to apply for vouchers, regardless of need or income.

Skipping School: America’s Hidden Education Crisis

Absenteeism has nearly doubled since the pandemic. With state and federal governments largely abdicating any role in getting kids back into classrooms, some schools have turned to private companies for a reimagined version of the truant officer.

An Experiment to Fight Pandemic-Era Learning Loss Launches in Richmond

After intense opposition and skepticism, two elementary schools opened 20 days early to help students make up for what they missed during the time of remote learning. The first question: Would kids show up in the middle of summer for extra schooling?

How Social Media Apps Could Be Fueling Homicides Among Young Americans

As shooting rates among the young remain stratospheric, evidence suggests social media is serving as an accelerant to violence. Taunts that once could be forgotten now live on before large audiences, prompting people to take action.

“We’re Huge in Learning Loss!” Cashing in on the Post-Pandemic Education Crisis.

Test scores are plummeting while tens of billions in federal aid flows to schools. A visit to a recent education technology convention provides a glimpse of the frenzy to profit from the recovery efforts.

Can America’s Students Recover What They Lost During the Pandemic?

Disastrous test scores increasingly show how steep a toll the COVID-19 era exacted on students, particularly minorities. Schools are grappling with how to catch up, and the experience of one city shows how intractable the obstacles are.

The Reopening That Wasn’t: As Government Employees Work From Home, People Find Services Curtailed

Everything from pandemic policies to security concerns is causing agencies to reduce in-person services, including licenses and permits.

Settling With Kushner Companies Was Hard. Getting Money to Former Tenants May Be Harder.

Kushner-owned Westminster Management agreed to pay millions to settle allegations of maintenance horrors and excess fees in its Maryland rental apartments. Finding former tenants and paying them meaningful sums is the next challenge.

Can Community Programs Help Slow the Rise in Violence?

Amid a murder crisis in America, governments are investing millions in local, non-police programs. The violence intervention workers leading them are now under pressure to prove their worth.

What Fortune 500 Companies Said After Jan. 6 vs. What They Did

A new ProPublica app tracks corporate contributions to election deniers. From GE to Boeing, here are some of the behemoths that proclaimed that they were suspending donations — then resumed giving to the very politicians they had sworn off.

Tim Ryan: The Working-Class-Jobs Candidate in the Era of Resentment

Democrat Tim Ryan has long emphasized manufacturing jobs, a stance his party has lately begun to embrace. How he fares in his Senate race in Republican-dominated Ohio could reveal a lot about his party’s future prospects.

Kushner Company Agrees to Pay at Least $3.25 Million to Settle Claims of Shoddy Apartments and Rent Abuses

A Kushner subsidiary is settling a lawsuit that the state of Maryland filed after ProPublica reported widespread problems in thousands of the company’s Baltimore-area apartments.

At Liberty University, Veterans’ Complaints Keep Coming

The evangelical school earns substantial revenues from former members of the military whose tuition is supported by the GI Bill, but it continues to generate complaints from aggrieved vets.

Two Cities Took Different Approaches to Pandemic Court Closures. They Got Different Results.

Did closing courts contribute to the resurgence in violent crime that began in 2020? What happened in Albuquerque and Wichita may provide clues.

Trial Diary: A Journalist Sits on a Baltimore Jury

Could 12 strangers agree on justice in Baltimore, a city riddled with killings and distrust of the police, in a shooting case where the victim was an actor on the legendary drama “The Wire”?

How the Russian Invasion of Ukraine Upended Germany

In the few weeks since Putin’s forces moved on Ukraine, Germany has rethought its energy policy, overhauled its diplomatic stance toward Russia and reconsidered its military role in the world. Said one observer, “It’s staggering.”

What Germany’s Effort to Leave Coal Behind Can Teach the U.S.

The German government agreed to a commitment to transition away from the fossil fuel for environmental reasons. But the obstacles are steep.

What Philadelphia Reveals About America’s Homicide Surge

There are many explanations for the rise in killings in U.S. cities, including the pandemic and the choices made in response to it. In Philadelphia, the causes, the human costs — and the suffering — are particularly stark.

Kushner Companies Violated Multiple Laws in Massive Tenant Dispute, Judge Rules

Judge finds Kushner-owned management company charged "deceptive" fees to thousands of tenants, in lawsuit filed after ProPublica found widespread problems in their apartments.

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