It was a big day for Chalkbeat: CEO and co-founder Elizabeth Green rang the Nasdaq opening bell this morning.
The ceremony in Times Square marked Chalkbeat’s 10th anniversary and gave us a chance to talk about our mission — to tell the story of American education — in honor of the upcoming International Literacy Day.
“Chalkbeat has been at the forefront of covering literacy instruction across the country for a decade,” said Kristina Ayanian, executive producer at Nasdaq. “By shining a light on critical issues, Chalkbeat has fostered collaboration and ignited meaningful conversations that have the potential to shape the future of education.”
“We founded Chalkbeat 10 years ago out of a belief in the power of two things: education, which holds the power to change people’s lives, and journalism, which holds the power to change education,” Elizabeth said.
Alongside Chalkbeat board members, staff members, and reporters were a group of Chalkbeat readers and supporters.
You can also watch a recording of the event here.
Here are Elizabeth’s remarks as prepared:
Thank you very much, Kristina, and thank you to Nasdaq for recognizing Chalkbeat in honor of International Literacy Day.
We founded Chalkbeat 10 years ago out of a belief in the power of two things: education, which holds the power to change people’s lives, and journalism, which holds the power to change education. For 10 years, we have told the stories of American education, here in New York City and in seven other communities across the country.
We’ve covered the triumphs — like innovations in early childhood education in Denver, Colorado, which won more support for their work after we drew attention to it. We’ve highlighted the challenges, like when we showed how lax oversight in Indiana led a family to profit off of educational malpractice — and the laws got changed. And we’ve equipped people with resources they and their children need, like food maps for parents searching to feed their children when schools shut down in COVID.
Education and journalism both mattered tremendously 10 years ago when we founded Chalkbeat. They matter even more today.
Take the work educators have done to teach more people to read. It is one of the great success stories of the last century. And yet, here in the U.S., two out of three fourth graders are not proficient in reading. COVID brought children’s reading scores to levels not seen since the 1970s.
Journalism, too, faces historic challenges, and just when we need it most. In the last two decades, we have lost more journalism jobs than coal miner jobs. Hundreds of communities are now news deserts, with no one tracking the triumphs, or the challenges, and no one meeting people’s information needs.
The good news is, here we are. A small but mighty newsroom, standing with our community, being recognized by Nasdaq. Your recognition tells us that you see the stories that need to be told, and the communities and the kids who deserve to be part of telling them. It gives us hope. And for that we thank you tremendously. Perhaps we can come back in another 10 years and talk about the better story we were all able to write together, because we knew it mattered.
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