Nearly 4,000 children in Wisconsin were diagnosed with elevated levels of lead in their blood in 2014, though the number has fallen over the years thanks in part to bans on lead in paint and gasoline. Unlike in Flint, Michigan, however, no one knows how much lead in the drinking water contributes to elevated blood lead levels in Wisconsin. There are no requirements to test the drinking water when a child is lead poisoned.
According to water quality experts, there are several steps consumers can take to reduce exposure to lead in drinking water. These actions are particularly important for pregnant women, formula-fed infants and children under the age of 6. Use only cold water for cooking and drinking. Water from the hot water tap can dissolve lead more easily than cold water. Boiling water can concentrate lead.
Sometimes, when author Tom Warren researches issues for his books, he feels the pull to become an advocate. And that helps explain why, for the past two years, Warren has mailed a check to the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.
In 2015, Wisconsin advocates for open government faced a disquieting truth: If we want to preserve our state’s tradition of transparency and accountability, we must fight for it, against powerful players who will be fighting back.
The types of news stories Sharon Dunwoody finds most compelling — and most crucial in 2015 — dig deeper than “he-said-she-said” truth claims; they use data to analyze and corroborate or refute sources’ claims on important issues.
Two former members of Gov. Scott Walker’s cabinet say the administration has had a policy of communicating official business through private channels. The allegations come as the Walker administration faces criticism for cutting public access to internal text messages and other so-called transitory state records.
Students like Demitrius Kigeya thrive in Wisconsin despite the worst black-white achievement gap in the nation. The state ranks the worst in the nation for the difference between how well black and white students perform, the likelihood that black students will be suspended from school and the difference between black and white student graduation rates.
In the past year, the Republican-run state Legislature, with the blessing of Gov. Scott Walker, eliminated the state’s race-based integration program and made changes to a class-size reduction program in moves that critics charge will harm the state’s ability to close the achievement gap.
Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism reporter Abigail Becker sat down in October with state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers, Department of Public Instruction spokesman Tom McCarthy and the agency’s Director of Education Information Services John Johnson.