Chalkbeat is a left-of-center nonprofit media organization that is focused on local reporting on education issues in the United States. Since 2020, the organization has embraced critical race theory-inspired “antiracist” activism and regularly reports on the use of critical race theory in teaching and efforts to bar it from public school curriculums.
Founding and History
Chalkbeat was founded in 2014 with the goal of providing local reporting on school and educational issues. Chalkbeat has a presence in eight locations around the country: Chicago, Colorado, Detroit, Indiana, Newark, New York, Philadelphia, and Tennessee and has sought to expand its operation further. 1
In 2020, Chalkbeat aggressively embraced critical race theory and so-called “antiracism” education. Chalkbeat founder Elizabeth Green released a statement saying that outlet was adding “antiracism” to the organization’s core values and approvingly quote controversial academic Ibram X. Kendi. Green lamented that traditional journalistic practices were upholding white supremacy and that Chalkbeat was not sufficiently diverse and would hire more minorities in the future. 2
In June 2020, Chalkbeat reported $7,445,164 in revenue. Of that, $7,314,781 was derived from contributions and grants, with other funding coming from program service revenue, investment income, and other income such as the sale of ad space. The organization had $7,964,369 in expenses, of which $6,562,837 was allocated for salaries and benefits. The organization ended the fiscal year with a deficit of $419,205 and net assets of $5,660,191. 3
Notable funders include the Bezos Family Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Gates Family Foundation, and the Poynter-Koch Media Fellowship. 4
Chalkbeat is focused on various aspects of the education system around the country, often from a left-of-center and identity politics-based perspective.
Chalkbeat covers the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on local schools. Reporters have covered issues such as how COVID relief funds are allocated, safety concerns, remote learning, and news and debates about schools reopening. 5
Diversity and Equity
In June 2020, Chalkbeat announced that it was embracing the critical race theory-inspired radical-left ideology of “antiracism” as a core value. In an update on that change a year later, Elizabeth Green, the founder of CEO, stated that there has been intensifying racial conflict and characterized the Capital Riot on January 6 as being a “white supremacist-fueled insurrection” and that racial activism has spurred a “defensive reaction” in the form of restrictions on the teaching of critical race theory in schools. 6
Chalkbeat reporting on the issue covers things such as school funding levels, police presence in schools, and debates about the use of critical race theory in schools. Chalkbeat maintains a map that tracks efforts of state governments to either ban or support critical race theory, and characterizes the controversial subject as merely being “teaching about racism and bias”7 8
Charters and Choice
Chalkbeat regularly reports on charter school developments around the country. Coverage of charter schools is mixed and is not entirely negative. 9
Elizabeth Green is the founder and CEO of Chalkbeat, which she launched in 2014. She has worked as an education reporter and her book on teacher training, Building a Better Teacher, was a New York Times bestseller. In addition to Chalkbeat, she is also the cofounder of the American Journalism Project. 10 11
- “About Chalkbeat.” Chalkbeat. Accessed July 19, 2021. https://www.chalkbeat.org/pages/about.
- Green, Elizabeth. “Why Chalkbeat Is Committing to Antiracism.” Chalkbeat. June 4, 2020. https://www.chalkbeat.org/21280299/black-lives-matter-antiracist.
- Chalkbeat, Return of an Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2020.
- “Our Supporters.” Chalkbeat. Accessed July 19, 2021. https://www.chalkbeat.org/pages/supporters.
- “Coronavirus.” Chalkbeat.Accessed July 19, 2021. https://www.chalkbeat.org/coronavirus.
- Green, Elizabeth. “One Year Later: Reflecting on Our Commitment to Antiracism.” Chalkbeat, July 13, 2021. https://www.chalkbeat.org/2021/7/13/22575563/chalkbeat-black-lives-matter-antiracist-anniversary.
- “Diversity & Equity.” Chalkbeat. Accessed July 19, 2021. https://www.chalkbeat.org/diversity-equity.
- Stout, Cathryn, and Gabrielle LaMarr LeMee. “MAP: Efforts to Restrict Teaching about Racism, Bias Have Multiplied.” Chalkbeat. June 9, 2021. https://www.chalkbeat.org/22525983/map-critical-race-theory-legislation-teaching-racism.
- “Charters & Choice.” Chalkbeat. Accessed July 19, 2021. https://www.chalkbeat.org/charters-choice.
- “Elizabeth Green Profile and Activity.” Chalkbeat. Accessed July 19, 2021. https://www.chalkbeat.org/authors/elizabeth-green.
- “Elizabeth Green | LinkedIn.” Linkedin.com. Accessed July 19, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabethgreen/.