Tessa Duvall | Learning the Truth About Bad Schools

For years, the former Butler Middle School struggled with low academic achievement, discipline problems, declining enrollment, a tough reputation and little parent involvement. But for the 2014–15 school year, Duval County Public Schools decided to overhaul the troubled school and create two single-gender schools. Though preliminary, the results so far are encouraging. Tessa Duvall discusses the inequalities that so many students face: poverty, hunger, family struggles, and more. It’s easy to write off a school’s problems as simply bad kids, lazy teachers and absentee parents. But it’s never that simple.

Tessa Duvall joined the staff of The Courier Journal in Louisville, Kentucky, as an investigative reporter in 2019, where she has covered homelessness, the coronavirus pandemic and the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor. Prior to moving back to her home state of Kentucky, she spent four years in Jacksonville, Florida, as an enterprise reporter at The Florida Times-Union, and a year covering education in the dusty oil fields of West Texas at The Midland Reporter-Telegram. When she’s not combing through public records and holding the powerful to account, Tessa can be found working in her garden, hiking with her rescue dog Bear or reading a good book.