The students are our future. And the students give me hope.

When I hear “reformers” like DeVos and Gates and Klein and Rhee claim that our schools are “failure factories,” that they are “obsolete,” that they are a “deadend,” and that our students are woefully undereducated, I will think of the students at this typical high school in Kansas. They unmasked a fraud. They engaged in critical thinking. No one paid them to do it. They demonstrated initiative, intelligence, and persistence. They are far smarter than the “reformers” who run them and their generation down.

In Kansas, student journalists checked out the credentials of their newly hired principal. The “university” that she cited as the source of her MA and doctorate didn’t exist. They investigated further and broke the story. The new principal resigned without ever taking office.

Connor Balthazor, 17, was in the middle of study hall when he was called into a meeting with his high school newspaper adviser.

A group of reporters and editors from the student newspaper, the Booster Redux at Pittsburg High School in southeastern Kansas, had gathered to talk about Amy Robertson, who was hired as the high school’s head principal on March 6.

The student journalists had begun researching Robertson, and quickly found some discrepancies in her education credentials. For one, when they researched Corllins University, the private university where Robertson said she got her master’s and doctorate degrees years ago, the website didn’t work. They found no evidence that it was an accredited university.

“There were some things that just didn’t quite add up,” Balthazor told The Washington Post.

The students began digging into a weeks-long investigation that would result in an article published Friday questioning the legitimacy of the principal’s degrees and of her work as an education consultant.

On Tuesday night, Robertson resigned.

This is a reminder why freedom of the press is so important to our democracy.