Student-centered learning is gaining ground nationally as a strategy to rethink classroom instruction, setting new expectations for schooling as a collaborative effort. The approach is seen as holding great potential, but also poses significant challenges for teachers and students alike.
What does it look like in practice? What does research suggest are the key elements for making it successful? How can reporters evaluate whether the programs in their own communities are of high quality?
For education reporters looking for story ideas, talking to teachers is a smart place to start. That was the key takeaway from the “Performance and Perceptions: Taking the Pulse of the Profession” session at EWA’s recent seminar on the teaching profession, held last month in Detroit.
Charter schools. Vouchers. Education tax credits. The “portfolio” model of schooling in cities. It’s nearly impossible to find consensus on these hot-button issues, but one thing is clear: American families are seeing more school options at the K-12 level than ever before, especially in urban areas. And the Republican gains in the 2014 elections at the federal and state levels are widely expected to provide further impetus for expanding school choice.
In the Minneapolis Public Schools, Nearly two-thirds of the district’s enrollment are students of color. Additionally, 65 percent of the district’s more than 35,000 students qualify for free and reduced-price meals. Beth Hawkins, a reporter for the MinnPost, had a hunch that the best-paid local teachers were working in the wealthiest schools, teaching white students. But this was just a guess, and her colleague at the nonprofit news site, data editor Tom Nehil, wanted to see the numbers.
December 15, 2014January 12, 2015February 26, 2015
This academic year marks a critical juncture for the Common Core, as most states gear up to assess students on the shared standards for the first time. Are states, districts, and schools ready? What about states that are reviewing or have rescinded the standards? How can reporters make sense of it all? There’s no shortage of compelling angles to pursue in this complex and fast-evolving story—rendered all the more so by the political tussles erupting over the new standards and tests.
Here’s a counter-intuitive argument: The United States should spend more money on standardized tests.
With opposition to the new Common Core State Standards and the assessments linked to them reaching a fever pitch, advocating for better tests seems like an unpopular proposition. But what if U.S. students took fewer tests that measured their ability to understand academic concepts far more deeply than current tests permit?
Education journalists took a field trip to Impact Academy of Arts and Technology this week to see project-based learning in action, including observing classrooms and watching a student defend her project on World War II and the Holocaust. Check out some Tweets from the visiting reporters, as well as more highlights from the first day at the EWA seminar at Stanford University. (Also, check out this earlier blog post about our testing seminar.)
Every time a new Common Core poll is released, a lot of people rush to find out what’s the state of public opinion on the standards. Or maybe to find out if teachers like the standards more or less than last year.
One recent survey, however, didn’t even pose the “popularity” question. Instead, it focused on wonky-sounding topics: “Curriculum and professional development.” But stay with me for a moment. This stuff matters — a lot.
If 49 multiplied by 5 is 245, why would a student think the answer is 405? And who is more likely to know this – a mathematician or an elementary math teacher?
Elizabeth Green, the author of “Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (And How to Teach It to Everyone), posed this question to a roomful of education reporters at EWA’s October seminar in Detroit.
EWA’s National Seminar will gather some 500 journalists, experts, and supporting community members for dozens of sessions, including standalone speakers, panel discussions, how-to workshops, and visits to sites of interest. With its focus on financial issues, the National Seminar will arm attendees with new ideas for compelling stories on everything from salary schedules and bond issues to the burdens on families struggling to pay for preschool or college.
The Director of Media Relations will manage all media relationships at the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA). The Director will oversee the daily management of media relations while also forming innovative partnerships and working to change public opinion on difficult education issues.
The Reporter position will be responsible for both original enterprise stories and custom versions of mainstream media stories pertaining to education policy. Topics will include, but not be limited to: teacher evaluation, tenure reform, charter schools, vouchers, tax credit scholarships, online learning, homeschooling, inter-district choice, parent trigger, school funding, Common Core state standards, student assessments and teacher unions.