January 23, 2015Sonja Isger of the Palm Beach Post for EWA
When education analyst Maria Ferguson looks at data from across the country, she sees record-setting confidence levels among school district leaders that the Common Core State Standards are more rigorous than what states had in place before. At the same time, Ferguson told reporters at a recent Education Writers Association seminar, these new expectations are barreling down on educators faster than they are able to prepare.
The District of Columbia Public Schools could soon be making a large investment in the education of Latino and black males, who comprise 43 percent of the district’s student population and who historically tend to fall behind in reading and math, and have lower attendance and graduation rates.
November 26, 2014FEBRUARY 27, 2015 - FEBRUARY 28, 2015DENVER, CO
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.
There’s a busy year ahead on the schools beat – I talked to reporters, policy analysts and educators to put together a cheat sheet to a few of the stories you can expect to be on the front burner in the coming months:
In a union vote Wednesday, Boston teachers approved the school district’s plan to add 40 minutes to the K-8 instructional day at more than 50 campuses, a move experts say could help improve the quality of classroom instruction, boost student learning, and yield long-term benefits to the wider community.
Behind every good teacher is a good principal, research shows. How can school districts make sure they have the right leaders in place? Too many school districts have haphazard ways of recruiting and nurturing potential principals.
Trends show that students of color are relying more heavily on community colleges as an “access point to low-cost, postsecondary education,” according to a recent report by the Center for American Progress.
School districts aren’t allowed to discriminate based on a student’s race, color or national origin. And, in case there was any question about English-language learners, the Obama administration released a 40-page reminder in the form of guidelines Wednesday that they’re not to be discriminated against either.
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. At the same time, it will sharpen participants’ skills at making the most of their resources for producing high-quality coverage.
President Obama will be in Tennessee today, where he’s expected to reveal more details of a proposal to make the first two years of community college free to qualified students. More details will follow in the State of the Union address later this month.