The public education system in Puerto Rico was already struggling before two historic hurricanes — Irma and Maria — wreaked havoc on this U.S. territory. Reporter Andrew Ujifusa and photographer Swikar Patel of Education Week discuss their recent reporting trip to Puerto Rico, where they met students and teachers who have lost their homes — as well as their schools — and are now struggling to get the basic essentials, like food and shelter.
Your editor has just assigned you a story — students at a local university are planning a demonstration calling for the removal of a Confederate statue. Do you know what to bring, who to talk to, and how to cover it in a way that is balanced and contextualized?
A new radio documentary by APM Reports concludes that American schools are failing to use proven methods for helping dyslexic students learn to read — techniques that could also benefit their classmates. Emily Hanford, a correspondent and senior producer for APM Reports, discusses why school districts are often resistant to identifying students as dyslexic, and how long-standing debates over how best to teach reading have kept some schools from adopting best practices.
An elderly black woman with a crumpled piece of paper helped reframe the way Jose Antonio Vargas views the debate over immigration in America.
Vargas is a longtime journalist, an undocumented immigrant, and an advocate for immigrants. He was at a Tea Party event in North Carolina a couple of years ago when the woman, who recognized him from television, approached. She held a document she said her great, great, grandmother was handed after landing in South Carolina.
It was a bill of sale.
Covering Early Learning: Putting the Pieces Together
Chicago • Erikson Institute • November 6-7, 2017
From the moment a child is born, the learning begins. By the time kindergarten arrives, gaps have set in that can last a lifetime.
In states red and blue, policymakers and advocates are increasingly looking to children’s earliest years to address the achievement gaps that have long plagued the U.S. education system. But as investment and enrollment in early childhood programs grow, access, quality, and cost all present problems.
For education reporters, a huge challenge is making sense of this complex, patchwork “system.” There are the dizzying array of public and private providers — from home-based care for infants and toddlers to pre-K programs — not to mention countless initiatives, regulations, and public funding streams.
How can reporters most effectively cover the education of children from infancy to kindergarten? What stories most need telling? On November 6-7, the Education Writers Association will convene journalists and early learning experts for a journalist-only intensive seminar at the Erikson Institute in Chicago. (View the preliminary agenda.)
With journalist-led, data-driven workshops, panel discussions, and site visits, the gathering will examine the most pressing issues in early childhood care and education today, including;
- What does the latest research on brain development and early learning show?
- What do high-quality early-learning settings look like, and why are they so costly to provide?
- Why and how are states and localities seeking to transform the workforce that cares for — and helps educate — infants and young children?
- With tax reform and federal budget cuts looming, what might be the impacts on local early learning efforts?
Threaded throughout the sessions will be practical tips for covering the topic and opportunities for reporters to connect with and learn from one another. Journalists will come away with new ideas, sources, insights, and knowledge to inform their coverage of this complex and growing field.
This event is open to Journalist members only. EWA offers scholarships to eligible members that can cover transportation, lodging, and registration.
In Minneapolis, record numbers of families are abandoning their neighborhood schools for charters and other educational options, forcing the district to cut staff, programs, and services as the state’s per-pupil funding leaves with students.
Beth Slovic, a longtime education journalist in Portland, Oregon, was making dinner for her family when she noticed a bearded guy on a bicycle pulling up outside her house.
Slovic thought maybe one of her neighbors had ordered takeout. Instead, the man, a process server, came to her front door: Portland Public Schools was suing to block her public-information request for employee records.
Nearly 60 journalists joined the Education Writers Association this week at Georgia State University in Atlanta for a seminar on covering higher education. Over two days, they toured CNN headquarters, drank coffee before kvetching, and got tips for improving their coverage of top postsecondary issues. The discussions included covering undocumented students, racial conflict on campus, Title IX and sexual assault, and how Georgia State is using data to better serve at-risk students. Here’s a sampling of what people tweeted about the EWA event.
The second-graders at a charter school in the nation’s capital recently discovered a problem: a lack of “green spaces” in certain parts of the city.
The students at Two Rivers Public Charter School conducted research. But they didn’t stop there. They also wrote letters to the city council to share their concerns about inequitable access to green spaces across Washington, D.C.
The letters described the situation, explained why having such spaces in urban environments is important, and offered solutions, including the idea of helping to plant gardens near campus.
The Every Student Succeeds Act is the long-awaited rewrite of the main federal law for K-12 education, and replaces the much-maligned No Child Left Behind Act.
Reporters embarking on an investigative project should focus on a single, simple question and be relentless about answering it.
The election of Republican Donald Trump as president, coupled with the GOP’s success in retaining control of Congress for two more years, appears likely to reshape federal education policy in significant ways, from preschool to college. Already, Republican lawmakers have moved to repeal key Obama administration regulations on school accountability and teacher preparation. The Trump administration made waves by backing away from Obama-era guidance for schools on bathroom access for transgender students.
Bethany Barnes of The Oregonian discusses “The Benefit of the Doubt,” her investigation into how Portland Public Schools botched its handling of multiple allegations of a middle school teacher’s sexual misconduct stretching back more than a decade.
Action on Capitol Hill to address early childhood care and education is heating up, with key deadlines looming and critical legislation pending.
Last week, Democrats in the House and Senate introduced an ambitious child-care plan, while a House panel approved a bill to extend a popular federal home visiting program that seeks to help low-income families raise healthy children. That program, currently funded at $400 million, is set to expire unless Congress acts by the end of the month.
In a cover story for The Nation, Emmanuel Felton of The Hechinger Report argues that the federal government has substantially abandoned Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in which struck down the doctrine of “separate but equal” education. Felton found nearly 200 school districts still under federal orders to desegregate, but many of them have failed to submit the requisite progress reports.
“I use a lot of internet.” That’s how Genesis Barthelemy, a middle schooler at the Brooklyn Laboratory Charter School in New York, introduced herself to a room of tech-curious reporters at the Education Writers Association’s annual conference.
She was one of four students from tech-minded schools on the East Coast to participate in a morning-long “deep dive” exploration into digital learning in June.