2016 U.S. Elections

Overview

Education & the 2016 Elections

Although education did not figure prominently in the 2016 presidential election, the victory of Republican Donald Trump is expected to have important implications for policy and funding across the educational spectrum. The president's choice for education secretary of Betsy DeVos -- who narrowly won confirmation by the Senate -- is widely seen as a clear signal that school choice will be a top educational priority of the new administration.

Although education did not figure prominently in the 2016 presidential election, the victory of Republican Donald Trump is expected to have important implications for policy and funding across the educational spectrum. The president’s choice for education secretary of Betsy DeVos — who narrowly won confirmation by the Senate — is widely seen as a clear signal that school choice will be a top educational priority of the new administration.

The new president’s hand is strengthened because Republicans also retained their majorities in the U.S. House and Senate as a result of the November 2016 elections. The leadership in the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee — the key policymaking panel on education — was unchanged, with Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) remaining as chairman and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) as the senior Democrat. (Alexander is also a former governor and U.S. secretary of education under President George H.W. Bush.) However, the companion House panel — the Education & the Workforce Committee — has a new leader, Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.). Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.) continues as the chamber’s senior Democrat.

Furthermore, the GOP made gains in state-level elections. Republicans now hold the governorship in 33 states, compared with 16 for Democrats and one Independent. The newly elected governors include Republicans Eric Greitens of Missouri, Eric Holcomb of Indiana, Henry McMaster of South Carolina, Phil Scott of Vermont, and Chris Sununu of New Hampshire. The new Democratic governors are John C. Carney Jr. of Delaware, Roy Cooper of North Carolina, and Jim Justice of West Virginia.

Republicans increased by four the number of states in which they hold what Ballotpedia calls a “trifecta,” with control of the governorship and both legislative chambers. In 25 states, Republicans now have a trifecta. In six states, Democrats hold a trifecta.

Voters elected new state superintendents in four states: Jennifer McCormick ® of Indiana, Elsie Arntzen ® of Montana, Mark Johnson ® of North Carolina, and Chris Reykdal (nonpartisan) of Washington. Incumbent Kirsten Baesler (nonpartisan) was elected to a second term in North Dakota.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Trump Budget Signals Education Priorities

President Donald Trump’s first budget blueprint begins to flesh out the areas in which he sees an important federal role in education — most notably expanding school choice — and those he doesn’t. At the same time, it raises questions about the fate of big-ticket items, including aid to improve teacher quality and support after-school programs. 

Latest News

Betsy Devos: President Trump Delivers on Education Promises

President Trump’s first address to the joint session of Congress was clear: promises made, promises kept. The president promised to shake up the status quo in Washington, and he has. From keeping Carrier in the United States to nominating the highly qualified Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, our president continues to follow through on his word.

He’s also delivering on his promises for education.

Latest News

Texas House Education Chief Declares School Choice Bill DOA

The top education policy official in the Texas House said Tuesday that he would not allow the approval of school vouchers this legislative session, a blunt pronouncement that could be fatal to the prospects for legislation that is a priority for many top Republicans in the state.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

What’s Ahead for School Choice in the Trump Era?

If anyone doubted that school choice would be a top educational priority for the Trump administration, the Republican president’s first address to a joint session of Congress laid that question to rest.

“I am calling upon members of both parties to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children,” he declared. “These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them.”

EWA Radio

White House Rolls Back Guidance on Transgender Students. Episode Extra: “Dear Betsy DeVos …”
EWA Radio: Episode 111

Evie Blad of Education Week discusses President Trump’s decision to rescind Obama-era guidance on accommodations for transgender students. New Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos contends that further consideration and study is needed on the Obama administration’s instructions to districts, including on whether students should be allowed to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity — rather than their gender at birth. DeVos also said the issue is best left up to local schools and states to decide. What does this mean for public schools? Who should decide which bathrooms transgender students should be allowed to use? How will the federal policy shift influence pending legal challenges, including a forthcoming Supreme Court case? 

And in a special addition to this week’s podcast, hear what Chalkbeat readers say they want DeVos to know about public education. Sarah Darville, the education news outlet’s national editor, discusses common themes in reader responses, including an emphasis on the vital role schools play in communities, and the need for greater resources to help students succeed. 

Latest News

Yale University Changes Calhoun College Name Post-Trump

Over the weekend, Yale President Peter Salovey announced that the university will give Calhoun College, dedicated to the white supremacist and fervent slavery supporter John Calhoun, a new name: Hopper College, after the renowned computer scientist Grace Murray Hopper.

EWA Radio

“The View From Room 205”: Can Schools Conquer Poverty?
EWA Radio: Episode 109

Peabody Award-winning radio journalist Linda Lutton of WBEZ in Chicago discusses her new documentary following a class of fourth graders in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Is a “no excuses” school model a realistic approach for kids whose families are struggling to provide basics like shelter and food? How does Chicago Public Schools’ emphasis on high-stakes testing play out at William Penn Elementary? How can education reporters make the most of their access to classrooms, teachers, students, and families? And what lessons from “Room 205” could apply to the ongoing debate over how to best lift students out of poverty?

Latest News

Governors, State Lawmakers Roll Out School Choice Proposals

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos—now the nation’s most visible school choice advocate—takes the helm at a time when Republicans control the governor’s house or the state legislature in 44 states and have full control of the executive and legislative branches in 25 states.

EWA Radio

Betsy DeVos Is Secretary of Education. Now What?
EWA Radio: Episode 108

Betsy DeVos takes the oath of office.

Kimberly Hefling of Politico discusses the new U.S. secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, who was confirmed Tuesday after Vice President Mike Pence was called in to break a 50-50 tie in the Senate. What will be her top priorities moving forward? How aggressively will the new secretary push school choice, and how likely is President Trump’s $20 billion school choice plan to gain traction? Has DeVos lost political capital during the bruising confirmation process? Was she held to a higher standard than other nominees for President Trump’s cabinet? And how much power will the Republican mega-donor have to roll back the Obama administration’s education policies and initiatives? 

Latest News

Betsy DeVos Confirmed To Lead Education Department As Democratic Effort To Block Her Fails

Today the Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as President Trump’s education secretary, 51-50. Vice President Pence had to cast an unprecedented tie-breaking vote, after hearings that became fodder for Saturday Night Live; after angry constituents swamped Senate offices with 1.5 million calls a day; after two Republican senators defected; and Democrats held the floor overnight in protest.

Latest News

Betsy DeVos, Pick for Secretary of Education, Is the Most Jeered

By most any measure, the secretary of education is one of the least powerful cabinet positions.

The secretary is 16th in the line of succession to the presidency. Education accounts for a paltry 3 percent of the federal budget, compared with 24 percent for Social Security and 16 percent for defense. And the most recent major federal education law curtailed Washington’s role on testing, standards and accountability, turning much of the firepower in education policy back to states and school districts.

Latest News

Senate Set to Decide Betsy DeVos’ Fate Next Week

The Senate voted Friday to move the nomination of Betsy DeVos for education secretary to a full vote next week. 

By a party-line vote of 52-48, the Senate voted to close debate on DeVos’ nomination by President Donald Trump, which has sparked a controversy unlike any seen before over a potential secretary of education. The final vote on DeVos is expected to take place Monday or Tuesday. 

Latest News

Kids of Color ‘Should Be Talking About Toys,’ Not Politics

Last weekend, after President Trump announced an executive order banning foreign nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, Senait Admassu’s seven-year-old nephew made a startling announcement. “I’m not American. I will never be American,” he said. “I wasn’t born here.”

Admassu won’t reveal her nephew’s name. His family, who moved to Southern California from Ethiopia five years ago as legal immigrants, is too afraid for their safety.

Latest News

Researchers Download Federal Data Amid Concerns Over Future Access

Before a confirmation vote at the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee this week, Betsy DeVos responded to more than 800 written questions from Democratic members of the committee. Those answers didn’t help persuade any Democrats to support her as the next secretary of education — her nomination advanced to the full Senate on a party-line 12-11 vote — but one response has stirred concerns among higher education researchers that the Department of Education will not remain committed to maintaining federal data currently published on its website.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

The Education Secretaries Betsy DeVos Would Follow

A Senate committee is slated to vote tomorrow on President Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. secretary of education — philanthropist and school choice advocate Betsy DeVos. The Education Department is one of the newer federal departments, created during President Jimmy Carter’s administration and beginning its work in May of 1980.

Latest News

Here’s Why Betsy DeVos Will Likely Be Confirmed, Despite Pushback

Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the U.S. Department of Education, is at the center of a social media maelstrom and has stirred more opposition than any other candidate for secretary in the department’s more than three decade history. However, DeVos only needs Republican support to be confirmed. And the GOP controlls the U.S. Senate 52 to 48. That means, if all the Democrats vote against DeVos as expected, three senators would need to flip to defeat her.

Latest News

School Choice Group Denies Coordination With DeVos

A school-choice advocacy group formerly chaired by Betsy DeVos is denying any ongoing coordination with her after a staffer purported to invite guests on her behalf to a congressional nomination hearing. Critics say the invitation — included in email correspondence obtained by The Detroit News — raises questions about DeVos’ ties to the nonprofit American Federation for Children, which she said she resigned from Nov. 22 after President Donald Trump nominated her to lead the U.S. Department of Education.

Latest News

Betsy DeVos’s Ethics Review Raises Further Questions for Democrats and Watchdogs

Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s nominee to lead the Education Department, promised late last week to divest from more than 100 entities to avoid potential conflicts of interest with her new job. But there are important unanswered questions about the considerable financial interests — including, it appears, in education-related companies — that DeVos will continue to hold, according to Democrats and ethics watchdogs.

Latest News

What We Learned About Betsy DeVos’s Higher Education Positions … Not Much

In a hearing that lasted three and a half hours, education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos revealed very little about how she intends to govern an agency that oversees thousands of colleges and universities and the trillions of dollars in loans and grants that help keep their doors open.

Higher education took a backseat to K-12 policy at Tuesday’s confirmation hearing, but the few times that senators asked DeVos about her stance on key regulations and the role of the government in student lending, she provided vague, noncommittal answers.

Member Stories

January 12-19
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

“While Trump spoke of his desire to reinvest in rural America, most of his education policy has had an urban focus,” Ben Felder writes for The Oklahoman in a story that’s part of a series leading up to the inauguration.

 

Kate Murphy of the Cincinnati Enquirer interviews the sexual assault survivor whose case launched a federal investigation of how the University of Cincinnati handles reports of sexual assault.

 

Latest News

Just How Much Money Has Donald Trump’s Secretary Of Education Choice Given To Republicans?

Since Donald Trump picked Michigan fundraiser and school voucher advocate Betsy DeVos as his secretary of Education, Democrats and other political observers have examined her generous political contributions and any conflicts they might pose.

On Tuesday, at DeVos’ confirmation hearing, Sen. Bernie Sanders raised the issue again, but DeVos, who is married to the billionaire heir to the Amway fortune, said she didn’t know how much her family had contributed to the Republican Party.

Sanders (I-Vt.) wasn’t deterred.

Latest News

Democrats Press Betsy DeVos on Privatization, ESSA, and LGBT Rights

Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s pick to lead the U.S. Department of Education, sought to use her confirmation hearing to beat back the notion that she would undermine public education as head of the department, as Democrats pressed her on everything from her views on the civil rights of gay and lesbian students, to states’ responsibilities for students in special education, and guns in schools. 

Latest News

Devos Pledges Not To Undo Public Education, Pushes Choice

In a sometimes contentious confirmation hearing, education secretary pick Betsy DeVos pledged that she would not seek to dismantle public schools amid questions by Democrats about her qualifications, political donations and long-time work advocating for charter schools and school choice.

DeVos said she would address “the needs of all parents and students” but that a one-size fits all model doesn’t work in education.

Latest News

What Betsy DeVos Did (and Didn’t) Reveal About Her Education Priorities

Donald Trump advocated on the campaign trail for a $20 billion federal school-voucher program. But during her confirmation hearing on Tuesday evening, Betsy DeVos, the president-elect’s choice to lead the U.S. Education Department, said school choice should be a state decision. She framed school choice as a right for students and families. And she said during the hearing that she was committed to strengthening public education for all students.

Latest News

Trump Education Pick Devos Promotes School Choice At Confirmation Hearing

Education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos voiced strong support for public school alternatives at her confirmation hearing Tuesday, telling senators that “parents no longer believe that a one-size-fits-all model of learning fits the needs of every child.”

DeVos told the Senate Health, Education and Pensions Committe that she would be “a strong advocate for great public schools” if confirmed, but added that “if a school is troubled, or unsafe, or not a good fit for a child … we should support a parent’s right to enroll their child in a high-quality alternative.”

Latest News

Devos Grilled By Democratic Leaders Over Her Advocacy For School Choice

Betsy DeVos, a Michigan advocate for school choice and vouchers and President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary, vowed Tuesday to protect any schools – public, private or otherwise – as long as they are working for students and parents and serving their needs.

Facing Democrats who questioned DeVos’ support of school choice and what it may mean for public schools, DeVos said she supports “any great school” – including public schools and those beyond what “the (public school) system thinks is best for kids to what moms and dads want, expect and deserve.”

Latest News

Betsy DeVos’s Education Hearing Erupts Into Partisan Debate

At her confirmation hearing on Tuesday to be education secretary, Betsy DeVos vigorously defended her work steering taxpayer dollars from traditional public schools, arguing that it was time to move away from a “one size fits all” system and toward newer models for students from preschool to college.

The hearing quickly became a heated and partisan debate that reflected the nation’s political divide on how best to spend public money in education.

Latest News

Devos Dodges Toughest Questions About Public School Plans

Republican philanthropist Betsy DeVos pledged Tuesday that she would be “a strong advocate for great public schools,” if confirmed as Donald Trump’s Education secretary.

But when pressed by Democrats, she wouldn’t commit to keeping federal funding intact for traditional public schools.

EWA Radio

‘The Book of Isaias’: A Memphis DREAMer’s Uncertain Path
EWA Radio: Episode 106

Journalist Daniel Connolly spent a year embedded at a Memphis high school to learn first-hand about the educational experiences of Hispanic immigrants’ children. Connolly’s new book focuses on star student Isaias Ramos, “the hope of Kingsbury High.” The author explores how Isaias, born in the U.S., seeks to overcome obstacles to his plans for college. How did Connolly (The Memphis Commercial Appeal) gain such extraordinary access to the students, educators, and families of this school community? What does Isaias’ journey tell us about the hopes and aspirations of Hispanic immigrant families? And how are real world realities pressuring public schools to redefine expectations for student success?

Latest News

Can Betsy DeVos Be Blamed for the State of Detroit’s Schools? What You Need to Know

Donald Trump’s nominee to be the nation’s next secretary of education doesn’t live in Detroit. She doesn’t routinely work in Detroit, either.

But Detroit is nonetheless sure to be on the agenda when billionaire philanthropist Betsy DeVos sits down Tuesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee for the start of her confirmation hearings.

Latest News

Trump’s Pick for Education Could Face Unusually Stiff Resistance

Nominees for secretary of education have typically breezed through confirmation by the Senate with bipartisan approval.

But Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald J. Trump’s choice for the post, is no typical nominee. She is a billionaire with a complex web of financial investments, including in companies that stand to win or lose from the department she would oversee. She has been an aggressive force in politics for years, as a prominent Republican donor and as a supporter of steering public dollars to private schools.

Latest News

As DeVos Confirmation Hearing Looms, Here’s How They Went for Past Nominees

Based on reactions from Senate Democrats and others in the education community, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, is likely to face some heat when her confirmation hearing takes place Jan. 17 before the Senate education committee. But how will she fare compared with previous nominees who have gone under the microscope?

First, here are a couple of general questions about Devos’ hearing:

EWA Radio

‘Quality Counts’ – Rating the Nation’s Public Schools
EWA Radio: Episode 105

Education Week’s Mark Bomster (assistant managing editor) and Sterling Lloyd (senior research associate) discuss the 2017 “Quality Counts” report, which examines and rates state-level efforts to improve public education. This year’s edition features a special focus on implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced No Child Left Behind as the backbone of the nation’s federal K-12 policy. How ready are states, districts, and schools for the policy shifts — and new flexibility — on school accountability, testing, and teacher evaluations under ESSA, among other issues? What are some story ideas for local reporters covering the implementation? Also, which states scored the highest on Education Week’s ratings when it comes to student achievement, equitable education spending, and the “Chance for Success” index? How can education writers use this data to inform their own reporting?

Latest News

Teachers Unions Mount Campaign Against Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Education Pick

National teachers unions are mounting an aggressive campaign against Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary, arguing that she is an ideological extremist with a record of undermining the public schools her department would oversee. The National Education Association, the largest labor union in the nation, is mobilizing teachers to call and email their senators, urging a vote against DeVos’s confirmation.

EWA Radio

2017: Big Education Stories to Watch
EWA Radio: Episode 104

Kate Zernike, The New York Times’ national education reporter, discusses what’s ahead on the beat in 2017. How will President-elect Donald Trump translate his slim set of campaign promises on education into a larger and more detailed agenda? What do we know about the direction Trump’s nominee for U.S. secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, will seek to take federal policy if she’s confirmed? Zernike also offers story ideas and suggestions for local and regional education reporters to consider in the new year. 

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

What’s Next for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics?
A Q&A With Outgoing Executive Director Alejandra Ceja

Alejandra Ceja has been the executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics since 2013 — a position she’ll give up at noon on Jan. 19, the day before the presidential inauguration. I recently sat down with her at the U.S. Department of Education to talk about the state of Latino education, the Initiative’s first 25 years, and what we can expect from the Initiative under the next administration. 

Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length. 

Member Stories

December 22-29
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

What will education in California look like under President Trump? Nan Austin of The Modesto Bee offers her take, noting the ”stability built in by state law and sheer size.”

 

In this story on tall tales during exam week, one Indiana University professor tells Michael Reschke of The Herald-Times that this ”can be an especially dangerous time of year for grandmothers, grandfathers and pets,” who all seem to fall suddenly ill.

 

Latest News

‘School Choice’ Or ‘Privatization’? A Guide To Loaded Education Lingo In The Trump Era

Some people — including President-elect Donald Trump — believe that to improve U.S. education, the nation should stop spending so many tax dollars on public schools and instead invest in alternatives, including charter schools and taxpayer-funded vouchers for private and religious schools.

They say they are part of a movement for school choice, for empowering all parents, regardless of income, to select the best learning experience for their children.

EWA Radio

Students Can’t Recognize Fake News. That’s a Problem.
EWA Radio: Episode 103

Benjamin Herold of Education Week discusses why media literacy is in the spotlight in the wake of the presidential election, and the troubling findings of a new Stanford University study that showed the vast majority of students from middle school through college can’t identify “fake news.” Why are so many digital natives flunking when it comes to evaluating the reliability of material they encounter online? How are policymakers, researchers, and educators proposing that schools address this deficit in critical-thinking skills?

EWA Radio

Who Is Betsy DeVos?
EWA Radio: Episode 102

Veteran education reporters from the Detroit Free Press and The Washington Post discuss Betsy DeVos, the billionaire school choice advocate nominated by President-elect Donald Trump. David Jesse of the Detroit newspaper sheds light on DeVos’ Michigan track record on legislative causes, and what is known about her tactics and negotiating style. Plus, he explains how DeVos’ strong religious beliefs have influenced her policy agenda. Emma Brown of The Washington Post details why Trump’s proposal for $20 billion in school vouchers might be a tough sell, even to a Republican-controlled Congress. And she sheds light on the potential for the next administration to dismantle President Obama’s education initiatives, including scaling back the reach of the Office for Civil Rights at the Education Department.

Member Stories

November 17-December 1
Some of our favorite stories by EWA members in the last two weeks

Who is Betsy DeVos? Dale Mezzacappa, Greg Windle and Darryl Murphy of the Philadelphia Public School Notebook team up for a closer look at the Michigan billionaire who is poised to become the next U.S. secretary of education. 

 

EWA Radio

‘Unprepared’ in Memphis: The Realities of College Readiness
EWA Radio: Episode 99

In a new series, Memphis Commercial Appeal reporter Jennifer Pignolet tells the story of Shelby County students working hard to make it to college — and to succeed once they arrive. And their challenges aren’t just financial: for some, like Darrius Isom of South Memphis, having reliable transportation to get to class on time is a game changer. And what are some of the in-school and extracurricular programs that students say are making a difference? Pignolet also looks at the the Tennessee Promise program, which provides free community college classes to qualified students, and assigns a mentor to help guide them. 

THANKSGIVING BONUS: EWA journalist members share some of the things they’re grateful for this year. 

EWA Radio

Why A Trump Presidency Has Higher Ed on Edge
EWA Radio: Episode 98

Benjamin Wermund of Politico discusses the uncertainties ahead for the nation’s colleges and universities following the presidential election. While Donald Trump has offered few specifics on education policy, his surrogates suggest he will reverse course on many initiatives put in place under President Obama. That could have a significant impact on areas like Title IX enforcement, federal funding for research, and more. Higher education leaders are also facing a surge in reports of hate crimes and harassment on campuses that were already struggling with issues of free speech and diversity.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

How Will Education Fare Under President Trump?

The long, strange election cycle came to an end Tuesday with the election of Donald Trump as the next president. And while his campaign platform was scarce on education policy details, there’s no question his administration will have a significant impact, from early childhood to K-12 and higher education

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Latino Students, Charter Schools and the Massachusetts Ballot Question

This Election Day, Massachusetts voters will decide whether to lift the cap on the number of charter schools in the state — a hotly contested ballot measure that’s drawn more than $34 million in fundraising among the two sides and garnered national attention, with parents of students of color and advocates for minority students on both sides of the issue.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

When Schools Close for Voting, Do Students Miss Out?

Fearing higher-than-usual potential for unruly voters, school districts across the country have canceled classes at campuses used as Election Day polling stations. But some civics advocates say the decisions result in the loss of a powerful “teachable moment.”

Member Stories

October 13-20
Some of our favorite stories by EWA members this week

Who will win the U.S. presidential election? Just ask America’s schoolchildren, who have accurately predicted the last 13 presidential elections, Greg Toppo of USA TODAY reports. This year’s nationwide mock election showed a landslide victory for Hillary Clinton.

 

Chicago could become the first U.S. city to cap its number of charter schools using a union contract, Lauren FitzPatrick writes for the Chicago Sun-Times.

 

EWA Radio

Is ‘Trump Effect’ Hurting Students?
EWA Radio: Episode 94

Donald Trump speaks at campaign rally.

New York Times best-selling author Dana Goldstein (“The Teacher Wars”) discusses her reporting for Slate on whether Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s fiery rhetoric is trickling down into classrooms. Teachers across the country have reported an increase in bullying and other inappropriate behavior. Some organizations – such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Federation of Teachers – say those problems are a direct reflection of the tumultuous political season. But how much of this really starts outside of schools, and what are reasonable expectations for schools to navigate controversial political events? Goldstein offers insights and historical context for teachers who must balance instructional objectivity with their own political views. She also suggests story ideas for reporters covering the issue in local schools. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

More Students Are Graduating, But That’s Not the Whole Story

As federal education officials tout a fourth consecutive year of improvement in the nation’s high school graduation rate, the reactions that follow are likely to fall into one of three categories: policymakers claiming credit for the gains; critics arguing that achievement gaps are still far too wide to merit celebrating; and policy wonks warning against misuses of the data.

Member Stories

September 29-October 6
What we're reading by EWA members this week

In the first story of a new series for The Hechinger Report, Lynell Hancock writes about Greenville, Mississippi, whose school district was the first in the state to “defy the governor and voluntarily offer real choice for white and black children to enroll in each other’s schools.”

 

One year after the deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, the unity and solidarity of the surrounding community hasn’t waned, Andrew Theen reports for The Oregonian.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Education at Forefront in Statewide Elections

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock talks with students at the Billings Career Center in August 2016. The state's gubernatorial race is being closely watched by education advocates. (Casey Page/The Billings Gazette)

With so much attention focused on the campaign between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, voters could be forgiven for forgetting they’ll be asked to decide plenty more in November. And the stakes are high for K-12 education in state-level elections, including races for governor, state education chief, and legislative seats, plus ballot measures on education funding and charter schools.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Presidential Debate: Play EWA Buzzwords Bingo!

Flickr/Edwin Torres

Will education get more than a passing reference in tonight’s first presidential debate? We shall see. But with the help of EWA members, we’ve assembled a digital bingo card of popular education buzzwords and phrases you may hear. 

Use the digital card to play along on Twitter using the #EWABingo hashtag. If you are planning a debate-watching party — and who isn’t? — you can also print out multiple cards.

Multimedia

Higher Ed in the Election
The U.S. Elections & Education: Part 1

Higher Ed in the Election

During the Democratic presidential primaries, the debate was over whether to make public colleges tuition-free or debt-free for students. Now that Democrat Hillary Clinton has picked up the tuition-free banner, how might her proposal affect higher education? Meanwhile, Republican nominee Donald Trump has suggested he might change the federal government’s role in lending to students altogether. Experts address what the candidates’ ideas could mean for colleges and students.

Multimedia

Pre-K-12 Education in the 2016 Race
The U.S. Elections & Education: Part 1

Pre-K-12 Education in the 2016 Race

Experts and advocates assess how early childhood and K-12 education issues are factoring into the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. They offer analysis of the candidates’ campaign positions and explore the complex politics of education policy. They also discuss other key elections around the nation with big stakes for education.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

As Convention Dust Settles, Where Do Clinton and Trump Stand on Education?

Balloons drop over the crowd in Philadelphia following Hillary Clinton's acceptance of the Democratic Party's nomination for president. (Andrew Ujifusa/Education Week)

When compared to Donald Trump’s single education policy-related sentence in his acceptance speech at the Republican convention, Hillary Clinton’s remarks on the subject Thursday night were certainly more extensive, as she sought to emphasize a track record of making schools, teachers, families, and students her political — and personal — priorities.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Seven Higher Ed Stories Journalists Should Be Covering This Year

Inside Higher Ed Editor Scott Jaschik started his annual listing of higher education stories ripe for coverage this upcoming year by asking journalists to do better when choosing which news developments to cover.

In May, just before Jaschik’s presentation at the Education Writers Association’s conference in Boston, President Obama’s daughter Malia had recently committed to attending Harvard University and taking a “gap year.”

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

The Republican Plan For Higher Education: Less Red Tape And Less Money

By Bjoertvedt (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Past is prologue.

That’s what Republicans promise in the higher education platform they’ll finalize at their national convention in Cleveland: an approach that follows the direction they’ve already taken in Congress.

Fewer regulations for colleges and universities. Less red tape for students.

Less money.

“Obviously what we do legislatively is a statement of our philosophy and our principles,” said Virginia Foxx, Republican chair of the House subcommittee that oversees higher education and co-chair of the GOP platform committee.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Teachers’ Union Applauds Clinton Address, Except on Charters

Hillary Clinton shares her views and agenda for education in a July 5 speech to delegates for the National Education Association.
Photo credit: @KristenRec

Hillary Clinton vowed to be a partner with educators if she wins the White House, during a speech today to the nation’s largest teachers’ union. Clinton drew enthusiastic applause from National Education Association members for most of the address, including her calls to make preschool universally available, boost teacher pay, and ease the burden of paying for higher education.

But the presumptive Democratic nominee got a far more muted response, and even some jeers, when she made a positive plug — albeit very briefly — for charter schools.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Higher Education and the 2016 Presidential Election

Flickr/Michael Vadon (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The first total solar eclipse to sweep across the entire continental United States in 38 years will occur on August 21, 2017. Don’t expect reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) anytime before then.

The HEA expired at the end of 2013 and it’s likely nothing will happen with it in an election year or soon thereafter, agreed a panel of journalists discussing key higher education issues and the 2016 presidential election, at the Education Writers Association National Seminar in Boston in May.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Student Protests Spread in Oregon After Latest ‘Build a Wall’ Clash

This election season, it has become common to read about candidates’ anti-immigrant rhetoric trickling down into schools and, in many cases, being used to insult Latino students. Over the past several days, the polarizing phrase “build a wall” — presumed to be inspired by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s immigration plan to curb illegal immigration across the U.S.-Mexico border — has been making headlines in Oregon, as it has inspired hundreds of studen

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Trump’s Education Agenda, in 52 Seconds

Trump’s Education Agenda, in 52 Seconds

With Donald Trump now seen as the presumptive Republican nominee for president, after his strong victory in the Indiana primary, attention surely will grow to what he would actually do if elected.

If you want to know where Trump stands on education, you might think the first place to go would be his campaign website.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

K-12 Education Seen as Side Issue in White House Race

Source: Flickr/ via Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

K-12 education hasn’t been a top theme this presidential campaign cycle, but reporters could be more aggressive in mining information from the candidates on the topic, analysts said at a national forum this week.

Historically, education hasn’t played prominently on the campaign trail, said Martin West, an associate professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The 2016 presidential election is no exception – although this race for the White House has also proven wildly unpredictable.

Report

The Trump Effect: The Impact of the Presidential Campaign on Our Nation’s Schools
Southern Poverty Law Center

Every four years, teachers in the United States use the presidential election to impart valuable lessons to students about the electoral process, democracy, government and the responsibilities of citizenship.

But, for students and teachers alike, this year’s primary season is starkly different from any in recent memory. The results of an online survey conducted by Teaching Tolerance suggest that the campaign is having a profoundly negative effect on children and classrooms.

EWA Radio

Why President Obama Should Teach
EWA Radio: Episode 65

(Flickr/The White House)

When President Obama leaves office in January, there will be no shortage of big-name corporations and Ivy League universities clamoring for his skills. But in a recent essay for The New Yorker Magazine, contributor Cinque Henderson — a former writer for Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom” — suggests President Obama consider teaching at a historically black college or university (HBCU), community college, or even an urban high school.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Record Youth Turnout for Iowa Caucuses

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders talks with Iowa voters. The youth vote played a part in his virtual  tie with Secretary Hillary Clinton in the state's Democratic caucus, experts say. (Flickr/iprimages)

More than 22,000 young voters participated in the Republican caucuses Monday, a record turnout, according to an advocacy group for civic education.

The youth vote helped Texas Sen. Ted Cruz finish ahead of businessman Donald Trump, according to the Center on Information for Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University in Boston.

EWA Radio

Iowa Is First: The Presidential Candidates – and Their Education Plans
EWA Radio: Episode 57

(Flickr/Phil Roeder)

Iowa prides itself on holding the first caucuses of the presidential election year. EWA public editor Emily Richmond talks with statewide education reporter Mackenzie Ryan of the Des Moines Register about what it’s like to be at the epicenter of the presidential race insanity, her coverage of Republican hopeful Marco Rubio, and the big concerns for Iowa voters when it comes to public schools. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Can Youth Vote Change Election Outcomes?

University of Missouri students volunteering at a campus voter registration event in 2012. The youth vote could be a critical factor in this year's elections, as well, experts say. (Flickr/KOMU News via Creative Commons)

With the first caucuses of the presidential election year imminent, it’s worth asking: Who will turn out among young voters in Iowa and subsequent states? And could their choices help swing the final result to the underdogs instead of the presumed front-runners?

Report

Jeb Bush & Higher-Education Reform: Forget ‘Free College’
Andrew Kelly and Jason Delisle for National Review

Federal higher-education policy is in shambles. The strategy of the past 40 years — to increase student aid, watch tuition rise, and increase student aid again — has reached a breaking point. Federal loans flow freely with few questions asked, giving colleges every incentive to raise tuition and enroll more students, but less reason to worry about whether those students learn anything. Tuition at the average public four-year college has nearly quadrupled since the early 1980s, pushing more students into debt.

Key Coverage

Colleges in the 2016 Crosshairs

With college tuition continuing to rise and student debt now topping $1 trillion, a growing number of American voters say they’re anxious about paying for college. This “collective angst,” as this article puts it, has pushed college affordability to the forefront of the 2016 presidential campaigns, with Democrats calling for free (or at least “debt free”) college, and Republicans calling for more innovation and efficiency.

Multimedia

What College Affordability Means for the Election
Education & the 2016 White House Race

What College Affordability Means for the Election

College affordability has become a key topic in the 2016 presidential campaign, whether through Democratic candidates’ outlining varying approaches to a debt-free education at public universities or Republican contenders’ suggesting income-sharing arrangements and accreditation reform. A discussion of the nuances and potential of these ideas.

  • Jason Delisle, New America
  • Terry Hartle, American Council on Education
  • Neal McCluskey, Cato Institute
  • Colin Seeberger, Young Invincibles
  • Kimberly Hefling, Politico (moderator)
Report

Student Testing in America’s Great City Schools
Council of Great City Schools

Testing in the nation’s schools is among the most debated issues in public education today. Much of this discussion has centered on how much we are testing students and how we use test results to evaluate teachers, inform instructional practice, and hold schools and educators accountable. A recent national poll by Phi Delta Kappa underscores the fact that the public at large is concerned about the extent of testing in schools, and these concerns are influencing how people think about the nationwide move to adopt and implement the new Common Core State Standards.

Key Coverage

Make College Free for All

Today, there is universal access to free, public schools across the United States for kindergarten through 12th grade. That didn’t happen by presidential decree. It took populist pressure from the progressive movement, beginning in the 1890s, to make widespread access to free public schools a reality. By 1940, half of all young people were graduating from high school. As of 2013, that number is 81 percent. But that achievement is no longer enough. A college degree is the new high school diploma.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Higher Ed. Gets Brief Spotlight During Democratic Debate

Twitter/@NBCNightlyNews

It took nearly two hours, but education — more specifically college affordability and some differences in how to address it — came to the fore in the first Democratic presidential debate after CNN co-moderator Dana Bush asked both Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about their plans.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Debt-Free College: Why It’s News Now

As Democratic presidential hopefuls assemble in Las Vegas today for their first formal debate, one topic that has received little airtime during the Republican face-offs is likely to garner far more attention: the high cost of attaining a college degree.