70th EWA National Seminar

Overview

70th EWA National Seminar
Washington, DC • May 31–June 2, 2017

EWA’s National Seminar is the largest annual gathering of journalists on the education beat. This multiday conference provides participants with top-notch training delivered through dozens of interactive sessions on covering education from early childhood through graduate school. Featuring prominent speakers, engaging campus visits, and plentiful networking opportunities, this must-attend conference provides participants with deeper understanding of the latest developments in education, a lengthy list of story ideas, and a toolbox of sharpened journalistic skills.

Apply for a Travel Scholarship

Register to Attend

EWA’s National Seminar is the largest annual gathering of journalists on the education beat. This multiday conference provides participants with top-notch training delivered through dozens of interactive sessions on covering education from early childhood through graduate school. Featuring prominent speakers, engaging campus visits, and plentiful networking opportunities, this must-attend conference provides participants with deeper understanding of the latest developments in education, a lengthy list of story ideas, and a toolbox of sharpened journalistic skills.

Apply for a Travel Scholarship

Register to Attend

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Foundation Leaders Offer Frank Talk on Education Philanthropy

The United States spends more than $600 billion a year on public elementary and secondary education, federal data indicate. By comparison, philanthropic organizations spend roughly $2 billion to $2.5 billion on education, according to Allan Golston, the president of the U.S. program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

That’s less than half a percent — a relative drop in the bucket.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Show, Don’t Tell: The Power of Visualizing Data

In an era when data is more accessible than ever, how can journalists convey that information in a compelling way that gets beyond the numbers?

One strategy is to convert the data into visual representations that help to tell the story. Such visuals range from elaborate, interactive maps to a simple dot.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Can Digital Classrooms Transform Teaching and Learning?

“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.

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Who Benefits From the Expansion of A.P. Classes?

Millions of federal and state dollars are spent each year on increasing the number of Advanced Placement classes in low-income majority black and Latino high schools. Is this a benefit to the students or a payday for the testing company?

Blog: The Educated Reporter

What’s the Price of High-Quality Child Care for All Kids?

Taryn Morrissey recalls that when she had her first child several years ago, “I knew how expensive it was going to be.” Morrissey is, after all, an associate professor at American University who studies child-care policy. Then she started shopping for child-care centers and got hit with sticker shock.

“It’s REALLY expensive,” she said with a laugh.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

How to Navigate Privacy Laws When Reporting

“How many people are here in some part because you’ve made a request for a record and gotten the FERPA answer?” asked Frank LoMonte, an expert in the federal privacy law, to a roomful of education reporters at a recent conference.

Nearly all in attendance raised their hands.

“That’s why my phone rings 2,000 times a year,” said LoMonte during the Education Writers Association’s 2017 National Seminar in Washington, D.C.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

The Do’s and Don’ts of Covering Education Research

When it comes to education research, the biggest mistake journalists make is avoiding it.

In her talk at EWA’s recent annual conference in Washington, D.C., Holly Yettick admitted that’s what she did when she was a reporter: Dismiss research as too difficult to cover or something for national publications.

Today, as the director of the Education Week Research Center, Yettick doesn’t want reporters to make the same error, and miss out on studies that can help them break news, add context to their stories, and hold public officials accountable.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

A Reality Check on Secretary DeVos’ School Choice Agenda

The Trump administration has big ambitions to ramp up school choice — both public and private — but those desires have quickly bumped up against political reality. Will the president and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos deliver? It remains to be seen, though speakers on a recent EWA panel expressed some skepticism.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

How a University Designed Its ‘DeafSpace’

At first glance, Gallaudet University looks a lot like other colleges: Massive, slate-topped Gothic and Victorian brick buildings preside over green lawns and precisely-manicured perennials. Students meander between classes, professors chat about the daily news, crammers fill study rooms in the library.

But once you begin to explore the Washington, D.C., campus, its differences become apparent.

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90% Of Parents Think Their Kids Are On Track In Math & Reading. The Real Number? Just 1 In 3, Survey Shows

One parent thought teachers with emergency certificates had CPR training. Another heard the phrase “school climate” and thought her child’s school had a broken air-conditioning system.

These are just a few of the misconceptions the Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit Learning Heroes has heard while trying to help parents understand the jargon-heavy education landscape at their children’s schools. And though they may be amusing examples, they reveal a concerning communication gap between schools and parents.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Parent Activists Flex Their Muscles in Education Policy Debates

From room mom to PTA president, parents have long played an important and active part in their children’s schools. But increasingly, parents are taking on a new, potentially powerful, role — activist.

In many states, parent groups have become a political force to be reckoned with — swarming  city halls and state capitols and flooding the phone lines of elected officials to voice their opinions on issues such as the Common Core State Standards, standardized testing, and school choice.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Rethinking High School: What Do Students Need?

Students at the MC2 STEM High School in Cleveland don’t sit through lectures all day. They learn through projects, like designing and building above-ground gardens, calculating the powers of a comic book superhero or constructing a recording studio to record a song.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

In D.C., a Tale of Two School Systems

Tensions between charter schools and traditional public schools are a fact of life nationwide, but few places have seen the debate play out with higher stakes and public glare than Washington D.C.

Marked for decades as one of the country’s most under-performing public school systems, the District of Columbia Public Schools gradually lost half of its students to charter schools.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Trump and DeVos Love School Choice. But Are Vouchers the Way To Go?

Education reporters can expect to hear a lot more about school choice over the next four to eight years. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is a longtime choice advocate and has pledged that the Trump administration will do more to advance this cause than any other presidency.

While specifics are still in short supply on how the Trump administration’s zeal for school choice will translate into new or expanded federal programs, it’s a topic that will be hotly debated at the national, state and local levels.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Troubled by College Dropouts, High Schools Track Students Beyond Graduation

While many high schools focus a lot of energy on getting students into college, admissions is only the first step. And especially when it comes to low-income students and those who are first in their family to attend college, many drop out long before they complete a degree.

Growing concern about this problem is sparking efforts in the K-12 realm to ensure better college success rates for high school graduates.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Finding — and Keeping — Teachers of Color

The nation’s public schools are serving increasingly diverse populations of students, yet the teachers in those schools are mostly white.

“It is absolutely right — we do not have parity,” said Richard Ingersoll, a professor of education and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, during the Education Writers Association’s annual conference in Washington, D.C.

He and other experts gathered for the EWA panel last month talked about a problem many school districts struggle with: How to recruit and retain teachers of color.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Trump Era Serves Up ‘Teachable Moments’ for Character Ed.

Days after Donald Trump won the White House, the Brookings Institution published an essay suggesting the 2016 presidential election should serve as a “Sputnik moment” for character education.

The campaign’s “extraordinary vitriol and divisiveness” offers a strong argument for a “renewed emphasis on schools’ role in developing children as caring, empathetic citizens,” wrote Brookings scholar Jon Valant.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

What Keeps Public School Parents Awake at Night?

When it comes to their children’s education, what are parents’ biggest concerns? Paying for college is No. 1. After that, they worry about their children’s happiness and safety at school.

But academics? Not so much. Parents do care, but as long as their children are perceived to be happy and succeeding — especially if that’s what teachers are telling them – they figure everything is fine in that area.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

For Career-Ready Students, the Sky’s the Limit

Kentucky Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt recently said his state is developing a system that “blurs the lines between career and technical education and what you might call traditional academia.”

And in Illinois, school districts like the one in Arlington Heights are “redefining our academic handbook around career pathways,” according to Lazaro Lopez, the associate superintendent of High School District 214.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Beyond Boundaries: Deeper Reporting on School Attendance Zones

When Baltimore County school officials wanted to move boundary lines in 2015, some parents predicted declining property values and voiced fears of sending their children to school with “those kids.”

Liz Bowie, a reporter for The Baltimore Sun, pushed for clarity on the coded language. Doing so, she told a packed room at the Education Writers Association’s recent National Seminar, is crucial to news coverage of school boundaries and the often related issues of segregation, class bias, and equity.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

As Pre-K Expands, Divide With Elementary Grades Threatens Success

With enrollment in public prekindergarten programs at a record high, there is a growing emphasis on building stronger connections between children’s early learning experiences and the K-12 system. But bridging the divide between a sector that lacks a coherent structure and the more rigid K-12 system is a challenge rife with logistical as well as philosophical dilemmas.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Sourcing Stories: Getting Beyond the ‘Usual Suspects’

Tired of interviewing the same people?

Keith Woods, the vice president of newsroom training and diversity at NPR, has an antidote for you: Reach out beyond the familiar faces to more diverse sources.

Woods spoke at an EWA National Seminar session called “Untold Stories: Broadening Your Source Base,” or, as moderator Dakarai Aarons, the vice president of strategic communications at the Data Quality Campaign, dubbed it, “Ditching the Usual Suspects.”

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Observing Classrooms: What Does Good Teaching Look Like?

How do reporters know good teaching when they see it? How do they tactfully write about bad teaching? And how do they tease out what came before the moment they set foot in a particular classroom?

Pamela Grossman, dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, and Elizabeth Green, co-founder of Chalkbeat, helped a roomful of journalists at the Education Writers Association’s 70th Annual National Seminar in Washington, D.C., see classroom teaching in a whole different light.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

The Future of For-Profit Colleges

Despite high-profile scandals over cost and credentials, for-profit colleges attract hundreds of thousands of new students each year, enrolling an estimated 10 to 13 percent of higher education students.

Agile in delivery and content, these educational entrepreneurs can pivot to meet demand faster than typically tradition-corseted nonprofit institutions, argued Neal McCluskey of the Cato Institute.  

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

College Presidents Discuss What the Purdue-Kaplan Deal Means for Higher Ed

There’s no question that higher ed is undergoing a sea change. Soaring student costs, unpredictable swings in state funding and an increasing demands from employers for highly skilled graduates are just a few reasons university leaders are scrambling for formulas that work.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Accountability and ESSA: Where States Are Headed

From coast to coast, states are starting to decide how they will capitalize on a law that could usher in a new era of national education policy.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have submitted plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act, while others are in the final stage of crafting proposals. As states head to the finish line, officials are watching to see if and how they take advantage of newfound flexibility over testing, evaluating and intervening in schools.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Top 10 Higher Ed Stories You Should Be Covering, 2017 Edition

Undergraduate enrollment is slated to increase by 14 percent between 2015 and 2026, but some liberal arts colleges may not see a boost in their number of students or have enough faculty to support the few who enroll.

Grinnell College in Iowa saw applications drop by more than 20 percent this year, Warren Wilson College in North Carolina is laying off faculty and Wisconsin’s Northland College is slashing faculty salaries, said Scott Jaschik, editor and co-founder of Inside Higher Ed.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Social-Emotional Learning: Helping Students Help Themselves

Ask a parent how their child is doing in school, and the parent may tell you how well they’re reading, or whether they agonize over addition and subtraction.

A growing volume of research, however, finds that a child’s ability to work with her classmates, or how she handles feelings of anger or excitement, can be just as pivotal to success as academics.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Can Higher Ed Help Build Workforce Skills?

Watch the short animated film “Slope of the Curve” from WorkingNation.com, and you might feel like the robots are coming. Actually, they’re already here. Automation is just happening at a faster and faster pace. And not just in blue collar jobs, but also high-skill jobs, such as the medical and legal fields.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

At ‘High-Tech Hogwarts,’ Students Taught to Code Their Way to Success

On a recent Friday morning, students in Kalee Barbis’ English class at Washington Leadership Academy work diligently on laptops as they sit under the high, vaulted ceilings of the school’s Great Hall.  Light filters through stained glass windows as the students put the final touches on essays about the lives of Matthew Shepard, Trayvon Martin, Pablo Escobar, and others.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Principals Expand Role Beyond Buses and Bells

The school improvement spotlight has, in recent years, shone brightly on teachers. Just outside of the spotlight, yet wielding significant influence in schools, are principals.

“We need to take more seriously that school leadership really matters,” said Jason Grissom, an associate professor of education and public policy at Vanderbilt University who has studied the subject.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Details, Data and Voices: K-12 Reporters Tell ‘How I Did the Story’

A teacher shortage in Oklahoma. Data-driven analysis of the Detroit School Board election. Teen suicide. The impact of an influx of Central American youths on a high-poverty Oakland school. Four of this year’s Education Writers Association award finalists recently shared their stories and took questions from a packed room at the EWA National Seminar on how they did their work.

Rocking the Beat

Blog: The Educated Reporter

New Data Will Reveal Which Schools Are Winners — and Losers — on School Funding

There are few debates in education as fraught or as important as the fight over how much money to spend on schools — and where to spend it.

Whether a school has the cash to pay for such things as smaller class sizes, extra mental health staff or music instruction depends on decisions made by elected officials at every level of government, from the U.S. House and Senate to local school boards.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

From ‘Sugar Daddies’ to College Mailboxes: Reporters Share ‘How I Did the Story’

Nick Anderson didn’t have to be asked twice to get on a train to New York City.

A professor at Columbia University called the veteran Washington Post reporter last summer. She told him she had spoken with students who were making ends meet by engaging in the sex trade, hooking up with older men on “sugar daddy” websites.

“She asked me, ‘Would you be interested in writing about something like this?’” Anderson relayed to a room full of journalists who had assembled for a session at the Education Writers Association’s annual spring conference.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Growing Attention to Vouchers in Trump Era Sparks Questions

Education reporters can expect to hear a lot more about school choice over the next four to eight years. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is a longtime choice advocate and has pledged that the Trump administration will do more to advance this cause than any other presidency.

While specifics are still in short supply on how the Trump administration’s zeal for school choice will translate into new or expanded federal programs, it’s a topic that will be hotly debated at the national, state and local levels.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

What’s Ahead for Head Start?

To some, Head Start is an essential yet underfunded part of the education system. To others, it’s a classic example of a bloated federal program.

Despite the wide divergence in opinions and the political sea change driven by the 2016 elections, the nation’s largest and oldest federally-funded early childhood education program appears likely to remain in place.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

D.C.’s ‘Opportunity Academies’ Aim to Get Students Back on Track

The rapid improvement over the past decade in Washington, D.C.’s district-run schools — as measured by rising test scores and graduation rates — has drawn national notice.

But officials with the District of Columbia Public Schools remain concerned that too many students still slip through the cracks, with 31 percent failing to graduate high school on time, based on the most recent DCPS data.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Risks and Rewards: Social Media as a Reporting Tool

Many education journalists are savvy enough to use social media as a way to attract readers to their stories. But if that is all they are doing with social media, they are not harnessing its full potential.

“Especially in our beat, it can be a really valuable — if potentially risky and dangerous tool — both for connecting with hard-to-reach sources and for generating story angles and ideas,” said Sarah Carr, who runs The Teacher Project, a fellowship program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

How Much Freedom of Speech Is Welcome on College Campuses?

Free speech has once again become a highly charged issue on college campuses, where protests frequently have interrupted, and in some cases halted, appearances by polarizing speakers.

At a lively panel last week during the Education Writers Association’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., free speech advocates and a student leader from the University of California, Berkeley,  debated who was at fault and what could be done.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Trump’s School Choice Plan Could Quickly Stall in Washington, Analysts Say

Plans to expand school choice from President Donald Trump may be generating a lot of attention — but they should be taken with a dose of political reality, and not obscure other key issues.

That was one of the main messages from a panel of K-12 advocates discussing the changing politics of education, part of the annual conference of the Education Writers Association in Washington, D.C., this week.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

DeVos Won’t Be Speaking at EWA Seminar But Here’s What Other Education Secretaries Had to Say

When U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos declined EWA’s invitation to speak at its 70th National Seminar, it prompted coverage from The Associated Press, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, among others, in part because of her already limited press availability in the nearly four months since she was appointed to the cabinet post.

Announcement

Finalists for 2016 EWA Awards for Education Reporting and Eddie Prize Announced
Winners To Be Honored at Annual Conference

April 19, 2017 (WASHINGTON, DC)—The Education Writers Association is delighted to announce the finalists for the 2016 National Awards for Education Reporting and the Eddie Prize, recognizing the top education stories in online, print and broadcast media across the country.

Produced by outlets that ranged from one-person bureaus to news media powerhouses, 36 entries earned the status of finalist from EWA’s panel of judges. The entries were characterized by compelling writing, high-impact visuals, and illuminating data. 

Announcement

Lightning Talk Ideas for 70th EWA National Seminar
Being struck by lightning is a shocking experience!

“Lightning” strikes twice! At our 2016 National Seminar, EWA asked eight journalists to give brief presentations on skills to help reporters on the beat. These “Lightning Talks” received some of the best reviews of the conference. This year, we hope to expand the talks to two one-hour segments.

The rules are the same as last year’s. Each journalist will present a five-minute talk.

Announcement

EWA Announces Theme of 2017 National Seminar
Washington, DC • May 31–June 2, 2017

“A New Era for Education and the Press” is the theme of the Education Writers Association’s 70th annual National Seminar. EWA, the national professional organization for journalists and other writers who cover education, will hold its flagship conference at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., from Wednesday, May 31, through Friday, June 2, 2017.