Blog: The Educated Reporter

Overview

The Educated Reporter

EWA's blog about education issues and topics from a journalist's perspective. The Educated Reporter is anchored by Emily Richmond with contributions from EWA staff and guests.

EWA’s blog about education issues and topics from a journalist’s perspective. The Educated Reporter is anchored by Emily Richmond with contributions from EWA staff and guests.

EWA Radio

Is the U.S. Overlooking Its Littlest Learners?
EWA Radio: Episode 91

(Flickr/First Hattiesburg)

Who needs preschool? What do we know about the programs that produce the best long-term results? And why is America lagging so far behind many countries in providing high-quality, affordable programs to young learners?

In a six-part series for The Hechinger Report, Lillian Mongeau examines the latest research, visits classrooms in the U.S. and abroad, and looks at efforts to raise the bar for certification and training for early childhood educators. She talks with EWA public editor Emily Richmond about what she learned in places like Boston and England, and offers smart story ideas for reporters in their own communities. 

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.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

In Texas, Latinos Run the Largest City School Districts

Source: Flickr/ via Tim Patterson (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The school districts in Texas’ eight largest cities all have Latino superintendents at the helm, as do half of the top 20, Dallas-based KERA News reported Tuesday. The story comes after the recent hire of Richard A. Carranza as superintendent of the Houston Independent School District, the largest in the state and seventh largest in the country. 

EWA Radio

How Texas Shortchanged Students With Disabilities
EWA Radio: Episode 90

Heidi and Trevor Walker of Kingwood, Texas, tried to get special education for their son Roanin when he entered kindergarten, but they only grew more and more frustrated by the response from school officials. Finally, after two years, they decided to pull him out of school altogether. (Photo used with permission from Houston Chronicle.)

new investigation by the Houston Chronicle finds that the Lone Star State took unusual steps to severely cut its special education programs — keeping hundreds of thousands of potentially qualified students from receiving services.

Chronicle reporter Brian Rosenthal talks with EWA public editor Emily Richmond about crunching the numbers, how this has impacted students and families, and what’s next in his reporting. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Building a ‘Super School,’ for $10 Million

Students at the Brooklyn Laboratory Charter School this week during a visit by U.S. Department of Education officials. The school is one of 10 winning applications in a competition to reinvent the high school model. (Photo credit: Ethan Covey)

In Louisiana, a high school focused around the theme of coastal restoration will be built on a barge — yes, a barge. Two Los Angeles educators have dreamed up plans for a high school designed to serve foster and homeless children. And the Somerville, Mass., district is planning a year-round high school that “feels more like a research and design studio,” reports the Boston Globe.

EWA Radio

Bright Lights, Big City: Covering NYC’s Schools
EWA Radio: Episode 89

(Unsplash/Pedro Lastra)

Today’s assignment: Reporting on the nation’s largest school district, with 1.1 million students and an operating budget of $25 billion. Patrick Wall of Chalkbeat New York has dug deep into the city’s special education programs, investigated whether school choice programs are contributing to student segregation rather than reducing it, and penned a three-part series on on one high school’s effort to reinvent itself. He talks with EWA public editor Emily Richmond about his work, and offers tips for making the most of student interviews, getting access to campuses, and balancing bigger investigations with daily coverage. A first-prize winner for beat reporting in this year’s EWA Awards, Wall is spending the current academic year at Columbia University’s School of Journalism as a Spencer Fellow.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Crossing Borders Means Repeated Grades, Denied Enrollment for Some Mexican-American Students

Source: Bigstock

There are hundreds of thousands of students who cross borders to attend schools in both the U.S. and Mexico during their elementary, middle and high school years, but poor communication between the two nations often results in significant obstacles for their academic advancement, researchers said at a binational symposium in Mexico this week.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Many Happy ‘Returns’: Why Reporters Come Back to the Education Beat

Education reporter Bethany Barnes poses in Las Vegas, shortly before she moved on to her current assignment with The Oregonian. (Photo credit: Chase Stevens)

Reporters listen to a presentation about the "State of the Ed Beat" survey at EWA's 69th National Seminar in Boston in May 2016. (Lilli Boxer for EWA)

For Neal Morton, taking over the K-12 schools beat for the Las Vegas Review-Journal earlier this year represented two kinds of homecoming.

First, he grew up in the Las Vegas valley. Second, he was returning to the education beat after stints covering business and tourism for the San Antonio Express-News. Earlier in his career, Morton spent a little over two years covering schools for The Monitor newspaper in McAllen, Texas.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

How Are Schools Teaching 9/11?

During a Sept. 11 memorial, the night sky is illuminated over the footprint where the World Trade Center's TWin Towers once stood. (Flickr/Jackie)

In 2007, while writing about military recruiting at high schools, I met a fresh-faced JROTC cadet who planned to enlist after graduation. His older brother was already serving in Afghanistan as part of the U.S. response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The student, who was a seventh grader when the hijacked airplanes struck, eventually joined the Army and followed his brother to war.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Hispanics No Longer Fastest-Growing Population in U.S.

Bigstock

The Hispanic population is no longer the fastest-growing group in the U.S., falling second to Asians due to lower immigration rates from Latin America and fewer births since the Great Recession, a new Pew Research Center study shows.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Year-Long Campaign to Highlight ROI of Minority-Serving Institutions

With 52 data points over 52 weeks, the University of Pennsylvania Center for Minority-Serving Institutions hopes to raise public awareness about these types of colleges and the return on investment they can offer. 

EWA Radio

Same As It Ever Was: The Pitfalls of Remedial Education
EWA Radio: Episode 88

Pixabay/Karsten Paulick

Millions of high school graduates show up for the first day of college academically unprepared for the rigors of higher ed. And that’s where remedial (or “developmental”) education comes into play. Students don’t get academic credit for these classes even though they still cost them in time and money. And there’s another problem: being placed in even one remedial class as a freshman — particularly at a community college — can significantly reduce a student’s odds of ever completing a degree.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Where Students Miss the Most Class, and Why That’s a Problem

By woodleywonderworks [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

The precocious teen who’s too cool for school – earning high marks despite skipping class – is a pop-culture standard, the idealized version of an effortless youth for whom success comes easy.

Too bad it’s largely a work of fiction that belies a much harsher reality: Missing just two days a month of school for any reason exposes kids to a cascade of academic setbacks, from lower reading and math scores in the third grade to higher risks of dropping out of high school, research suggests.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Could Changes to Test Prep Program Make Boston Latin School More Diverse?

Source: Cliff/ Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Black and Latino students in Boston increasingly are enrolled in a free program that offers test prep services for students seeking entry into the district’s three prestigious exam schools — one of which is under federal investigation for alleged racial discrimination and harassment, The Boston Globe

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Crossing International Borders for a Better Education

Public Domain

Crossing an international border can be a hassle. But some parents in Mexico do it every day in pursuit of a better education for their children. 

San Antonio-based KENS 5 recently aired a story of a father who walks his two young children across the Mexico-Texas border daily so they can attend school in the U.S. The trek is worth it, he says.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Growing Segregation of Latinos in Public Schools Poses Challenge for Academic Success

Source: Leland Francisco/ Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

More than six decades since the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision declared that segregated schools are “inherently unequal,” Latino students from low-income backgrounds are becoming increasingly isolated in public schools across the country.

The most-segregated schools Latinos attend often have fewer resources, including less access to Advanced Placement courses and Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) programs, compared with schools with high populations of affluent and white students.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Ensuring College Readiness and Success for Latino Students

From left, Fermin Leal of EdSource, Juan Garcia of ACT, Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj of Seton Hall University, Carmen Macias of the University of Southern California, Victor Zamora of KIPP Colorado Schools participate in a panel discussion about Latino students and college readiness at EWA's third annual Spanish-language media convning. Source: Twitter/ @leslieenriquez

The number of Hispanics taking the ACT exam jumped 50 percent from 2011 to 2015. But only 15 percent of those test takers are scoring well enough to be deemed college-ready in all four subjects, compared to 28 percent of other students.

These figures starkly reflect “the gap between the level of aspiration and the level of readiness” required to thrive in college, said Juan Garcia, senior director of the ACT’s Office for the Advancement of Underserved Learners.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Back-to-School: You Need Stories, We’ve Got Ideas

Back-to-School: You Need Stories, We’ve Got Ideas

The boys (and girls) are back in town. For class, that is.

See how forced that lede was? Back-to-school reporting can take on a similar tinge of predictability, with journalists wondering how an occasion as locked in as the changing of the seasons can be written about with the freshness of spring.

Recently some of the beat’s heavy hitters dished with EWA’s Emily Richmond about ways newsrooms can take advantage of the first week of school to tell important stories and cover overlooked issues.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Telling Immigration Stories: Journalism or Advocacy?

Source: Scazon/ Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

In 1910, one in four children in the U.S. was an immigrant, and most of that group were European, Christian and white. 

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Where Are the Latino Teachers?

Source: Flickr/ Mundial Perspectives (CC BY 2.0)

When Edgar Ríos was one of 126 students in the first class of a new charter school in Chicago in 1999, almost all of his teachers were white.

They were good teachers, he says. His favorite, though, was a teacher “who could speak Spanish with my mother and father, so I didn’t have to translate.”

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Latinos, Standardized Tests and the Opt-Out Movement

Karen Falla of Univisión Dallas, left, moderated a discussion on standardized testing and the opt-out movement with panelists Peggy McLeod of National Council of La Raza, José Palma of the University of Minnesota, and Ruth Rodriguez of United Opt Out National (not pictured). Source: Leticia Espinosa/ Hoy

While the number of parents who opt out of having their kids take their states’ standardized tests has grown nationally, much of this movement appears to be made up of white, wealthier families. Latinos and other minorities seem to be less inclined to avoid standardized testing.

That should not be the case, said Ruth Rodriguez, an administrator with United Opt Out National.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

From Pre-K to Higher Ed: Inequities Latino Students Face

Katherine Valle, a higher education policy advisor in the U.S. House of Representatives, speaks about inequities in higher education at EWA's third annual Spanish-language media convening. She was joined on a panel by, from left, Gigliana Melzi of New York University and Emma García of the Economic Policy Institute. Source: Twitter via @espinosalet

Margarita is a four-year-old girl living in East Harlem. She speaks Spanish at home with her Mexican-born parents, is obedient, well-behaved and plays well with kids her age, younger and older. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Victories Adding Up for U.S. Math Olympians

The winning U.S. team at the International Math Olympiad in Hong Kong. (Photo credit: Po-Shen Loh)

After learning of their gold-medal victory in the world’s most prestigious high school mathematics competition — held recently in Hong Kong — six American teenagers engaged in a celebratory ritual familiar to many of their peers back home: They went to McDonald’s. But the victors weren’t quite ready to leave the math behind.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Study Highlights Racial Disparities in Mental Health Services, School Discipline

Source: Bigstock

Black and Hispanic children experience mental health problems at a similar rate than their white peers, yet are less likely to receive treatment, a new study of nationally representative data shows. 

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Study: Teacher-Student Racial Gap Matters — Even in Pre-K

Source: Flickr/ via terren in Virginia (CC BY 2.0)

Young Latinos who are not proficient in English are more likely to develop higher early literacy skills when their teachers are also Latino, according to a University of Virginia study released this week examining the teacher-student racial gap in pre-K.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Why Student Voices Matter

Claire Faulkner will be a junior this fall at the Journalism and Media Academy Magnet School (JMA) in Hartford, Connecticut. She was selected to represent her program as a student journalist at this year's EWA National Seminar in Boston. (Photo courtesy of Claire Faulkner)

Here’s why I attended this year’s Education Writers Association National Seminar: As a high school student, I wanted to gain a new perspective on public schools and what is being done to improve them. And as an aspiring journalist, I was hoping to learn more about news coverage of education and why it is so important.

I attended many sessions over the course of the three-day event, but the session that stood out to me and that I continue to think about months later is Students At Center Stage. 

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

‘Following the Money’: Reporter Shares Tips from Charter School Finance Investigation

Dan Mihalopoulos of the Chicago Sun-Times speaks at EWA's 2016 Spanish-language media convening about his investigation into the finances of Chicago's UNO charter school network. Source: Michael Marriott/ EWA

Charter schools have grown at a rapid rate over the past 20 years as parents, activist groups, lawmakers and others look for alternatives to the traditional public schools.

Supporters say charters can offer the freedom to be more creative in the curriculum they provide to support a wider range of needs for students.

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: The Educated Reporter

How Will U.S. Fare in Next Round of International Testing?

(Flickr/Rona Proudfoot)

At a time when the volume of student achievement data can seem overwhelming, brace yourself: A wave of international test results for dozens of countries, including the U.S., is coming soon.

EWA Radio

‘Glen’s Village’: From Childhood Trauma to the Ivy League
EWA Radio: Episode 82

Glen Casey, a young man who escaped the drugs and violence of his West Philadelphia neighborhood, looks on as his school is demolished. (Philadelphia Public School Notebook/"Glen's Village")

Veteran education writer Paul Jablow and multimedia journalist Dorian Geiger discuss their documentary of a young man who escaped the drugs and violence of his West Philadelphia neighborhood thanks to the intensive interventions of a network of support, including his mother, teachers, and social workers. Glen Casey is now a successful student at the University of Pennsylvania and plans on a teaching career. But how unusual is his story, particularly in a public school system of ever-dwindling resources?

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Calif. Community College System Gets First Latino Boss

Eloy Ortiz Oakley was named the California Community Colleges' first Latino chancellor this week. Source: Twitter @EloyOakley

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors voted unanimously this week to appoint Eloy Ortiz Oakley as the system’s next chancellor. This decision marks the first time a Latino has been at the helm of the 113-college system, where Hispanic students make up 42 percent of the student population and represented nearly half of all new students last fall.

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: The Educated Reporter

Wanted: High-Quality Principal Training

(From left to right) Moderator Emma Brown of The Washington Post moderates a panel on principal leadership with experts Vincent Cho, Erika Hunt, Glenn Pethelfar at Boston University in May 2016. (Lilli Boxer for EWA)

Given the key role that strong leadership plays in providing effective schools, experts, superintendents and universities say principal training deserves a “needs improvement” on its report card.

The nation’s numerous principal-preparation programs are hit or miss, according to Vincent Cho, assistant professor of educational leadership at Boston College.

“There are thousands and thousands of leadership programs operating right now,” and they aren’t all equal, Cho said.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Boston Charter Aims to Innovate, Extend Reach

English teacher Caroline Bartlett began her work with Match Public Charter School as a tutor, and was hired out of the organization's training corps. (Photo credit: Match Public Charter School)

In early May at Match Public Charter School in Boston, 18 freshmen are preparing to discuss themes from “Lord of the Flies.” Their English teacher is Ashley Davis, a 26-year-old native of Cincinnati who’s in her second year of teaching, but acts like a veteran.

Davis will soon have her students explaining the biblical allusions in the 1954 novel and debating whether mankind is naturally good or evil.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Common Core Math: A Glimpse in the Classroom

The fourth grade students sit on a carpet, wriggling, shaking their hands, looking in all directions as a teacher uses the most basic of tools — a red sharpie and a big white pad — to deliver her lesson.

The day’s agenda: teaching the Common Core standard of finding “whole number quotients.” She writes an equation on the board, and the answer works out to be 100. But she’s not done.

EWA Radio

No Exit From New Jersey’s Student Loans
EWA Radio: Episode 80

Flickr/klang2010

Annie Waldman of ProPublica digs deep into New Jersey’s college financial aid program, which critics have called “state-sanctioned loan sharking”. In a particularly egregious case in which the state demanded a mother continue to pay off her son’s college loan even after he was murdered.

Waldman talks with EWA public editor Emily Richmond about why New Jersey wields more power than other state-based financial aid programs, how difficult it would be to make the policies and practices more forgiving, and ideas for local reporters writing about college affordability and student debt.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

The Complexity of Covering School Segregation

Panelists at EWA"s National Seminar "deep dive" on school segregation, from left to right: R. L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy; Nikole Hannah-Jones; Richard Kahlenberg; and Chris Stewart. (Lilli Boxer for EWA)

The complexity around covering issues of segregation was in high gear in June when investigative writer Nikole Hannah-Jones documented in the New York Times magazine her family’s tough decision on where to enroll daughter Najya.

The article came a month after she discussed the deliberate and structural segregation she sees in communities around the country during the Education Writers Association’s National Seminar. Hannah-Jones urged journalists to hold accountable public officials and communities that allow this to happen.

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.

EWA Radio

Farewell Finland, Hello . . . Estonia?
EWA Radio: Episode 79

Estonian students on their way to school. (Flickr/B Miller)

There’s another small country getting attention for its strong student performance on international assessments, and for the equity of its instructional programs.

Sarah Butrymowicz of The Hechinger Report joins EWA public editor Emily Richmond to discuss how more eyes are looking beyond Finland to nearby Estonia, a relatively young country with an already impressive academic track record. What lessons might there be for U.S. schools when it comes to teacher workforce, and putting more educational choices in the hands of the students themselves? And what challenges are Estonian schools facing as more students opt for the college-prep high school track over vocational or career training? 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

The Ethics of Interviewing Students

Reporter Neal Morton of the Las Vegas Review-Journal interviews students during a visit to Revere (Mass.) High School in May 2016. (Emily Richmond/EWA)

Reporters face increasingly complex ethical and legal questions when it comes to interviewing and reporting on children in the digital age.

A sensitive story that once would have rolled off the presses and been recycled the next day, or lived on the air for less than a minute, now remains online with no expiration in sight.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Educating Immigrant Students: A Story in Every Community

Experts discuss the education of immigrant students during a recent panel at an Education Writers Association seminar in Boston.

I spent an academic year as an embedded reporter inside a Memphis high school that enrolled hundreds of children of Mexican immigrants. Many of the young people I met that year had lived most of their lives in the United States, and in some cases were born here. Most spoke fluent English.

As I followed these English-speaking students around the school, I paid much less attention to another group of young people: kids who had recently arrived from other countries and spoke little English.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Covering Education With Cultural Sensitivity

(Bigstock)

Most education journalists probably remember last year’s viral video depicting members of the University of Oklahoma’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity singing a racist chant.

“I thought it was a really isolated, terrible incident,” recalled Kimberly Hefling, then an education reporter for The Associated Press. But her colleague, Jesse Holland, didn’t see it as a major news event at all.

EWA Radio

Hard Numbers — and Hard Truths — About Chicago’s Dropout Crisis
EWA Radio: Episode 78

The press releases from Chicago Public Schools seemed almost too good to be true: the city’s graduation rate was rising more quickly than even its staunchest supporters might have predicted.

But what happened after reporters Becky Vevea and Sarah Karp uncovered discrepancies in those numbers, and raised serious questions about the city’s dropout prevention polices and practices. Vevea (WBEZ) and Karp (formerly of Catalyst Chicago and now with WBEZ) talk with EWA public editor Emily Richmond about their award-winning investigation, the significant changes to district policy that have followed in its wake, and some examples of CPS programs that are making legitimate strides toward helping more students graduate. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Civics Lessons From House Democrats’ Sit-In

Democrats stand on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives during a sit-in to protest in inaction by Congress on gun control legislation. (Wikimedia/U.S. Congress)

Whether the Democrats’ sit-in on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to protest congressional inaction on gun control legislation was a publicity stunt or a tipping point remains to be seen. But the episode last week could serve as a teachable moment for the nation’s schoolchildren — and future voters.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

‘Curiosity Is a Powerful Motivator’: Spotlighting Student-Centered Learning

Trinidad Ramkissoon, a recent graduate of the Boston Day & Evening Academy, shares his academic path during a session at EWA's National Seminar in Boston on May 2, 2016. (Lilli Boxer for EWA)

Developing a phone app to ensure students know their rights. Crafting legislation to advocate for student press freedom. Creating a civic engagement class. 

Those are just a few examples of “student-centered learning” in action, high schoolers told an audience of education journalists recently.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Affirmative Action, #BeckyWithTheBadGrades and Latino Students

Source: Flickr/ via Chris Phan (CC BY 2.0)

If you haven’t yet heard of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the use of race as a factor in college admissions, you may have at least seen the #BeckyWithTheBadGrades buzz on Twitter and wondered what it meant. 

Though it is in part a reference to Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” sensation, the hashtag has more to do with higher education than pop culture.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

School Security: Inside or Out?

A public safety officer participates in a safety demonstration with schoolchildren in Charleston, South Carolina. (Flickr/South Charleston)

The grim subject of violent attacks in schools seems unlikely to go away. While the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School appeared to be a watershed moment in the national conversation about how to keep schools and students safe, school shootings have continued and little has changed in how the issue is covered in the news media.

Most stories about school security center tend to focus on extreme events or threats.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

A Family Affair: Engaging Parents of Color

Parents attend "Back to School Night" at Barrett Elementary in Arlington, Va. Many districts are targeting  families of color to boost their involvement school activities and their children's learning. (Flickr/K.W. Barrett)

Students of color represent more than half of the United States’ public school population, but their parents are the most underrepresented group of stakeholders in local and national conversations about whether policies and reforms are working for their students.

A panel of experts who engage parents of color on local and national levels shared these and other observations with education reporters in Boston at the Education Writers Association annual national conference. And their message was clear: No longer can these voices be ignored.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Building Better Student Assessments

(Flickr/Federico Feroldi)

Some student assessments don’t look much like standardized tests at all, even when they’re being used for school accountability.

EWA Radio

‘Hamilton’ Changed Broadway. Now It’s Changing Teaching.
EWA Radio: Episode 77

Flickr/Rachel Lovinger

Thanks to Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda and two nonprofit groups, thousands of public high school students in New York City are getting access to the hottest ticket in town.

Wayne D’Orio, editor in chief of Scholastic magazine, joins EWA public editor Emily Richmond to discuss an innovative curriculum built around the hip-hop infused musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first secretary of the treasury. How are teachers using the show as a springboard to connect students to challenging academic content aligned to New York’s Common Core State Standards? Why is the show so popular with Advanced Placement U.S. History classes? And what are some smart story ideas of other pop culture influences being used by teachers to engage kids? 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Expert Reporter’s Tips: Covering Students with Special Needs

David DesRoches covers education and related topics for Connecticut's WNPR. (Source: WNPR)

When David DesRoches learned in 2013 that a small, wealthy Connecticut town was failing to educate its special-needs children properly, he began some textbook investigative journalism work: filing public records requests, cultivating dozens of sources, and trekking to meeting after meeting. What resulted was one of the most in-depth reporting projects ever on the rights of students with disabilities and the failures of their school districts to respect them.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Can Schools Bridge the Digital Divide?

Students work in a computer lab at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, a public school in the District of Columbia. (Flickr/U.S. Department of Education)

As education becomes increasingly digital, it creates a world of opportunities for students, who can now visit world-famous museums or collaborate with other students without ever leaving the classroom.

But it also creates potential barriers for families lacking access to adequate devices or high-speed internet and can lead to a growing opportunity gap.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

‘Student-Centered’ Approach Transforms High School

EWA journalist members talk with students in a Mandarin Chinese language class at Revere High School near Boston, Mass. in May, 2016. (Emily Richmond/EWA)

For Nancy Barile, who teaches English at Revere High School, turning around a reluctant reader meant turning on her own TV.

The student wouldn’t read or do homework, Barile said, but he was “obsessed” with The Walking Dead and urged his teacher to watch the program. So Bartile, who has taught at Revere for 21 years, made a deal: She would watch the TV show if he would read.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Is the AP Program Helping Disadvantaged Students?

Woodstock High School psychology teacher John Headley leads an Advanced Placement class discussion on classical and operant conditions. Woodstock District 200 in Crystal Lake, Illinois has been working with the nonprofit Equal Opportunity Schools to be proactive about allowing more students to access AP courses. (H. Rick Bamman / Shaw Media)

Participation in the Advanced Placement program has more than doubled over the past decade, with nearly 2.5 million students taking one or more AP exams in 2015. But with that growth has come questions about the push to ramp up the AP presence, especially initiatives that target low-income and minority students.

How well do AP courses prepare students for the rigors of college? And are students who may lack adequate preparation benefiting from the coursework?

EWA Radio

Students of Color Are the New Majority: Can Teachers, Schools Keep Up?
EWA Radio: Episode 76

Flickr/K.W. Barrett

For the first time in the nation’s history, students of color outnumber their white peers in public school classrooms. In a new 12-part series for Slate, The Teacher Project at Columbia University explores what that means for students, teachers, schools, and broader communities stretching from Boston to Hawaii.

Sarah Carr, editor of The Teacher Project, talks with EWA public editor Emily Richmond about why terminology matters when reporting on school diversity, the challenge of preparing a largely white, female teacher workforce for working with diverse student populations, and how de facto school segregation continues to influence opportunities and outcomes for kids of color.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Putting Students in Charge of Their Own Learning

Students from El Centro de Estudiantes learn from their mentors at Philadelphia's Wooden Boat Factory. Providing more personalized learning experiences has been found to improve students' motivation and academic outcomes. (Photo credit: Big Picture Learning)

Imagine you’re a student: You walk into school and check an electronic board for your name and where you go for the day. At the assigned station, you and a small group of fellow students work with a teacher on algebra, which builds on the lesson you mastered the day before. Then, you take a short quiz that helps to create your class schedule for the next day.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

When Arts and Academics Share Center Stage

Students participate in a dance class at Boston Arts Academy, the only public arts high school in the city. (Natalie Gross/ EWA)

In the shadow of Boston’s Fenway Park, young playwrights do a read-through of a student script. Down the hall, dancers are flicking their toes in soulful precision.

On a tour of the Boston Arts Academy during the Education Writers Association’s national conference in May, visiting journalists listened in as students in a photo class talk about composition and critique one another’s work.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Making School Choice Easier

Parents in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, D.C., gather for an informational meeting last year about the lottery process for public schools of choice. (Flickr/Wayan Vota)

It used to be simple to register your child for school – just go to your local school, fill out some paperwork and you’re done.

But in an era when school choice is increasingly widespread, the process isn’t always so easy.  

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

What Federal Civil Rights Data Reveal About Hispanic Students

Source: Flickr/ via woodleywonderworks (CC BY 2.0)

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights released its latest Civil Rights Data Collection, a comprehensive database with information from just about every public school in the nation from the 2013-14 school year. Most of the information is disaggregated by race and ethnicity, sex, English-language proficiency and disability.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

School Segregation: What Does It Mean Today?

From left: Farah Stockman, Cara Fitzpatrick and Lisa Gartner talk with reporters at EWA's National Seminar in Boston on May 3, 2016. (Lily Boxer for EWA)

After an unarmed Michael Brown was fatally shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones watched events unfold from afar. But she was struck when the 18-year-old’s mother, standing at the edge of the crime scene where her son’s dead body lay, asked if the authorities knew how hard it is to get a black boy to graduate from high school.

EWA Radio

When Schools Become Crisis Centers
EWA Radio: Episode 75

Flickr/Will Foster

As Casey McDermott reports for New Hampshire Public Radio, teachers in the Granite State are increasingly functioning as de facto case managers for vulnerable students. She talks with EWA public editor Emily Richmond about the issues facing youth and their families, ranging from homelessness to food insecurity to substance abuse. The focus on vulnerable students is part of NHPR’s new “State of Democracy” project, examining the real-world implications of policy decisions.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Coverage of Campus Racism Sparks Debate About Media’s Editorial Process

Students from the University of Missouri, Princeton University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago speak on a panel at EWA's 69th National Seminar in May. They were joined by moderator Collin Binkley, right, of the Associated Press. Source: Natalie Gross/ EWA

Divisive dialogue erupted last year after students from the University of Missouri formed a wall to prevent reporters from entering a public space — an area that the students who were protesting racism on campus wanted to designate as a “safe space.” But for Mizzou student journalist Caroline Bauman, the incident revealed a disconnect between reporters and the communities they cover.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

What the Supreme Court Decision on Affirmative Action Could Mean for College Admissions

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the Fisher v. University of Texas case challenging the state university system's admissions policies. (Flickr/David)

The issue of race and diversity in college admissions once again is front and center, as the U.S. Supreme Court will rule soon on the high-profile affirmative action case, Fisher v. University of Texas.

Panelists during a discussion at the Education Writers Association’s national conference in May offered mixed predictions about how the court will rule on whether the use of race in admissions is constitutional and how far the effects of the ruling could reach.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Students Stage Walkout, Want More Teachers of Color at Conn. Charter School

Source: Pixabay

“Diversity — (noun) the state of being diverse; variety”

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Testing and Test Prep: How Much Is Too Much?

Flickr/Jirka Matousek

It’s not hard to find a teacher willing to bend your ear about the volume of standardized testing in schools today, and the pressure for “test prep.” But how widespread are such concerns among educators? And what’s the on-the-ground reality they experience?

New survey data suggest these impressions about over-testing and test prep are more than just anecdotal: They are the norm for the majority of public school teachers.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

NYC Schools Initiative Aims to Improve Student Diversity

Source: Flickr/ via Mikel Ortega (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Schools in New York City are being asked to consider voluntary diversity plans in an effort to combat widespread segregation in the city’s schools. 

According to its online call for proposals under the Diversity in Admissions Initiative, the city’s education department ”seeks to empower schools to strengthen diversity among their students through targeted efforts to change their admissions process.” 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Investigative Reporting: Tracking Teacher Misconduct

Flickr/Donna Sullivan Thomson

National record-keeping on teacher misconduct is inconsistent and incomplete, allowing those accused of malpractice to move into teaching jobs in other school districts that are unaware of the charges. Even some convictions may slip through the cracks.

EWA Radio

Are ‘No Second Chances’ Discipline Policies Hurting Florida’s Students?
EWA Radio: Episode 74

Infinity Moreland, now a senior at North Port High School, was expelled in the fall of 2014 for a fight she did not start. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune/Rachel S. O'Hara used with permission)

Education journalist Shelby Webb of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune spent six months digging into student suspensions and expulsions in Florida, and her findings took the local school board by surprise: Sarasota County has the second-highest rate of expulsions in the Sunshine State. But the district’s process for expulsions was certainly built for volume: as many as 14 students have been expelled with a single “yes” vote by school board members, some of whom haven’t even read the background on the individual students’ cases. The Herald-Tribune’s project also examines questions of equity of school discipline policies across Florida where — echoing a nationwide trend — many students of color face more severe punishments than their white peers.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Understanding Poverty’s Impact on Students

Flickr/Marie In Shaw

There’s a perfect storm of poor conditions fueling America’s troubling achievement gap.

Six of the country’s top thinkers on equity in education recently laid out some of the reasons why poor students of color struggle academically. And it’s not just because of what happens inside of classrooms.

“The gaps (when students enter school) account for the majority of the gaps later on,” said Jane Waldfogel, a professor at Columbia University who participated in an Education Writers Association discussion this month on equity, poverty, and education.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Getting High-Quality Teachers to Disadvantaged Students

Teacher Lisa Jones leads a lesson at Watkins Elementary School in Washington D.C. (Flickr/U.S. Department of Education)

How do you get the best teachers in front of the students who need them the most? It’s an issue getting increased attention, but a tough problem to solve.

An Obama administration official said he’s encouraged by state plans developed to “ensure equitable access to excellent educators,” as required in 2014 by the U.S. Department of Education.

EWA Radio

Palo Alto’s Student Suicides
EWA Radio: Episode 73

(Pixabay/kaleido-dp)

What’s behind a cluster of student suicides in the heart of ultra-competitive Silicon Valley?

In a cover story for The Atlantic, journalist Hanna Rosin investigated a disturbing cycle stretching back more than a decade for Palo Alto and Gunn high schools. She spoke with EWA public editor Emily Richmond: How are local educators, parents, and students are responding to the crisis? What’s next for the investigation by federal health officials? And how can reporters improve their own coverage of these kinds of challenging issues? Rosin’s story, “The Silicon Valley Suicides” won 1st Prize for magazine feature writing in the EWA National Awards for Education Reporting.

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

Meeting Parents’ School-Data Needs

It's essential for parents to be competent at managing their own children's educational data, and for school districts to be transparent about what information is stored and shared, experts say. (Flickr/Knight Foundation)

Parents need more than a report card to know how their children are doing in school. And as they evaluate their local educational options, many parents struggle to find key information, whether it’s course offerings, school-safety statistics, or the quality of teachers.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Proposed Mexican-American Studies Textbook in Texas Called Racist, Inaccurate

This image appears on the cover of a newly proposed textbook for Mexican-American studies in Texas. The image itself is controversial, and the text in the book has ignited cries of racism and factual inaccuracies. Source: Flickr/ via Jorge Gonzalez (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Texas advocates of ethnic studies in public schools celebrated two years ago when the State Board of Education voted to create instructional materials for classes like Mexican-American and African-American studies that school districts could choose to offer as electives in the state. The decision wasn’t exactly what proponents of Mexican-American studies had asked for — to establish a statewide curriculum — but it was something. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

More Than Scores: Assessing Teacher Evaluations

Ary Amerikaner from the U.S. Department of Education shadows teacher Mike Mangiaracina at Brent Elementary School in Washington. District of Columbia Public Schools' overhaul of its teacher evaluation system has attracted national scrutiny. (Flickr/U.S. Department of Education)

The not-so-old teacher evaluation model was based on a “30-minute drive-by,” according to education policy expert Thomas Toch of Georgetown University.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Wellness, Creativity, and Exemplary Teaching: The Codman Academy Formula

Physics teacher Maggie Mahmood works with sophomore students at Codman Academy Charter Public School in Dorchester, Mass. (Liana Heitin for EWA)

At Codman Academy Charter Public School, the walls in the lower school hallways aren’t covered in the bright reds, yellows, and oranges visitors might expect in an elementary setting. Instead, they’re subdued neutrals, mostly creams and browns. Rather than large chart paper displays and murals, there are natural wood panels, internal and external windows, and glass panels decorated with branches and leaves.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Mining Social Media for Reporting

Wikimedia Images/MoD/MOD

If you’re like a lot of reporters in my newsroom, your social media skills amount to scanning Twitter and Facebook.

To say that we have fallen behind is an understatement. The good news is that you don’t need programming skills to be good at mining social media.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Why Do Massachusetts Public Schools Lead the Nation?

Massachusetts, a strong performer on both national and international educational rankings, is home to Boston Latin, the nation's oldest public school. (Wikimedia Commons/Daderot)

When it comes to the story of Massachusetts’ public schools, the takeaway, according to the state’s former education secretary, Paul Reville, is that “doing well isn’t good enough.”

Blog: The Educated Reporter

The Charter School Sector’s Growing Pains

First Lady Michelle Obama talks with students during a college application rally at the Capital City Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. Charter schools have expanded significantly in recent years, including in the nation's capital. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Roughly 25 years after the first charter school opened in Minnesota, the debate over these publicly funded but independently operated campuses remains polarized.

Juan Cofield, the president of the NAACP’s New England Area Conference opposes a looming public referendum in Massachusetts to lift that state’s cap on the number of charter schools.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Opt Out 2.0: Snapshot of Spring Testing Season

Flickr/Alberto G. via Creative Commons

With state testing season wrapping up, the decision by some families to skip the K-12 exams in protest this spring has once again sparked widespread discussion – and news coverage around the country.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Are Hispanic-Serving Institutions Actually ‘Serving’ Their Students?

Source: Bigstock

Hispanic-serving institutions should do more than just enroll large numbers of Latino students. As their title implies, they’re also supposed to serve them, according to experts on a panel Excelencia in Education hosted Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Beyond ‘Free Lunch’: Mining School Data on Poverty

Reporters can find a wealth of story ideas on schools and poverty that are deeper than just statistics on how many students sign up for free and reduced-price meals. (Flickr/U.S. Department of Agriculture)

For education journalists, writing about poverty poses many challenges. But one of the most overlooked is that it’s often difficult to know much about the socioeconomic background of students in a given school. Reporters often rely on two things: anecdotal evidence and the percentage of students who receive a free or reduced-price lunch.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

‘Paper Tigers’ Documentary Offers Solutions to Teaching Traumatized Kids

From left, James Redford, director of Paper Tigers, Amanda Moreno of the Erikson Institute, Michelle Porche of Boston University, and Michael Chandler of the Washington Post discuss the impact of trauma on children's ability to learn. (Lilli Boxer for EWA)

The film “Paper Tigers” opens with what looks like phone camera footage of a fight. There’s a splatter of blood, shouting, a chair flying across a classroom.

The voiceover is a patchwork of voices saying things like: “This place is absolute chaos.” And: “All the kids were forced to be here.” And: “That’s where the bad kids went.”

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

It Was an Immigrant Who Built U.S. Financial System, ‘Hamilton’ Star Reminds Grads

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the speaker at the University of Pennsylvania's recent commencement ceremony, stars in the Broadway musical "Hamilton." Source: Flickr/ via Steve Jurvetson (CC BY 2.0)

“Immigrants get the job done,” Lin-Manuel Miranda told graduates at the University of Pennsylvania’s commencement ceremony Monday. After all, it was a “broke, orphan” immigrant who built this country’s financial system.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

The Trouble With ‘Girls Outscore Boys’ Headlines

A student works in a computer lab at a school in Portland, Oregon. (Flickr/U.S. Department of Education)

In an effort to measure students’ understanding of basic engineering and technology principles, a new national assessment aims to move beyond multiple-choice questions and instead focus on troubleshooting in real-world scenarios. For example, students are tasked with designing a healthier habitat for a pet iguana, or building safer bike lanes in a city.

EWA Radio

Transgender Student Rights Debate Goes National
EWA Radio: Episode 72

(Flickr/Jzee)

A new federal directive intended to protect the rights of transgender students is causing waves for states and school districts.

Evie Blad of Education Week discusses the fallout from North Carolina’s new law — the first of its kind in the nation — setting limits on bathroom access for public school students who identify as transgender. She and EWA public editor Emily Richmond also discuss what might happen if states ignore the White House’s guidance, and how education journalists can approach their reporting on these issues with cultural sensitivity.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Taking Stock of Student Testing

Panelists at EWA's National Seminar in Boston on May 2. From left: Michael Casserly, Linda Hanson, Mitchell Chester, and Andrew Ho. (Shirley Goh for EWA)

As states and districts debate which standardized tests are best for students, they are evaluating many factors, including curriculum alignment, the amount of time the assessments take, and how soon the results come in.

During an Education Writers Association conference in Boston this month, analysts and education leaders explored how students, teachers, and school systems are adjusting to changes in testing, and probed the challenges in making sense of this complex topic.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

A New 2016 “Common Core,” With Social-and-Emotional Muscle

By BMRR (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

At the age of nine, Amalio Nieves saw his father die from gun violence in Chicago. And as a child, Nieves himself was robbed at gunpoint. Now he’s always thinking about his young niece Jordan and the year 2100 – when Jordan will be the parent of a child that leads America into a new, unknown century.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Learning to Code, Then Sharing the Lessons

Source: Flickr/ via Paris Buttfield-Addison (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Aiming to solve a diversity problem in Silicon Valley, the Hispanic Heritage Foundation is training the next generation of Latino coders — and teaching them to teach others. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

When States Take Over Schools

Students at Roose Elementary School in Detroit in March 2016. (Flickr/A Healthier Michigan). The Motor City is just one example of where a state has intervened to assume oversight of a struggling public education system.

Most reporters dread seeing the next school board meeting on the calendar. But as more states take over failing schools, removing them from local control, some journalists are finding open and easily accessible meetings harder to come by, and recognizing the value of what they’ve lost.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Free For All? The Debate Over Universal Pre-K

The efficacy and quality of universal pre-school programs is a hot topic of debate for the nation's education policymakers and researchers. (Flickr/Seattle Parks)

When it comes making prekindergarten available to all children, the question for policymakers is not whether it’s a good idea or not. The issue is whether it’s possible to make high-quality pre-K universal, and what makes pre-K effective in the first place.

That was the main message from experts who spoke earlier this month at the Education Writers Association’s national seminar in Boston.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Report: Latino Graduation Rates Highest at Selective Institutions

Source: Flickr/ via Alan Light (CC BY 2.0)

The more selective the institution, the higher the graduation rate for Latino students, a new study by Excelencia in Education shows. 

At selective colleges and universities — those that admit less than half of applicants — 68 percent of Latino students graduate and are more likely to do so on time. At other four-year institutions and two-year colleges, the Latino graduation rates are 47 and 17 percent, respectively. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Experts Say Teachers Are Being Taught Bad Science

Source: Nora Newcombe's presentation at EWA's National Seminar in Boston

Here’s a quick quiz. Rate the following statements on a scale from one to five, with one meaning you totally disagree and five meaning you wholeheartedly agree:

  • Beginners and experts essentially think in the same way.

  • Most people are either left-brained or right-brained.

  • Students learn more when information is tailored to their unique learning styles.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Beyond the DREAMers: Undocumented Students Tell Complex Stories

Harvard sophomore Jin Park talks about his experiences as an undocumented immigrant student during the panel "Interviewing DREAMers" at EWA's National Seminar in Boston. He was joined by, from left, Erendira Calderon, Jose Machado, Ainslya Charlton, and moderator Christine Armario of The Associated Press. Source: Natalie Gross/ EWA

Last month, The Washington Post ran a front-page profile about Edwin Ordoñez: a high school valedictorian who swam across the Rio Grande with his father at age 9. Now he has protection from deportation and is choosing between admissions and scholarship offers from Emory, Williams and Princeton.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Missing Class: Using Data to Track Chronic Absenteeism

Fickr/dcJohn (CC BY 2.0)

For every savant who’s skilled enough to ditch class and still ace the course, many more who miss school fall way behind, increasing their odds of dropping out or performing poorly.

The implications are major: If a school has a high number of students repeatedly absent, there’s a good chance other troubles are afoot. Feeling uninspired in the classroom, poor family outreach, or struggles at students’ homes are just some of the root causes of absenteeism, experts say.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Deeper Learning: ‘Skills That Everyone Needs’

Students dissect a chicken wing to learn about muscle structure in science class. This is the kind of hands-on activity researchers believe contribute to "deeper learning".  (Flickr/Jose Kevo)

In some classrooms, students are learning deeply. These students not only master the subject, but they are able to articulate why they are learning about something and apply what they’ve learned to real-life situations. Advocates of “deeper learning” say the approach has become even more important in a changing economy that demands critical thinking.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

‘Linked Learning’ the Focus of Innovative High School

Principal Dalton Cole of the School of Business and Tourism and Esther Soliman, Linked Learning administrator for LAUSD. (Gail Robinson for EWA)

Like many of their counterparts across the country, 10th graders at the School of Business and Tourism, part of the Miguel Contreras Learning Complex near downtown Los Angeles, read To Kill a Mockingbird. But they also read the works of self-help writer Dale Carnegie. Eleventh graders study The Great Gatsby but earlier in the year they pondered Contagious: Why Things Catch On, by Jonah Berger.

EWA Radio

Raising the Bar for Teacher Certification 
EWA Radio: Episode 71

(Flickr/Don Voaklander)

How fair are controversial new tests being used by some states to certify teachers? Who are the prospective classroom educators struggling the most with the often costly, time-consuming process? And how might this impact efforts to diversify nation’s predominantly white, female, teacher workforce?

Writer Peggy Barmore of The Hechinger Report discusses these issues with EWA public editor Emily Richmond.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Nine Years of 100 Percent College Acceptance for This All-Minority Boys School

Source: Bigstock

“If you’ve made the commitment to go to school here, then you’ve made the commitment to go to college.”

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Rethinking Accountability in the ESSA Era

Lauren Camera (far left) of US News & World Report moderates the ESSA panel discussion in Boston on May 2, 2016. (Jeffrey Solochek for EWA)

When President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act in December, he shifted significant power over educational accountability back to states and school districts.

They still face federal requirements on testing, identifying and assisting the lowest performing schools, and related matters. Money remains the carrot.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

What Does Common Core Teaching Look Like?

Flickr/Laurie Sullivan

When the communications office in the Huntsville (Ala.) City Schools calls English teacher Stephanie Hyatt to say a TV reporter is coming to observe her class, Hyatt knows the drill. She’s expected to stand in front of the room and lecture at students in picturesque fashion.

“That’s my job — to look exciting,” said Hyatt. “They like me, because I teach with my hands.”

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.

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

Progressives in Massachusetts Shortchange Poor Kids, Governor Says

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker speaks at EWA's National Seminar in Boston. (Photo by Katherine Taylor for EWA)

Massachusetts has long been the poster child for education.

For years now it’s ranked at the top in the country for math and reading achievement, boasted impressive graduation rates and made a significant financial investments over the last few decades to get there.

It’s no slouch when it comes to higher education either. Massachusetts harbors some of the best colleges and universities in the world, and it’s joining a growing number of states looking to make college more affordable.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Education Secretary John King Talks Integration, Diversity at EWA National Seminar

Greg Toppo of USA Today, left, facilitates a keynote by U.S. Secretary of Education John King at EWA's 69th National Seminar Monday, May 2. (Photo by Katherine Taylor for EWA)

Racial diversity and the socioeconomic integration of schools can be powerful tools to help improve educational opportunities for students, but much depends on whether states and local communities prioritize them, Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. stressed in remarks here on Monday.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Angela Duckworth: Raising Test Scores Is Not a Sign of Grit

In the dozen years that Angela Duckworth has researched the concept of grit, she’s found new ways to test its validity, identified examples of it in popular culture, and worked to bust myths about its application in schools. But she hasn’t developed a just-add-water curriculum package that interested schools can use to develop the character trait in their students.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Behind the Pulitzer Prize-Winning Failure Factories Series

Kindergartner Tyree Parker sits at the front doors of Maximo Elementary as he waits for school to open. (Tampa Bay Times/Dirk Shadd)

Cara Fitzpatrick was in labor when her husband – and colleague at the Tampa Bay Times – asked her “So what can you tell me about segregation in Pinellas County?”

The paper had just decided to do a large-scale investigation into the district’s schools that were serving predominately low-income, black students. Two years later, Fitzpatrick’s son is walking and talking and she and the rest of the team have earned a Pulitzer Prize for their series Failure Factories.  

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Report: Census Missed 400,000 Latino Children

Source: Flickr/ via Esparta Palma (CC BY 2.0)

Nearly 400,000 Latino infants and toddlers went uncounted during the last U.S. census — a figure that could have implications on their future education, according to a new report

EWA Radio

Inside Tampa Bay Times’ Pulitzer Prize-Winning ‘Failure Factories’
EWA Radio: Episode 70

Kindergartner Tyree Parker sits at the front doors of Maximo Elementary as he waits for school to open. (Tampa Bay Times/Dirk Shadd)

Update: On May 2, “Failure Factories” won the $10,000 Hechinger Grand Prize in the EWA National Awards for Education Reporting.

The Pulitzer Prize for local reporting this year went to the Tampa Bay Times for an exhaustive investigation into how a handful of elementary schools in Pinellas County wound up deeply segregated by race, poverty, and opportunity.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

LA Reading Program Targets Young Latino, Black Men

Source: Flickr/ via Sam Greenhalgh (CC BY 2.0)

By offering cash prizes to Latino and black boys who read books, a retired Los Angeles school teacher is hoping to improve educational outcomes for these groups – one book at a time.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Why ‘Equity’ and ‘Equality’ Are Not the Same

The Scales of Justice. School funding formulas vary widely across the country when it comes to weighing individual students' needs against existing resources. (Flickr/Michael Coghlan)

As a regular feature, The Educated Reporter chooses a buzzword or phrase that You Need to Know (yes, this designation is highly subjective, but we’re giving it a shot). Send your Word on the Beat suggestions to erichmond@ewa.org.

Word on the Beat: Equity

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

After Civil Rights Complaints, N.Y. District Holds Bilingual Board Meeting

(Flickr/Cliff)

The Springs Union Free School District in New York has been accused of violating the civil rights of its Latino students, who comprise the majority of its student population. 

EWA Radio

NPR Follows the (School) Money
EWA Radio: Episode 69

(Source: Education Week, U.S. Census Bureau. Credit: Alyson Hurt and Katie Park/NPR.)

Cory Turner and Acacia Squires of National Public Radio’s education team discuss a new project focusing on how local and state dollars flow to public schools.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Study: Big Benefits to Career and Technical Education

A student and teacher in a welding class. A new study of Arkansas high schoolers found girls were more likely than their male classmates to specialize in a particular area of career and technical education. (Flickr/Photo Dudes)

When students feel engaged and connected to their schoolwork, it’s no surprise that they tend to have better academic outcomes. But a new study of career and technical education programs suggests the benefits can extend well beyond high school graduation.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Identifying ‘Gifted’ English-Language Learners

Source: Flickr/ via U.S. Department of Education (CC BY 2.0)

When students don’t speak English well, it can be easy for their outstanding academic abilities to get overlooked. 

In a recent NPR story for All Things Considered, Claudio Sanchez tells listeners about a program in Arizona’s Paradise Valley Unified School District that has figured out a way to identify the talents of gifted students  – even as they’re still learning the English language.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Calif. Appeals Court Overturns ‘Vergara’ Ruling on Teacher Tenure

(Flickr/Woodley WonderWorks via Creative Commons)

As a regular feature, The Educated Reporter chooses a buzzword or phrase that You Need to Know (yes, this designation is highly subjective, but we’re giving it a shot). Send your Word on the Beat suggestions to erichmond@ewa.org.

Word on the Beat: Vergara

EWA Radio

In Detroit, School Choice Is ‘Six Hours, Eight Buses’
EWA Radio: Episode 68

US Department of Transportation

Is “school choice” a misnomer in Detroit, where options for students hinge heavily on their ability to find their own transportation?

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

#OptOutSoWhite? More Latino, Black Families Joining Movement

Source: Flickr/ via Benjamin Chun (CC BY-SA 2.0)

It’s spring, which means it’s also testing season for schools across the country and time for the annual arguments for and against opting kids out of the end-of-year assessments.

EWA Radio

Competitive College Admissions: Too Much Hype?

Flickr/Wayne Stadler

Are education reporters unwittingly contributing to the hysteria over elite college admissions? What do policymakers say needs to be done to ramp down the tension without dimming enthusiasm among students? And how did the perception of college admissions as inaccessible to most — when the reverse is actually more accurate — become so pervasive?

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

‘Lives in Limbo’: Supporting Undocumented Students

Yehimi Cambron, middle, shares her immigration story at the Center for American Progress event, "Harnessing the Talent of DACA and Unauthorized Students at the K-12 Level." She was joined by, from left, Richard Loeschner of Brentwood High School in New York, Frances Esparza of Boston Public Schools, Roberto Gonzales of Harvard University, and moderator Scott Sargrad of CAP. Photo by Natalie Gross/ EWA

When Yehimi Cambron crossed the U.S. border from Mexico with her parents, they told her she would not have documented legal status in this country. But as a third-grader, she had no concept of how that would affect her.

It wasn’t until she was 15 and denied a $50 prize in an art competition because she didn’t have a Social Security number that she grasped its meaning.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Reading Skills Differ by State, Country of Origin, Report Shows

Source: Flickr/ via Monica H. (CC BY 2.0)

In the past decade, the reading scores of Hispanic and Latino students have improved by half a grade level, yet less than a quarter have tested proficient. And according to a new report by the Child Trends Hispanic Institute, those statistics vary significantly by students’ countries of origin and the states they live in. 

EWA Radio

Should Kid Reporters Cover Trump?
EWA Radio: Episode 66

Fifteen-year-old Kid Reporter Kyra O’Connor interviews students at a rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo: Scholastic News)

Student reporters — some as young as 10 years old — are reporting on the race to the White House. But amid incidents of violence at recent rallies for Republican front-runner Donald Trump, some people are wondering whether it’s time to take the junior journalists off the campaign trail.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Teachers’ Unions Survive Supreme Court Challenge Due to a Deadlocked Vote

The U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked on a case that would have set new limits on how unions collect fees from potential members. (Flickr/Beatrice Murch via Creative Commons)

The U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked on a case that would have rewritten the rules for how teachers’ unions — and other public employee groups – are allowed to collect fees from non-members.  

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Immigrant Students Bond With Peers Through Music

Source: Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Students in the band at Largo High School in Prince George’s County, Maryland, may not all speak the same language, but that difference doesn’t stop them from making music together.

Armando Trull took listeners inside the after-school band program this week in a story for WAMU, in which one student told him it’s OK that some of the students don’t speak English, because “music is the universal language.”

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: Latino Ed Beat

Wanted: Faculty Who Can Mentor Latino Students

Source: Bigstock

In an effort to diversify its faculty, California Lutheran University is trying a new approach in its hiring.

In a job posting for an assistant professor position, the recently designated Hispanic-serving institution specifies it wants “candidates who can mentor African-American or Latino(a) students and are able to teach courses that deepen student and faculty awareness regarding power dynamics related to race/ethnicity.” The ability to speak Spanish is a plus. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Why Tracking Textbooks Should Matter

(Flickr/ocegep)

Textbooks can have a tremendous effect on what children learn, and an upcoming  analysis from a University of Southern California researcher seeks to find out which books are in use in five large states.

But it’s hard to say which books are in use in which schools.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Does Expanding Access to Advanced Placement Courses Help Kids?

(Flickr/amanda_munoz)

In the Long Beach Unified School District, Superintendent Chris Steinhauser actively recruits students to take Advanced Placement classes.

“Hey ‘John,’ according to our data, you qualify for these AP,” he says he would write in a letter to students in the district. “You need to talk to your mom and dad.”

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

The Dispute Over Whether Good Colleges Help or Hurt Average Students

(UCLA Life)

According to a leading economist, the public debate over affirmative action’s role in higher education is missing the point, and could actually lead to worse academic outcomes for students who get a boost from a college’s affirmative action policies. That view, however, is hotly contested by a wide range of scholars.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

D.C. Schools Expand Their Dual-Language Programs

Source: Flickr/ via woodleywonderworks

More students in the District of Columbia Public Schools will have the opportunity to become bilingual starting next year. The school district has announced it will begin three additional dual-language immersion programs in the fall at the elementary, middle and high school levels, for the first time guaranteeing that students who wish to complete all of their preK-12 instruction in both Spanish and English can do so in the district.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Two Places at Once: The Growth of Dual Enrollment

Source: Flickr/ via Mark Warner (CC BY 2.0)

Programs that allow students to take college classes in high school have been gaining popularity in schools across the country.

EWA Radio

Washington State’s Charter School Limbo
EWA Radio: Episode 64

(Flickr/kendura99)

Washington lawmakers and school choice advocates are scrambling to keep charter schools open in the wake of a state Supreme Court ruling that declared the independently operated campuses unconstitutional. A compromise bill awaits Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature, and the families of more than 1,000 students are hoping for a last-minute legislative save.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Latino Students Join With Other Groups to Stop Chicago Trump Rally

A March 11 rally for presidential candidate Donald Trump in Chicago was cancelled after supporters and protesters collided at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion.
(Flickr/nathanmac87)

It may have ended with some people injured and others in jail, but participants in an effort to stop a Donald Trump rally in Chicago over the weekend are calling their organized protest against the leading Republican presidential candidate a success

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Highlighting Relevance in College General Education Courses

(Flickr/Sholeh)

“Why do I have to take this course?”

It’s a question American college students have asked for decades, as freshmen huddle in large lecture halls for courses with a 101 in the title wondering when they’ll ever get to classes that actually have something to do with their majors.

Many will drop out before they ever get there.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

‘Private’ Charter Schools? Fact-Checking Bernie Sanders

Students and young adults asking the U.S. Senator from Vermont about issues ranging from education to immigration to crime to child care during a campaign event at Creative Visions, an organization founded by former Des Moines School Board member and current State Representative Ako Abdul-Samad. (Flickr/Phil Roeder)

At the Democratic Town Hall Sunday night in Columbus, Ohio, Sen. Bernie Sanders was asked whether he supported charter schools. The Democratic presidential candidate’s answer — imprecise at best — set off a flurry of responses in the Twittersphere, if not the audience at the CNN broadcast.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Will Washington State’s Charter Schools Survive?

The Washington State Capitol in Olympia, where lawmakers are looking for a legislative compromise to keep charter schools open. (Flickr/Mark Goebel)

A legislative Hail Mary intended to preserve Washington State’s fledgling charter schools is headed to the governor’s desk, the Seattle Times reports.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Common Science Standards Quietly Gain Momentum

(Flickr/Woodley WonderWorks)

Although the Common Core State Standards have garnered significant attention nationwide, a set of common standards for science is gaining traction but far less public notice so far.

EWA Radio

Does America Need a ‘Math Revolution’?
EWA Radio: Episode 63

(Flickr/Mathematical Association of America)

We know many American students struggle with math and trail many of their international peers. Conventional wisdom says that’s keeping them from developing the kind of critical thinking skills they need for high-paying STEM careers, and to be successful in a 21st century global economy. But is that shortsighted view of a bigger — and more positive — picture?

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Marijuana Tax to Fund Scholarships for Latinos

Source: Flickr/ via Miran Rijavec (CC BY 2.0)

Latinos from low-income backgrounds in Pueblo, Colorado, will soon be able to apply for college scholarships funded by marijuana sales.

Next year — in a move that’s never been done before – the city will earmark an estimated $700,000 in newly generated marijuana-tax revenue to fund scholarships for high school seniors who plan to attend local community colleges and state universities, Rafa Fernandez De Castro reports for Fusion. 

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Historic Ethnic Studies Program in Financial Trouble

San Francisco State University has announced it will stop covering an annual deficit of $200,000 for the College of Ethnic Studies next year.
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ via Eigenes Werk (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The nation’s first and only freestanding College of Ethnic Studies is struggling to pay its debts.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

SAT Makes Bid to Better Serve Poor Kids

David Coleman speaks to reporters at an Education Writers Seminar in Los Angeles, February 27, 2016. (Credit: EWA)

The SAT has been called out of touch, instructionally irrelevant, and a contributor to the diversity gaps on college campuses because the test arguably benefits wealthier students who can afford heaps of test preparation.

But now the SAT is fighting back. The College Board, the test’s owner, is hoping that a major makeover of the assessment that’s set to debut this weekend will persuade critics that students, teachers and colleges still need an exam that has been a centerpiece of the admissions landscape for 90 years.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

A Global Lens on Teacher Quality

A classroom at the Turku University Teacher Training School in Littoinen, Finland. The country sets a high bar for entrance into the teaching profession. (Jari Sjölund/Flickr via Creative Commons)

High-achieving countries share some common practices when it comes to the recruitment, training and development of public-school teachers, according to experts at a recent Education Writers Association event.

A few years ago in Singapore, teachers in a high school English department posed a question: Would having students conduct live debates on an issue before they wrote persuasive essays about it result in more highly developed final papers?

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Rivals Hurl Trump-Themed Insults at High School Basketball Games

Source: Flickr/ via slgckgc (CC BY 2.0)

Basketball games between rival Midwestern high schools turned political last week after fans invoked Donald Trump allegedly to intimidate opposing schools with large Latino student populations.

EWA Radio

Playing Defense: Challenges Ahead for Higher Ed
EWA Radio: Episode 62

Pixabay/Gerd Altmann

It’s a challenging time for colleges and universities: There’s little patience for school leaders seen as lagging in their response to campus controversies; social media is reshaping, and amplifying, student activism; and there is a growing push for accountability, including measuring faculty quality. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Here Comes Super Tuesday: Are Your Local Schools Open?

Schools are the de facto polling sites in many states, forcing districts to cancel classes in the interest of safety and space constraints. (Flickr/Andre Bach via Creative Commons)

An unusually large turnout is predicted for Super Tuesday, and campuses in Fairfax County, Virginia — one of the nation’s largest school districts — have decided to cancel classes as a result.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Florida Senate Votes ‘Yes’ to Coding As a Foreign Language

Source: Flickr/ via HackNY.org (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The state of Florida is one step closer to equating computer coding with foreign languages.

A controversial bill, which passed by a wide margin in the state Senate Wednesday would allow students to take computer coding for foreign language credit and require the state’s public colleges and universities to recognize it as such. 

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Report Connects Student Debt to ‘Structural Racism’

Bigstock

Minority student loan borrowers are struggling at disproportionate rates to pay back their debt, leading a pair of researchers to draw a connection to structural racism in higher education and other parts of American society. 

According to data released last week by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, U.S. zip codes that are home to higher shares of blacks and Latinos also had higher rates of delinquency in loan repayment, specifically among minority residents in the middle class.

EWA Radio

USA Today: States Putting ‘Bad Apple’ Teachers Back in Classrooms
EWA Radio: Episode 61

Flickr/Markel Saez de Jauregui

Steve Reilly, an investigative reporter and data specialist for USA Today, talks with EWA public editor about his newspaper’s groundbreaking year-long project examining shortfalls in how states track, and share information, about teacher discipline and licensing issues.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Should Computer Coding Count As a Foreign Language?

Source: Flickr/ via Christiaan Colen (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Spanish. French. German. Computer coding. Are they the same? 

This question is at the center of a debate in Florida, where legislators are currently considering a bill that would require high schools to offer computer coding as a foreign-language credit.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Lawsuit Alleges Principal Was Fired for Support of Hispanic Students

Source: Bigstock

An Alabama principal who was fired from her Catholic school post for allegedly embezzling funds claims in a new federal lawsuit that she was instead retaliated against for defending Hispanic students.

EWA Radio

Chicago’s Noble Charter Schools: A Model Network?
EWA Radio: Episode 60

Flickr/Mike Procario

In the Windy City, one out of every 10 high schoolers is enrolled at a campus in the Noble Network of Charter Schools. And while Noble students typically perform well, the network is facing some growing pains in the nation’s third-largest school district. Among the challenges: An increasingly diverse student population, competition for enrollment from traditional Chicago Public Schools campuses seeking to reinvent themselves, and concerns about Noble’s strict discipline policies and emphasis on preparing for the ACT college entrance exam.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Putting Global Student Tests, U.S. Rankings in Context

(Flickr/Global Panorama via Creative Commons)

Near the end of 2016, results will come out for two major international assessments — kicking off a new round of analysis and debate over the standing of U.S. students on the global stage.

“We are really covering the whole range when it comes to these international studies,” said Dana Kelly, an official with the National Center for Education Statistics, which oversees the administration of both exams to U.S. students.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Students Rich and Poor Are Stressed Out Over Paying for College

b r e n t/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

A survey of the nation’s college freshmen indicates a class of young adults stressed out about the cost of financing a degree, even if they’re relatively well off.

The study by UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute lends new insight into not only the concerns young college students have about their debt loads, but also the effects high school experiences have on their attitudes about higher education.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

New Program Seeks to Guide More Latinos to Ph.D.s

Source: Bigstock

A new partnership at eight U.S. colleges and universities is hoping to boost the number of Latinos with doctorates and, in turn, increase the pool of Latino faculty in the humanities. 

EWA Radio

Can ‘Pushy Moms’ Nudge Community College Students to New Heights?
EWA Radio: Episode 59

Flickr/Johnathan Nightingale

Many community college students dream of making the transition to a four-year institution but the application process can be daunting – especially if you don’t have experienced family members to ask for help. Enter the “Pushy Moms” at LaGuardia Community College, a volunteer group of mothers well-versed in the ins and outs of the higher education admissions maze.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Berkeley to Launch ‘Chicana/o and Latina/o Task Force’

Source: Flickr/ via John Morgan (CC BY 2.0)

The University of California, Berkeley has announced it will create a task force to address the needs of Mexican-American and Latino communities on campus.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

New App Helps Undocumented Students Find Scholarships

Source: Flickr/ via Pat (Cletch) Williams (CC BY 2.0)

It wasn’t that long ago that tech entrepreneur Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca thought she’d never be able to go to college. As an undocumented immigrant, financial-aid opportunities were limited, and despite her long list of academic achievements, she “knew” she couldn’t go.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Do Boys Need ‘Manhood’ Lessons?

Chinese students in the classroom. The country's education officials are trying to increase the ranks of its male teacher workforce with an eye toward developing more "manly" qualities among boy students. (Flickr/Mike Hetherington via Creative Commons)

Two powerful new stories — one from China, the other set in Oakland, California — explore how educators are addressing perceived shortfalls in boys’ education: namely, bestowing them with the qualities needed for “manhood.”

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Teach For America Turns 25

Teach For America teacher and Penn State graduate Sergio Santiago reads a book to his students at a Washington, D.C. elementary school. (Flickr/PennState)

In the past quarter-century, Wendy Kopp’s idea for putting new college graduates to work in high-need public schools has grown from her undergraduate thesis project at Princeton into a $300 million organization responsible for recruiting, training, and supporting thousands of new teachers every year. Along the way, Teach For America has generated criticism even as it’s become a mainstay in many of the nation’s larger school districts. 

EWA Radio

Teach For America at 25: New Era, New Challenges
EWA Radio: Episode 58

(Flickr/Wolfram Burner)

What started as Princeton University senior Wendy Kopp’s undergraduate thesis is now has a $300 million operating budget and 40,000 alumni.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

‘Global Cities’ Share Strategies to Enhance Educational Equity

Kindergarten students at Warden Avenue Public School in Toronto, Canada. As more immigrant families settle in the city, local campuses are working to address the needs of an increasingly diverse student population. (Photo credit: Toronto District School Board)

International comparisons in education usually focus on the national level—what countries can learn from one another. But a number of cities in North America and East Asia have teamed up to compare notes and share ideas, including on the tough issue of improving educational equity, a challenge faced by urban systems across the globe.

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?

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Most Latino College Students Attend Small Concentration of Schools

HSIs are located in 18 states and Puerto
Rico, but 83 percent are located in five states -- California, Texas, Florida, New Mexico and New York -- and Puerto Rico.
Source: "Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs): 2014-15," Excelencia in Education

More Latinos are going to college, but they’re doing it at a small number of schools, according to a new analysis from Excelencia in Education released this week.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Charters And School Choice Challenged In Washington State, Nevada

A district court judge upheld a request to block implementation of Nevada's new Education Savings Accounts. An appeal to the state's Supreme Court is expected. (Flickr/Ken Lund)

In the wake of a state Supreme Court ruling that its new charter school law was unconstitutional, Washington lawmakers have approved a creative fiscal workaround that could allow the public but largely independent schools to remain open. 

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Duke Latino Student Group Not ‘Comfortable’ Recruiting for School

Mi Gente, a Latino student group at Duke University, released a list of demands for the administration this week with an announcement that it will no longer help the university with an annual event targeting prospective Latino students. Source: Flickr/ via Matt Phillips

A Latino student group at Duke University has declared the school is “not a safe space“ for Latinos, and announced this week it will no longer participate in an annual recruitment event for prospective Latino students. 

EWA Radio

Does the College Admissions Game Need New Rules?
EWA Radio: Episode 56

(Pixabay/Ivan Ilijas)

A new report from a coalition of educators suggests it’s time to rein in ambitious students (and their families) when it comes applying to the nation’s top colleges and universities.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Is Your College on Feds’ List of Title IX Investigations? Here’s How to Find Out

A view of the University of Virginia, where a fraternity is suing Rolling Stone magazine for its now-retracted cover story about an alleged rape on campus. The continued fallout is putting fresh scrutiny on how institutions handle such allegations as well as the media's coverage of the issues. (Flickr/Phil Roeder)

For reporters covering colleges and universities, The Chronicle of Higher Education has put together a valuable new resource: an online tool for searching, and tracking, federal investigations into potential Title IX violations involving sexual assault allegations. 

There are currently close to 250 in the Chronicle’s database, with just under 20 percent of them listed as “resolved.” The average duration for an investigation is one year, two months. 

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Study: Some White College Students Buy in to Stereotypes of Minority Peers

(Bigstock/Corepics)

Asian-American students are “cold but competent.” Latinos and blacks ”need to work harder to move up.” 

EWA Radio

Diversity & School Choice in New York City
EWA Radio: Episode 55

(Flickr/Mikel Ortega)

New York City is one of the world’s great melting pots — so why aren’t efforts to diversify its schools taking hold?

As one of several Chalkbeat New York writers contributing to a new series, Patrick Wall is taking a close look at how school choice is playing out in the nation’s largest school district.

He spoke with EWA Public Editor Emily Richmond about some of the complexities of New York CIty’s multilayered approach for sorting students, and shared ideas for local reporters looking to dive into the data on school diversity in their own communities.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

STUDY: Despite Same Test Scores, Whites More Likely Than Blacks to Enter Gifted Student Programs

Source: Wikimedia Commons/woodleywonderworks (CC BY 2.0)

A new study finds that black students with the same test scores as white students are still less likely to be selected for gifted and talented academic programs in elementary schools.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Md. School Officials: Deportation Scare Keeping Latino Students Home

Source: Bigstock

Latino students in Maryland are skipping school for fear of being deported, Prince George’s County officials announced last week, calling this a “scary time.” The dip in attendance comes after a series of widespread raids on undocumented immigrant families by U.S.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Making Sense of Global Comparisons in Education

Chinese girls in their classroom. Shanghai drew widespread attention for its high test scores on PISA in 2012. Later this year, new results will be released for PISA and another international exam, putting a spotlight once again on how the achievement of dozens of countries and education systems compare. (Flickr/Brian Yap)

Nearly 50 years ago, the U.S. first got a snapshot of how its students compare with their peers in other countries based on a standardized test. The news was sobering.

“Look towards the bottom of this list, and see the U.S. coming in 11th out of 12 [industrialized] countries” in math, said Tom Loveless of the Brookings Institution, pointing to a chart he presented last month at an Education Writers Association seminar in Washington, D.C. “Only Sweden scored below the U.S.”

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Netflix Mogul Invests in Latino Education

Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix, announced this week he is investing $100 million in education. His first gifts were to support black and Latino youth. (Flickr/JD Lasica)

Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings announced this week a new philanthropic endeavor to invest $100 million in education. A portion of his first $1.5 million gift will support Latino youth through the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley

Blog: The Educated Reporter

England’s Charter-Style Schools on Rise

Students board the train home in Whitby, England. (Flickr/Matt Buck)

Without a doubt, the biggest change to the educational landscape in England over the next few years will be the growth of so-called academies and free schools, both modeled at least in part on U.S. charter schools. 

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he would like every government-funded school in England to be a free school or academy by 2020. At present, they represent 60 percent of the country’s roughly 2,000 state-supported secondary schools.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

State of the Union: Here’s Your Education Buzzword Bingo Card

By popular demand, we’ll be playing EWA Buzzword Bingo tonight on Twitter during President Obama’s State of the Union address. You can join in with the online versionof the game (click the box when you hear the buzzword). The hashtag is #EWABingo.

EWA Radio

The Higher Ed Beat: Are You Ready for 2016?
EWA Radio: Episode 54

Scott Jaschik, editor and co-founder of Inside Higher Ed, shares his thoughts on the coming year with EWA Radio. Among the topics he and public editor Emily Richmond tackle in this episode: Will 2015’s widespread campus protests over racial issues carry over into the New Year? How will community college factor into state funding formulas for higher education? Why are younger U.S. military veterans an ever-growing market for universities? And what should reporters watch out for when reporting on the intersection of politics and education policy? 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Exam Gives Glimpse of How Schools Stack Up Globally

Students work on a robotics project at the School of Science/ Engineering Magnet in Dallas, Texas, one of about 450 U.S. campuses using the OECD Test for Schools. The optional exam allows schools worldwide to compare student proficiency in reading, mathematics, and science. (Photo courtesy of Science/Engineering Magnet)

The many complaints about the large quantity of standardized assessments American students take may make giving another test a hard sell. But some U.S. high schools have recently added a voluntary exam that puts their student achievement in reading, math and science into an international context.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

As ESSA Era Begins, Assessing NCLB’s Legacy

Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John King visits a classroom in Tampa, Fla. The federal Education Department's reach has been scaled back by the new Every Student Succeeds Act, as Congress sought to transfer more authority over local schools back to the states. (Flickr/U.S. Department of Education)

America brought home a middling report card with 74.4 out of 100 points – a “C” grade — in Education Week’s 20th annual “Quality Counts” report this week, which ranks the nation and individual states on a variety of student factors, from test scores to graduation rates to “chance of success” later in life. (That’s about the same grade earned last year, as well.)

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Influential Latino Educator Will Be Featured on Stamp

Source: U.S. Postal Service

When an entire class of calculus students at a largely Hispanic, low-income East Los Angeles high school passed the Advanced Placement calculus exam in 1982, the Educational Testing Service suspected many of them had cheated.

When activists accused the testing service of ethnic bias, teacher Jaime Escalante encouraged his students to retake the test. Most of the students did; all passed (which means they scored high enough to earn credit at most colleges) and five of them earned high scores.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Holding States Accountable for Teacher Quality

Moderator Michael Stratford listens as Deborah Koolbeck, left, and Sandi Jacobs discuss accountability for teacher preparation programs. (Michael Marriott for EWA)

Demands for accountability have finally arrived at the doorsteps of teacher colleges. Helping to spur the change are a controversial Government Accountability Office report on teacher-preparation programs released over the summer, and forthcoming federal regulations intended to hold them accountable for how graduates perform in the classroom.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Students at Embattled Mizzou Want Latina Sorority

Students at the University of Missouri are working to establish a Latina sorority on the same campus where mass protests about the treatment of minorities made national headlines last fall. (Flickr/nonorganical)

Latina students at the University of Missouri want a sorority to call their own.

EWA Radio

Happy New Year: What Education Reporters Need To Know
EWA Radio: Episode 53

Pixabay/Stefan Schweihofer

With school back in session and a new federal education law on the books, K-12 reporter Motoko Rich of the New York Times shares her predictions for the hot topics on the education beat in 2016, as well as some of her favorite stories of the past year produced by other journalists. She also offers some smart tips for reporters looking to localize national issues for their own audiences.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

This Is What’s New in 2016 from EWA

Here’s something to add to your list of New Year’s resolutions, and it might even make it easier to keep that pledge to exercise more often: Subscribe to EWA Radio! Each week, we feature education journalists sharing the backstory to their best work. You’ll hear tips for managing the daily beat, as well as ideas for localizing national issues for your own audience. 

Here are a few more opportunities from EWA to help ramp up your reporting in 2016: 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

EWA Radio: Here Are Your Favorites of 2015

It’s been a terrific year for our scrappy little podcast, and we’re thrilled to report an equally stellar lineup coming to EWA Radio in 2016.  

I’d like to take a moment to thank the many journalists and education experts who made time to join us for lively conversations, and to all of you who have offered suggestions for stories and guests to feature. Please keep the feedback coming! 

Here’s a quick rundown of the 10 most popular episodes of the year:

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Best of the Beat: Reporters’ Favorite Stories of 2015

Students study in the middle of Jesse Hall at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri, during the Black Lives Matter Study Hall in support of the Black Lives Matter movement on Oct. 6, 2015. The event's mantra was "racism lives here, and so do we.” (Flickr/Mikala Compton for KOMUnews)

As the Washington Post rightly pointed out, working during the holiday weeks can feel like being stranded in a dead zone. I did manage to conduct a (highly unscientific!) survey of EWA’s journalist members and ask them to name a few of their favorite stories by their peers in the past year.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Grit, Common Core, and School Choice: 2015’s Most Popular Posts

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan talks with reporter Motoko Rich of the New York Times at EWA's 68th National Seminar in Chicago, May 2015. A write-up of Duncan's remarks was among the year's most popular Educated Reporter blog posts.

It’s been a busy year for The Educated Reporter, and there’s no sign of things slowing down. Before we flip the page on the calendar to 2016, I wanted to take a moment to thank two important groups: You, the readers, and the many Education Writers Association members who have contributed guest posts to this site. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Shopping for Holiday Stories? Hit the Mall

The mall can be a goldmine of story ideas - and sources - for education reporters during the holiday weeks when schools are closed. (Flickr/AmandaB3

With most schools closed until after the New Year, the holidays can be a dry spell on the education beat. But there’s no shortage of ideas for creative reporters who are willing to venture into less-familiar territory.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

A View from Abroad: Exchange Students Highlight Differences in Schooling

A panel of exchange students spoke at EWA's recent conference on U.S. education in a global context. From left to right, they are Valentina Tobon of Virginia, Lili Hofmann of Germany, Chun-Te Wang of Taiwan, and Kamila Mundzik of Poland. Photo by Emily Richmond, EWA

Chung-Te Wang had never seen a calculator in school before traveling to the U.S. this year as an exchange student.

“We always calculate with our brain. No offense,” said the 16-year-old from Taiwan, spurring laughter in a room full of reporters at the Education Writers Association’s recent seminar on covering U.S. education in a global context.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Expanded Learning Time for English-Language Learners

(Flickr/Free Stock Images)

Can a longer school day help students who are learning English grasp the language faster and better? A new report from the National Center on Time and Learning suggests it’s a strategy worth considering. 

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Music Programs in Nashville Reaching More Hispanic Students

Source: Flickr/ via Phil Roeder (CC BY 2.0)

More Hispanic students in Music City are enrolled in music classes than ever before. 

According to a report from Nashville-based Music Makes Us, the majority of Hispanic students attending Metro Nashville Public Schools are enrolled in some type of music program at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

Commands