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.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Educating Immigrant Students: A Story in Every Community

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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?

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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

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

EWA Radio

When Schools Become Crisis Centers
EWA Radio: Episode 75

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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

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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: The Educated Reporter

School Segregation: What Does It Mean Today?

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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.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

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

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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

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

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Testing and Test Prep: How Much Is Too Much?

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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: The Educated Reporter

More Than Scores: Assessing Teacher Evaluations

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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: Latino Ed Beat

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

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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

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

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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

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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

The Charter School Sector’s Growing Pains

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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

Why Do Massachusetts Public Schools Lead the Nation?

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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

Opt Out 2.0: Snapshot of Spring Testing Season

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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“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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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’

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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

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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

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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

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“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

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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?

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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

Trump’s Education Agenda, in 52 Seconds

Trump’s Education Agenda, in 52 Seconds

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

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

Blog: The Educated Reporter

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

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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

Progressives in Massachusetts Shortchange Poor Kids, Governor Says

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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

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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

Image of 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

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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

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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

Image of Inside Tampa Bay Times’ Pulitzer Prize-Winning ‘Failure Factories’

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

Image of LA Reading Program Targets Young Latino, Black Men

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

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

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

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

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

Image of NPR Follows the (School) Money

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

Image of Study: Big Benefits to Career and Technical Education

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

Image of Identifying ‘Gifted’ English-Language Learners

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

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

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

Image of In Detroit, School Choice Is ‘Six Hours, Eight Buses’

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

Image of #OptOutSoWhite? More Latino, Black Families Joining Movement

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?

Image of Competitive College Admissions: Too Much Hype?

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

Image of ‘Lives in Limbo’: Supporting Undocumented Students

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

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

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

Image of Should Kid Reporters Cover Trump?

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

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

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

Image of Immigrant Students Bond With Peers Through Music

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

Image of Why President Obama Should Teach

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

Image of Wanted: Faculty Who Can Mentor Latino Students

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

Image of Why Tracking Textbooks Should Matter

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?

Image of Does Expanding Access to Advanced Placement Courses Help Kids?

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

Image of The Dispute Over Whether Good Colleges Help or Hurt Average Students

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

Image of D.C. Schools Expand Their Dual-Language Programs

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

Image of Two Places at Once: The Growth of Dual Enrollment

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

Image of Washington State’s Charter School Limbo

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

Image of Latino Students Join With Other Groups to Stop Chicago Trump Rally

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

Image of Highlighting Relevance in College General Education Courses

“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

Image of ‘Private’ Charter Schools? Fact-Checking Bernie Sanders

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?

Image of Will Washington State’s Charter Schools Survive?

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

Image of Common Science Standards Quietly Gain Momentum

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

Image of Does America Need a ‘Math Revolution’?

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

Image of Marijuana Tax to Fund Scholarships for Latinos

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

Image of Historic Ethnic Studies Program in Financial Trouble

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

Image of SAT Makes Bid to Better Serve Poor Kids

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

Image of A Global Lens on Teacher Quality

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

Image of Rivals Hurl Trump-Themed Insults at High School Basketball Games

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

Image of Playing Defense: Challenges Ahead for Higher Ed

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?

Image of Here Comes Super Tuesday: Are Your Local Schools Open?

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

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

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’

Image of Report Connects Student Debt to ‘Structural Racism’

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

Image of USA Today: States Putting ‘Bad Apple’ Teachers Back in Classrooms

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?

Image of Should Computer Coding Count As a Foreign Language?

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

Image of Lawsuit Alleges Principal Was Fired for Support of Hispanic Students

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

Image of Chicago’s Noble Charter Schools: A Model Network?

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

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

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

Image of Students Rich and Poor Are Stressed Out Over Paying for College

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

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

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

Image of Can ‘Pushy Moms’ Nudge Community College Students to New Heights?

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’

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

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

Image of New App Helps Undocumented Students Find Scholarships

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?

Image of Do Boys Need ‘Manhood’ Lessons?

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

Image of Teach For America Turns 25

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

Image of Teach For America at 25: New Era, New Challenges

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

Image of ‘Global Cities’ Share Strategies to Enhance Educational Equity

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

Image of  Record Youth Turnout for Iowa Caucuses

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

Image of Iowa Is First: The Presidential Candidates – and Their Education Plans

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?

Image of Can Youth Vote Change Election Outcomes?

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

Image of Most Latino College Students Attend Small Concentration of Schools

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

Image of Charters And School Choice Challenged In Washington State, Nevada

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

Image of Duke Latino Student Group Not ‘Comfortable’ Recruiting for School

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

Image of Does the College Admissions Game Need New Rules?

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

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

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

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

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

Image of Diversity & School Choice in New York City

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

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

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

Image of Md. School Officials: Deportation Scare Keeping Latino Students Home

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

Image of Making Sense of Global Comparisons in Education

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

Image of Netflix Mogul Invests in Latino Education

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

Image of England’s Charter-Style Schools on Rise

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

Image of 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

Image of The Higher Ed Beat: Are You Ready for 2016?

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

Image of Exam Gives Glimpse of How Schools Stack Up Globally

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

Image of As ESSA Era Begins, Assessing NCLB’s Legacy

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

Image of Influential Latino Educator Will Be Featured on Stamp

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

Image of Holding States Accountable for Teacher Quality

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

Image of Students at Embattled Mizzou Want Latina Sorority

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

Image of Happy New Year: What Education Reporters Need To Know

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

Image of 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

Image of 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Black, Latino Boys in Boston Want Better Schools

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Sixty black and Latino boys spoke to Boston school officials last week about issues they feel might be holding them back at school. Segregation, high suspension rates and teacher diversity were at the top of their list. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Nation’s High School Graduation Inches Upward

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The U.S. Department of Education is celebrating a new milestone for the nation’s high school graduation rate, with just over 82 percent of seniors earning diplomas in 2014. But these statistics, like so many others in the education realm, should come with a warning label: The numbers don’t tell the full story.

EWA Radio

No Substitute for A Teacher
EWA Radio: Episode 52

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For already struggling students in high-poverty schools, frequent turnover among their teachers – and an over-reliance on substitutes – can hurt achievement.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

#EWAGlobal: Trying Out TIMSS & PISA

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#EWAGlobal: A Global Lens on Teacher Quality

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#EWAGlobal: OECD Test for Schools and What’s Ahead

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Blog: The Educated Reporter

#EWAGlobal: A City-Level View of Educational Equity

Blog: The Educated Reporter

#EWAGlobal: International Tests, Global Comparisons

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Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Cafécolleges Offer Unique Approach to Higher Ed Help

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A cup of coffee in a comfortable lounge may be just what students need to keep them relaxed about the college application process. At least, that’s what a new education-focused center in Houston is going for. 

Cafécollege Houston opened last week, modeled after San Antonio’s successful center with the same name – a “one stop shop” for teens and adults looking for guidance on college applications, financial aid, the college transfer process and more.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Rethinking the Adolescent Brain

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For years, common experience and studies have prescribed that humans learn best in their earliest years of life – when the brain is developing at its fastest. Recently, though, research has suggested that the period of optimal learning extends well into adolescence.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Can Kicking Down Conventions Close the Achievement Gap?

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At High Tech High School in San Diego, there are no bells that signal the start of class periods. There are no seven-period days, no mock standardized assessments and no lectures.

EWA Radio

TGI Thursday! Idaho’s Four-Day Schools
EWA Radio: Episode 51

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Faced with massive budget cuts in the wake of the recession, many Idaho school districts switched to a four-day weekly calendar. But more than seven years into the experiment, an investigation by Idaho Education News – lead by reporter Kevin Richert — found little evidence that the schedule change improved either student achievement or the fiscal outlook of cash-strapped districts.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Deeper Learning, Smarter Testing

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Since 2003, more information is produced every two days than the total sum of information produced between that year and the dawn of time, the CEO of Google said in 2010.  Easily web-accessible facts, names and articles have grown exponentially, so much so that some say students can’t be taught like they were in the past, when rote memorization was the gold standard for learning and information wasn’t at almost everyone’s fingertips.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Many Hispanic Community College Students Go Hungry, Report Shows

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Twenty-three percent of Hispanic or Latino community college students have very little security when it comes to their next meal, according to a study released this week by the Association of Community College Trustees measuring hunger and homelessness at 10 community colleges across the nation. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Brazil Explores U.S.-Style Education Policies

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Tying teacher pay to student test scores. Creating public schools of choice with private operators. Setting common standards for all students. Those issues probably are familiar to any American reporter who covers education. They are also becoming more and more common in Brazil, where many policymakers are deeply inspired by the American experience.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

N.Y. School District to Stop Sharing Disciplinary Records with Colleges

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Students in Syracuse, New York who fear a trip to the principal’s office might haunt them later in life no longer need to worry about it affecting their chances of getting into college. The Syracuse City School District has decided it intends to stop sharing student disciplinary records with colleges. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Breaking the Cycle: Small Steps That Help Students in Poverty

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It’s the story told over and over: A child from a poor neighborhood attends a failing school but somehow beats the odds and rises to success.

The assumptions surrounding that story are that success is the exception for a child in poverty, and that failure is the norm. We are surprised that a child from a low-income community achieves strong academic outcomes, but unfazed at the fact that most of his or her classmates don’t.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Report: Latino College Graduation Rates Are Up, Yet Gaps Persist

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A new report analyzing a decade’s worth of college graduation rates at more than 1,300 four-year colleges and universities reveals both positive and negative findings for Latino students. 

The good news: Of the underrepresented minority groups on college campuses, Latinos saw the largest gains in graduation rates between 2003 and 2013. The bad news is that significant college completion gaps persist.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Growing Minds, Changing Math Classes

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As the tune of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” plays out over the music video, the lyrics are a bit different:

“We will make mistakes…our method’s gonna break…not a piece of cake…we’re gonna shake it off, shake it off…”

It was in this video Stanford University Professor and author Jo Boaler says she was compelled to do something she didn’t want to do. “They made me rap,” she said. When her undergraduate students challenged whether she had a growth mindset about her rhyme skills, Boaler said to herself, “Oh my gosh. I’m gonna have to rap.”

EWA Radio

John Merrow’s 40 Years on the Education Beat
EWA Radio: Episode 50

John Merrow began his journalism career in 1974 with National Public Radio, and retired this summer as special correspondent with PBS Newshour. Along the way he racked up a slew of awards, broke big stories, and created a documentary production company.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Should Affirmative Action Help Wealthier Students?

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Should race-based college admission policies prioritize minority students from affluent families over those from low-income households? 

That’s the question at the heart of a heated debate as the Supreme Court prepares to hear another round of arguments in the high-profile Fisher v. University of Texas affirmative action case next week.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

When Grit Isn’t Enough

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The first time I heard a preschooler explaining a classmate’s disruptive behavior, I was surprised at how adult her four-year-old voice sounded.

Her classmate “doesn’t know how to sit still and listen,” she said to me, while I sat at the snack table with them. He couldn’t learn because he couldn’t follow directions, she explained, as if she had recently completed a behavioral assessment on him.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Researching Poverty’s Effects on Learning

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One question that often comes up during state legislative sessions is whether it’s a waste of money to increase educational spending in large urban areas with high poverty and low student achievement.

“There’s a very pervasive view out there that money doesn’t have an effect on outcomes at all,” said Kirabo Jackson, an economist at Northwestern University, during a panel at the Education Writers Association’s October seminar on poverty and education.

EWA Radio

No Digital Revolution for Rural Schools
EWA Radio: Episode 49

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Thousands of the nation’s smaller school districts struggle to get even the most basic Internet services, making it difficult to take advantage of the wealth of classroom technology that’s giving students more options for how, what, and when they learn.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Carol Dweck Explains ‘Growth Mindsets’

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One of the most popular ideas in education today is also one that is often misunderstood. While Carol Dweck’s “growth mindset” has a emerged as a meme for motivation less than a decade after the publication of her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” the Stanford psychology professor is worried about its misapplication.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

To Improve Learning, More Researchers Say Students Should Feel Like They Belong in the Classroom

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About a third of the students who started college in 2009 have since dropped out, joining the millions of young adults who never entered college in the first place.

Several years into a massive push by both the federal government and states to increase postsecondary graduation rates, education policymakers across the country are asking what else they can do to get more students to and through college.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Ranking High Schools — in Finland?

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In Finland you’re not supposed to wonder — let alone ask out loud — if one school is better than another. That’s because all Finnish schools are designed to be equal.

We Finns are very proud of our equal education system. In fact, education is the one positive thing Finland is known for all around the world. Our results in global assessments of 15-year-olds have won us international attention a small nation rarely receives.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Today’s Latino Immigrants Are Better Educated, Studies Show

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Latin Americans who migrate to the United States today are more likely to have achieved higher levels of education than their counterparts before them, according to recent studies examining the migration patterns of foreign-born Latinos.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

#EWAElection Tweets: Journalist Roundtable

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Blog: The Educated Reporter

#EWAElection Tweets: Pre-K-12 Education in the 2016 Race

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Blog: Latino Ed Beat

More Latin Americans Studying Abroad in United States

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Nearly 1 million students studied abroad in the United States last school year — among them more Latin American students than ever before, according to a new study by the Institute of International Education.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Why High-Poverty Schools Need Not Be ‘A Fact of Life’

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As reporters, we often take it for granted when we visit a high-poverty school that it will be surrounded by a similarly struggling neighborhood. And we’re not alone, according to Paul Jargowsky, the director of the Center for Urban Research and Urban Education at Rutgers University. Even as the events in places like Ferguson, Missouri, have prompted important discussions about urban poverty, he says these talks are ignoring a more fundamental question: Why do we have these concentrations of low-income communities to start with?

EWA Radio

Why Did the Feds’ School Improvement Grant Program Fall Short?
EWA Radio: Episode 48

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Education reporter Caitlin Emma (Politico Pro) spoke with EWA Radio about her deep dive into the federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) program, which invested more than $4 billion into efforts to turn around some of the nation’s lowest achieving schools.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

‘Mexican’ Costume Photos Spark Changes on College Campuses

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University of Louisville President James Ramsey made national headlines after he was photographed wearing a sombrero and multi-colored poncho at a Mexican-themed Halloween party last month. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Have Warnings of Teacher ‘Shortages’ Been Exaggerated?

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Predicting teacher “shortages,” evidently, is much like forecasting the apocalypse. It’s best to go into the enterprise with a flexible time frame.

“There was always a ‘shortage’ of 2 million teachers, and it loomed a year or two ahead. It seemed to keep getting pushed further and further back,” said Steve Drummond, the senior education editor at NPR News, who has heard diagnoses of a shortage since the 1990s.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Philosophers vs. Welders: Can’t We Have Both?

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There was plenty of levity on Twitter in the wake of Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio’s declaration that “we need more welders, less philosophers.”(This English major would have preferred he said “fewer” philosophers, by the way.)

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Recent Stories Highlight Latino Student Segregation Problem

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Mexican American children used to be separated from white students in schools because of their Hispanic surnames and the assumption that their English-language skills weren’t good.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Forging New Paths to Teaching

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Alternative routes to teacher certification have grown rapidly over the last three decades, with more programs popping up all over the country. At EWA’s recent seminar in Chicago, three leaders in the field of teacher preparation discussed the implications this widening path will have on traditional teachers’ colleges and what lessons they might glean from their newer counterparts.

EWA Radio

Patterson High School: Baltimore’s New Melting Pot
EWA Radio: Episode 47

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Reporting the “Unsettled Journeys” project for the Baltimore Sun, veteran education reporter Liz Bowie spent eight months talking to students and staff at Patterson High School.

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