August 18, 2014Mark Walsh of Education Week for EWA
More than a few reporters at EWA’s National Seminar who signed up for the visit to Pearl Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School in Nashville suggested that the campus would certainly be infused with country music elements. Perhaps cowboy hats and boots on each student, with future Taylor Swifts and Scotty McCreerys singing their way through the halls – right?
August 12, 2014Hayleigh Colombo of Chalkbeat Indiana for EWA
From President Barack Obama’s 2013 call to expand preschool in his State of the Union Address to a series of statewide pushes for better-funded early childhood education programs, all eyes are turning toward our nation’s youngest learners.
Journalists hoping to tap into the world of early childhood education reporting will have no shortage of angles and story ideas to tackle.
August 7, 2014Michelle Theriault Boots of the Anchorage Daily News for EWA
Education reporters are constantly negotiating access — to schools, students and data. In their session at EWA’s National Seminar, Betsy Hammond of the (Portland, Ore.) Oregonian and Daniel Connolly of the (Memphis, Tenn.) Commercial Appeal discussed two approaches for getting past gatekeepers and to stories worth telling.
Hammond, who described herself as a “data nerd” to the EWA audience at Vanderbilt University in May, focused on data available through public records law.
August 6, 2014Lydia McCoy of the Knoxville News Sentinel for EWA
Tennessee’s Race to the Top application was pretty honest, the state’s Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman told an EWA audience at Vanderbilt University in May.
“It basically started out by saying things aren’t going very well, they could be going better, here are the things we’re going to do to get better,” he said during an EWA National Seminar session on where Tennessee stands with the competitive federal education reform initiative.
August 4, 2014Eric Weddle of the Indianapolis Star for EWA
Can the quality of a charter school be determined by the entity providing the authorization?
While the research on this question has been mixed, education and policy analysts agree that charter school authorizers wield significant power – particularly when it comes to deciding to launch a school, or to shutter one that fails to meet expectations.
Are fourth graders computer-savvy enough to have their writing skills measured in an online assessment? A new federal study suggests that they are, although it’s not clear whether old-fashioned paper and pencil exams might still yield useful results.
July 30, 2014Gabrielle Russon of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for EWA
How teachers are evaluated is one of the most rapid changes in education policy, said Mackenzie Ryan, a Florida Today education reporter who moderated a panel on the topic at EWA’s National Seminar in Nashville.
With that as the backdrop, Lisa Gartner, a Tampa Bay Times reporter, and Patrick O’Donnell from the Cleveland Plain Dealer shared how they covered the topic in their home states.
July 28, 2014Danielle Dreilinger of the New Orleans Times-Picayune for EWA
State takeover districts have been lauded as the savior of children left behind by inept local school boards — and derided as anti-democratic fireworks shows that don’t address the root causes of poor education. Three panelists took an hour during EWA’s National Seminar in Nashville to get beyond the flash and noise and discuss the real challenges of state school takeovers, a process all acknowledged is disruptive.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for EWA Summer School, our webinar series designed to help education reporters sharpen their skills, deepen their knowledge, and develop story ideas. If you missed out on the webinars the first time around, you can catch the replays:
July 23, 2014Charles Lussier of The Advocate for EWA
The idea has a simple, seductive appeal. Expand the things that work, cut short the things that don’t.
The notion, drawn from the investment world, has manifested itself in public education as the “Portfolio District Model.” Instead of managing stocks and bonds, school districts manage schools, creating or expanding successful ones, closing unsuccessful ones, focusing with zeal on academic results.
Students pay dearly for a long summer break from school: On average, they return in the fall a month behind where they were at the close of the prior academic year, and kids from low-income households typically slip even further.
More students are earning high school diplomas – but the diplomas don’t mean those students are ready to succeed in college.
Nicholas Donohue, president and CEO of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, made that observation as he began to argue for a dramatic rethinking of the way schools measure learning, promote students and award diplomas. He made the argument during a “Deep Dive on Competency-Based Education and Student-Centered Learning” at EWA’s National Seminar in Nashville in May.
While students might be basking in a long summer break, that leisure time carries a heavy price tag: on average, students will return to school in the fall a month behind where they performed in the spring. And the learning loss is typically even greater for low-income students who were already behind their more affluent peers.
D’Leisha Dent graduated this spring from a 99-percent black high school – a story that might not be what you would have expected from an Alabama public school system that was federally ordered to desegregate in 1979.
In a new report comparing financial literacy skills among 15-year-olds in 18 countries, U.S. students scored in the middle of the pack on basic questions about savings, bank accounts and credit/debit cards, and weighing risks and rewards in deciding how to spend their dollars.
Academic research can serve up some of the most original and meaningful stories journalists could hope to cover, if only we know where to look. But Holly Yettick, a reporter-turned-researcher at the University of Colorado-Denver, says hardly anyone in the news business today is writing about the latest research on schools. In one of the conference’s first sessions, Yettick shared her tips for finding good studies to write about and writing about them without overselling the results.
If you need help tracking down the right person for a quote, or you’re stuck in your reporting and you want to workshop a fresh angle, the Public Editor is here for you! Contact Emily Richmond to set up a time to talk. The service is free and confidential.