Blog: The Educated Reporter
It’s rare, if ever, that education issues get live, prime-time programming across multiple major television networks. Then again, few, if any, education organizations have the star-studded, deep-pocketed backing that the XQ Super School Project has garnered in its effort to rethink and reshape the high school experience.
Telling the stories of the nation’s rural schools means better understanding what they offer the roughly 8.9 million students enrolled.
It also involves understanding the communities around those schools, the students attending them, and the challenges they face, a panel of educators and journalists explained recently during EWA’s National Seminar in Washington, D.C.
And one of the most important stories to tell about rural education involves inequality, said Alan Richard, a longtime education writer and editor.
Covering an alleged sexual assault is a difficult assignment for any journalist. Education reporters have to deal with the added complication of Title IX, the 39-page federal law that addresses sexual discrimination in education.
With the Trump administration’s announcement of plans to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), a key focus is on college students who fear deportation. But ending DACA, which offers protections to roughly 800,000 immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children, has significant repercussions for K-12 school communities as well.
Taryn Morrissey recalls that when she had her first child several years ago, “I knew how expensive it was going to be.” Morrissey is, after all, an associate professor at American University who studies child-care policy. Then she started shopping for child-care centers and got hit with sticker shock.
“It’s REALLY expensive,” she said with a laugh.
With the White House expected to decide shortly on the fate of the DACA program, questions loom about future access to U.S. education by undocumented immigrants. And some education leaders are speaking out this week in favor of protecting the program.
Public school students in Houston — the nation’s seventh-largest district — had expected to start a new academic year this week. Instead, many of their campuses were converted into emergency shelters, and many students as well as educators are now homeless. Shelby Webb of The Houston Chronicle discusses the latest developments, and shares some personal perspectives on reporting under emotionally charged circumstances.
Hurricane Harvey has pummeled Texas, with the greatest concentration of flooding in the Houston area. Local school districts that had intended to kick off the new academic year this week are instead assessing the damages to campuses, and preparing to help students and families displaced by the storm.
New U.S. Census data show a dramatic increase in the number of Hispanics attending school, reaching nearly 18 million in 2016. The figure — which covers education at all levels — is double the total 20 years earlier.
“Hispanic students now make up 22.7 percent of all people enrolled in school,” said Kurt Bauman, the chief of Census Bureau’s Education and Social Stratification Branch, in a statement.
When it comes to judging a school’s quality, what matters most? A new poll suggests the American public puts a premium on offerings outside of traditional academics, including career-focused education, developing students’ interpersonal skills, and providing after-school programs and mental health care.
At the same time, even as local schools were generally viewed favorably in the national survey, parents said they would consider taking advantage of vouchers for private or religious schools if the price was right.
As part of an effort to boost the number of Latinos graduating with degrees in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — four universities will use a new federal grant to bring together experts closest to the issue to examine the challenges and brainstorm successful strategies.
The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of California at Irvine, the University of Arizona, the University of Houston and Nova Southeastern University in Florida each $100,000 to host the conferences.
“How many people are here in some part because you’ve made a request for a record and gotten the FERPA answer?” asked Frank LoMonte, an expert in the federal privacy law, to a roomful of education reporters at a recent conference.
Nearly all in attendance raised their hands.
“That’s why my phone rings 2,000 times a year,” said LoMonte during the Education Writers Association’s 2017 National Seminar in Washington, D.C.