July 30, 2014Gabrielle Russon of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for EWA
How teacher 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.
You don’t walk into a shoe store and say: Here’s my eighth-grade son, give him an eighth-grade shoe.
“You measure his foot,” said David Lubinski, professor of psychology and human development at Vanderbilt University.
Lubinski used this metaphor to illustrate why education should be tailored toward a child’s academic abilities. Specifically, he was referring to those children who are gifted, which was the discussion topic during a panel discussion moderated by The Wall Street Journal’s education reporter Leslie Brody at EWA’s National Seminar in May in Nashville.
To mark this week’s 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, here’s a 2013 post I wrote about the historic milestone.
In his commencement speech at San Diego State College, the President of the United States covered unsurprising territory in describing the challenges facing the nation’s public schools – inequities for minority students, a high dropout rate, and the need for better teacher training.
What might be surprising is that the president was John F. Kennedy, and he was addressing the class of 1963.
Education reporters can access a treasure trove of public documents that track significant changes to state exemptions to the most sweeping federal education law of the 21st century, experts said in May at EWA’s 67th National Seminar.
And reporters will need those documents to piece together the patchwork of state policies that have been created out of the NCLB waiver process established by the U.S. Department of Education, said the panelists speaking at the EWA event at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
In more than a dozen states across the South and West, students from low-income families make up the majority of public school enrollment. Those students are more likely to be black, Hispanic or Native American.
Other trends emerge from there. Those minority students, particularly males, are more likely to be suspended or expelled. They are more likely to drop out. They fall into cycles that inhibit their chances to break the cycle of poverty.
June 27, 2014Serena Golden of Inside Higher Ed for EWA
In the wake of the 2008 recession, college cost and affordability have become increasingly hot topics. As tuition prices have continued to rise well above the pace of inflation — with no accompanying growth in family incomes — the issue of access for low- and middle-income students has received more attention, to the extent that, in January, President Obama held a White House summit to press college leaders to do more for the poorest students.
One of the most contentious topics in education news today may also one of the least understood: student data policy.
People who want to tighten laws and procedures around sharing student data with online learning providers say they students are being targeted by advertisers and others with nefarious intent. Those who want to use student information to customize their learning online say the worries are exaggerated and proposed laws will get in the way of personalized student learning.
How does a school educate its special education students alongside kids who don’t have a disability? At Susan Gray School in Nashville, teachers and scholars are collaborating on what many say is a model example of inclusive learning.
A decade ago in Las Vegas – where I spent eight years as an education beat reporter – the school district was a boom town of soaring student enrollment, breaking ground on a new campus nearly every month. With the need for more classroom seats came an equally pressing shortage: principals. To be asked to open a new school was considered a plum assignment, and usually was a reward to a veteran administrator after decades of service with a proven record of achievement.
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.