With colleges and universities under increased pressure to ensure that more students earn degrees without amassing mountains of debt, journalists are at the forefront in examining how these institutions measure up. But there’s one major obstacle that both colleges and reporters share when it comes to making sense of how well these schools are meeting their goals: insufficient data.
Barely a day goes by that charter schools aren’t in the news somewhere. A quarter century after the first state law allowing charters was enacted, the sector has expanded to serve upwards of 2.5 million students in 43 states. With this growth has come increased attention — and intense scrutiny.
Should schools measure skills like cooperation, communication, self-confidence and the ability to organize? Efforts to gauge these so-called “soft skills” are gaining traction in the classroom, especially with the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act. The new federal law calls on states and school districts to incorporate at least one measure beyond test scores and graduation rates in their accountability systems.
How will the U.S. fare against other countries when the results from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) are released Dec. 6? At our reporters-only webinar, get advance, embargoed access to the full report, as well as an opportunity to ask questions about the findings from a leader at the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Get ready. A fresh wave of global test results for dozens of nations is about to hit U.S. shores. Outcomes from two major exams will be issued just days apart: TIMSS on Nov. 29. PISA on Dec. 6.
Once again, we’ll get a snapshot of how U.S. students stack up against their peers overseas in key subjects, including math, reading, and science. And we’ll hear lots of rhetoric about what it all means.
The election of Republican Donald Trump is sure to reshape federal policy for education in significant ways, from prekindergarten to college, especially coupled with the GOP’s retaining control of Congress.
Although Trump spent relatively little time on education in his campaign, he did highlight the issue from time to time, from his sharp criticism of the Common Core and high student debt loads to proposing a plan to significantly expand school choice. And Congress has a long to-do list, including reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
What will be the impact of the new Every Student Succeeds Act on states and schools, both in policy and practice? EWA will examine an array of issues with the federal law, including testing and accountability, Title I funding, teachers, stakeholder engagement, and curriculum.
What new techniques and practices should higher education embrace to ensure that more students graduate? Join the Education Writers Association September 16–17 at Arizona State University to explore cutting-edge innovations that aim to address financial, academic, and social barriers. More on the seminar theme.
This annual seminar is one of the largest gatherings of journalists covering postsecondary education. Network with others covering this beat and step up your coverage for the upcoming academic year.
The nation’s private and public universities own endowments that together total more than half a trillion dollars – tax-free investments that schools use to sustain their long-term financial health.
Recent news stories once again have shined a spotlight on the troubling issue of teacher misconduct. Consider these headlines:
Now that the White House race has narrowed to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, how is education playing out as an issue in the campaign? Will it prove an important fault line between the Democratic and Republican candidates? Will Trump offer any details to contrast with Clinton’s extensive set of proposals from early childhood to higher education? What are the potential implications for schools and colleges depending on who wins the White House? Also, what other races this fall should be on the radar of journalists, whether elections for Congress, state legislatures, or governor?
Over the past decade, many states and school districts have overhauled the way they evaluate teachers. Some rely primarily on test scores; others add classroom observations. Some even bring student surveys into the mix. Meanwhile, new federal leeway may spark a fresh round of changes around the country.
What are some practical ways for journalists to write about the evaluation systems in the school districts they cover? What questions should they ask about design, implementation, training, and teacher attitudes toward the evaluations?
For education reporters, coming up with fresh ideas for back-to-school stories is an annual ritual. And if you’re balancing the K-12 and higher education beats, it can be an even bigger challenge.
Most education reporters at one time or another cover test results on NAEP, known as “the nation’s report card.” But if that’s all you do, you’re missing out on a powerful tool that can complement your daily reporting.
Equidad en la educación: Lo que eso significa para estudiantes latinos
Tercera conferencia anual sobre medios de comunicación de la EWA
El término “equidad” es usado comúnmente por educadores, legisladores y otros para indicar el concepto de una educación justa o en la que la oportunidad está bien distribuida. Aunque no es fácil de medir, los estudiantes de minoría, los de hogares de pocos ingresos y los que están aprendiendo inglés a menudo enfrentan desigualdad en el salón de clases, como por ejemplo menos maestros de alta calidad, menos recursos, acceso limitado a clases avanzadas y mayor dificultad para obtener un diploma universitario.
While students are celebrating the start of the long summer break, there’s a significant tradeoff for the three months of leisure – on average, students will return to school in the fall a month behind where they performed in the spring. And the learning loss is even greater for low-income students, who are often already behind their better-off peers.
As part of its effort to help close the achievement gap for disadvantaged students, the U.S. government spends more than $14 billion annually through the Title I program. But a sizable share of those billions go to affluent school systems. Why do some high-poverty districts receive less federal Title I aid than those that serve a far smaller proportion of low-income students? This week, U.S. News & World Report released an exclusive investigation on the federal funding stream.
The Education Writers Association, the national professional organization for journalists who cover education, is thrilled to announce that its annual conference will take place from Sunday, May 1, through Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in the historic city of Boston.
Co-hosted by Boston University’s College of Communication and School of Education, EWA’s 69th National Seminar will examine a wide array of timely topics in education — from early childhood through career — while expanding and sharpening participants’ skills in reporting and storytelling.
“College and career readiness” has become the rallying cry for what high schools should aim to achieve for their graduates. But large numbers of students still arrive on college campuses needing remedial courses, and many of those who are academically ready still struggle to adapt to college and earn their degrees.
What’s Next Out West?: Education Stories to Watch in 2016
Special Afternoon Event for Communications Professionals in California
Join the Education Writers Association for a lively conversation with leading education journalists on the stories to watch in 2016. Amid major changes in the national policy landscape, key questions are on the table for educators, policymakers, and students: In this presidential election year, how are the fault lines over K-12 school reform shifting? What higher education trends have the most momentum? What’s in store for our littlest learners? And how will battles over politics and policy affect what happens in the classroom — from preschool through graduate school?
Despite persistent political debates, the Common Core State Standards are now a classroom reality in public schools across the country. Yet much is in flux as educators wrestle with how best to teach the Common Core — or their own state’s version of it — and some states rethink the tests tied to the new K-12 standards.
Despite continued debate over the Common Core, the standards are now a classroom reality for thousands of schools across more than 40 states. But what exactly does that mean? What does it look like in action? How is implementation going? Two journalists who have dug into Common Core implementation offer fresh angles on coverage, as well as suggestions on how to interview parents, teachers and students about their experiences with the standards.
EWA journalist members received an early opportunity to review Education Week’s newest Quality Counts report, which includes a special focus on school accountability.
As part of its annual Quality Counts report, Education Week grades states on a wide range of indicators, including the Chance-for-Success Index, K-12 Achievement Index, and school finance.
Following congressional passage of a bipartisan bill to overhaul federal K-12 policy, the action will quickly shift to states and local school districts. Although the new federal law maintains required testing each year in grades 3-8 and once in high school, it significantly scales back accountability demands, handing states far more leeway on issues such as teacher evaluations and low-performing schools. How will states and districts respond?
Beyond the Border: Covering U.S. Education in a Global Context
Seminar on International Comparisons and Lessons
In 2016, a wealth of new international testing data and analysis will be issued from two major assessments at the precollegiate level. The results for students in dozens of countries are sure to once again spark debate over U.S. standing on the global stage and the implications for schools.
Across the nation, racial tensions are spilling onto quads and front pages as student protesters demand that their colleges do more to ensure students of all races and ethnicities feel welcome on campus. But in some cases, it’s not just university administrators who face scrutiny: Journalists also have drawn the ire of protesters demanding improved campus climates.
How does the United States compare to other countries when it comes to spending on early childhood, K-12, and higher education? Where are the greatest inequalities, and what are the potential consequences for individuals’ earning potential, as well as communities and national economies? What cuts have been made to school workforces and resources in the lingering wake of the recession?
The answers to these questions and more are in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s forthcoming “Education at a Glance 2015” report.
In the campaign for the White House, education has gained considerable attention, from proposals to make college debt-free to sharp criticism of the Common Core standards. The fault lines are not simply between Democrats and Republicans, but also among candidates in each of the two parties, and competing factions in their political ranks.
Many economists warn that the path to jobs is getting harder, as old industries get eclipsed by disruptive technologies and new fields arise that call for new skills. The task for schools is hardly simple: overhaul a system designed for the industrial age so that it prepares young people to thrive in the information age. While education alone is unlikely to address the country’s changing needs, scholars and educators are increasingly looking to concepts like grit, motivation and learning from mistakes to propel a new generation of students to become tomorrow’s talented workers.
While many first-generation students are excited and ambitious when they step on campus — eager to beat the odds and become the first in their families to earn a college degree — others struggle with guilt, fear and loneliness, sometimes even struggling to remember why they decided to attend college in the first place. And they grapple with these feelings while they also have to figure out how to apply for financial aid, register for classes, and manage the other necessities of undergraduate life knowing they can’t turn to their families for guidance based on experience.
With a critical shortage of teachers looming on the horizon, a perennial issue becomes more urgent. How well are America’s teachers prepared? Are future teachers ready for the first day of school? What is the evidence and should colleges of education and other training programs be held accountable?
There’s no question that living in a neighborhood with concentrated poverty and racial isolation can take a big toll on children’s learning. But how can journalists go deeper to better understand — and convey to readers — the educational challenges posed when families don’t have enough money for food, heat and other essentials, and often encounter the trauma of neighborhood violence? How can stories get beyond the stereotypes and statistics to put a human face on the circumstances of children in highly impoverished neighborhoods, and how those are translating into the classroom?
More knowledge. More skill. More potential. No matter what reason a student enrolls in college, the ultimate goal is usually the same: a degree that will expand opportunities. But for many students, earning a degree and finding work in their chosen field may pose stark and unanticipated challenges. And for many of their communities, turning colleges and universities into reliable places to find qualified candidates for the jobs that are available may prove easier said than done.
Hay casi 12 millones de latinos matriculados en las escuelas públicas en los de Estados Unidos y la cifra sigue creciendo: Se proyecta que aumentará a 15.6 millones durante la próxima década. Sin embargo, estas cifras no nos presentan la historia completa sobre la educación de los estudiantes latinos. Cada día es más importante entender las estadísticas y reportar lo que realmente está pasando en los salones de clase, y esta labor es especialmente importante para los periodistas que trabajan en los medios de comunicación en español.
Many states are rolling out the first round of test scores this fall from brand new assessments pegged to the Common Core standards. Join EWA for a Sept. 10 webinar designed to help reporters better understand what’s coming and how they can report on the data in meaningful ways.
Webinar on School District Finance & Bonds
Bonding Over School Data: Finding District Finance Stories Through Bond Records
What’s your district’s financial outlook?
Often that’s a tricky question, requiring a lot of digging through multiple sources. But if the district recently issued bonds, you have a wealth of information at your fingertips. That’s because the financial laws governing the bond market require districts to share a wide range of information (including details they may want to keep quiet).
Most U.S. students continue to have a weak grasp of civics, as well as U.S. history and geography, recent national data suggest. Only about one-quarter of 8th graders, for instance, scored “proficient” or higher in civics on the latest exam from NAEP, known as the “nation’s report card.”
For education reporters, coming up with fresh angles for back-to-school stories is an annual challenge. Two veteran education journalists—Steve Drummond (NPR) and Beth Hawkins (MinnPost)—share smart tips for digging deep, and keeping ahead of the curve on the latest trends. We discuss new ways of approaching the first day of school, ideas for unique profiles, strategies for data projects and how to make the most of your publication’s multimedia resources.
Education Week reporter Lauren Camera, David DeSchryver, senior vice president of Whiteboard Advisors, and Bethany Little, principal at Education Counsel, break down the future of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act for journalists.
Now that both the Senate and the House of Representatives have passed bills renewing the act, journalists can examine the potential impact of the new provisions. Learn how you can cover these in your state and district and find out questions you should be asking.
Common Core: Politics Meets Policy
Webinar to Probe Legislative Activity, Policy Shifts on the Standards and Testing
From state legislatures to the presidential campaign, the Common Core has drawn considerable political attention, and criticism, this year. But what steps have policymakers actually taken to cut ties to the new standards and aligned tests, and what are the practical implications for states and school districts?
If you want to learn the skills to push your reporting on numbers to the next level, apply now to EWA’s Diving Into Data Workshop, a four-day seminar on collecting and analyzing data at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The data workshop is meant to encourage reporters to be more active with data-based reporting, whether for quick-hit stories or longer projects.
School is out, and you’re sitting in your office wondering what to write about. EWA can help!
On Tuesday, June 9, EWA held a webinar on summer learning with literacy experts Sarah Pitcock of the National Summer Learning Association and Judy Blankenship Cheatham of Reading Is Fundamental.
Standardized testing has loomed larger on the education beat this school year than ever before, as most states rolled out new assessments pegged to the Common Core. How did the assessments really go? What’s the state of the testing backlash?
The Education Writers Association and American Educational Research Association are joining forces to offer a fellowship program for journalists interested in broadening their understanding of education data. Reporters and editors chosen for the fellowships will attend an intensive joint data workshop, as well as data-oriented sessions at EWA’s 68th National Seminar hosted by The University of Chicago and AERA’s 2015 Annual Meeting in the Windy City.
It’s that time of year again, but why should sports reporters have all the fun?
With more than 100 colleges and universities competing in the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments, there are plenty of topics education reporters can explore about how athletics affect life on campus:
New OECD Report on Gender Disparities in Education
Exclusive, Embargoed Access for Journalist Members
With gender equity on the front burner of public debate, a new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development provides a timely glimpse at the issue through the lens of public schools. The report, based on new analysis of the most recent PISA assessment, includes specific data on gender disparities in achievement by U.S. students.
As students look to curb the amount of loan debt they build on their way to a degree and policymakers eye the need for more college-educated workers, the focus on college graduation rates continues to increase. But exactly how many students actually earn a postsecondary degree can be a difficult question to answer because most data sources lose track of students as they swirl from one college to another, in and out of higher education as “life gets in the way.”
Behind every good teacher is a good principal, research shows. How can school districts make sure they have the right leaders in place? Too many school districts have haphazard ways of recruiting and nurturing potential principals.
How Do Reporters Answer the Question ‘What School Is Best for My Kid?’
Webinar on School Choice Data
Is there an objective way of presenting school data that transcends the politics of school choice?
How do reporters and news outlets more broadly serve their readership with relevant information about schools in their communities?
Journalists will get an early opportunity this week to review Education Week’s newest Quality Counts report, which includes a special focus on early childhood education indicators. The report will evaluate states on their efforts to expand early childhood education and examine how new academic demands and accountability pressures are altering the learning environment for young children. Join EWA for a Jan. 7 webinar to learn more.
As tools and data profiles of students become easier to use, are teachers sufficiently data literate to make sense of the information at their fingertips? Do teachers have the skills and access to data in useful formats, and are the school leaders and institutions responsible for their professional development providing them the training they need? The stakes are high: Teachers behind in data literacy may miss out on innovative ways to track student progress, personalize instruction, and improve their own practice.
Inquiring Minds: What Is (And Isn’t) Student-Centered Learning?
EWA Webinar on Student-Centered Learning
Student-centered learning is gaining ground nationally as a strategy to rethink classroom instruction, setting new expectations for schooling as a collaborative effort. The approach is seen as holding great potential, but also poses significant challenges for teachers and students alike.
What does it look like in practice? What does research suggest are the key elements for making it successful? How can reporters evaluate whether the programs in their own communities are of high quality?
Decades of research suggest that some types of arts education can lead to academic improvements.
Who deserves money for college more: students whose test scores and grades qualify them for “merit aid” or students with greater financial need who might be unable to afford college otherwise? New research suggests that colleges might increasingly be favoring less-needy students, in a quest to boost their schools’ rankings and help their bottom lines. Does that finding hold up to scrutiny? And how do colleges’ decisions on need-based versus merit aid affect college enrollment and completion?
For many college students — whether fresh out of high school or adults returning to school — their most serious obstacles to a degree won’t be homework or tests, but rather the challenges of navigating student life. Colleges are now being forced to face the longstanding problems that have often led to students’ flailing and failing on their own.
This fall, the share of K-12 students in the United States who are Latino is projected to climb to nearly one quarter, a figure expected to rise to nearly 30 percent by 2022. And proportionately more Hispanic students are enrolling in postsecondary education than white, non-Hispanic students.
Missed our Aug. 7 webinar? View it on demand today!
Data journalism is more than just reporting on numbers. It’s taking the records of a half-million students and uncovering alarming absentee rates. It’s tracking the attrition of students from neighborhood schools.
Our July 16 webinar examined the heavy price tag of leisure time. Watch it on demand.
As policy and political leaders sound the alarm on America’s dwindling competitive edge, it’s up to journalists to vet those claims and examine the measures used to gauge whether U.S. students are prepared to thrive in the 21st century economy. Central to the debate over the country’s international standing is the question of whether the U.S. education system is up to par in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.
Join EWA and your fellow journalists Feb. 3-4 at our first seminar in 17 years to focus solely on covering early childhood education.
Degrees vs. Debt: Making College More Affordable
How much should students have to pay to earn a postsecondary degree? At EWA’s 2012 Higher Education Seminar, leading experts took a range of approaches to this question, which has vexed students, administrators and policymakers. This journalists-only event was hosted by the Indiana University School of Education and Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis.
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EWA’s National Seminar will gather some 500 journalists, experts, and supporting community members for dozens of sessions, including standalone speakers, panel discussions, how-to workshops, and visits to sites of interest. With its focus on financial issues, the National Seminar will arm attendees with new ideas for compelling stories on everything from salary schedules and bond issues to the burdens on families struggling to pay for preschool or college. At the same time, it will sharpen participants’ skills at making the most of their resources for producing high-quality coverage.
This academic year marks a critical juncture for the Common Core, as most states gear up to assess students on the shared standards for the first time. Are states, districts, and schools ready? What about states that are reviewing or have rescinded the standards? How can reporters make sense of it all? There’s no shortage of compelling angles to pursue in this complex and fast-evolving story—rendered all the more so by the political tussles erupting over the new standards and tests.
Charters & Choice: Making Sense of the Fast-Evolving Landscape in K-12 Education
Charter schools. Vouchers. Education tax credits. The “portfolio” model of schooling in cities. It’s nearly impossible to find consensus on these hot-button issues, but one thing is clear: American families are seeing more school options at the K-12 level than ever before, especially in urban areas. And the Republican gains in the 2014 elections at the federal and state levels are widely expected to provide further impetus for expanding school choice.
Since the advent of No Child Left Behind 12 years ago, standardized, fill-in-the-bubble tests have become a major part of the school experience. Some say too much of a part.
But beyond the debate over how much schools test, major changes are under way in how they test. Underlying those changes are questions about just what they’re testing for.
This intensive, journalists-only seminar will focus on a range of hard-fought changes under way that together are rewriting the rules of the U.S. teaching profession. What are the roots of today’s controversies over teacher training, tenure, evaluation and pay? In a pivotal year in the push for new standards and tests, are teachers still on board? What does the nation’s new majority-minority student population mean for classroom teachers? How are teacher colleges responding to new accountability pressures?
Catch the replay of our July 17 webinar on all things FERPA.
Dakarai Aarons and Elizabeth Dabney of Data Quality Campaign will identify the various state and local government agencies storing education data that are vital for your reporting. In many states, the state school board, department of education, mayor’s office, higher-education advisory board, and other agencies keep useful public information – and it’s on the reporter to know where to look.
Our July 8 webinar explored the perils of teenage indifference to fiscal matters. Watch it on demand.
Blog posts, videos, podcasts and more from our 2014 National Seminar.
Our April 28th webinar looked at education disparities along racial lines as we approach the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.
Our March 10 webinar gave reporters an inside look at EWA’s new net price tool.
Couldn’t make it to our March 6th webinar? View it on demand now!
As more school districts share data with parents and teachers, privacy advocates warn that they run the risk of violating students’ privacy.
How many students are really graduating from college? This number is becoming more important as policymakers look to tie university funding to completion rates. But as more students start to “swirl”—take extended time off or transfer into another institution, acts that eliminate them from many traditional measures of college graduation –what’s the best way to keep track of which students actually earned degrees?
For millions of adults who never completed high school, the GED has been the gateway to careers and college degrees. In January, the process adults undergo to earn a GED will change radically.
How will the U.S. fare against other countries when the results from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2012 are released on Dec. 3?
Growing public distrust, cagey lawmakers and big money from all directions—it’s not just the standards and assessments that are common in the roll out of the Common Core State Standards.
Despite the pushback, the standards are fast becoming a reality across the country. What does that mean for education and the journalists who cover it? Are the standards making a dramatic difference in the way teachers work? How well have school districts planned their curricula around Common Core?
The new Common Core State Standards, fully adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia, are poised to remake K-12 schooling from Massachusetts to California.
More than 50 reporters joined EWA for our seminar “More Than Scores: Assessing the Future of Teacher Evaluations,” held Oct. 10th and 11th at the University of Chicago. As always, we look forward to the coverage inspired by the event. So far, we know about the following stories:
More than 50 journalists joined EWA for our annual Higher Education Seminar, held Sept. 27-28 at Northeastern University in Boston. As always, we look forward to the coverage inspired and informed by the event. So far, we know about the following stories:
News coverage of the process and politics surrounding the Common Core State Standards has become relatively plentiful. But less attention has been paid to the longer-lasting instructional changes that are already affecting students and teachers. To address that gap, EWA hosted this event with top experts on the shifts in math and literacy instruction that the standards are designed to bring about. Consider this your intro class to the new Common Core content.
Even the most talented teacher will be less successful under a bad principal. But how do you cover what really matters about principal leadership? This webinar offers five “story ideas to steal” and spark your own ideas for compelling coverage. As a launch pad for the discussion, the webinar will feature clips from the recent documentary “The Principal Story.”
Across the country, tens of millions of students are back in class for a new school year. But while the ritual of hitting the books is the same, changes are occurring in everything from K-12 curricula to how college students earn their degrees. If you’re writing about these shifts in our nation’s schools and universities, this free, journalists-only event will give you better context for your coverage.
- Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education
- Emily Richmond, EWA Public Editor (Moderator)
EWA’s 66th National Seminar
Note: Only sessions with multimedia or associated reading are listed on this page.
Thursday, May 2
Blended Learning Takes Off. Rocketship was founded in 2006 as the first elementary blended-learning school model in the country, and has become both the highest-growth charter school system in the country and the highest-performing low-income school system in California.
This webinar focused on how education reporters can better connect with classroom teachers, and techniques for making the most of those interviews. Topics include creative ways to use social media and other non-traditional methods to reach out to school site personnel, and how to manage central-office hurdles that often limit access.
How equitable is education in your school districts? Do low-income and minority students have the same access to advanced math and science classes, or Advanced Placement courses? Are teachers in low-income schools veterans or new teachers?
Research has shown that early education programs can significantly improve learning outcomes for the nation’s poorest students. With President Obama announcing a proposal to expand early education in the United States dramatically, interest in child care and pre-K has surged. But not all programs work effectively and states have had varying success implementing large-scale early-ed models. Can a national plan to enroll millions of children from low-income households in quality pre-K classes complement what’s working at the state level?
While students are celebrating the start of the long summer break, there’s a significant tradeoff for the three months of leisure – on average, students will return to school in the fall a month behind where they performed in the spring. And the learning loss is even greater for low-income students who were already behind their more affluent peers. In this EWA Webinar, we examine how districts are successfully combating summer learning loss with high-quality programs and leveraging community partnerships to help pay for them.
How much of the U.S. gross domestic product is spent on education? How does that education spending break down for early childhood education, K-12 education and higher education? How much private spending is dedicated to education, compared to public spending? What is the link between higher education degrees and unemployment rates in the U.S. and other countries?
What steps are under way to help incoming college freshmen prepare for their first semester of classes, particularly those in the STEM disciplines? Students planning to major in science, technology, engineering and math often make early exits from those fields, but switching a college major can be costly for the student and may even lead to dropping out altogether. From summer bridge programs that refresh rising freshmen on key concepts to learning communities that pair students and mentors, programs are emerging to help high school graduates enter college STEM courses prepared.
In the wake of several high-profile cases involving students who took their own lives, states are focusing heavily on making bullying prevention programs mandatory in public schools. But how much of the responsibility really rests with educators, and what steps should the broader community be taking to help students make smarter choices about their own behavior on campus, after school, and online?
Who will benefit more from the federal government’s new “Pay As You Earn” income-based repayment program for student loans: Recent graduates struggling to find jobs in a tough economy? Or high-paid professionals such as lawyers and business executives, who might be able to wipe away tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt? Why are the income-based repayment options so underused when as many as one out of five borrowers has fallen behind on payments?
This webinar, a companion piece to EWA’s Reporter Guide: Visiting School Campuses, covers the ins and outs getting access to schools, how to observe students and teachers, and contains tips for taking your stories to the next level. You’ll also be the first to get access to the latest guide.
If you couldn’t make it to our Feb. 8 seminar, Under the Microscope: Examining STEM Education, we’ll be collecting resources from it on this page over the next few days.
First, check out this video report featuring participants from our STEM Science Fair:
Interviewing children is a critical component of the daily work of education reporting. Yet practices for gaining access and making the most of one-on-one opportunities vary widely among news organizations and individual journalists.
When it comes to making sure students are college and career ready, middle and high school guidance counselors play a critical — and often underreported — role.In this EWA webinar, attendees received an advance look at the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center’s second-annual survey of guidance counselors, in which respondents outlined some of the challenges of helping students meet ever-increasing expectations, as well as identified shortfalls in their own training and professional development.In this recording, you’ll also hear from experts in the field as to the implications
Ready to Teach: Rethinking Routes to the Classroom
How well is America teaching its teachers?
As accountability pressures on the nation’s teaching force mount, scrutiny of colleges of education is intensifying as well. During this one-day EWA seminar, journalists and experts delved into the growing efforts to revamp how aspiring educators are prepared for the classroom and how teacher-preparation programs are held accountable for results.
Finding Common Ground: Common Core and ELLs
What Common Core Standards Mean for English Language Learners
Several urban districts and some states are quickly translating Common Core proficiencies into new teaching practices and more complex classroom activities. This represents a sharp departure from the “basic skills” drilling experienced by many English-language learners under high-stakes accountability policies.
After you’ve filed your back-to-school stories, get ready make waves with some hard-hitting, data-based reporting this academic year. If you’ve never parsed test scores, attendance numbers or graduation rates, this webinar is a great place to start.
Jack Gillum, an investigative reporter with the Associated Press, offers tips on how to use data to enhance your reporting; find the information to get you started; and identify newsworthy trends in the numbers. Gillum contributed to an award-winning 2011 USA Today series on suspicious student test score gains in Washington, D.C.
For education reporters, coming up with fresh ideas for back-to-school stories is an annual challenge. As part of EWA’s Summer School Webinar series, we invite you to get some smart tips from three veteran journalists who know how to mine the beat, and avoid the ordinary. We discuss new ways of approaching the first day of school, ideas for unique profiles, and how to make the most of your publication’s multimedia resources.
So you’ve managed to get your hands on all the records your school district keeps about its budget and spending. Now what? How can you turn a giant data dump into a compelling story for your readers?
In this EWA webinar, you’ll hear how reporters at the Dallas Morning News used public records to create databases of district spending and budget information, and how they used those databases to uncover everything from fraud and mismanagement to cozy vendor-employee relationships to the misuse of federal grants.
EWA held its 65th National Seminar in Philadelphia May 17-19. The conference featured roughly 120 speakers and 40 sessions.
The sessions are featured chronologically. We will continue to update as we obtain more materials.
*Names that contain a hyperlink open up to a video, PowerPoint, or PDF
Photos from the National Seminar
Thursday, May 17
Site Visit – Tackling Turnarounds: Mastery Charter Schools
All over the country, the year’s last school bell is ringing. But now that it’s time for pool parties and summer camp, what happens to the knowledge students gained during the school year?
Gary Huggins of National Summer Learning Association; Kathleen Manzo of Education Week; and Katy Murphy of the Oakland Tribune talk about how reporters can examine summer learning loss and how to tell when schools and communities offer effective summer school.
Community College Outcomes: Advance Look at New Digital Resource for Tracking Student Progress
Community colleges are widely considered a critical link in the nation’s continued economic recovery. As a result, the open-access entry point to higher education is facing both renewed scrutiny and higher expectations, with policymakers demanding actual evidence of effectiveness.
Turnaround Schools: Are SIG Dollars Making a Difference?
Since 2009, the federal government has poured more than $4.6 billion into the School Improvement Grants program, one of the most ambitious attempts at education reform in recent history.
Our March 24, 2012 seminar at the University of Chicago took a close look at the federal School Improvement Grant program, the research base behind school turnarounds, and how charter schools factor into attempts to reimagine and reform chronically low-performing schools.
This fall, the U.S. Supreme Court will take on the issue of affirmative action in college admissions for the first time since 2003. The plaintiff in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin argues that her race was the deciding factor when she was denied admission to the school. Regardless of the outcome, this case will have major consequences for schools around the country for years to come.
EWA Seminar on Data-Based Journalism
What can you conclude about the teacher-turnover rates in your local schools? What is the relationship between students’ family backgrounds and high school graduation rates? Which schools are beating the demographic odds in student learning growth? Do students’ grades in your local high schools line up with their need for remediation in college?
Elizabeth Laird, Director of Communications and External Affairs for the Data Quality Campaign, provides an update on states’ progress toward collecting and using education data and reveals the type of data and related reports available from your states. She’ll especially concentrate on linking K-12 and postsecondary data to explore issues like college and career readiness, college remediation, and other topics.
Are you interested in freelancing, but don’t know how to get started? Veteran journalist David McKay Wilson offers a primer for reporters new to freelancing and those who want to learn the ropes of this exciting career path. Wilson broke into journalism as a freelancer for the Boston Phoenix and continued to freelance over his 26-year career. He left Gannett’s The Journal News in 2007 after 21 years to launch a business that focuses primarily on publications at institutions of higher education.
No one ever entered the journalism profession to crunch numbers, but dealing with data is a crucial part of the education beat. Holly Hacker, statistics guru and education reporter for the Dallas Morning News, shows you the basics for understanding how to effectively report on statistics.
From Maine to California, school districts are reporting significant increases in the number of homeless students. Our webinar takes a closer look at the underlying issues, and also gives participants a blueprint for localizing this important story. Our presenters will include Barbara Duffield, policy director of the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children; Pamela Hosmer, Program Manager for the San Diego Unified School District’s Children and Youth in Transition program; and Dr.
Few education issues are as fraught with controversy as teacher evaluation. Fierce debates are playing out at the local, state, and national levels, as efforts accelerate to revamp systems widely seen as ineffective at meaningfully distinguishing among teachers or helping them improve.
States love to brag when their SAT scores go up, and are quick to offer reasons why they went down. How can reporters see through the spin and put their states in context?
Holly Hacker, education reporter and stats guru at the Dallas Morning News, explains some basic statistical concepts using state SAT scores, showing you the biggest force driving those scores to help effectively and fairly compare your state with all the others.
While this webinar is focused on the SAT, these techniques are applicable to many other education issues.
EWA Higher Ed Seminar for Journalists
20 Million Degrees and Rising: Meeting the Demand for More College Graduates, Nov. 4-5, 2011
This is an important moment for higher education, and an exciting time for the journalists who cover it. In the face of severe economic difficulties, experts are pointing to postsecondary education and training as key weapons in the fight to get America back on track economically and secure its long-term prosperity.
In advance of its 2011 State Teacher Policy Yearbook, the National Council on Teacher Quality offers a closer look into what is shaping up to be a critically important education policy trend. Across the nation states are engaged in create teacher evaluation systems to provide meaningful information about teacher performance, based in significant ways on student achievement, and tying information on teacher effectiveness to decisions of consequence about tenure, compensation, professional development and advancement.
EWA held its 64th National Seminar in New Orleans April 7-9. The conference featured 90 speakers and 30 sessions.We’ve rounded up stories, blog items, Power Point presentations, and podcasts on nearly all of them.
The sessions are featured chronologically. We will continue to update as we obtain more materials.
The discussion at our daylong conference went beyond the commonly discussed topics of teacher pay and evaluation to ask: Is it feasible to make entry into the profession more competitive? Why is there often a large gap between what aspiring teachers learn in school and the skills they need in the classroom? And why do so few teachers feel they are getting the help they need to improve?
EWA wishes to thank the Carnegie Corporation of New York for its support of this project.
Cheaper, Faster, Better: The Challenge Facing Higher Education
Feb. 4-5, 2011, Poynter Institute, St. Petersburg, Fla.
EWA’s annual conference for higher education reporters was held Feb. 4-5, 2011 at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla.
EWA held its 63rd annual conference May 13-15 in San Francisco, Calif. The conference theme, “Examining the Evidence,” explored research supporting the U.S. Department of Education’s K-12 and higher education reform efforts.
Oscar-winning director and producer Davis Guggenheim addressed the 230 conference attendees about his documentary, “Waiting for Superman,” which looks at education for the poorest of the poor students in the US.
Recap: 2009 Reality Check – Where is Education Heading?
See what happened at EWA's 2009 national seminar in Washington, DC.
Some of the best minds in education gave a reality check at the 62nd annual conference of the National Education Writers Association April 30-May 2 in Washington, DC.
Nearly 230 top education journalists and others gathered to hear from an all-star lineup about where education is heading.
Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne talked about the future of the news industry and education coverage and New York Times Magazine editor and author Paul Tough gave reporters insight into a blossoming education reform in Harlem.
Washington, D.C., January 11, 2010 — The National Education Writers Association (EWA) selected 20 journalists from newsrooms around the country to attend its sixth annual research and statistics training program.
President Barack Obama has issued an ambitious goal: for the United States to once again lead the world in college attainment, by 2020. Though some programs show promise, college graduation is still out of reach for many Americans, for academic, financial and institutional reasons.
School districts frequently look to the small schools model– splitting up large high schools or creating with only a few hundred students– when searching for ways to bolster student achievement and enhance the relationship between students and teachers. If students feel more connected to teachers and other adults at school, the thinking goes, then they will attend classes regularly, show more interest in coursework and do whatever it takes to graduate. Small learning communities have been found to improve school climate and student attitudes.
Deborah Loewenberg Ball, dean of the University of Michigan School of Education, has been running an experimental summer program where she teaches math to rising fifth graders while observers –both teachers and researchers — watch. The students are from local school districts, are generally from lower-income families, and are struggling with math.
EWA collaborated with the Elementary Math Laboratory staff and Ball to offer a webinar to reporters on Aug. 19, 2008 to discuss the lessons and what reporters can learn about the way math is taught.