Your December 17 EWA Newsletter
Best of the Beat!
As the school semester winds down for the holidays, EWA highlights some of the best enterprise reporting done by its members for the first half of the school year.
We hope these stories will inspire your reporting for 2010. Cheers and
have a wonderful holiday!
Note: The Education Reporter will resume publishing in early January.
Bootcamp Deadline Extended
Your school district claims it saved 10 teachers' jobs with the stimulus dollars it received. But did it really or was it saving administrators' jobs?
What about tracking the school construction funding?
EWA will hold its annual Education Research and Statistics Bootcamp at
the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU in Phoenix Feb. 25-28
and these are some potential stories you might bring back to your
newsroom. We provide fellowships that cover three nights of hotel and
up to $250 for travel and you bring the data that you can transform
Facilitators train you in the use of Excel, Access or SPSS, depending
on your skills level. Admission is by application only.
Deadline to apply is December 21.
Get story ideas from last year's bootcamp fellows who reported
on topics as diverse as higher education services, special education,
and students who fail state exams.
You can also see what topics fellows covered in 2007 and 2008.
No Postage Necessary
Entering EWA's National Awards for Education Reporting competition will soon be just a click away- 2009 contest entries soon can be submitted online. This year's deadline is midnight January 22, 2010. All contest entries must have been published during the 2008-2009 school calendar year. Check our website in the next couple of days because a link will be posted for submissions. EWA will still accept postmarked entries sent to our offices in Washington, D.C., but we strongly encourage reporters to use our online system. EWA awards top prizes in 19 different categories for blogs, multimedia, online writing and best of the beat, including the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize.
See You in 2010!
"Examine the Evidence" is the theme and the Hotel Kabuki in Japantown
is the place for EWA's 63rd annual meeting in San Francisco May 13-15,
2010. The conference will dig into research supporting the US
Department of Education's "Race to the Top," as well as focus on
how colleges take responsibility for student success. Check back
for more details on conference registration, speakers, agenda and
sponsorship. You can also look at the 2009 guidelines for exhibiting
and sponsorship until the new ones are published.
<ON THE BLACKBOARD>
Looking for Work?
Check out EWA's Job Center for the latest reporting, public relations
and research vacancies on our website.
Press Release Center
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post items. Just go to our home page and visit the press release
center to get your message out today!
The Public Editor
Don't forget to read the Public Editor's Linda Perlstein's blog, The
Educated Reporter, for her thoughts on what's happening in education.
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Best of the Beat
Atlanta schools soft on cheats?
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Keylina Clark was puzzled when her son told her shortly after taking
state standardized tests last year that he knew he'd passed. A
test proctor gave him answers, he said. Clark believed him. Atlanta
Public Schools, however, apparently did not. The Atlanta district has
received more such cheating claims than any of the five other large
metro districts, an Atlanta Journal Constitution investigation
Back to School/Do the Math: Latest 'new math' concept: Start early and
make it fun
Eleanor Chute, Bill Schackner, and Joe Smydo
The Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Many American adults can't explain how to compute miles per gallon,
interest paid on a loan or a 15 percent tip. Some -- even college
graduates -- aren't too embarrassed to confess: "I can't do math."
First part in a series --
Second in the series
Burlington-Edison School District to pay a premium for land that, for
now, it cannot use
Skagit Valley Herald
The school property on the west side of Burlington was purchased with
good intentions and high hopes. But faulty assumptions led the
Burlington-Edison School District to pay a premium for land that, for
now, it cannot use. First in a series of articles.
Metro Nashville school workers abused expenses
Employees in the cash-strapped Metro-Nashville school district dined
out at local restaurants, bought gourmet coffee and purchased
expensive office chairs with the swipe of a card. School officials
said many of the purchases were necessary to keep the 75,000-student
system running.But a Tennessean review of almost 38,000 transactions and receipts over nearly two years reveals a district that had little control over
how hundreds of top administrators and school staff spent money, and
few ramifications for those who broke the rules.
Many Dallas-Fort Worth graduates struggle in college
The Dallas Morning News
They passed their TAKS exit exams and collected their high school
diplomas- yet a troubling number of Texas students struggle
their first year in college. At some North Texas high schools,
half or more of graduates who go to college earn less than a C average
their first year, based on a Dallas Morning News analysis of state
Case of the missing juniors
Tara Malone, Darnell Little, and Stephanie Banchero
The Chicago Tribune
Rich East High School in Chicago has seen state test scores for
its 11th-graders improve by a stunning 37 percent during the last two
years -- a gain so impressive that regional education officials asked
the Park Forest school to host a seminar to help others emulate its
success. There's only one problem: Rich East did not give the Prairie
State Achievement Exam to about 40 percent of its juniors last school
American Public Media
The Perry Preschool Project is one of the most famous education
experiments of the last 50 years. The study asked a question: Can
preschool boost the IQ scores of poor African-American children and
prevent them from failing in school? The surprising results are now
challenging widely-held notions about what helps people succeed
in school, and in life.
Federal complaint: Filipino teachers held in 'servitude'
Greg Toppo and Icess Fernandez
It has been more than two years since Ingrid Cruz aced a
middle-of-the-night video interview in Manila, borrowed $10,000 from
her parents and flew halfway around the world to take a job in the US
teaching middle school science. Cruz is one of more than 300 teachers
imported to Louisiana from the Philippines since 2007, a group of
educators who say collectively they paid millions of dollars in cash
to a Filipino recruiting firm, PARS International Placement Agency,
and its sister company, Universal Placement International Inc. The
American Federation of Teachers and its state affiliate, the Louisiana
Federation of Teacher allege the teachers are being kept in "virtual
servitude" by holding onto their U.S. work visas unless they kept
paying inflated fees, commissions and rents.
Hat tip to a non-member story:
Bronx high school changed grades to graduate more students
Teachers are accusing a Bronx high school principal hired with a
$25,000 bonus to improve the school's academics of instead
transforming the school into a "diploma mill." Transcripts
given to GothamSchools by current and former teachers show that in the
last year, dozens of students at Herbert Lehman High School have been
given credit for courses they failed or never took.
Jobs and Reporting Contests
The First Five Years Fund is seeking a national director who will contribute to the overall strategic vision of the FFYF and shoulder a substantial portion of managing its team of consultants. Send resume and other inquiries to Cornelia Grumman, executive director, First Five Years Fund, Chicago, IL 60603; firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the First Five Years Fund website. http://www.ewa.org/site/R?i=b5s839OOgH4CQfGdOz3ZuQ..
The Worth Bingham Prize honors investigative reporting of stories of national significance where the public interest is being ill-served. Deadline for this year's contest is Friday, January 8, 2010. The prize for 2009 reporting will be $20,000 and will be presented on March 25, 2010, at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard in Cambridge, Mass. http://www.ewa.org/site/R?i=VEHBziLKEmyTayjD_Ya8AQ..
The Washington Post's local team is looking for a rare hybrid: a journalist with top-flight news instincts, a love of local coverage and strong technical/programming skills to be its deputy editor of the development and transportation. To learn more, contact: David Marino-Nachison at David.Marino-Nachison@wpost.com.
The Monterey Institute for Technology and Education (MITE), a 501(c)3 non-profit, is looking for people to work on scripts for multi-media presentations. If you are interested contact: Renae Bent, Editorial Project Management, Monterey Institute for Technology and Education, email@example.com.
Please send your best stories and member news to Mesha Williams at
Dale Mezzacappa, president, Public School Notebook; Tanya Schevitz,
vp/actives, free lance reporter; Marie Groark, vp/associates, Bill and
Melinda Gates Foundation; Stephanie Banchero, secretary, Chicago
Tribune; Richard Whitmire, immediate past president, freelancer;
Kathryn Baron, George Lucas Educational Foundation; John Merrow,
Learning Matters, Inc.; Linda Lenz, Catalyst; Rodney Ferguson, Lipman
Hearne, Inc.; Cornelia Grumman, First Five Years Fund; Elizabeth
Green, Gotham Schools.org; Scott Elliott, Dayton (Ohio) Daily News;
Kent Fischer, GMMB.