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‘Operation Varsity Blues’: The Real Story Isn’t the Admissions Scandal.
How federal investigation of ‘side doors’ into elite colleges sheds light on larger inequities for underserved students
(EWA Radio: Episode 202)

Nearly 50 people, including 33 parents, have been indicted in what the U.S. Department of Justice is calling its largest-ever fraud investigation in college admissions. Looking beyond the celebrity-driven headlines on bribery and fraud allegations, how can education reporters seize the moment to examine the underlying societal and institutional factors that fuel admissions inequities in postsecondary admissions?

Webinar

The State of Early Learning

How much money do states spend on pre-K education? What policies are they implementing to support early learning? How large are the class sizes and how well-trained are the staff?

The National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University releases an annual report card on state-funded pre-K that provides answers to these and many more questions.

Journalists can get early, embargoed access to this deep trove of data during an April 16 webinar hosted by the Education Writers Association.

Webinar

Stories You’re Missing on Transfer Students

More than 3.7 million college students—accounting for more than a third of the nation’s undergraduate student body—are expected to transfer this year. As the end of the semester approaches, many students will be facing spring deadlines to make the jump from campus to campus.

Sign up for an EWA webinar—scheduled for 2 p.m. EDT Thursday, March 21—to learn about one of the most under-covered—but important and timely—aspects of college admissions.

Announcement

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to Speak at 2019 National Seminar

The Education Writers Association is pleased to announce that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will speak at EWA’s 2019 National Seminar in Baltimore in May. This will mark the first time she has appeared at an EWA event.

After opening remarks, Secretary DeVos plans to sit down with New York Times education reporter Erica Green for a conversation, and then field questions from attendees. The exact timing of this keynote session will be announced soon.

Seminar

72nd EWA National Seminar
Baltimore • May 6-8, 2019

EWA’s National Seminar is the largest annual gathering of journalists on the education beat. This year’s event in Baltimore, hosted by Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education, will explore an array of timely topics of interest to journalists from across the country, with a thematic focus on student success, safety, and well-being.

EWA Radio

Rocky Times on the Rocky Mountain Education Beat
From teacher strikes and school safety to covering local news in a time of dwindling resources
(EWA Radio: Episode 201)

In Colorado, Denver Post reporter Elizabeth Hernandez is covering education and a little bit of everything else. That’s a challenge in a state with plenty of school-related stories, and at a newspaper where recent layoffs are straining newsroom capacity. She discusses the recent Denver teacher strike, the first such labor action in 25 years, as well as her coverage of the rising cost to school districts of investigating social media threats. Hernandez, who is soon moving to take over the higher education beat, explains how she uses social media as a reporting and engagement tool in her daily work, and why reporting on educational equity gaps and the experiences of first-generation college students are among her top priorities. She also discusses taking on a high-profile role speaking out against management decisions — and massive layoffs — by her newspaper’s owners. How has becoming a public advocate for local journalism changed her professional perspective?

EWA Radio

Behind Bars and in College
Postsecondary education in Illinois’ prison system
(EWA Radio: Episode 200)

If you’re an inmate  in Illinois, what educational programs are available to help you get your life back on track? That’s the question public radio reporter Lee Gaines set out to answer in an ongoing series. As part of an EWA Reporting Fellowship, Gaines looks at how severe budget cuts in Illinois, plus changes to eligibility for federal Pell Grant dollars, have reduced the number of prisoners earning postsecondary credentials and degrees.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Reporting on Race With Context and Empathy
'Respect people’s humanity and resilience when you use their life to illustrate a problem,' says Adeshina Emmanuel.

Long before Adeshina Emmanuel wrote a story that went viral about a teenager’s literacy struggle, the Chicago-based reporter was part of a small, teary-eyed audience listening to one woman speak.

The woman, Katrina Falkner, recounted stepping up to take care of her nephew, Javion Grayer, after the teen’s mother died in 2016. Falkner described the realization that, at 16 years old, Javion was reading at a second-grade level.

EWA Radio

The Schools Named For Segregationists
Communities, schools rethinking ties to anti-Civil Rights namesakes
(EWA Radio: Episode 199)

What’s in a name? That’s an increasingly complex question for communities with public schools named after segregationist politicians. Two Education Week reporters, Corey Mitchell and Andrew Ujifusa, are tracking both the campuses and controversy. Education Week built a database of 22 schools in eight states named for politicians who signed a document known as the “Southern Manifesto,” protesting the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision in 1954 on school desegregation. Increasingly, groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center are advocating to turn the controversy into a “teachable moment” for these schools. What’s keeping school officials, including at South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond High School, from renaming campuses? How do students feel about the controversy? And what questions should reporters ask when they dig into the anti-civil rights legacies of these namesakes?

A Reporter’s Guide to Covering Teacher Strikes
Webinar

A Reporter’s Guide to Covering Teacher Strikes

Given the string of teacher strikes over the past year, a question for education reporters to consider is: Could your district or state be next?

In this EWA webinar, journalists who have covered recent teacher walkouts share insights, lessons learned, and practical advice. What steps should reporters take to prepare if a walkout appears likely? How can they get ahead of the story? Also, what states are more or less likely to see a teacher strike, and why?

EWA Radio

The Battle Over New York City’s Specialized High Schools
A court challenge to entrance exam in nation’s largest school district puts educational equity in spotlight
(EWA Radio: Episode 198)

New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio wants to scrap the entrance exam that determines whether students gain admission to eight specialized public high schools in the city. The move, intended to make the  schools more diverse, has some equity advocates cheering. But a large number of students and families  – including a coalition of Asian-Americans parents who have mounted a lawsuit —  are pushing back about the proposed changes for the elite schools, saying it will squeeze out the most talented kids. Christina Veiga of Chalkbeat New York discusses the equity challenges facing the nation’s largest district, why Asian-American families are mounting a lawsuit to block DeBlasio’s plans, and how early childhood education and gifted and talented programs fit into schools Chancellor Richard Carranza’s plans to improve diversity and inclusion throughout the city’s vast network of public schools. Also, Veiga offers advice for journalists on covering diverse campus communities, and story ideas to consider when reporting on issues related to race and inequities in educational opportunities.

EWA Radio

What’s Betsy DeVos Up To?
School safety, student loans, and Title IX on front burner as U.S. Secretary of Education begins her third year
(EWA Radio: Episode 197)

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos,  now one of President Trump’s longest-serving cabinet members, shows no signs she’s contemplating stepping down before the president’s first term ends. Alyson Klein of Education Week and Emily Wilkins of Bloomberg Government discuss regulatory rollbacks by the U.S. Department of Education on issues including how campus sexual assault claims are handled and consumer protections for student financial aid. They also explore the new political dynamics now that Democrats control the U.S. House of Representatives, with Rep. Bobby Scott chairing the Committee on Education and Labor.  What are the odds of Congress passing the long-overdue reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, for example? Plus, Klein and Wilkins identify hot topics that local reporters should keep on their radar, including ESSA implementation by states and whether a federal infrastructure package would provide money for school construction.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

What Are the Rules for Charter Schools? It Depends.
In wake of 2018 elections, more change is afoot in states

In the often-heated debates over charter schools, it’s easy for the public — and reporters — to see them as monolithic.

A recent report on charter school laws serves as a good reminder that ground rules for the sector — and not just the profiles of individual schools — often vary significantly from state to state.

EWA Radio

How Beauty School Students Get ‘Tangled Up in Debt’
For-profit colleges promise more than they deliver
(EWA Radio: Episode 196)

In Iowa, private cosmetology schools are reaping big profits at the expense of their students. That’s the key takeaway from a new investigation by reporters Meredith Kolodner and Sarah Butrymowicz of The Hechinger Report. Students are spending upward of $20,000 to earn a cosmetology certificate—comparable to the cost of two associates’ degrees at a community college. Additionally, Iowa’s requirement for 2,100 hours of training, significantly higher than many other states, means students have to wait longer to start their full-time careers. Additionally, they’re often required to work at their school’s salon while taking classes, and bring in revenue by selling services and products. How did Butrymowicz and Kolodner crunch the national and local numbers on outcomes for these for-profit colleges? Who’s holding such programs accountable? And what advice do they have for local reporters covering career certification programs in their own communities?

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Changing Demographics Mean Better College Odds for “Slugs”
A baby bust is forcing newsworthy changes to college admissions.

America’s declining birth rate has sweeping implications for the U.S. economy and society – especially its education system. Already, a decline in the number of 18-year-olds is forcing many colleges to take actions that journalists should cover, such as: changing recruiting practices, cutting costs, and, in some cases, going out of business, according to a panel of college officials, researchers and journalists speaking at a recent Education Writers Association seminar.