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Covering Student Absenteeism in the COVID-19 Era

Learning in the pandemic has its challenges, but for a lot of students the problem is more fundamental: They are missing out on school altogether this fall, or showing up sporadically.

Schools that have opted for virtual learning are struggling to get every student connected online and consistently in class. Recent news coverage in Chicago, Detroit, and elsewhere has highlighted thousands of students missing from online classes, though intensive outreach has helped reduce the problem. 

Tip Sheet

EWA Tip Sheet: Monitoring Colleges’ Financial Health During a Funding Crisis

The pandemic and economic shutdown have slashed colleges’ tuition revenues, reduced state government funding for higher education and, in some cases, even wiped out football ticket sales. Colleges’ severe new financial challenges are already forcing many budget cuts and layoffs. 

image of students
EWA Radio

A Different Kind of College Rankings
The Washington Monthly uses unique metrics to measure quality, including return on investment, strong outcomes for students of color, and effective civic engagement.
(EWA Radio: Episode 248)

When choosing a college, students and families often turn to popular rankings to help inform their decisions. Rather than focus on test scores and how difficult it is to gain entry, The Washington Monthly gives schools points for factors that benefit society as well as individual students, like upward mobility for low-income graduates and encouraging civic engagement on campus and after graduation.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Understanding How Race Affects Reporting Is Crucial for Education Journalists
Pulitzer Prize winner Nikole Hannah-Jones to white reporters: Study race intensely

The fusillade of insults and threats aimed at The New York Times Magazine’s “The 1619 Project” is evidence of the power journalism has to create change, Nikole Hannah-Jones told a remote audience during an appearance at the Education Writers Association’s recent National Seminar.

logo image for EWA Diving Into Data seminar 2018
Seminar

Diving Into Data Workshop 2020
Online

Smart use of data is a key ingredient to powerful education reporting on issues from achievement gaps and the digital divide to funding inequities and college completion rates. Ready to take your data skills and savvy to a new level? EWA is here to help.

Apply now for the next Diving Into Data Workshop. Participants will receive intensive, hands-on training from our data coaches—veteran journalists skilled at analyzing and reporting with education data. The coaches will meet you where you are skills-wise, and help you navigate data for a particular project while also building your overall data skills.

This year, we’re going virtual. The training will be delivered in four half-day sessions on October 12-13 and October 19-20. And it’s free to EWA member journalists. (If you’re not a member, apply today.) Deadline is Sept. 24.

Space is limited for this competitive program. Applicants must provide a letter of recommendation from their editor. Also, we highly recommend that participants plan to use two screens for the workshop. Letters of recommendation should be sent to data (at) ewa.org

So, what are you waiting for?

Rethinking How Journalists Write About Young People
Webinar

Rethinking How Journalists Write About Young People

The stories education journalists tell can make a powerful impact in communities: deepening public understanding of critical issues, highlighting inequities, and holding public officials accountable. But sometimes their stories — and even their choice of words and phrases — may have unintended and potentially harmful effects on public attitudes toward young people. Those depictions can amplify stereotypes or distort impressions of youths.

Child Care Policy and COVID-19: A Roadmap for Education Journalists
Webinar

Child Care Policy and COVID-19: A Roadmap for Education Journalists

Many education journalists covering the pandemic’s impacts on children and families are diving into the early learning and child care beat for the first time, given the massive disruption to this sector in communities nationwide. EWA is here to help!

Effectively covering the early learning and care sector requires understanding the complex world of child care policy and funding, including a dizzying array of federal and state programs, as well as costs, subsidies, reimbursements, eligibility, and tax credits.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

The Pandemic Is Taking a Toll on the Child Care System. Here’s What Analysts Say Is Needed to ‘Rebuild’

About half of all child care centers are expected to close as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and their meager share of federal relief funds cannot begin to address the crisis in an industry that serves an essential role in both early education and the economy, experts said during a recent panel hosted by the Education Writers Association.

Education Surges to Top Tier of Presidential Race Amid Pandemic
Blog: The Educated Reporter

Education Surges to Top Tier of Presidential Race Amid Pandemic
Journalists offer insights, story ideas on covering the schools angle

Education is not typically an issue that comes to the forefront in presidential races.

But months of an ongoing coronavirus pandemic have elevated conversations about how schools and elected officials are tackling the issue. In fact, education took a front seat in high-stakes negotiations this summer over a federal stimulus bill that has stalled.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

How the Pandemic Is Changing the World of College Admissions
Journalists should examine access, enrollment uncertainty

Hundreds of colleges are going test-optional. Fewer students are filling out financial-aid forms. Everyone is staring down unknowns.

The field of admissions has been turned upside down, Eric Hoover, a senior writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education, said as he kicked off a panel about college admissions and enrollment at the Education Writers Association’s 2020 National Seminar.

Two students reading together
EWA Radio

Can Schools Close ‘The Knowledge Gap?’
Author Natalie Wexler makes case for focusing on enriching classroom curriculum during the coronavirus pandemic to improve students’ literacy and understanding
(EWA Radio: Episode 245)

Much attention is focused on how schools will deliver instruction this fall, whether remotely or in schools with COVID-19 health and safety precautions in place. But what students are taught — the curriculum — is also an important story

Blog: The Educated Reporter

How Is COVID-19 Impacting the Teacher Workforce?
Economic pressures, educator diversity, and rethinking professional development

The coronavirus pandemic is creating huge challenges for the teacher workforce — layoffs, pay cuts, fear of COVID-19 exposure among those returning to bricks-and-mortar classrooms, to name a few. At the same time, analysts and teacher advocates also see a unique opportunity to innovate and rethink traditional practices.

Announcement

EWA Announces Fall 2020 Class of Reporting Fellows

The Education Writers Association is pleased to announce its 10th class of EWA Reporting Fellows as part of the organization’s drive to support enterprising journalism that informs the public about consequential issues in education.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Why It’s So Hard to Report on Schools While Home-Schooling During a Pandemic
One journalist shares her struggle to report while guiding her son with autism through school

With a college kid rooting around the fridge for yet another meal, a husband conducting loud Zoom meetings about two feet from my desk, and a teen with autism freaking out from a lack of structure, 2020 is not shaping up to be a banner year for productivity as a freelance education writer.