When School Board Meetings Become Battlegrounds
COVID-19 safety protocols, critical race theory fuel disputes over local control and education policy (EWA Radio Episode 279)
Across the nation, school boards find themselves on the front lines for debates over COVID-19 mask mandates and teaching about racism. Heated exchanges during public comment periods have expanded to public protests, threats of violence, and a surge in conservative slates of candidates running for school board seats…
School leaders are scrambling, yet again, during the third academic year since the pandemic began disrupting education in spring 2020. Under pressure to keep schools open and close learning gaps, they must still provide instruction to students quarantined at home due to COVID-19 exposure.
What is academic freedom?
Generally, it’s the concept that professors, in the pursuit of knowledge, should be free to take their inquiries wherever they deem necessary without fearing retaliation, and that the success and health of the academy rests on that freedom.
Higher education journalists face a torrent of news this fall, as the fallout from COVID-19 poses unprecedented academic, health, and enrollment challenges to colleges. Meanwhile, the country’s racial reckoning and intense political polarization are roiling campuses debating decisions on campus police, faculty diversity, and the teaching of sensitive subjects.
The Education Writers Association is delighted to announce that we will hold our 2021 Higher Education Seminar during the week of Oct. 18-22 as a series of interactive online gatherings on how journalists can cover today’s most pressing issues in education beyond high school.
Centered on the theme of “This Critical Moment,” the event will offer journalists high-quality, convenient training on issues, including the health challenges confronting campuses, the growing debate over how to teach about racism, and the causes and impact of declining enrollment.
How is the Housing Crisis Affecting College Students and Faculty? 5 Things to Consider.
Resources to help reporters cover housing and education issues during the pandemic
The pandemic’s impact on housing – driving rental prices up dramatically, and threatening millions of Americans with eviction – have had a surprising and under-covered impact on higher education.
The Real Story Behind Teacher Shortages
How the pandemic is impacting districts already short on highly qualified teachers, and could slow efforts to spend federal pandemic relief dollars earmarked for student programs and services (EWA Radio Episode 278)
Across the country, school districts are grappling with staffing shortages that are making it tough to recover from the disruptions of the COVD-19 pandemic. Matt Barnum, a national reporter at Chalkbeat…
How Will Educators Use Data on COVID-19 Learning Disruption?
Experts say recent findings can inform instructional strategies.
New data continues to show impeded academic learning during the coronavirus pandemic. A critical question is: What, exactly, should be done to address the problem? Efforts are growing to better connect education data with instructional strategies during the education recovery.
How Rural Schools Get Left Behind
Journalist Casey Parks shares insights on culturally competent reporting, building trust with sources, and why more reporters should pay attention to rural education. (EWA Radio Episode 277)
Writing for The New York Times Magazine, veteran education journalist Casey Parks takes readers deep inside the struggles of a rural school district in the Mississippi delta that is poised for a state takeover. She also profiles Harvey Ellington, a 16-year-old Black student with big college dreams but few opportunities for advanced learning in his cash-strapped and understaffed high school.
Covering School Board Meetings? Tips to Tackle the COVID-19, Critical Race Theory Culture Wars
Attending hyper politicized school board meetings in this day and age requires much preparation.
Division over COVID-19 and racial justice is playing out in school board meetings across the country, turning typically sleepy gatherings into politicized and, at times, volatile events.
When meetings turn contentious, reporters need to take care to avoid amplifying misinformation, and provide context on key issues and the board’s authority.
The Education Writers Association is pleased to announce a call for proposals for its next class of EWA Reporting Fellows, in support of enterprising news coverage of education. The fellowships provide financial awards to journalists to undertake ambitious reporting and writing projects. This will be the 13th class of EWA Reporting Fellows.
To date, EWA has supported more than 100 projects, resulting in a rich array of high-quality education stories in various media in communities across the country.
Covering Critical Race Theory: Resources and Tips to Debunk Misinformation
How reporters can arm themselves with knowledge to prevent the spread of intentional and unintentional incorrect information.
This story was updated on Sept. 23, 2021.
After a more than 40-year-old graduate-level, academic research framework became the center of a national culture war that began last year, misinformation and disinformation infiltrated the public sphere, and internet searches increased.
In 2019, Nexis listed a total of 635 news articles mentioning “critical race theory.” Today, the phrase is cited in more than 5,000 pieces a month. And the vast majority of those stories focus on how history and race are taught in schools.
All Eyes on Enrollment as K-12 Students Return to School
Pandemic-driven shifts may have lasting repercussions.
Enrollment in K-12 schools, which plunged by 1.5 million students during the first wave of COVID-19, appeared poised to bounce back this fall. But then, the delta variant of COVID-19 raced across the nation, and school districts confronted the possibility of further shutdowns and lost students.
For many of us who remember Sept. 11, it’s difficult to process that two full decades have passed since the terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. Some of those moments remain so clear – and so painful – that the wounds feel fresh.
A Report Card on Teacher Retirement Systems
What education journalists need to know about an important but undercovered issue
State retirement plans for teachers are wildly uneven in quality, according to a new analysis. Some teachers can’t collect Social Security under their state plans, yet their retirement benefits don’t make up the difference. And, some are building up huge bills that taxpayers will have to pay.
Home Ec’s ‘Secret History’
New book explores how home economics influenced American life and public education beyond 'stitching and stirring' (EWA Radio Episode 276)
Often overlooked and misunderstood, home economics is about far more than learning to bake cakes or sew lopsided oven mitts, argues education journalist Danielle Dreilinger. She discusses her new book, “The Secret History of Home Economics: How Trailblazing Women Harnessed the Power of Home and Changed the Way We Live.”
How to Fund Your Dream Reporting Project
13 organizations will provide financial and editorial support to education journalists.
Editor’s note: This story was updated August 23, 2021.
Here’s some rare good financial news for education journalists: If you have an idea for an ambitious education-related story – and a realistic plan for executing it – a growing number of organizations will provide grants or other resources to support your reporting.
Representatives from several organizations, and some fellowship winners, shared tips and strategies for getting help to make reporting dreams a reality.
Although school districts nationwide are expected to offer full-time, in-person instruction during the 2021-22 academic year, millions of students are poised to stick with online learning, with the number of virtual options growing. This raises a host of important questions for families, communities, and educators.
Watch the Education Writers Association’s timely webinar on remote learning. Experts identified critical questions education reporters should be asking in their local communities and provided some early answers.