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EWA Radio

What School Choice Means in Rural Mississippi
The ugly history of ‘segregation academies’ hangs over community’s first charter school
(EWA Radio: Episode 220)

In rural Clarksdale, Mississippi, the phrase “school choice” has a different meaning, as it brings to mind the segregation academies set up by white families opposed to federally mandated school integration. Writing for The Hechinger Report, Danielle Dreilinger spent time in Clarksdale — known as the birthplace of the Blues — which recently got its first charter school, serving an almost all-black student population.

Blog: The Educated Reporter Erik Robelen

Soft Skills Training Teaches Electricians to Fix Fuses, Not Blow Them
Community colleges award budding trades workers badges in empathy

Sure, a plumber should be able to stop a leak or fix a toilet. Those job skills are essential, and easily measured.

But what about the rest of the equation — the people skills customers also want? How does an employer really know if an applicant has what it takes? Can’t there be a test or something?

Webinar Rick Wilson

Using Tuition Tracker to Strengthen Your College Affordability Reporting

Rising college tuition continues to be one of the most important stories that education journalists cover. But fact-checking exactly what price a college charges can be surprisingly difficult. At many schools, for example, almost no students pay the “sticker price” posted on the website.

EWA Radio Rick Wilson

The Fight to Fix Reading Instruction
New documentary looks at science of literacy, debunked theories, and the ongoing debate over what works best
(EWA Radio: Episode 219)

In a new documentary for APM Reports, Emily Hanford digs into the disconnect between the cognitive science on learning to read and the instructional methods being used to teach millions of U.S. students. Among her findings: a popular technique is based on a flawed idea that  researchers say may actually be holding back kids from becoming skilled readers.

Pixabay/Gerd Altmann
Overview Erik Robelen

Career Center

Find new career opportunities for education reporters and communications professionals. Looking for an experienced education writer for your next project? Post your listing now!

Blog: The Educated Reporter Erik Robelen

Educating the ‘Whole Child’ Is Complex. Will Schools Get It Right?
Recipe blends academics with SEL, character development

The idea that education isn’t simply about academics is nothing new. But efforts are mounting to promote a better balance in schools, to more explicitly address students’ social and emotional learning (SEL), build strong character, and foster civic responsibility. 

The terminology varies, but the broad concept is sometimes referred to as “educating the whole child.” What’s it all about? What’s driving the increased interest and attention? And are public schools today really equipped to deliver this expansive vision of education? 

EWA Radio Rick Wilson

A Reality Check for Boston’s Valedictorians
The Boston Globe investigates K-12 and higher ed shortfalls in preparation and support for local students
(EWA Radio: Episode 195)

Ever wonder what happened to your high school’s valedictorian after graduation? So did The Boston Globe, which set off to track down the city’s top students from the classes of 2005-07. Globe reporters Malcolm Gay and Meghan Irons learned that a quarter of the nearly 100 valedictorians they located failed to complete college within six years. Some had experienced homelessness. Many have struggled in lower-skilled jobs than they had aspired to. What went wrong? To what extent did their high school education fail to prepare them? What should colleges do to better support students? Gay and Irons discuss their project, tell the stories of individual valedictorians, and share tips for journalists looking to undertake similar reporting in their own communities.

Seminar Rick Wilson

Education and the American Dream: Pathways From High School to College and Careers
Northwestern University • November 14-15, 2019

What will it take to make the U.S. education system a more powerful engine for economic mobility? What are the obstacles, especially for low-income families and students of color?

At this journalists-only seminar on Nov. 14-15 in Chicago, we will explore these and other questions, with a special focus on emerging efforts to create stronger pathways from high school to college and promising careers.

EWA Radio Rick Wilson

Paul Tough on Why College Years ‘Matter Most’
New book offers deep dive into social mobility, inequality in higher education
(EWA Radio: Episode 218)

In his new book, “The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes Us or Breaks Us,” author Paul Tough looks at inequities in access to high-quality higher education, specifically, the opportunity to earn degrees that research says lead to high-paying jobs, social mobility, and according to some research, better health and a longer life.

Blog: The Educated Reporter Emily Richmond

Presidential Candidates Face the Charter Schools Test

In September 2008, with polls showing him in a statistical dead heat with Republican presidential nominee John McCain, Barack Obama proposed doubling the federal funding for charter schools. As president, Obama was a champion of charters and also used mechanisms such as his Race to the Top education initiative to spark their expansion.

EWA Radio Rick Wilson

No Forgiveness: Teachers Struggle With Unfair Student Loan Debt
Two federal programs under scrutiny, as thousands of borrowers caught in administrative missteps
(EWA Radio: Episode 217)

Two federal programs that were supposed to steer college students to public service jobs like teaching in high-poverty schools instead became mired in missteps, as the recipients unexpectedly found their grants wrongly converted into high-interest loans. Cory Turner of NPR’s education team spent 18 months looking at problems with the TEACH Grant program, and his findings helped spur the U.S. Department of Education to reverse course.

EWA Radio Rick Wilson

The Missing Data on Student Restraint and Seclusion
Federal audit finds school districts failing to report the use of physical behavioral interventions
(EWA Radio: Episode 210)

School districts have been vastly underreporting instances when some of their most vulnerable students are physically restrained or sent to seclusion rooms by campus staff — that’s the conclusion of a new report from the Government Accountability Office, a federal watchdog agency. Two reporters on opposite sides of the country were already deep into the reporting on this issue: Jenny Abamu of WAMU in Washington, D.C., and Rob Manning of Oregon Public Broadcasting.

How Local Reporters Can Tap Federal Education Data
Webinar Rick Wilson

How Local Reporters Can Tap Federal Education Data

When writing about education issues in a particular state or community — whether preschool access, teacher vacancy rates, homework or guidance counselor ratios  — putting local data in a national context is often essential. But how can you find those facts and figures quickly and easily, especially on deadline? 

The National Center for Education Statistics Data Lab is a useful tool that will help you find nuggets of informative data in a speedy manner.

EWA Radio Emily Richmond

Can Puerto Rico’s Schools Be Saved?
As former education secretary Julia Keleher faces indictment, the U.S. territory struggles to keep schools open and students from fleeing
(EWA Radio: Episode 216)

In Puerto Rico, the public education system is still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Maria two years ago. Now, another storm has hit, but this time it’s political. Education Secretary Julia Keleher, who pledged to reinvigorate the U.S. territory’s crumbling and low-performing schools, resigned in April and has since been indicted on corruption charges. (She has pleaded not guilty.)

Blog: The Educated Reporter Kim Clark

Resources for Covering Hate, Shootings and Trauma
Journalists share advice on interviewing children and writing about race.

Education reporters, alas, are increasingly experienced in covering violence directed at students, teachers and school staff.

This weekend’s mass shootings added to the horrible list. In El Paso, the gunman apparently targeted Latino families doing their back-to-school shopping at a Walmart. Among the victims: parents and other relatives who shielded children, and at least one teacher. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter Erik Robelen

Threatened But Still Standing: The Federal Program for After-School, Summer Learning
Despite Trump's attempts to eliminate it, bipartisan support persists

Three times, the Trump administration has tried to ax federal funding for after-school and summer learning programs, and three times Congress has responded by adding more money to the pot.

Most recently, the U.S. House, where Democrats hold a majority, approved a $100 million increase for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative—the primary source of federal funds for local after-school and summer learning programs. That line item, which stills needs approval from the Republican-led Senate, would primarily support activities during the 2020-21 school year.

EWA Radio Rick Wilson

The Ugly Side of Beauty Schools
Students of for-profit career programs struggle with high loan debt, low paying jobs
(EWA Radio: Episode 196)

In this replay of a recent episode of EWA Radio, Meredith Kolodner and Sarah Butrymowicz of The Hechinger Report discuss their investigation into private cosmetology schools in Iowa that are reaping big profits at the expense of their students.  Students are spending upward of $20,000 to earn a cosmetology certificate—comparable to the cost of two associates’ degrees at a community college.

Blog: The Educated Reporter Erik Robelen

Why Tapping Education Researchers Pays Off
Reporters See Value in Teaming Up With Experts to Examine Data

From test scores to graduation rates, the education system is a world of numbers that can show how well policies and practices are serving students – if you know how to analyze the data.

“When there’s a data session here and you have to pick which category you’re in, I would be in the beginner category,” said Adam Tamburin, a higher education reporter for The Tennessean, during a panel at the Education Writers Association’s 2019 National Seminar in Baltimore.

Enter the trained scientists.