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Blog: The Educated Reporter

Does Money Matter? How Education Spending Affects Student Outcomes
What reporters should closely watch amid school spending initiatives and discussions

With school districts across the country seeing an unprecedented influx of federal aid to fuel the education recovery, the question remains of what impact these extra dollars will ultimately have on students.

School finance expert Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach of Northwestern University sees ample scholarly evidence that spending more improves outcomes for K-12 students.

Agenda

Agenda: EWA 75th National Seminar
July 24-26, 2022

The Education Writers Association’s 75th anniversary National Seminar will provide a long-awaited opportunity for the community that cares about high-quality education journalism to gather in person for three days of networking, training and inspiration.

photo of Deniff Lara
EWA Radio

Can the Latino College Gap Be Solved?
Texas Public Radio series sheds new light on sources of struggle for higher education students in majority Latino San Antonio, as well as innovative support systems that are making gains
(EWA Radio Episode 294)

For Texas student Andres Mendoza, the difference between fulfilling his dream of attending a four-year university away from home and opting for a lower-cost local community college was an unexpected bill for a family funeral.

Announcement

EWA Announces Finalists for 2021 National Awards for Education Reporting

May 18, 2022 (WASHINGTON, DC)—The Education Writers Association is pleased to announce the category finalists for the 2021 National Awards for Education Reporting, recognizing the top education journalism in the United States.

In a year featuring dramatic disputes over masking, vaccines, school closures, and diversity, finalists adroitly covered high-profile controversies ranging from efforts to address racism in schools to the way educators handled instruction during the pandemic. 

Photo of bleachers beside womens' baseball field.
EWA Radio

‘Unlevel Playing Fields’ for Girls’ Sports
As Title IX turns 50, a new investigation finds the federal law is failing to protect girls’ access to sports, and many parents and students don’t know the rights afforded by the landmark equity law
(EWA Radio Episode 293)

Title IX prohibits gender-based discrimination in school programs that receive federal funding – but how fairly is the law being applied, especially when it comes to girls’ high school sports? A reporting team of nearly two dozen student journalists at the University of Maryland, College Park, set out to answer that question in a wide-ranging project.

Why Reporters Should Cover Middle School
Webinar

Why Reporters Should Cover Middle School
Learning about the middle school years will help journalists better cover youth learning and brain development.

Although middle school is often treated as just a way station between elementary and high school, there’s much more to the story. In fact, the middle school years are a time of profound change for young people – physically, emotionally, and intellectually. These years are a crucial time for learning and brain development, a reality that is often overlooked or misconstrued. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

How Reporters Can Better Cover Enrollment Shifts at Public Schools
School finance experts tackle key questions and provide tips for reporters.

Some urban school districts across the country were already grappling with shrinking enrollment when COVID hit. But for many, the pandemic accelerated those student losses, with major implications for their budgets and stability.

For some, the historic influx of federal COVID relief dollars is softening the fiscal blow in the short term. But with birthrates continuing to decline and the effects of a “COVID baby bust” looming, how can public schools adjust to plummeting enrollment — even as they scramble to address the outbreak’s academic and mental health fallout? 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

How to Better Cover LGBTQ Students in the Pandemic Era of ‘Don’t Say Gay,’ Book Bans and Other Issues
This deep dive catches reporters up on the legislation and issues affecting LGBTQ students. Read this main story and two other related pieces to improve your coverage.

Ranging from “Don’t Say Gay” laws to bans on transgender students’ participation in sports and on gay- and trans-themed books in schools, a record 238 anti-LGBTQ bills were filed in U.S. statehouses during the first three months of 2022. Even before the first were signed into law, the new measures had an impact in K-12 schools and on college campuses.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Getting Out of the Statehouse and Into the Schoolhouse When Covering LGBTQ Students

A consistent criticism from LGBTQ organizations of media coverage of assault on gay and trans rights is that it features too few of the people most affected. Here are three suggestions for education reporters seeking to counter this.

Challenge the narrative: Francisco Vara-Orta is a former Education Week staff writer and EWA board member who is now director of diversity and inclusion for Investigative Reporters and Editors. Reporters need to push back on misleading or false assertions, he says.  

Blog: The Educated Reporter

A Guide to the Guides: What to Know About LGBTQ Style Guides for Journalists

There are numerous LGBTQ style guides for journalists. Most include similar advice for what is and isn’t appropriate to ask gay and trans sources as well as how to steer clear of some oft-repeated misinformation. Offering your pronouns — e.g. she/her/hers, they/them/theirs — at the start of a conversation invites your interviewee to reply with the information they want you to have about their identity.

How to Report on School and College Finances Using the Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) Database
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How to Report on School and College Finances Using the Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) Database
The searchable municipal bond database makes it easy for education journalists to find and examine municipal bond filings.

You don’t have to be a CPA to glean lots of story-worthy facts and trends from the Electronic Municipal Market Access, better known as EMMA.

EMMA is an often overlooked in-depth database of municipal securities data and documents. Education reporters can find and examine this data, but they may not know where to start. 

The Education Writers Association teamed up with Data Visualization Developer Peter D’Amato to create a how-to video and a list of resources for reporters on how to use the database.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Member Spotlight: Longtime EWA Community Member Reflects on His Journey From Reporter to Education Communicator
"Slow down to speed up" urges veteran communicator Juan Elizondo

Despite working in many roles, jobs and industries, Juan Elizondo says a few important consistent guidelines have enabled him to move from reporting (for the Associated Press) to editing (for the Austin American-Statesman and, later, Dallas Business Journal) to communications for an energy company and then for education nonprofits. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

EWA Tip Sheet: School Finance Reporting Tools and Databases
Learn how to find and use school-level spending data.

School funding can be very murky terrain to navigate for journalists. When the Every Student Succeeds Act took effect during the 2017-18 school year, it became a bright spot for data advocates. Under the federal K-12 education law, school districts across the U.S. were required to disclose school-level spending for the first time.

photo of Dino Sabic by Kathleen Greeson for EdSurge
EWA Radio

The Hopes and Fears of Teenagers
How listening to young people might improve college and job training programs intended to help them reach better futures (EWA Radio Episode 291)

“People can’t tell me what they’re going to college for. But they put themselves in thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars of debt—that doesn’t sound like it makes any sense. That’s like buying a car and not knowing how to drive.”