When Public Dollars Pay For Private School
A new investigation sheds light on a lesser-known provision of federal law intended to ensure students with disabilities get the educational services they need
(EWA Radio: Episode 229)
In New York City, separated by just 15 blocks, two boys with similar learning disabilities struggled in public school classrooms. Under the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), both were eligible to enroll in private school on the taxpayers’ dime as a remedy. But as a new investigation by The Teacher Project at Columbia University School of Journalism revealed, the financial status of the boys’ families played a big role in whether the district picked up the tab.
“The Nation’s Report Card,” a.k.a. the National Assessment of Educational Progress, is a vast gold mine of data that can generate compelling education stories and enrich overall news coverage with deeper context and examples.
Paradise Lost? Hawaii’s Teacher Shortage
Educators struggle with high cost of living as Aloha State looks to boost pay, training, and workforce diversity
(EWA Radio: Episode 228)
In the mainland United States, typical conversations about Hawaii are more likely to center on dream vacations than teacher shortages. But there’s plenty to be learned from the state’s educational challenges, and how Hawaii is approaching teacher training, recruitment, and retention. Suevon Lee — who covers Hawaii’s public schools for Honolulu Civil Beat, an investigative news outlet — examined these issues with support from an EWA Reporting Fellowship.
EWA’s National Seminar is the largest annual gathering of journalists on the education beat. This year’s event in Orlando will explore an array of timely topics of interest to journalists from across the country, with a thematic focus on with a thematic focus on the vital roles that education and journalism play in democratic societies.
The Education Writers Association is pleased to announce a call for proposals for its next class of EWA Reporting Fellows. The fellowships provide financial awards to journalists to undertake ambitious reporting and writing projects on consequential issues in education. This will be the ninth class of EWA Reporting Fellows.
“Our journalist members told us they wanted more opportunities to dig deep into topics they’re passionate about — and we listened,” said EWA Executive Director Caroline Hendrie. “We’ve been delighted by the outstanding projects the fellows have produced.”
“Although adolescence is often thought of as a time of turmoil and risk for young people, it is more accurately viewed as a developmental period rich with opportunity for youth to learn and grow,” declared a sweeping 2019 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
What are the implications of this evolving mindset for the education, health and well-being of tweens, teens and emerging adults? How are new findings informing efforts to shape settings for adolescents that are racially and culturally inclusive and equitable? This two-day journalist-only seminar will offer a primer on the brain research and springboard to an exploration of these questions and others facing the education and health sectors.
What Reporters Need to Know About the Science of Reading
Fresh insights, tips on building trust with teachers on a sensitive subject
Are elementary school teachers teaching reading with research-approved methods? Or are they sticking with practices that studies indicate are less than ideal?
In a recent EWA webinar, two reporters joined a school leader to discuss what reporters need to know about the science of reading, and how to report on these issues in any community.
How Partisan Politics Shape States’ History Textbooks
New York Times evaluates differences among textbooks in California and Texas, finding big differences in what students are taught about civil rights, immigration, and more
(EWA Radio: Episode 227)
They say history is a tale told by winners — so who’s writing the textbooks and deciding what students are taught in two of the nation’s biggest states? Dana Goldstein, a national education correspondent for The New York Times, read 4,800 pages of textbooks to determine how the political leanings of policymakers and the appointed textbook review committees influence what students — and future voters — are being taught about the nation’s history. Among the key findings for California and Texas: textbook publishers adjust the content on seminal topics like civil rights, immigration, and LGBTQ issues to align with state-specific standards.
Higher Education in 2020
Looming Supreme Court decision on DACA, new rules for college admissions, lead Associated Press’ reporter’s list
(EWA Radio: Episode 226)
While it’s a new calendar year, plenty of familiar issues are carrying over from 2019 on the higher education beat, says reporter Collin Binkley of The Associated Press. Many of the biggest headline-grabbers this year are likely to center on admissions – the process of deciding who gets into what college. To settle a federal anti-trust case, colleges recently scrapped old rules that limited what they could do to compete for applicants. Now, a potential admissions marketing free-for-all will create new winners and losers. The Trump Administration’s policies against immigration, and tensions with countries such as Iran can’t help but impact foreign students interested in studying in the U.S. And the growing trend by colleges to drop application requirements for ACT and SAT test scores could also mean big changes to college access.
A New Year on the K-12 Beat
What’s ahead in 2020: Equity, Civics, Safety Top Washington Post Reporter’s List
(EWA Radio: Episode 225)
Moriah Balingit, who covers education for The Washington Post, discusses what she sees as key story lines for the K-12 beat in 2020, from educational equity to civics and campus safety. Are public schools adequately preparing young people to become engaged and informed citizens? What’s the potential impact on students and families of the Trump administration’s plans to cut access to food stamps? How are school safety measures affecting the climate on campus?
Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Public Money for Religious Schools
Case challenges Blaine Amendments, separation of church and state in school choice programs
The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a case that, if decided for the plaintiff, could push open the doors wider to allowing public dollars to follow students to private schools.
There’s tons of education data out there, but it is spread out among dozens of different confusing websites, making it hard to use quickly and easily.
The Urban Institute is trying to address that by creating a centralized K-16 education data one-stop-shop that a few journalistic early adopters tell us is turning out to be fairly handy.
By scrutinizing enrollment data, external financial pressures, operating revenue and expenses, and tuition discounting, reporters can start spotting red flags in the finances of public and private colleges they cover.
Participants who contributed to this advice:
The stakes are high for education in 2020. Not only is the White House in play this election season, but also control of the U.S. Congress and many state legislatures, plus 11 gubernatorial seats. In addition, voters will decide a host of local contests, including school board elections, that could shift educational priorities.
How to Write About Race Beyond Martin Luther King Jr. Day
These resources will help you address race responsibly in your coverage
Race issues get special attention in the news on Martin Luther King Jr. Day or during Black History Month. But race plays a role in every story journalists cover: where people live and work, who their friends and neighbors are, and — especially — what schools they attend.
Teachers Fight for Student Loan Debt Relief
NPR investigation finds thousands of borrowers wrongly denied federal forgiveness
(EWA Radio: Episode 217)
Two federal programs intended to steer college students toward public service jobs like teaching in high-poverty schools instead became mired in missteps, as recipients 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.
A leading student debt researcher, the CEO of the nation’s biggest income share agreement company, and a veteran education reporter discuss the biggest concerns, misconceptions and stories to pursue when it comes to the country’s student loan debt crisis.