71st EWA National Seminar

EWA 71st National Seminar Los Angeles graphic
Overview

71st EWA National Seminar
Los Angeles • May 16-18, 2018

EWA’s National Seminar is the largest annual gathering of journalists on the education beat. This multiday conference provides participants with top-notch training delivered through dozens of interactive sessions on covering education from early childhood through graduate school. Featuring prominent speakers, engaging campus visits, and plentiful networking opportunities, this must-attend conference provides participants with deeper understanding of the latest developments in education, a lengthy list of story ideas, and a toolbox of sharpened journalistic skills.

EWA’s National Seminar is the largest annual gathering of journalists on the education beat. This multiday conference provides participants with top-notch training delivered through dozens of interactive sessions on covering education from early childhood through graduate school. Featuring prominent speakers, engaging campus visits, and plentiful networking opportunities, this must-attend conference provides participants with deeper understanding of the latest developments in education, a lengthy list of story ideas, and a toolbox of sharpened journalistic skills.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Strength in Numbers: Schools Team Up to Focus on Student Improvement
Solving complex problems requires buy-in by campus leaders, experts say

For decades, most efforts to improve opportunities for high-needs students have resembled snowflakes; they come down from above, are completely different from each other, complicate routines, and rarely stick.

However, experts gathered at EWA’s annual conference in Los Angeles this year said at least one kind of reform has a good chance of making long-lasting gains: “school improvement networks.” 

Multimedia

Rethinking Student Discipline
EWA 71st National Seminar • Los Angeles May 17, 2018

Rethinking Student Discipline

At a time when student discipline is the subject of increased attention and debate, education journalists often struggle with how to better understand and cover the issue. During this EWA session, speakers addressed flashpoint issues, including zero tolerance policies, racial disparities in disciplinary actions, and the rise of so-called “restorative justice” practices. Along the way, they explored – and debated – the best ways to balance competing concerns to ensure fairness, equity, and a safe and productive learning environment. 

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

College and the American Dream

Pace University is a medium-sized private college in New York with a sticker price of $66,000.  California State University, Northridge serves more than three times as many students (41,000) and has a sticker price for Californians less than a third of Pace’s ($21,000). 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Data Visualization for Amateurs (and Experts)

Petrified by percentages? Or mesmerized by math?

No worries. Experts assembled for a recent Education Writers Association panel shared strategies to enlist data to tell your story, and how to convey it visually, with tips for math phobes and number nerds alike.

Data is simply a collection of structured stories, said Alvin Chang of Vox Media. Think of every row in a chart as a story, and every visual element as a sentence, he advised. Then ask: How is it better than a sentence? (If it’s not, maybe it shouldn’t be a chart.)

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Five Tips for Reporting on Infants and Toddlers
An award-winning journalist explains how, and why, to cover early childhood education

If you think about education reporting as covering schools and the students who attend them, you might be scratching your head as to why infants and toddlers are newsworthy subjects. But if education reporting is really about covering learning, then children under age 4 are some of the best subjects you could imagine.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Covering LGBT Issues in the Classroom
Shifts seen in textbooks to reflect gay, lesbian historical figures

When the new academic year begins for California public schools, for the first time instructional materials will be available to ensure every K-12 classroom has access to accurate and unbiased depictions of the sexual orientation and gender identity of historical figures.

The FAIR Education Act – FAIR stands for Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful – requires history and social studies curriculum to include references to contributions by people with disabilities and members of the LGBT community.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Education Research: Where to Find It and How to Evaluate It

Researchers at Michigan State University and Teachers College, Columbia University, tackled an intriguing question in a 2016 study: How much influence were large, national donors having on local school board elections?

The study’s abstract stated that large donor networks had “nationalized” local education politics in Los Angeles, Denver, New Orleans and Bridgeport, Conn.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Child Care ‘Deserts’: What Are They and Where Are They Located?

Early childhood education is rarely a beat education journalists can cover exclusively. But the need for quality coverage is great, especially as more and more state governments, private foundations, and districts zero in on early childhood education as a place for greater investment.

Experts weighed in on one issue in particular last month at the Education Writers Association’s national conference: How can journalists cover communities that are “child care deserts?”

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Covering Immigrant Students and Families in the Time of Trump

Covering immigrant students and their families – always challenging given legal and privacy concerns — has arguably never been more timely, as recent shifts in federal policy have thrust them into the national spotlight.

A panel of researchers and journalists offered advice on pressing issues, including: how reporters can explain the stakes of their stories to sources, whether undocumented students should be named, and how to discuss complicated immigration policy shifts in a clear and compelling way that draws in readers.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

How Much Does College Really Cost?
Experts offer advice on reliable pricing data sources

Surveys indicate that the costs of college are now bigger worries for most applicants and families than the traditional anxieties about getting in.

It’s not just because of the shockingly high prices, such as the private colleges sporting sticker prices (tuition, room, board, books and miscellaneous expenses) north of $70,000 a year. Families are obsessed with costs in part because of  the surprising complexity and opacity of college prices.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

How Personal Is ‘Personalized’ Learning?

The media images illustrating students in “personalized learning” environments often look something like this: elementary-schoolers with headphones on, looking at tablets, or teenagers typing away on laptops.

But during a recent panel discussion, experts and educators sought to make one thing clear: Personalized learning is not about technology, and you don’t need a lot of money to carry it out.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Top Higher Ed Stories for the 2018-19 Academic Year
Politics is driving some of the hottest news stories on college campuses.

Some of the most pressing higher education stories for the next academic year will spring from the intersection of education and politics, predicts Scott Jaschik, the editor of Inside Higher Ed.

Jaschik reprised his always-popular rundown of the top higher education story ideas during the Education Writers Association’s National Seminar in May.

Key Coverage

Next up for Men of Color? A Place at the Front of the Classroom.

Principal Damon Smith remembers a time when his students at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Massachusetts had a black principal, black assistant principal, black mayor, black governor, and black president – all at the same time. But he sees a need for black men to push open the door to the next frontier: the kindergarten classroom.

“We need more practitioners of color, particularly black male teachers, in our classes K-12.” he explains in his office on a recent afternoon. “President Obama is just a step. It shows you what is possible.” 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

How to Break News Using Social Media and Avoid ‘Bots And Trolls
Journalists need to join the technological arms race against misinformation

robot at computer

The scariest moment of the 2018 Education Writers Association National Seminar came when Steve Myers, the editor of The Lens, demonstrated how to alter reality in less than thirty seconds.

He pulled up an unsuspecting person’s tweet, and with a few clicks, made the text say something totally new. He only tinkered with the coding to change how the tweet appeared on his screen. (It went unchanged to the rest of the world.) But it was there long enough to take a screenshot.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Making a Diverse Teacher Workforce a Reality

Diversifying the teacher workforce — an issue of growing concern to education leaders and policymakers — is difficult to achieve because of leaks in the pipeline and after teachers of color reach the classroom, a panel of experts told reporters at a recent conference. The challenges start in teacher-prep programs and extend through certification, hiring, placement, retention and leadership, the speakers said at a recent Education Writers Association event.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Are Schools Ready for A.I. and the Future of Work?

At Rocky Hill School, a private day school in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, it’s not unusual for education technology entrepreneurs to pop into the classroom or Skype in for a chat.

As it turns out, a captive audience of eight- and nine-year-olds can be useful in designing new products. Third-graders at the school had a hand in developing an award-winning plush duck that gives comfort to children undergoing chemotherapy, head of school James Tracy said.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

What to Do When Your State Test Melts Down

It’s hard to avoid writing about tests and test scores as an education reporter. Too often, though, the story gets done in a rush — with scores about to be released or already out in the world.

Marianne Perie, the director of the Center for Assessment and Accountability at the University of Kansas, urged reporters to take a step back at the Education Writers Association conference in May.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Beyond Protests: Better Ways to Cover Race Issues on Campus
Racial conflicts at colleges need deeper and more patient coverage.

Protests over statues honoring Confederate soldiers; shouting matches at presentations by white nationalist speakers; student drives to strip buildings of names honoring racist officials.

Such dramatic campus racial conflicts and controversies justifiably attract attention from reporters and the public, according to a pair of veteran education journalists, a researcher, and a college administrator who spoke on a panel at the Education Writers Association’s 2018 National Seminar.  

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

How President Trump and the Republicans Are Changing Colleges
Impacts already being seen in admissions, student loans and for-profit colleges.

Even though a long-delayed update to a major higher education law appears to be stalled in the U.S. Senate, Republican policies are starting to influence colleges around the country because of orders and actions taken by the administration of President Donald Trump, according to a recent panel of Washington insiders and higher education leaders.

Speaking at the Education Writers Association’s 2018 National Seminar in May, the panelists highlighted three ways federal actions are affecting colleges around the country.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Adult College Students: The Undercovered 6.6 Million
35% of the college population are veterans, working parents and perpetual students like James Franco.

Adult learners, or college students aged 25 and older, are typically referred to as “nontraditional students,” in contrast to their younger, “traditional” student peers.

But that’s an oversimplification of “tradition.” Adult students have long been an important part of the college student body – whether it was the World War II veterans who flooded campuses thanks to the GI Bill, or seemingly perennial students like James Franco.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Hispanic, Latino, Latinx: How to Cover the Fastest-Growing Student Group

Hispanic students, who make up the second largest racial demographic in schools today, are entering college in record numbers. But they are also dropping out of college at a far higher rate than white students. That reality has important implications for our educational and economic systems and the reporters who cover them, according to a group of researchers and experts gathered at the 2018 Education Writers Association National Seminar.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Finances and Politics: Big Challenges for Public Universities

images of Timothy White and Janet Napolitano

Public university systems have weathered wave after wave of difficulties in recent years – from shrinking state funding streams to intense public scrutiny and criticism – and it’s not likely to get easier anytime soon.

That’s according to the leaders of the two public university systems in California, a state that has long led the way on higher education for the rest of the nation.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Data Literacy for Reporters: A Crash Course in Excel and More

Matthew Kauffman, an investigative reporter for the Hartford Courant, started a two-part, data literacy workshop for journalists with a question: “How many people got into journalism primarily because they were hoping to do more math?”

When zero hands went flying into the air, he was not surprised.

“There’s just kind of a disconnect between what we do and numbers and math,” Kauffman said. However, he argued it is more important than ever for reporters to get comfortable with math.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

From Words to Action on Newsroom Diversity

“Diversity is essential to the success of the news industry.” Those words, once so eloquently stated by award-winning journalist Gwen Ifill, capture the overarching message conveyed during a recent panel on diversity in the journalism workforce. The spirited talk was part of the Education Writers Association’s 2018 National Seminar in Los Angeles.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Understanding ‘Janus:’ The High Court Case That Could Shake Up Teachers’ Unions

The U.S. Supreme Court is on the cusp of a decision that could reshape teachers’ unions, putting new pressure on them to convince educators that paid membership is worthwhile.

At issue is a case over whether public employees, including teachers, who choose not to join unions can be required to pay agency fees. (Those fees typically cover the costs of collective bargaining.)

Blog: The Educated Reporter

With States at the Wheel, What’s Next for School Accountability?
Issues to watch under ESSA, from report cards to achievement gaps

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act has put states back in the driver’s seat on school accountability.

No longer must states abide by what many perceived as the one-size-fits all federal mandates associated with ESSA’s predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act.

But what will this newfound freedom look like? And what should education reporters watch for to ensure states remain focused on closing achievement gaps and parents get an accurate and easy-to-grasp picture of school performance?

Blog: The Educated Reporter

The Shifting Response to School Shootings

School safety experts recently weighed in on how states and school systems are — and should be — responding to the spate of campus shootings.

They also shared best practices for journalists when covering the issue of school shootings, including how to analyze school districts’ prevention efforts, what stories to look for, and how to report on shootings while minimizing harm to mourning communities.

The May 16 panel came two days before yet another school shooting, this time at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, that led to 10 deaths.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Five Questions to Ask After Court’s ‘Janus’ Ruling
Teachers' unions face uncertain future as decision looms

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling soon that could potentially deal a major blow to the size and strength of teachers’ unions.

The case, Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 31, pits public sector unions against employees who contend that requiring non-union workers to pay certain fees to the union violates their freedom of speech.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

What’s Behind the Spate of Teacher Strikes?

As a growing number of teachers across the country hold strikes to advocate for better pay and increased education funding, new questions are arising about the power of teachers’ unions, the role of social media, and what teachers are doing to continue their efforts beyond large-scale work demonstrations.

During a May 16 panel at the Education Writers Association’s annual conference, speakers sought to contextualize the teacher actions, what they mean, and what’s next.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

What’s Missing From Stories on Campus Free Speech?

Campus speech has become one of the hottest topics in higher education — especially in recent months, as clashes have turned violent and drawn the attention of President Donald Trump and the Justice Department.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Why Race and Equity Matter in Education Reporting

Education journalists must think more critically about the ways in which race, ethnicity and gender play into the stories they tell, a panel of experts said at the first keynote session at the Education Writers Association’s national seminar in Los Angeles last week.

Key Coverage

Education Writers’ Conference Weighs School Violence, Teacher Unrest

Education journalists from across the nation gathered here this week with a focus on diversity in their profession, recent activism by teachers, and the scourge of school violence, among other topics.

The Education Writers Association’s top award for education reporting went to John Woodrow Cox of The Washington Post for a compelling three-part series on children and gun violence, which was published last June.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Parkland Survivors and Other Youth Activists: ‘You’re Going to Listen to Us’ on Gun Violence
EWA National Seminar puts spotlight on students

Parkland Survivors and Other Youth Activists: ‘You’re Going to Listen to Us’ on Gun Violence

In an emotionally charged session at the Education Writers Association’s national seminar, several student activists urged journalists to keep the national spotlight on gun violence and not let the shootings at a Florida high school and elsewhere be forgotten.

Post

Livestream Event
Guns, Violence & Student Activism: A Conversation

Live From EWA's National Seminar on May 17 at 8:00 a.m. PDT

Livestream Event | Guns, Violence & Student Activism: A Conversation

In the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, students-turned-activists are at the center of a renewed national push to stem gun violence on campus and in communities. For this discussion, high school students Emma González and David Hogg of Parkland, Fla., Alex King of Chicago, and Jackson Mittleman of Newtown, Conn., shared their reflections and stories on guns, violence, school safety, and student activism with Education Week Staff Writer Evie Blad. 

Announcement

EWA Announces Theme of 2018 National Seminar
Los Angeles • May 16–18, 2018

EWA 71st National Seminar Los Angeles graphic

The Education Writers Association is pleased to announce the theme of its 2018 National Seminar: “Room for All? Diversity in Education & the Media.” The conference, slated for May 16-18 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, will examine the impact of today’s fast-changing demographic and cultural dynamics — from the classroom to the newsroom and beyond.

Sponsorship Info

Opportunities at the 71st EWA National Seminar
Sponsorship & Advertising Available

Don’t miss your chance to market your presence during EWA’s National Seminar, the largest gathering of education journalists in the nation.

This year the National Seminar will bring together more than 600 journalists, experts, and supporting community members for three days of interactive sessions, including stand-alone speakers, panel discussions, how-to workshops, and local site visits.