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Blog: The Educated Reporter

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.

Seminar Rick Wilson

Education and the American Dream: Pathways From High School to Colleges 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.

Seminar Rick Wilson

New to the Beat Workshop
Baltimore, MD • October 27-28 , 2019

Do you have fewer than two years experience covering education? Could you use some extra support and guidance from a veteran of the education beat (and from EWA)?

Apply to join New to the Beat, one of EWA’s most popular programs. We will pair you up with a skilled mentor who is an experienced education journalist. And we’ll kick things off with a free, two-day workshop on Oct. 27-28 in Baltimore. The deadline to apply is Sept. 26.

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.

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!

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.

How the ‘Public Charge’ Ruling Could Affect Students in Your Coverage Area
Webinar Rick Wilson

How the ‘Public Charge’ Ruling Could Affect Students in Your Coverage Area

The Trump administration’s new plan to make it harder for immigrants receiving public benefits to receive green cards could have sweeping implications for students and schools. 

The Education Writers Association presented this webinar to help reporters with story ideas and provide resources for covering the educational impact of the recently announced ”public charge” rule.

EWA Radio Rick Wilson

Lessons From Parkland: Covering the Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting
Journalists Aric Chokey and Scott Travis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel discuss the newspaper's Pulitzer-winning reporting
(EWA Radio: Episode 204)

Heartbreaking. Frightening. Infuriating. All those words apply to the remarkable coverage by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The newspaper’s reporting since the February 2018 killings earned journalism’s top award this year, the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. The newspaper pushed back on stonewalling by district leadership and public safety officials to uncover missed opportunities that might have mitigated — or even prevented — the school shooting that left 17 people dead and dozens more seriously injured.

EWA Radio Rick Wilson

Back to School: Story Ideas, Tips and Trends to Watch
School choice, immigration raids, cultural competency top the list
(EWA Radio: Episode 214)

With a new school year getting underway, how can education reporters find fresh angles on familiar ground? Kate Grossman, the education editor for WBEZ public media in Chicago, offers story ideas, big trends to watch for, and suggestions for networking with parents, teachers, and administrators.

Blog: The Educated Reporter Erik Robelen

Redrawing the Map for Student Success

When Baltimore City Public Schools placed current education data on a map of the city’s historic racial redlining, it was apparent that not much had changed, as district CEO Sonja Brookins Santelises tells the story. The segregated neighborhoods created in part by policies that barred predominantly black communities from federally subsidized mortgages were the same neighborhoods that today showed lower academic outcomes.

Santelises said those findings motivated her district to take a closer look at what kind of opportunities it provides students.

Blog: The Educated Reporter Erik Robelen

Teachers Have Plenty to Say About School Discipline and Climate. Who’s Listening?
New polls gauge public support, awareness of education issues

For education journalists, talking with teachers isn’t optional. It’s an essential element of the job, and a key component of many stories we report.

But the voices we find for stories often rely on the luck of the draw — the teachers who show up at school board meetings to protest a policy change, the ones we encounter pulling lunch duty on the day we’re touring the cafeteria, the most prodigious tweeters — and those who seek out journalists to share important information.

EWA Radio Rick Wilson

The Higher Ed Stories You Need to Know About
Underground fraternities, student loan debt, free speech on campus are top issues for fall
(EWA Radio: Episode 215)

Where can you find reliable data on how your colleges and universities are handling sexual-assault allegations on campus? How do you develop better sources among the faculty senate leadership? And why is now the time to focus on Greek life on campus — and a growing number of students’ opposition to it?

Seminar Rick Wilson

Higher Education Seminar Fall 2019
University of Michigan • September 23-24, 2019

The Education Writers Association will hold its 2019 fall Higher Education Seminar September 23-24 on the theme of “Demographics, Politics, and Technology: The Forces Reshaping Higher Education.”

Held on the campus of the University of Michigan, this journalist-only intensive training event will offer two days of high-impact learning opportunities, including sessions on timely topics in higher education and practical advice for covering them effectively.