Three Organizations Launch The Glossary of Education Reform for Journalists

PORTLAND, ME: The Great Schools Partnership, Education Writers Association, and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation today announced the launch of a new online resource devoted to defining, describing, and contextualizing widely used school-improvement terms, concepts, and strategies for journalists, editors, bloggers, and media professionals. The new glossary can be found at

“The education beat can be extraordinarily tricky, given all the jargon used by educators, researchers, and policy makers, and all the myriad complexities entailed in educating students and in trying to educate them more effectively,” said Stephen Abbott, editor of The Glossary of Education Reform for Journalists. “We set out to create a comprehensive, one-stop resource that would help working journalists—particularly those new or reassigned to the education beat—get rapidly up to speed on these complicated, nuanced issues so they can ask the right questions and produce informative stories in the public interest.”

The glossary features more than a hundred entries on K–12 public education and education reform in the United States, in addition to hundreds of related synonyms and abbreviations. Each entry includes a general definition of the term, a discussion about how the concept or strategy intersects with efforts to improve school performance and student achievement, and an overview of related debates, including the major arguments for or against a particular reform. The glossary does not include entries on private schooling, higher education, educational organizations, proprietary reform models, or specific educational policies, proposals, or legal decisions. A detailed overview of the resource can be found on the website:

“Across the country, many people are working to reshape public education to meet the needs of our modern era,” said Nicholas C. Donohue, President and CEO of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. “In order to improve our schools, it is imperative that the public understands all proposed routes forward to make informed choices. The Glossary of Education Reform will help to demystify the debate, and we hope that many different parties utilize this robust and creative resource.”

“For us, it was vitally important that the Glossary be a neutral observer, and our editors and writers worked hard to create entries that are factual, objective, and impartial,” said David Ruff, executive director of the Great Schools Partnership. “The intention is that our three organizations will continue adding new terms and building out the resource over time.” Journalists, educators, researchers, and other experts are also encouraged to submit suggestions for new entries, refinements, and corrections:

“Education journalists often find themselves in the role of translators, challenged with clearly communicating concepts cloaked in the jargon of the field,” said Caroline Hendrie, executive director of the Education Writers Association. “Complicating that task is a lack of precision surrounding many of the terms bandied about in the debate over how to improve schools. Our hope is that this glossary will help cut through the confusion and help busy journalists achieve clarity quickly—not just for themselves but also for their readers, viewers, and listeners.”

“As we state on the site, the journalism profession—and particularly the kind of vitally important investigative reporting that keeps everyone honest—is, just like our system of public education, one of the foundations of a democratic society,” said Stephen Abbott. “We need great journalists and informed reporting as much as we need great teachers and informed citizens. The glossary is our way of supporting the invaluable role that journalists play in our country’s ongoing dialogue about the future of public education in the United States.”