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.
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.
‘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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
The Revolving Door to the Superintendent’s Office
In Boston, the hunt is on for the third superintendent in eight years
(EWA Radio Episode 292)
Good superintendents can be hard to find, and even harder to keep. That’s proving to be the case In Boston. Brenda Cassellius is stepping down this summer after less than three years at the helm.
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.
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.
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.”
What’s Next for School Police?
As the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, school safety is once again a front-burner issue (EWA Radio Episode 290)
In the early months of the pandemic, many districts were rethinking their policies and practices around campus safety. Now, with buildings reopened and some educators reporting a rise in bad behavior, the conversation is once again shifting to how to best keep children safe, and what role – if any – school police should have on campus.