Blog: The Educated Reporter
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.
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.
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.
The Plain Dealer’s Patrick O’Donnell had a feeling his story was bigger than just Cleveland. His team heard reports of people graduating from high school and struggling to find gainful employment, while employers in the area complained of a mismatched skill level when hiring for trade jobs. What was it about Cleveland’s pipeline for trade workers that wasn’t lining up? Why was it so difficult to find and pair skilled workers with stable jobs in a depressed city so desperately in need of that stability?
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.
5 Tips for Covering Students’ Paths to College
Reporters offer advice on tracking down students, getting past roadblocks
This school year, two Chalkbeat reporters in Detroit and Newark are examining whether low-income students from struggling schools are ready for the rigors of college.
Education statistics tell a sobering story: For many students, no. But Lori Higgins, the bureau chief for Chalkbeat Detroit, and Patrick Wall, a senior reporter for Chalkbeat Newark, wanted to delve deeper into the challenges spelled out in the data.
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.
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.
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?
Finding the Details: How to Report on Seclusion and Restraint in Schools
News investigations put spotlight on troubling practices
When former WAMU education reporter Jenny Abamu first saw a seclusion room, she was shaken.
She described the spaces she viewed in Fairfax County, Virginia: rooms built within rooms with no windows or ventilation, and discolorations where students had defecated on the floor.
“Some of those kids were in that room over a hundred times in a school year,” Abamu recalled. “People thought it was normal. I was scared. I thought, ‘This is not normal.’”
How to Help First-Generation Students Persist Through College
Experts say assisting students takes a 'larger cultural shift'
When Pete Gooden went to college, he had an all-too-common experience.
“As a first-generation student, I was just coasting through college, and I was just trying to navigate on my own without support,” he said.
Eventually, he dropped out. After earning his degree at age 30, Gooden began working for KIPP Through College Chicago, where he’s now the director—amazed to find a program that offered the help he once needed.