Blog: The Educated Reporter

EWA National Seminar Background Reading For All Panels

Advocates Session – Reporters’ Roundtable (10:00-11:15 a.m.)

How can advocates connect more effectively with journalists? Reporters and editors describe their reactions to press releases and emails, and offer advice on what works best to cut through the clutter.


Dave Murray,;

Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed;

 Daarel Burnette, Atlanta Journal Constitution;

Moderator: Dakarai Aarons, CommunicationWorks


Background content

CommunicationWorks is a full-service public affairs firm ”creating high-impact media outreach, strategic communications, public awareness campaigns, and marketing strategies in support of K-12 and higher education, youth development, civil rights, and community building.

“Our clients include advocacy groups and corporations; nonprofits and their funders; policy centers and action networks; educational institutions and research organizations; and national commissions and state agencies –most of whom operate at the forefront of education and policy changes taking place in the United States.”

 Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education (Lunch and Keynote Speaker, 11:30 – 1:15 p.m.)

Secretary Duncan will discuss the future of federal education reform and the new directions the Department of Education will take during President Obama’s second term. Topics include federal No Child Left Behind Act waivers for states and the outlook for congressional reauthorization of that law.

Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education

Introduction: Scott Elliott, The Indianapolis Star

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Universal preschool is a sure path to the middle class:

“Can we replicate what works? We can, and we must. If the United States is to remain a global economic leader, high-quality preschool must become the norm. The moral case is compelling, too. As President Obama has said, every child should have the opportunity, through hard work, to join the middle class. Children shouldn’t be denied equal educational opportunity at the starting line.”

Bonus reading: Statement of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan—FY 2014 Budget…

Concurrent Sessions, 1:30-2:30 p.m.

What Online Education Means for College Classrooms 

The rise of online education arguably represents the first real change in centuries to how courses are taught in postsecondary education, both on and off campus. This discussion examines the potential online teaching technologies have to change how students learn—both in lecture halls and cyberspace—and how universities function.


Sir Michael Barber, Pearson;

John Mitchell, Stanford University;

Mark Smith, National Education Association

Moderator: Claudia Dreifus, The New York Times

Background content

In this 72-page document titled “An Avalanche is Coming: Higher Education and The Revolution Ahead,” the authors contend that:

“Each university needs to be clear which niches or market segments it wants to serve and how. The traditional multipurpose university with a combination of a range of degrees and a modestly effective research program has had its day. The traditional university is being unbundled.”

Accompanying video of Sir Michael Barber highlighting the report’s findings can be viewed here.

Stanford University recently created the Office of the Vice Provost for Online Learning, bringing on John Mitchell, a professor of computer science at the school, for the new position. What’s been happening since 2012:

“Around 15 courses will be offered online in fall quarter by Stanford faculty, covering engineering, mathematics, social science, education and entrepreneurship, and many more are lined up for winter and spring. The deans of the schools of Medicine, Engineering and Business have appointed faculty members to spearhead online learning at their respective schools, and assigned resources to encourage experimentation among students and faculty.”


An interview in Crain’s with Mark Smith of the NEA on what’s behind the push to offer courses online and where labor fits into the new paradigm.

Dissecting the Data on Charter Schools

Research around charter schools seems rarely neutral. How do you navigate it with use of data? Two researchers will offer insight on how to cut through the spin and look at the real numbers behind how charter school students are performing and what kinds of students charter schools are serving.


Jeffrey Henig, Teachers College, Columbia University;

Margaret Raymond, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Moderator: Joy Resmovits, The Huffington Post

Background Content

Spin Cycle: How Research Is Used in Policy Debates: The Case of Cha…

“In Spin Cycle, Henig draws on extensive interviews with researchers, journalists, and funding agencies on both sides of the debate, as well as data on federal and foundation grants and a close analysis of media coverage, to explore how social science research is “spun” in the public sphere. Henig looks at the consequences of a highly controversial New York Times article that cited evidence of poor test performance among charter school students. The front-page story, based on research findings released by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), sparked an explosive debate over the effectiveness of charter schools.”

The Stanford report, entitled, “Multiple Choice: Charter School Performance in 16 States,” is the

first detailed national assessment of charter school impacts since its longitudinal, student-level

analysis covers more than 70 percent of the nation’s students attending charter schools.

Bonus reading: Charter Quality’s the Issue, Not Research Methods, Education Week & Charter Schools That Start Bad Stay Bad, Stanford Report Says, The Huffington Post

Observing Classrooms: Spotting Signs of Quality 

Researchers have been closely studying how the classroom practices of more effective teachers differ from those of their less effective peers. How can journalists capitalize on what has been learned?

Panelist: Pam Grossman, Stanford Graduate School of Education 

Moderator: Elizabeth Green, GothamSchools

Background Content

What makes a good teacher?

“As new research suggests that teacher practices are integral to student success, there is a push to discover exactly which practices correlate most highly to achievement. The Protocol for Language Arts Teaching Observations (PLATO) is a classroom observation protocol focused on middle and high school English/Language arts instruction that was developed as part of a research study on classroom practices. The study specifically aims to discover more effective teacher practices as measured by their impact on student achievement. The PLATO instrument is based on existing literature on effective instruction in secondary level English Language Arts and (v. 3.0) includes thirteen elements that encompass a number of key areas of ELA classroom instruction.”

Stopping the School-to-Prison Pipeline

What is the proper punishment for fighting? For cursing? For tardiness? Does punishment always fit the crime and can disproportionate punishment lead to a future in prison? These questions arise as researchers are documenting examples of “unconscious bias” that can affect professionals in law enforcement, medicine and education. Speakers will tackle the intersection of these issues.


Susan Ferriss, The Center for Public Integrity; Phillip Goff, University of California, Los Angeles; 

Josefina Alvarado Mena, Safe Passages

Moderator: Linda Lenz

Background Content

Investigative Reporting in a Medium Newsroom: First Prize—“Punishing Numbers

Bonus reading: School suspensions: Does racial bias feed the school-to-prison pipe…

Solutions Journalism: A Different Lens on Stories 

The author of The New York Times “Fixes” blog explains and discusses solutions journalism, which aims to  examine credible responses to social problems. What is “SoJo”? How does it differ from traditional reporting and how does it apply to education reporting? 

Speaker: David Bornstein, Solutions Journalism Network 

Background content

Solutions Journalism Checklist

All Posts by David Bornstein for The New York Times

An Interview with Thomas Friedman, The New York Times (Plenary Speaker, 3:00-4:00 p.m.)

Thomas Friedman will share his views on what the United States can learn from other countries’ education systems, the importance of education as a national security issue, emerging arrangements such as massive open online courses, and other subjects related to innovation. 

Thomas Friedman, The New York Times Interviewed by Stephanie Banchero of The Wall Street Journal

 Background Reading

My Little (Global) School:

American students in the second quarter of socioeconomic advantage — mostly higher middle class — were significantly outperformed by 24 countries in math and by 15 countries in science, the study found. In the third quarter of socioeconomic advantage — mostly lower middle class — U.S. students were significantly outperformed by peers in 31 countries or regions in math and 25 in science.

The good news, though, said Schnur, “is that, for the first time, we have documented that there are individual U.S. schools that are literally outperforming every country in the world.”

Revolution Hits the Universities:

Nothing has more potential to lift more people out of poverty — by providing them an affordable education to get a job or improve in the job they have. Nothing has more potential to unlock a billion more brains to solve the world’s biggest problems. And nothing has more potential to enable us to reimagine higher education than the massive open online course, or MOOC, platforms that are being developed by the likes of Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and companies like Coursera and Udacity.

Come the Revolution:

Welcome to the college education revolution. Big breakthroughs happen when what is suddenly possible meets what is desperately necessary. The costs of getting a college degree have been rising faster than those of health care, so the need to provide low-cost, quality higher education is more acute than ever. At the same time, in a knowledge economy, getting a higher-education degree is more vital than ever. And thanks to the spread of high-speed wireless technology, high-speed Internet, smartphones, Facebook, the cloud and tablet computers, the world has gone from connected to hyperconnected in just seven years. Finally, a generation that has grown up on these technologies is increasingly comfortable learning and interacting with professors through online platforms.

Concurrent Sessions, 4:14-5:15 p.m.

Stanford Knight Fellows: Entrepreneurship in Journalism

Each year, Knight journalism fellows at Stanford propose and develop entrepreneurial media projects. Winners of this year’s fellowships explain their innovative projects and explore models for how journalists can break ground in the fast-changing news industry.


LaToya Peterson and Bill McNulty, John S. Knight Journalism Fellows at Stanford University

Moderator: Dawn Garcia, John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford University

Background content

Mission & History

Our fellows come from all over the world and from all types of journalism, including daily newspapers, radio and television, non-profit news startups, blogs and ethnic media. They explore and use Stanford, in addition to working on their innovation proposals. They take their cues from our partners and allies in Silicon Valley, as they prototype, refine and retest their ideas

Making sure news and information gets to ALL the public, by LaToya Peterson

“So how do we start to bridge the divides? And can technology be leveraged to find users who are not in the market for news and information? I dedicated my Knight year to exploring the problem and finding a solution.

“Inspiration struck when I participated in the Beta test of the Public Media Corps in Washington, D.C. The short fellowship was started by the National Black Programming Consortium to connect communities and public media outlets. In the course of my work, I noticed information gaps: moments where communities needed information, but it wasn’t available or easily accessible.”

Urban School Reform: Beyond Stars and Scandals

Do reporters who cover major efforts to improve schools focus on incremental developments at the expense of the big picture? Do they pay too much attention to leaders with star power and too little to quieter contributors? The authors of two new books on urban education reflect on media coverage of efforts to revamp big-city schools.


Richard Colvin, Author;

David Kirp, University of California, Berkeley

Moderator: Benjamin Herold

Background Content

Tilting at Windmills by Richard Colvin:

Between 1998, when Alan Bersin became superintendent of the San Diego school system, and 2005, when he left that post, San Diego undertook a sustained and notably ambitious effort to reform its public school system. Bersin’s efforts were controversial from the start, both within San Diego and throughout the United States. Yet everyone agreed that the San Diego story was an immensely important one—and that it was a harbinger of reform efforts to come throughout the United States.

Bonus reading: Alan Bersin’s reforms five years later

The Secret to Fixing Bad Schools by Professor David Kirp:

“This used to be true in Union City, where the schools were once so wretched that state officials almost seized control of them. How things have changed. From third grade through high school, students’ achievement scores now approximate the statewide average. What’s more, in 2011, Union City boasted a high school graduation rate of 89.5 percent — roughly 10 percentage points higher than the national average.


“What makes Union City remarkable is, paradoxically, the absence of pizazz. It hasn’t followed the herd by closing “underperforming” schools or giving the boot to hordes of teachers. No Teach for America recruits toil in its classrooms, and there are no charter schools.”

Top 10 Stories on Innovation in Higher Education

What are the higher education stories on innovation that reporters should be following this year? The editor and co-founder of Inside Higher Ed offers his insights on what stories are worth writing.

Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed

Background content

10 Higher Education Stories You Should Be Covering This Year (Video)

Inside Higher Ed’s Scott Jaschik talks to reporters about 10 stories he wants to see in 2013 (added bonus: three “don’ts” to observe while covering the higher ed beat).

This address was a part of “Degrees vs. Debt: Making College More Affordable,” EWA’s Nov. 2-3 2012 seminar for higher ed reporters at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Claude Steele, Stanford Graduate School of Education (Dinner and Keynote Speaker, 5:30-7:00 p.m.)

The minute students step into an academic situation, how they perform can be influenced by how they believe they are perceived. Claude Steele’s pioneering research on “stereotype threat” sheds light on such topics as affirmative action, the achievement gap and other contemporary topics in education. 

Claude Steele, Stanford Graduate School of Education

Introduction: Caroline Hendrie

Background Content

Thin Ice: Stereotype Threat and Black College Students, The Atlantic:

When capable black college students fail to perform as well as their white counterparts, the explanation often has less to do with preparation or ability than with the threat of stereotypes about their capacity to succeed. Educators at Stanford who tested this hypothesis report their findings and propose solutions

‘Whistling Vivaldi’ And Beating Stereotypes, National Public Radio:

Women taking a math test will perform worse when reminded that women aren’t expected to do well in math. Social psychologist Claude Steele calls this an example of the “stereotype threat.” In his book, Whistling Vivaldi, he lays out a plan to reshape those expectations.

Balancing the Equation for Boys and Girls in Math, Educated Reporter:

That “information problem” could also have another component, known to researchers as “stereotype threat.” Put simply, if people are worried about confirming negative perceptions of a group of which they are a member, it can hurt their individual performance. The seminal study on stereotype threat was published in 1995 by Claude Steele (now dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Education) and Joshua Aronson (associate professor of applied psychology at NYU), and found that black college students fared worse when they were asked to identify their race prior to taking a high-stakes exam. Numerous other researchers have since found similar results when asking people to identify themselves by a group – be it ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, or age, just to list a few  – and then testing them in a subject where there are stereotypes about their perceived inferior ability.

West Coast Film Premiere: “Rebirth” (7:15-9:00 p.m.) 

A new documentary film draws on years of footage of post-Katrina New Orleans to critically examine ongoing efforts to dramatically restructure public education in the Crescent City. Following a screening of the film, panelists will explore New Orleans’ choice-based education landscape and the national implications of the groundbreaking changes unfolding there.


Sarah Carr, author;

Jean Desravines, New Leaders;

Andre Perry, Loyola University New Orleans

Moderator: John Merrow, Learning Matters

Rebirth from ashes: New film captures New Orleans’ radical school r…, Deseret News:

“Merrow was in town covering the city’s efforts to radically transform its public schools. For all the problems Hurricane Katrina left behind, it also, paradoxically, leveled the status quo and created an opening for change. Merrow spent the next five years watching the city remake its public education system. His series of reports morphed into a documentary film, ‘Rebirth: New Orleans,’ which is now in post-production.

“’The film’s main character is the city of New Orleans,’ Merrow said. ‘But we profile several schools, including a charter school that gets shut down and then reopens.’”

Documentary explores New Orleans schools after Hurricane Katrina We…, The Times-Picayune (With Preview): 

“In all this, Merrow examines many of the hot-button issues and criticisms of education reform in New Orleans. Among them: the firing of the city’s entire teaching staff and introduction of large numbers of Teach for America members, the comparatively low rates of students with disabilities at charters, the charge that charters expel troublemakers and struggling children to boost test averages and whether some discipline and uniform codes go too far. Still, he concludes that the education reform “gamble” is paying off in better test scores and graduation rates.”

Giving Children a Chance, New York Times (Opinion)

Kirkus Review:

Education reporter Carr debuts with a balanced account of the growing charter-school movement in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Plenary Tracks, 8:00-9:00 a.m.

K-12 – Opportunity Gaps and Out-of-School Factors: Challenges and Solutions

Much attention has focused on achievement gaps among children from different demographic groups, and on teacher effectiveness as the chief in-school influence on student performance. But what about factors that carry more weight than teachers? And how can society close opportunity gaps often associated with widely decried achievement gaps in school?


Prudence Carter, Stanford Graduate School of Education;

Michael Petrilli, Thomas B. Fordham Institute;

Sean Reardon, Stanford Graduate School of Education;

Moderator: Sarah Garland, The Hechinger Report

Background content

Book Review, via The London School of Economics:

“The book is well-written – as one would expect from an author so well-published on the topic – and both direct and challenging. Not challenging in its prose, but challenging for the educational paradigm. One of the book’s great uses is that it describes how education cannot simply be provided for children to take advantage of however they choose. Instead it should be pushed, tweaked, and tailored to suit every pupil, not just a privileged group.”

Closing the achievement gap, but at gifted students’ expense, The Washington Post:

“The Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the Northwest Evaluation Association released a study in September that tracked more than 100,000 high-achieving pupils over time and found that more than one-third lost steam as they progressed through school. The Brookings Institution’s Tom Loveless has reported that, while the nation’s lowest-achieving students made significant gains in reading and math between 2000 and 2007, top students’ gains were ‘anemic.’

“There are trade-offs here. But the possibility that what’s best for our worst-off students is bad for high achievers is blithely ignored by the Obama team and many other school reformers”

‘Income Achievement Gap’ Almost Double Black-White Performance Gap,…, EdSource:

“The report by Sean Reardon, a Stanford professor of education and sociology, shows that the income achievement gap–the difference in the average standardized scores between children from families at the 10th percentile of income distribution and children at the 90th percentile–is now ‘nearly twice as large as the black-white achievement gap.’

“A half century ago, the situation was just the reverse. The black-white gap was one and a half times as large as the income achievement gap as defined in the report, Reardon found.”

Higher Ed – A Different Class: Why Talented Students Don’t Apply to Top Colleges

Stanford economics professor Caroline Hoxby discusses her new research arguing that the most selective U.S. universities are ineffective at recruiting many of the high-achieving, low-income students who could succeed on their campuses. Hoxby offers her insights on how colleges should  recruit these missing “one-offs.”

Panelist: Caroline Hoxby, Stanford University

Moderator: Kavitha Cardoza, WAMU

Respondent: Larry Gordon, Los Angeles Times

Background content

Attracting the Missing Students, Inside Higher Ed:

“In December, a study revealed that most low-income, high-achieving high school students aren’t applying to a single competitive college. Further, the study found that many colleges are searching for these students at a very small number of high schools (magnet schools and the like) — and in the process are missing lots of other talent. While high-income, high-achieving students tend to apply to the very top colleges, those with equal academic talent but less money are largely bypassing these institutions, and are instead applying to colleges whose students are less prepared academically, and that have lower graduation rates and lesser academic resources.”

The Missing Students, Inside Higher Ed:

“A new study finds that a majority students with low incomes but high academic ability never apply to a single competitive college. Further, the study finds that many colleges are searching for these students at a very small number of high schools — and in the process are missing lots of other talent. The study — by Caroline M. Hoxby, a professor of economics at Stanford University, and Christopher Avery, a professor of public policy at Harvard University — was released Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research. “

Expanding College Opportunities for High-Achieving, Low Income Stud…, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research:                  

“Only a minority of high-achieving, low-income students apply to colleges in the same way that other high-achieving students do: applying to several selective colleges whose curriculum is designed for students with a level of achievement like their own. This is despite the fact that selective colleges typically cost them high-achieving, low-income students less while offering them more generous resources than the non-selective postsecondary institutions they mainly attend.”

Plenary Tracks, 9:15 – 10:15 a.m.

K-12 – Ready or Not: Common Core Assessments

By 2014, it is expected that assessments based on the Common Core State Standards will be widespread across the country. What are the obstacles, opportunities and implications? Do schools have the needed technological capacity? How will states implement “cut scores”? Can the tests measuring “deep learning”? How high-stakes should they be? Leading experts explore the answers.


Joan Herman, UCLA;

Chris Minnich, CCSSO;

Jim Pellegrino, University of Illinois-Chicago;

Moderator:  Virginia Edwards, Education Week

Background content

The Gordon Commission endorses the Common Core assessment’s emphasis on  competencies such as critical thinking and problem-solving, rather than on the rote recall of information and more basic skills. The report warns, however, that the potential of new assessments might not be reached if their purpose is solely to hold teachers and schools accountable for performance. The nation must invest in the development of new types of assessments that work together to inform teaching and learning and still provide measures of progress for accountability purposes

UCLA Report Highlights Potential, Challenges of New Assessments, EdMedia Commons:

“As a majority of the nation’s schools prepare to adopt the new Common Core State Standards, the tests that will assess how much students actually know are coming under increased scrutiny. A new study that looks at the progress of building those tests suggests acing the exams could get a lot harder.

“The National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) at University of California, Los Angeles has a new report out today, concluding the groups picked to design the assessments tied to the Common Core have the potential to create models that are more intellectually demanding than what states currently use to gauge student knowledge.”

Bonus reading from CCSSO:

“The Standards, Assessment, and Accountability Initiative focuses on the three historical and most powerful drivers of education systems. State by state, we have made progress in these areas over the past decade-but we need to continue to support and effect the transformative change that will truly prepare every child, in every school, for the challenges and opportunities of the future.”

Higher Ed – What to Make of MOOCs

In less than two years, massive open online courses (MOOCs) have altered discussions about higher education reform and access. Following the announcement that a handful of the courses merit traditional college credit, MOOCs may be poised to alter students’ pathways to a diploma. Or they might be the latest example of Internet overreach. A discussion of the possibilities.


Daphne Koller, Coursera;

Cathy Sandeen, American Council on Education;

Gabi Zolla, Council for Adult and Experiential Learning;

Bob Samuels, UC-AFT

Moderator: Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed

Background content

Coursera looks to 2nd year of MOOCs, The Washington Post:

“The online education company known as Coursera has racked up gaudy numbers within a year of its launch: 3.1 million users from around the world have signed up for an ever-expanding menu of courses offered for free from 62 leading colleges and universities.

“On Friday, hundreds of educators from those schools gathered at the University of Pennsylvania to take stock of a movement that is transforming higher education. Some participants in the massive open online courses, known as MOOCs, wonder whether the phenomenon is oversold.”

Coursera Offerings for College Credit, The Chronicle of Higher Education:

“The American Council on Education has agreed to review a handful of free online courses offered by elite universities and may recommend that other colleges grant credit for them.”

The Right Path to MOOC Credit?, Inside Higher Ed:

“With great interest, I read the recent news announcing that the American Council on Education (ACE) had evaluated five Coursera MOOCs and recommended them for credit. But I had hoped for something different.”

California bill would promote statewide online college courses, Los Angeles Times:

“The legislation calls for development of 50 online classes as potential substitutes for the hard-to-get core courses required for graduation at UC, Cal State and community colleges.”

MOOC’s – the Good, the Bad . . . and the Ugly?, The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning

Plenary Tracks, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

K-12 – Teacher Evaluation: Seeking Common Ground

Few areas of education policy and practice are evolving as rapidly as teacher evaluation. Moving beyond a Lake Wobegon world where all teachers are perfunctorily rated above average is seen as a linchpin in the strategy to improve student learning by enhancing teacher effectiveness. But what are the best ways to draw an accurate picture of a teacher’s performance?


Linda Darling-Hammond, Stanford Graduate School of Education;

David Steele, Hillsborough County School District, Fla.; Ray Salazar, White Rhino

Moderator: Dale Mezzacappa, Philadelphia Public School Notebook

David Steele answers questions about the Hillsborough Gates evaluat…, Tampa Bay Times:

“In what has become a state and national model, Hillsborough is replacing the old single-source evaluation with one broken down into three components: The principal’s observations, a peer evaluator’s report, and a value-added component that measures student improvement and other data. Teachers already have the “written” assessments that give them up to 60 points. The data-driven portion is worth up to 40 points. They’ve seen their students’ raw scores. But the teachers’ scores – and as how they stack up to their coworkers – had yet to be revealed when Steele spoke with reporter Marlene Sokol on Sept. 2.”

Report: Creating a comprehensive system for evaluating and supporting effective teaching.

Surprise Peer Observations, Tampa Bay Times:

“Drop-ins — not to be confused with principal “pop-ins” that have always been around — are a new addition to Hillsborough’s ambitious education reform effort, launched in late 2009 with a $100 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.”

Teaching reform leader is retiring in Hillsborough, Tampa Bay Times:

“Steele, who oversees the $200 million effort funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said his last day will be July 11.”

A better way to grade teachers, Los Angeles Times

“We found that a teacher receives a higher value-added score when he is teaching students who are already higher-achieving, more affluent and more versed in English than when he is assigned large numbers of new English learners and students with fewer educational advantages. In fact, when we looked at high school teachers who teach different classes, the student composition of the class was a much stronger predictor of the teacher’s value-added score than the teacher.”

Higher Ed – New Prescriptions for Remedial Education

The biggest obstacles that more than a fifth of undergraduates face en route to a college degree is the remedial or developmental courses in which they will be placed for their first-year. These courses, which students must pass before they can take classes that carry college credit, add to the expense and time it takes to earn a degree. Are such classes really needed? Or can schools eliminate them altogether and replace them with other forms of academic support? A discussion of which policies and practices in remedial education work best.


Stan Jones, Complete College America;

Eric Bettinger, Stanford University;

Karon Klipple, Carnegie Foundation

Moderator: Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed

Background Content

Crash Course for Remediation, Inside Higher Ed:

“Few people would contest Complete College America’s central assumption that the remedial (or developmental) track too often is ineffective. As the group, which is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, noted in the statement, only one-quarter of community college students who take a remedial course graduate within eight years.

“Remediation is typically a sequence of semester-long courses in mathematics and English that students must complete before they can get into college-level, gateway courses. Remedial courses also are not usually credit-bearing. They can be a costly and discouraging stumbling block for students.”

Remediation: Higher Education’s Bridge to Nowhere

“The intentions were noble. It was hoped that remediation programs would be an academic bridge from poor high school preparation to college readiness — a grand idea inspired by our commitment to expand access to all who seek a college degree.

“Sadly, remediation has become instead higher education’s “Bridge to Nowhere.” This broken remedial bridge is travelled by some 1.7 million beginning students each year, most of whom will not reach their destination — graduation. It is estimated that states and students spent more than $3 billion on remedial courses last year with very little student success to show for it.”

Core Principals for Transforming Remedial Education:

“Remedial education course sequences are a key factor in high student attrition. The long sequences of remedial education courses create many opportunities for students to drop out. A student may pass one remedial education course but fail to enroll in the next course.”

Bonus read: Does College Remediation Work?       

James Heckman, University of Chicago (Lunch and Keynote Speaker, Noon-1:45 p.m.)

Dr. Heckman is a strong proponent of investing early in children and disadvantaged families. He will discuss the “Heckman Equation” and why the early investments pay dividends in the future.

James Heckman, University of Chicago, Introduced by Stephanie Banchero

Background content

It Pays to Invest in Early Education Says a Nobel Economist Who Boo…, PBS (Interview with Heckman):

“James Heckman is one of the economists of the hour — a quirky star whose work is now in the limelight. He teaches at the famously conservative University of Chicago, where previous Nobel laureates have also worked, including Milton ‘Free to Choose’ Friedman and Robert ‘Rational Expectations’ Lucas. But work in “microeconometrics” — the statistical study of individual responses to public policy — has reached decidedly liberal conclusions.”

Investments in Education May be Misdirected, New York Times:

“Research by Mr. Heckman and others confirms that investment in the early education of disadvantaged children pays extremely high returns down the road. It improves not only their cognitive abilities but also crucial behavioral traits like sociability, motivation and self-esteem.”

Concurrent Sessions, 2:15-3:15 p.m.

Measuring the Impact of More–and Better–Time for Learning

What questions should you ask about the way your school district uses extended learning time? How are public-private partnerships guiding new approaches? Must schools choose between using the time for deeper learning or enrichment? What does the latest research show about best practices?


Jennifer Davis, National Center on Time and Learning;

Lucy Friedman, The After-School Corporation;

Mark Triplett, Urban Promise Academy (Oakland, Calif.);

Zakia Redd, Child Trends

Moderator: Kathleen Manzo, Education Week

Background Content

Expanding Time for Learning Both Inside and Outside the Classroom: A Review of the Evidence Base

Lucy Friedman’s Op-ed on ELT research, The Huffington Post Op-Ed:

“I’m proud today to join the launch of The Expanding Learning and Afterschool Project. This is a 50-state initiative that gives educators easy and direct access to research and promising practices that can help them use time beyond the conventional school day most effectively for learning.”

National Center on Time and Learning Director Talks ELT, Education Week:

“The ELT model is designed to not only provide expanded educational opportunities for students, but also more time for teachers to spend with students and in learning communities together in order to review student progress and improve instructional practices. After-school programs are designed to provide children enhanced learning and enrichment programming when school is not in session and often also help parents by ensuring children are in safe places while they work.”

Teacher Turnover: Who Stays and Who Leaves

One out of every three new teachers leaves the profession within five years. More veteran teachers are opting to retire. Teacher attrition costs the nation about $7 billion a year. What does the research say about teacher turnover and retention? What role does school leadership play in teachers’ decisions to leave or stay?


Susanna Loeb, Stanford Graduate School of Education;

Anthony Cody, Living in Dialogue 

Moderator: Francisco Vara-Orto, San Antonio Express-News

Background content

Turnover has even greater negative impact in schools with more low-…, Loeb and co-authors find:

“When teachers leave schools, overall morale appears to suffer enough that student achievement declines—both for those taught by the departed teachers and by students whose teachers stayed put, concludes a study recently presented at a conference held by the Center for Longitudinal Data in Education Research.

“The impact of teacher turnover is one of the teacher-quality topics that’s been hard for researchers to get their arms around. The phenomenon of high rates of teacher turnover has certainly been proven to occur in high-poverty schools more than low-poverty ones. The eminently logical assumption has been that such turnover harms student achievement.”

Bonus reading: Opinion pieces by Anthony Cody on teacher turnover

EWA Resources for Reporters New to the Beat

EWA’s new publications and online resources offer reporters a road map through the complex landscape of the education beat. Get the tricks of the trade, and learn how to build your own road map for localizing national issues, and navigating the beat in your community.


Stephen Abbott, Great Schools Partnership;

Sarah Carr, Freelance Journalist

Moderator: Emily Richmond, Education Writers Association

Main page of EWA publications

EWA Story Starters, home to 28 primers on education topics and trends across the entire education spectrum.

Success in College: Models That Improve the Odds

Students from low-income families face special challenges not only in getting admitted to college, but also in succeeding once they’re in. More programs are coming on line to strengthen students who live in poverty and may have few college graduates in their family and social circles. What traits do these programs share, and how can journalists examine them?


 Tim Sandoval, Brighter Prospect;

Jessica Cogan, SEO Scholar;

Anthony Lisel Antonio, Stanford University 

Moderator: Peg Tyre, Freelance Journalist

Background content

Bright Prospects give youth a boost toward college, Daily Bulletin:

“Bright Prospect, which serves the cities of Pomona, Ontario and Montclair, has a 91 percent college graduation rate. It operates at seven local high schools. The initial contact with the program is its summer academy as students are entering their sophomore years. At the academy, students learn what is expected of them and how Bright Prospect personnel will stay with them through college graduation.

“Timothy Sandoval, the program director, was born in Los Angeles but raised in Pomona where he graduated from Pomona High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree in English from UC Riverside.

“‘There really isn’t one reason why this program succeeds, but at the heart of it is the caring environment that we have for our kids. We help them navigate the college application process, we help them access resources and we let them know we will be there every step of the way,’ Sandoval said.”

SEO Scholars education program getting results, USA Today:

“The students, high school freshmen from underperforming schools throughout the city, were giving up their entire Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., to study.

“The privately funded SEO Scholars program — SEO stands for ‘Sponsors for Educational Opportunity’ — uses an unusual approach to school reform: Rather than trying to change the system, it targets a handful of “severely undereducated” students and, through mentoring and Saturday school, all but guarantees they’ll graduate from a four-year college. Once they’re in college, three staffers track their attendance and grades and offer counseling all four years.”

Retention in Third Grade: Help or Hindrance?

More states are embracing “third grade reading guarantees” that aim to prevent children from moving to fourth grade until they have progressed from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” But research has shown that students who are retained often end up dropping out. Two researchers will probe what the research says, and whether legislatures are on the right track.


Shane Jimerson, University of California, Santa Barbara;

Martin West, Harvard University; 

Moderator: Lyndsey Layton, Washington Post

Background content

States draw a hard line on third-graders, holding some back over re…, The Washington Post:

“A growing number of states are drawing a hard line in elementary school, requiring children to pass a reading test in third grade or be held back from fourth grade.

“Thirteen states last year adopted laws that require schools to identify, intervene and, in many cases, retain students who fail a reading proficiency test by the end of third grade. Lawmakers in several other states and the District are debating similar measures.”

Is Retaining Students in the Early Grades Self-Defeating?, Brookings Institution:

“Should students who have not acquired a basic level of reading proficiency by grade three be promoted along with their peers? Or should they be retained and provided with intensive interventions before moving on to the next grade?”

RESEARCH BRIEF: Does the Timing of Grade Retention Make a Difference? Examining the Effects of Early Versus Later Retention–

“The results revealed that the growth trajectories of students retained early (Grades K-2) were comparable to those retained later (Grades 3-5). These findings failed to support the efficacy of retention at an earlier grade in elementary school.”

Concurrent Sessions, 3:30-4:30

Guiding Principals: How to Recognize Innovative Leaders

Some principals are not just great leaders, but they’re also great innovators. What are ways that principals are taking the lead in using technology and other techniques to help students thrive?


Trevor Greene, Toppenish High School; 

Nicole Veltze, North High School, Denver;

Michelle Spencer, New Technology High;

James Dent, Gilroy Prep School

Moderator: Richard Whitmire

Nicole Veltze for North High School promises positive change for ne…, North Denver Tribune Op-Ed:

“With 48 percent of the 280 parents queried on a recent NWCC survey saying they are contemplating leaving the neighborhood because of schools, especially North High, Veltze might be the most important person in our neighborhood’s future.”

2013 MetLife/NASSP Natl. High School Principal of the Year:

“In transforming Toppenish High School into a high-performing place of learning, Trevor Greene brought a renewed sense of hope to rural Washington. Nestled on the Yakama Indian Reservation, Toppenish serves a high-minority (95%), high-poverty (100%) student population.”

The Future of Education Is Strong, The Huffington Post (opinion):

“If you want to know what the future of education should look like, visit New Technology High School in Napa, California. If you want to know how to get ahead of the curve today, start doing what they’re doing.”

Navigator Schools: Blended Delivery, Engaging Classroom, High Perfo…, Education Week (opinion):

The garlic capital is home of the top scoring new elementary school in California–Gilroy Prep. Veteran educators James Dent and Sharon Waller opened the charter school two years ago after visiting all the best schools and “reverse engineering from site visits.”

For Good Measure: Assessing College Performance

What’s the best way to determine how effectively a college goes about the business of educating its students? If popular college rankings in the media are flawed, what other models of crunching the data might deliver more illuminating comparisons? To what extent is a college’s success at graduating students dependent on the types of students it enrolls? This session offers insights on new approaches on how to use the data available to see a more complete picture of college performance.


John Pryor, Cooperative Institutional Research Program-UCLA;

Robert Kelchen, University of Wisconsin

Moderator: Mary Beth Marklein, USA Today

Background content

Are Schools Successful Based on the Students They Enroll?:

“In this paper we illustrate the importance of input factors in examining the completion of college with a degree, using CIRP Freshman Survey and National Student Clearinghouse data on students entering college in the cohort of 2004. Results are based on previous studies of cohorts on degree attainment, a new report on college completion, and analyses on students who are “mobile completers,” those students who leave their initial institution and complete a baccalaureate degree elsewhere. Some colleges underperform based on their entering-student characteristics, and while low degree attainment is evident, some colleges are doing better than expected. The study concludes with needs for future research and policy and procedure recommendations concerning the importance of using input-adjusted graduation rates.”

Value-Added for College Measurements: Policy and Analysis:

“Good information is critical for parents and students as they choose colleges and, increasingly, for policymakers in their decisions about funding public institutions and holding them accountable for performance. Unfortunately, we show that the information available today, such as college rankings, is of little use for any of these important decisions; rather, current information rewards colleges for attracting stronger students and for spending more money. We address these problems by taking a “value added” approach that adjusts for differences in student backgrounds and rewards colleges for spending more only when they also generate better outcomes. We use data from more than 1,200 institutions nationwide to estimate value added to one important outcome: college graduation. We also show how the value added method that is relevant to students and parents differs from the method relevant to policymakers. To the extent that the goal is to measure how effectively colleges use their resources to help students progress, the information used today appears quite misleading.”

Tapping Public Opinion Polls to Strengthen Stories

Polling organizations offer data that can enrich reporting on education. What data is available and how can you tap into it to provide context for your stories? Representatives of Gallup and Harris Interactive share information and insights.


Brandon Busteed, Gallup Polls;

Regina Corso, Harris Interactive

 Moderator: Michael Alison Chandler, Washington Post

Background content

 The School Cliff: Student Engagement Drops with Each School Year:

 “Gallup research strongly suggests that the longer students stay in school, the less engaged they become.

“The Gallup Student Poll surveyed nearly 500,000 students in grades five through 12 from more than 1,700 public schools in 37 states in 2012. We found that nearly eight in 10 elementary students who participated in the poll are engaged with school. By middle school that falls to about six in 10 students. And by high school, only four in 10 students qualify as engaged. Our educational system sends students and our country’s future over the school cliff every year.”

News reports in which Corso is quoted

Early Childhood Education: Not All Options Are Created Equal

President Obama got the early childhood education world buzzing when he announced his ambitious plans to expand preschool during his State of the Union. But doubts remain. Would expanding universal pre-K lead to a top-down push for more academics at younger ages? Do states don’t have the funding to provide early childhood education for all who want it? Can state programs and Head Start coordinate effectively? 


Bruce Fuller, University of California, Berkeley;

Sterling Speirn, W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Ron French, Bridge Magazine

Moderator: Karin Klein, Los Angeles Times

Background content

Over-praising preschool (Los Angeles Times, editorial)

“Obama wants the government to fund a free year of pre-kindergarten, but studies don’t back up his claims of long-term benefits.”

A Q and A with Sterling Speirn that gives an overall perspective on his views about early childhood education

Michigan’s Forgotten 4-Year-Olds, Bridge Magazine:

“Bridge Magazine presents a multi-part series exploring how 30,000 Michigan kids who qualify for free pre-school are not getting the education they need, due to inadequate state funding, logistical hurdles and poor coordination of services.

“Research shows that these children will get lower grades, drop out more frequently and earn less money over the course of their careers.”

Viewpoints: New preschool push more about politics than educating kids Sacramento Bee (Op-Ed)

“President Barack Obama’s pitch for preschool offers great hope for America’s young families. Irresistible are the ideals and science that underlie his ambitious proposal.

“Yet the president’s push to seed and nourish more preschools may inadvertently stunt children’s learning – even shrink our aspirations for how youngsters blossom – as the grinding mechanics of testing and accountability now percolate down into the rainbow room.”

Not Your Father’s Shop Class: Linked Learning and STEM

Traditionally, career and technical education (CTE) has often translated into tracking low-income students into less demanding classes. But with a focus on college and career readiness, a national push is under way to fuse rigorous academics and career training at the high school level. From project-based learning in the sciences to acquiring work-ready skills in targeted industries, a panoply of initiatives aim to equip students—especially those at-risk of falling through the cracks—with the tools to be both employable after graduation and prepared for the demands of postsecondary education. 


Anne Stanton, James Irvine Foundation;

Nancy Hoffman, Jobs for the Future; 

Preston Thomas, Life Academy in Oakland, Calif.

 Moderator: Katy Murphy, Oakland Tribune

Background content

 Four Elements Define Linked Learning:

  • A rigorous academic core curriculum featuring instruction in essential subjects such as English, math, science, social studies, foreign language and visual and performing arts.
  • A demanding combination of career and technical coursework emphasizing the practical use of academic learning and preparing youth for high-skill, high-wage employment.
  • A range of opportunities to learn through meaningful real-world experiences, including internships, apprenticeships and school-based enterprises.
  • Academic and social supports, such as counseling and additional instruction in reading, writing and mathematics, with the goal of helping all students succeed in and outside school.

Linked learning comes of age in California with new pilot programs, Ed Source:

“High schools with linked learning programs typically offer several courses in one or more career paths, such as healthcare, business or the arts. The career theme permeates the curriculum. For example, students on the healthcare career path at Dozier-Libbey Medical High School in Antioch Unified School District in Contra Costa County take Human Anatomy & Physiology and Microbiology for their science courses. They take Medical Terminology as an elective and a Regional Occupational Program course in Sports Medicine or Nursing. Guest speakers from the local hospital come to class to talk about what their jobs are like, and students shadow professionals working in the health field. The culmination of the program is an internship at a local hospital, doctor’s office or other health facility.”

The Life Academy Perspectives Project, KQED:

“In 2012 a class of sophomores attending the Life Academy of Health and Biosciences High School in the Fruitvale area of Oakland wrote and recorded their own personal Perspectives.”

Plenary Tracks, 4:45-5:45 p.m.

 K–12 – Choice and Competition: Improving or Undermining Public Education?

Is there evidence that empowering all parents to choose among competing schools—district-run, charter, and private—leads to better outcomes for students? Will a critical mass of charter schools in a community be a catalyst for positive change or for school closings that leave students behind? Advocates with different views debate whether competition threatens to destroy public education or is strengthening it one school at a time. 


Kevin P. Chavous, American Federation for Children;

Randi Weingarten. American Federation of Teachers

 Moderator: Scott Elliott, Indianapolis Star

Background content

Hearing on “Exploring State Success in Expanding Parent and Student…:

“Chairman Hunter, Ranking Member Kildee, and Members of the Subcommittee:

Thank you for the invitation to testify today. As a long-time supporter of parental choice and empowerment, I am pleased that Congress is interested in delving deeper into this very important issue.”

Teacher union boss bends to school reform winds, Reuters:

“Weingarten was attacked by critics for a willingness to throw her support behind deals in places like Philadelphia and Cleveland, where AFT locals bargained away tenure protections, or New Haven, Connecticut, where the union accepted a teacher evaluation system that removes teachers whose students don’t perform well on standardized tests.

“’Some people would argue what happened in New Haven is not solutions-driven unionism,’ Weingarten told Reuters. ‘Do I embrace every single aspect of that agreement? Is everything single aspect of that agreement part of my particular belief system about how education should run? Of course not.’”

Bonus reading: Scott Elliott’s news blog for Indianapolis Star

Higher Ed – Paying for College: Financial Aid Innovations

With the cost of attending college rising each year, what techniques might enable students to get more effective financial aid with less hassles? Which public universities are changing their financial aid practices to encourage students to earn their degrees more affordably? This session makes sense of the dollars behind degrees.


Eric Bettinger, Stanford University;

 Nate Johnson, HCM Strategists;

Rory O’Sullivan, Young Invincibles

Moderator: Kim Clark, Money

Background content

Financial Aid: A Blunt Instrument for Increasing Degree Attainment:

“Starting in early 2000, a series of other studies focused on need-based grants exploited other “natural experiments,” such as discontinuities in aid awards, to identify the causal effects of financial aid programs. For example, Dynarski uses discontinuities arising from the removal of the Social Security Administration’s Survivor Benefit Program. By comparing students who were eligible in the last year of the program and students who would have been eligible had the program continued, Dynarski finds sizable effects on both access and completion. The loss of financial aid led to a drop of almost 25 percentage points in the likelihood that students attended college.”

Putting Student Outcomes at the Center of Federal Financial Aid:

“The nation’s financial aid system was built for a different age, when access and choice were sufficient programmatic objectives.

“In 1965, when the first significant federal financial aid program began, 23 percent of Americans had a college degree. This attainment level was sufficient to support a vibrant middle class. That economy and those times are no more. Today, the economy places a premium on postsecondary credentials and the skills these degrees represent. By 2018, 45 percent of all jobs will require some type of college degree, including certificates.  Unfortunately, nearly half of all students start college but fail to earn any credential within 6 years; the outcomes are much worse for African Americans and Hispanics.”

The Student Perspective on Federal Financial Aid Reform:

“Fully fund and invest in Pell grants as a centerpiece of our financial aid system, protecting a critical tool for giving low-income students access to college. Invest in new Pell programs, PellWorks and PellPlus, by reforming existing funding streams. Pell Works: Use the Pell formula to retarget federal work study, sending work study dollars to schools that best connect school to work.  PellPlus: Instead of sending FSEOG dollars to schools that have been in the program longest, send dollars to the lowest-income students and to schools doing a better job of helping the lowest-income students graduate.”

Gaming: The Future of Assessment? ( Breakfast, 8:00-9:00 a.m.) 

As worries mount that standardized testing eats up too much school time, innovators are looking to video gaming as an alternative assessment tool. Not only does gaming promise to be more fun and less stressful for students than traditional tests, advocates say, but it can also give teachers a clearer picture of how well students pick up concepts. But there are challenges. Our panel will explore the issues.


Michael John, Glasslabs;

Girlie Delacruz, CRESST

Moderator: Greg Toppo, USA Today

Background content

Games as formative assessment environments:

“Due to their motivational nature, there has been growing interest in the potential of games to help teach academic content and skills. This report examines how different levels of detail about a game’s scoring rules affect math learning and performance. Data were collected from 164 students in the fourth to sixth grades at five after-school programs. The treatment conditions were randomly assigned within each setting and included a control group (played a different math game); three variations of scoring explanations (elaborated, minimal, and no scoring information); and combined elaborated scoring explanation with incentives to access additional feedback. The scoring explanation alone did not lead to better math learning. However, compared to the minimal-to-no scoring information variations, the combined treatment of the elaborated scoring explanation and incentive resulted in higher normalized change scores and, after controlling for pretest scores, higher posttest scores. Implications of the results identify attributes for learning games in mathematics.”

The GlassLab: A New GBL Initiative, Edutopia

“Earlier this summer, the Institute of Play (famous their work in gamification of education and the Quest to Learn school model), announced the launch of the GlassLab (Games Learning and Assessment Lab). With support from a variety of leaders in education and technology, this non-profit focuses on many aspects of games and learning.

Concurrent Sessions, 9:15-10:30 a.m.

EWA Innovation Showcase, Higher-Ed

In these brief interactive sessions, reporters, analysts and educators discuss efforts under way to harness the power of innovation to carry out new approaches to K-12 and higher education. Learn about experimental tools, offerings and practices, particularly those being made possible by digital technologies, and gather new ideas for covering innovation on your own beat. 

Emcee: Beth Shuster, Los Angeles Times

  • Kayvon Beykpour, entrepreneur, interviewed by Katherine Long, The Seattle Times, about universities supporting student start-ups
  • Marcie Bober-Michel, San Diego State University, interviewed by Kyla Calvert, KPBS, about a boom in courses that blend online and face-to-face learning
  • Mark Shermis, University of Akron, interviewed by Molly Bloom, WKSU, about the debate over computerized grading of student essays
  • Trace Urdan, Wells Fargo Securities, interviewed by Kim Clark, Money, about burgeoning investments in innovative education enterprises

Background content

Stanford U. Unveils iPhone Application That Will Soon Let Students …, The Chronicle of Higher Education:

“Development of the application, iStanford, was led by two students at the university, Kayvon Beykpour and Aaron Wasserman. They weren’t just doing the job for fun — Stanford commissioned the software from the students’ software company, Terriblyclever Design. Last week their creation was touted as the next big thing by Time magazine.”

SDSU Classes Bridge The Face-To-Face Versus Digital Divide 

Helping SDSU faculty use technology’s interactive potential is part of Mark Laumakis’ job. He’s a psychology lecturer, but also the faculty member in residence in the school’s instructional technology department. Students in his hybrid courses use something called adaptive quizzing in their online work. Students don’t advance to harder questions until they start getting easier questions right. He says it’s like practicing anything else.

Computers Grade Essays Fast … But Not Always Well

“Mark Shermis, dean of the University of Akron’s College of Education, recently co-authored a study of nine different essay-grading computer programs. On shorter writing assignments, Shermis says, the computer programs matched grades from real, live humans up to 85 percent of the time.

“But on longer, more complicated responses, the technology didn’t do quite as well.”

How I Did the Story: Award-Winning Reporters Share Their Secrets

Hear from your colleagues on how they put together their prize-winning packages. Among the topics: absentee rates in Chicago schools; the chronicle of an attempt to turn around a school; how a school discovered a concrete way to teach writing; and a beat reporter’s stories on the pipeline to college, charter schools, cheating, and school closings.

Background content and speakers

Jenny Brundin, Colorado Public Radio, “Trevista”;

Peg Tyre, author, “Writing Revolution”;

Benjamin Herold, WHYY/Philadelphia Public School Notebook “Beat Reporting”;

David Jackson and Gary Marx, Chicago Tribune, “An Empty-Desk Epidemic

Knowing Their Choices: Assessing Efforts to Inform Parents

More parents are facing educational choices they never had before. Privileged families have always successfully navigated the complexities around schools, but lower-income families haven’t necessarily done so. What new ways are being tried to get information in the hands of a broader array of parents? As organizations step in to  offer guidance, reporters can learn from the processes they use.

Panelist:Bill Jackson, Great Schools

Moderator: Gail Robinson, Inside Schools

Background content

What is GreatSchools?:

“In 1998, GreatSchools Founder and CEO Bill Jackson recognized the potential of the Internet to engage parents more deeply in their children’s education. He launched GreatSchools initially as a guide to Silicon Valley schools, reaching 3,000 visitors in the first year. Today, GreatSchools is the leading national source of school performance information for parents, reaching 41 million unique visitors and 44% of American families with children. Along with profiles of more than 200,000 PreK-12 schools and more than 1,000,000 parent and community ratings and reviews of schools, provides information, tips, activities, and tools that help parents get the best possible education for their children.”

What the Data Won’t Tell You, Education Week (Opinion):

“So while I applaud Great Schools for rounding out their school profiles with information that goes beyond the school’s test scores, I also know that for policymakers, “achievement” remains the benchmark of successful reform. The same is true for too many parents out there, navigating the nascent and chaotic marketplace of school choice in cities like DC. And emails like the one I received today serve as uncomfortable reminders of how little we really know, and actively seek to know, about the classrooms that help raise our children.”

Concurrent Sessions, 10:45 a.m.- noon

EWA Innovation Showcase, K-12

These interactive sessions feature reporters, analysts and educators spotlighting efforts under

way to harness the power of innovation to spark new approaches to K-12 and higher education.

Learn about experimental tools, offerings and practices being made possible by emerging digital

technologies, and gather new ideas for covering innovation on your own beat.

Emcee: Beth Shuster, Los Angeles Times

Background content and speakers

  • Jay McPhail, Riverside Unified School District, interviewed by Dayna Straehley, The Press-Enterprise, about digital instructional materials and mobile devices for students
  • Sandra Okita, Columbia University, interviewed by Greg Toppo, USA Today, about robotsbeing used for instruction in K-12 classrooms

How I Did the Story: Award-Winning Reporters Share Their Secrets

 Winners of this year’s EWA National Awards for Education Reporting share the tips that led to their groundbreaking reporting on higher education topics ranging from sexual assault on campus to malfeasance in university governance.

Background and speakers

Justin Pope, Associated Press, “Title IX and Sexual Assault on Campus”;

Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, Connecticut Mirror, state Board of Regents improprieties;

 Jon Marcus, Hechinger Report, “Beat Reporting

Closing the Gaps: Improving Outcomes and Opportunities for English–Language Learners

Despite intensive efforts by school districts, significant gaps remain for ELL students. Are educators focusing on the right targets? Which initiatives show the most promise, and how can they be replicated? How are schools responding to the shift to more ELL students coming from a broader range of language backgrounds?


Ashley Bessire, KIPP Austin Comunidad;

Patricia Gandara, University of California, Los Angeles;

Kenji Hakuta, Stanford Graduate School of Education

Moderator: Kathryn Baron

Background content

The Crisis in the Education of Latino Students:

The most urgent problem for the American education system has a Latino face. Latinos are the largest and most rapidly growing ethnic minority in the country, but, academically, they are lagging dangerously far behind their non-Hispanic peers. For example, upon entering kindergarten 42% of Latino children are found in the lowest quartile of performance on reading readiness compared to just 18% of White children. By 4th grade, 16% of Latino students are proficient in reading according to the 2005 NAEP, compared to 41% of White students. A similar pattern is notable at the 8th grade, where only 15% of Latinos are proficient in reading compared to 39% of Whites.

Rollout begins of new rigorous curriculum for English language lear…:

Starting in January, the Understanding Language initiative, headed by School of Education Professor Kenji Hakuta, will officially launch pilot efforts in Denver, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., and Chicago.

The new initiative is seeking to help English language learners – typically students whose first language is not English – to attain rigorous English language arts standards while developing their English proficiency at the same time.

Bonus read: KIPP Austin Comunidad, dual-language school

12:15 – 2:15 p.m. Awards Ceremony and Luncheon

Background content

The Education Writers Association is pleased to announce the winners of the 2012 National Awards for Education Reporting, recognizing dogged journalism, accomplished storytelling, and insightful analysis produced by print, radio and online media outlets across the country.

The 62 winning entries, chosen from among hundreds of submissions, came from newsrooms as small as nursery schools and as large as college dormitories. First-place winners are eligible for the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting, whose winner will be announced on May 4th during EWA’s 66th National Seminar. All winners will be honored at the event, which is being held from May 2-4 at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

Contest judging was conducted independently, under the direction of Chief Judge Tamara M. Cooke Henry, Ph.D., of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland. In all, 25 judges reviewed hundreds of submissions, many coming within a hair’s breadth of winning one of the three prizes possible in each category.

Sal Khan: Reimagining Education

Khan Academy revolutionized education with a few simple videos in 2008. Now the academy has millions of visitors. In fact, the billionth math problem was recently answered on the academy website.  Khan Academy founder Sal Khan offers perspective on flipping education. 

Speaker: Sal Khan, Khan Academy 

Introduction: John Merrow

Background content

The World’s 100 Most Influential People: 2012 (Written by Bill Gates):

“Like a lot of great innovators, Salman Khan didn’t set out to change the world. He was just trying to help his teenage cousin with her algebra from across the country. But from a closet turned office in his Silicon Valley apartment, Sal, 35, has produced an amazing library of online lectures on math, science and a host of other subjects. In the process, he has turned the classroom — and the world of education — on its head.”

One Man, One Computer, 10 Million Students: How Khan Academy Is Rei…:

“’I could have started a for-profit, venture-backed business that has a good spirit, and I think there are many of them–Google for instance,’ says Khan, his eyes dancing below his self-described unibrow. ’Maybe I could reach a billion people. That is high impact, but what happens in 50 years?’”

Sal Kahn on his famous online academy, The Washington Post (Valerie Strauss):

“’For my kids,” he said, ‘ I see it only as a tool.” And, he said that he expects his children to go to a traditional brick-and-mortar where they will get a holistic education.

Furthermore, he takes positions in his book that contradict the world view of some of his financial backers’ forays into school reform. Take Gates, for instance Gates, through his foundation, has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in teacher evaluation systems that use student standardized test scores in an important way to assess a teacher’s effectiveness.

In the book and in conversation, Khan says that standardized testing is terribly overused in public education. ‘Suffice it to say that our over-reliance on testing is based largely on habit, wishful thinking, and leaps of faith.’”