Blog: The Educated Reporter

Shining a Light on What’s Working in Public Education

I recently shared a guest post about “solutions journalism,” which is defined by its proponents as ”critical and clear-eyed reporting that investigates and explains credible responses to social problems.” A superb example of this has since come to my attention, and I wanted to put it on your radar, as well.

The Seattle Times, in partnership with the nonprofit Solutions Journalism Network, has launched Education Lab: a yearlong project examining effective problem solving in education, from preschool all the way through college. A story published last week focused on an elementary school that’s made startling gains in student performance by focusing on one critical area – improving classroom instruction.

Cost and a frustratingly slow timeline for progress are two familiar hurdles when it comes to implementing initiatives aimed at boosting student achievement. But at White Center Heights Elementary in Seattle, the price tag was relatively low, and the results were surprisingly quick. In fact, student test scores shot up by double digits in just one year.

Want to know why this approach to reporting matters? Consider the newspaper’s explanation as to why the project was undertaken:

“When done well, the stories provide valuable insights about how communities may better tackle important problems. As such, solutions journalism can provide a foundation for productive, forward-looking community conversation about vital social issues.”

You can find out more about Education Lab here. I’m looking forward to following their work in the coming months. And if you’ve come across other examples of solutions journalism, I’d love to hear about it.

Have a question, comment or concern for the Educated Reporter? Email EWA public editor Emily Richmond at Follow her on Twitter: @EWAEmily.