Blog: The Educated Reporter

Stories Inspired By 2013 EWA National Seminar at Stanford

Our just-completed national seminar at Stanford University not only put nearly two hundred reporters within arm’s reach of major thinkers and analysts, but also served as inspiration for dozens of news stories. 

Numerous reporters emailed us to say the contacts and background information they came away with were integral to writing stories and pitching projects to their editors. Below is a sample of the articles that our attendees sent our way.

Eight insights into education from EWA 2013Scott Elliott, The Indianapolis Star:

“Among the speakers were U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Thomas Friedman, Nobel prize winning economist James Heckman, Kahn Academy founder Sal Kahn, teachers union leader Randi Weingarten, Democrats for Education Reform founder Kevin Chavous and several top education researchers, notably Stanford’s own Claude Steele and Sean Reardon.

“Now returned, I was reflecting on all that star power and thought I would share eight takeaways I learned from the presenters”

Duncan: We Should Keep Online TestingKyle Stokes, StateImpact Indiana: 

“Online standardized tests are here to stay, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Thursday, but ”there will be bumps, there will be hurdles, there will be mistakes” like the statewide failures of online ISTEP+ exams on Monday andTuesday.

“In response to a question from StateImpact during a speech to the Education Writers Association, Duncan suggested this week’s glitches in Indiana, Oklahoma and Minnesota represent a learning opportunity. Here’s what he said:

We should have competition. We should be transparent — I don’t know who that company is, I don’t want to pre-judge — but if that company can’t deliver, there’s an opportuntiy for someone else to come in and do something very, very different… We should not have one problem and then say we should go all the way back to pencil and paper, that doesn’t make sense to me.”

Teachers in Oregon, Elsewhere Feel Unready For New, Higher Standards, Betsy Hammond, The Oregonian:

But barely one-fourth of U.S. teachers say they have the tools and preparation to make sure students meet the new expectations, known as the Common Core State Standards, according to a national poll released Friday.”

The White Rhino: A Chicago Latino English TeacherRay Salazar:

“Our profession has changed. In 1995, when I began my teaching career, I did not have an email address. The Internet was barely finding its way into our schools.

“Today, even on Chicago’s Southwest side where almost 100% of my school’s population is low-income, almost every student has a cell phone with Internet access.

“A bigger change is that teacher evaluation has gone from being private (between teachers and principals) to being public (between the teacher and anybody and everybody).”

MOOC Smackdown: Coursera vs. AFT, Paul Glader, Wired Academic:

Samuels countered that MOOCs have been ‘a giant distraction’ from key issues in America such as how to fund higher education. He said many people with good intentions are involved with MOOCs but suggested that the MOOC mania is doing some disservice to higher ed. ‘There is a reinforcing of a stereotype that the quality of lectures has gone down. I think that is the minority of classes,’ he said. ‘It’s part of the larger culture of bashing teachers in our culture.

“Koller interjected that a great lecturer still provides the best educational experience. But she didn’t think great lectures and great lecturers are always the norm, even at her home institution of Stanford.  ’I think there is a very large number of classes that can benefit from technology,’ she said. ‘I don’t think technology is a distraction. I think it provides us with a fundamental change like the printing press did.’”

 Economist Pushes For Preschool As Cost-EffectiveDayna Straehley, The Press-Enterprise

“’As a hard-nosed economist, I ask where do we get the highest return” on investment, Heckman said, ‘at the preschool years where it builds returns all through the school years and down the line through adulthood.’

“Success in life depends on more than just the cognitive skills measured on standardized tests. Social-emotional development, personality skills, character and morals are just as important, Heckman said.

“Schools have traditionally taught those skills along with reading, writing and math, he said.”

Weingarten Proclaims Victory In New HavenMelissa Bailey, New Haven Independent:

“’New Haven is a really interesting place now,’ Weingarten said. ‘You see huge confidence in the public system. You see the public system working side by side with the charter system.’

“’You’re seeing more than incremental progress,’ she claimed.

“The claim, which exaggerated New Haven’s successes more than even local officials have done, highlighted New Haven’s role on the national political stage.”

Delaware State University pulling campus out of WilmingtonNicole Dobo, The News Journal:

Staying in the city, or continuing at the Market Street site in conjunction with the new location, would have led to deficit spending, according to a report released to The News Journal for the first time Monday. Parts of the report were redacted, but it showed the university estimated a $3.3 million loss over 10 years if it stayed on Market Street rather than moving to Kirkwood Highway.”

National Companies Looking To Open New Online Charter Schools In OhioMolly Bloom, StateImpact Ohio:

On average, Ohio online charter schools get about $6,337 in state funding for each student enrolled, about the same amount as brick-and-mortar charter schools. But some operators of online schools say it’s possible to operate an online school for about $3,600 per student, making online education a potentially profitable business.

“And Ohio funds online schools at higher rates than many other states, making Ohio particularly attractive to companies that operate online schools, said Wells Fargo analyst Trace Urdan.”

New Approach Helps DelTech Students Conquer MathNicole Dobo, The News Journal

“Last year, DelTech joined the growing number of community colleges that are working to find a solution by introducing new methods of teaching remedial math. About 3,000 students in two semesters enrolled in a new developmental math class.

“The math program has a classroom and computers that are used solely by its students. All tests are taken here, and students spend time here listening to recorded lectures, taking quizzes, doing homework and testing to prove mastery.”

Innovation Exhaustion and a Path to Moving ForwardDan Greenstein, Inside Higher Ed

“Why are so many coming down with an acute case of innovation exhaustion? For the presidents and chancellors I’ve met with, their innovation exhaustion comes out in an obvious and growing frustration with MOOCs. For them, MOOCs are a perfect storm of hype, hyperbole, and hysteria – and yet many have plunged headlong into them without a real clear sense of why or how MOOCs can help more students succeed. And that is what I see as the primary problem with innovation in higher education.”

Photo credit: Mikhail Zinshteyn (Wall Street Journal’s national education reporter Stephanie Banchero interviews three-time Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman during the EWA National Seminar at Palo Alto, Calif, in May, 2013.)