Blog: The Educated Reporter
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is Resigning. These Students Will Remember Him as a Great Interview.
How two high schoolers scored a rare chance to question the cabinet official.
(EWA Radio: Episode 131)
With U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ Dec. 20 announcement of his forthcoming resignation from President Trump’s cabinet, here’s a chance to revisit our conversation with two student journalists who scored a rare interview with the highly regarded military leader.
Teddy Fischer and Jane Gormley of Mercer Island High School in Washington State discuss how they landed a lengthy Q&A with U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, who has given few interviews since joining President Trump’s cabinet. Fischer, a rising junior, and Gormley, the immediate past editor of the school’s student newspaper, worked with their journalism class and faculty advisor to prepare for the 45-minute conversation on Memorial Day. Among the issues Mattis discussed: the role education plays in combatting the rise of radicalization and extremism, and suggestions for how U.S. high schools might foster better relations between the U.S. and other countries. Fischer and Gormley share the backstory to their surprisingly wide-ranging interview, the editorial process that went into its publication, and what they’ve learned from the experience.
Connecting Families and Schools Is a ‘Shared Responsibility’
Empowering parents pays dividends for student learning, experts say
There’s plenty of evidence that when their families are engaged in their school experience, students do better.
The trick, experts said during a recent Education Writers Association event, is finding ways for school officials to reach those families, particularly if there are cultural or language barriers, or if low-income working families struggle to find the time or transportation to participate in school events.
Sometimes when Philadelphia school principal Sharif El-Mekki asks a roomful of students of color about their interest in teaching, they respond with laughter.
“We ask them — have you been thinking about it?” he said during a recent EWA panel on how to make the teacher workforce more racially and ethnically diverse. ”And the response,” El-Mekki said, is “No way. I’m having a miserable experience in school. Why would I commit myself to living there?”
How Do Teachers’ Unions Move Forward in Wake of ‘Janus’ Decision?
High court ruled against collecting 'agency' fees from non-members
In June, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling to prohibit public sector unions from collecting “agency” or “fair share” fees, some observers saw it as the beginning of the end for teachers unions.
But such dire predictions may be premature, according to education analysts and a union leader at the Education Writers Association’s October event on the teaching profession.
The holiday weeks can be slow-going on the education beat. Here are a few ideas for turning those spruce pines into evergreen stories:
EWA in the Southern Hemisphere
'Jeduca,' new association for Brazil's education journalists, kicks off
São Paulo, Brazil – I am 4,800 miles from home, a continent away and in another hemisphere — yet the scene seems familiar. On a rainy Monday morning in August, I’m queuing up with hundreds of other journalists who cover education.
We wait patiently at a registration desk as greeters hand over a plastic name tag and a canvas tote bag filled with goodies: a blue metal water bottle, a logo-covered pen, a mobile phone charger and a printed program.
Wanted: More Teachers of Color
In Minnesota, growing student diversity is outpacing the educator workforce
(EWA Radio: Episode 191)
The public school population in Minnesota, as in many other states, is becoming more diverse by race and ethnicity. But the teacher workforce? Not so much. About one-third of Minnesota students are non-white, compared with roughly 5 percent of teachers, as Faiza Mahamud and MaryJo Webster report for the Star Tribune newspaper. That’s a growing problem for educators and policymakers looking to give more students the opportunity to learn from someone who looks like them — a benefit researchers say can improve academic achievement, self esteem, and other factors in student success. Mahamud, who covers the Twin Cities’ public schools, spent time talking with students and families about what they’re looking for in classroom teachers, and how a lack of diversity can hurt family engagement, especially among newer immigrant families. Webster, the newspaper’s data editor, shares the ins and outs of finding — and crunching — statistics on teacher diversity, as well as some lessons learned from the project.
Education reporters and progressive Twitter denizens are probably familiar with the graphic. Three people of different heights are trying to look over a fence. In one frame, labeled “equality,” each is given a box of the same height, leaving the shortest still unable to see over the fence.
In the other, labeled “equity,” each is given a box of different sizes so they’re at equal heights.
A High School That Listens to Its Students and Teachers
'Student-centered learning' approach means more freedom but also more accountability in Revere, Mass.
(EWA Radio: Episode 187)
What happens when a teacher takes a student up on his dare to watch a TV series about zombies?
Not long ago, a student who got into a fight at school would likely face an automatic suspension. Now, in schools across the country, that student might be back in class the next day.
That change is part of an expansive effort to rethink the way public schools respond to misbehavior. In many schools, punitive measures like suspension and expulsion are being replaced with alternative strategies that aim to keep students in the classroom and address underlying issues like trauma and stress.
Barbara Laker isn’t an education reporter. She doesn’t have a long list of teachers’ phone numbers in her contacts. So, it’s amazing that she was able to find and convince 24 teachers and other school employees from 19 elementary schools to swab pipes, drinking fountains and suspicious patches of black on classroom walls.
If there’s been one constant over the last decade in terms of teacher evaluation policies in the United States, it’s been change.
First, performance reviews incorporating student test scores became – mostly – the law of the land. Then, the academic standards educators and their pupils are measured against – mostly – changed. And then, in many places, those standards changed again.
So, has the implementation of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which did away with mandates on how states measure teacher quality, calmed the roiling waters?