Blog: The Educated Reporter
Can Puerto Rico’s Schools Be Saved?
As former education secretary Julia Keleher faces indictment, the U.S. territory struggles to keep schools open and students from fleeing
(EWA Radio: Episode 216)
In Puerto Rico, the public education system is still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Maria two years ago. Now, another storm has hit, but this time it’s political. Education Secretary Julia Keleher, who pledged to reinvigorate the U.S. territory’s crumbling and low-performing schools, resigned in April and has since been indicted on corruption charges. (She has pleaded not guilty.)
The Higher Ed Stories You Need to Know About
Underground fraternities, student loan debt, free speech on campus are top issues for fall
(EWA Radio: Episode 215)
Where can you find reliable data on how your colleges and universities are handling sexual-assault allegations on campus? How do you develop better sources among the faculty senate leadership? And why is now the time to focus on Greek life on campus — and a growing number of students’ opposition to it?
Back to School: Story Ideas, Tips and Trends to Watch
School choice, immigration raids, cultural competency top the list
(EWA Radio: Episode 214)
With a new school year getting underway, how can education reporters find fresh angles on familiar ground? Kate Grossman, the education editor for WBEZ public media in Chicago, offers story ideas, big trends to watch for, and suggestions for networking with parents, teachers, and administrators.
The Ugly Side of Beauty Schools
Students of for-profit career programs struggle with high loan debt, low paying jobs
(EWA Radio: Episode 196)
In this replay of a recent episode of EWA Radio, Meredith Kolodner and Sarah Butrymowicz of The Hechinger Report discuss their investigation into private cosmetology schools in Iowa that are reaping big profits at the expense of their students. Students are spending upward of $20,000 to earn a cosmetology certificate—comparable to the cost of two associates’ degrees at a community college.
Why Tapping Education Researchers Pays Off
Reporters See Value in Teaming Up With Experts to Examine Data
From test scores to graduation rates, the education system is a world of numbers that can show how well policies and practices are serving students – if you know how to analyze the data.
“When there’s a data session here and you have to pick which category you’re in, I would be in the beginner category,” said Adam Tamburin, a higher education reporter for The Tennessean, during a panel at the Education Writers Association’s 2019 National Seminar in Baltimore.
Enter the trained scientists.
Lessons From Parkland: Covering the Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting
Journalists Aric Chokey and Scott Travis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel discuss the newspaper's Pulitzer-winning reporting
(EWA Radio: Episode 204)
Heartbreaking. Frightening. Infuriating. All those words apply to the remarkable coverage by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The newspaper’s reporting since the February 2018 killings earned journalism’s top award this year, the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. The newspaper pushed back on stonewalling by district leadership and public safety officials to uncover missed opportunities that might have mitigated — or even prevented — the school shooting that left 17 people dead and dozens more seriously injured.
Threatened But Still Standing: The Federal Program for After-School, Summer Learning
Despite Trump's attempts to eliminate it, bipartisan support persists
Three times, the Trump administration has tried to ax federal funding for after-school and summer learning programs, and three times Congress has responded by adding more money to the pot.
Most recently, the U.S. House, where Democrats hold a majority, approved a $100 million increase for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative—the primary source of federal funds for local after-school and summer learning programs. That line item, which stills needs approval from the Republican-led Senate, would primarily support activities during the 2020-21 school year.
Why Is Reading Instruction So Controversial?
In award-winning documentary, APM Reports' Emily Hanford digs into the roots of nation's literacy challenges
(EWA Radio: Episode 181)
Across the country, the way most students are being taught to read is out of step with more than 40 years of scientific research on how children learn this essential skill. That’s the case being made in an award-winning radio documentary from APM Reports’ Emily Hanford, who describes the devastating domino effect of inadequate literacy instruction on students’ academic progress and opportunities.
Resources for Covering Hate, Shootings and Trauma
Journalists share advice on interviewing children and writing about race.
Education reporters, alas, are increasingly experienced in covering violence directed at students, teachers and school staff.
This weekend’s mass shootings added to the horrible list. In El Paso, the gunman apparently targeted Latino families doing their back-to-school shopping at a Walmart. Among the victims: parents and other relatives who shielded children, and at least one teacher.
Teachers Have Plenty to Say About School Discipline and Climate. Who’s Listening?
New polls gauge public support, awareness of education issues
For education journalists, talking with teachers isn’t optional. It’s an essential element of the job, and a key component of many stories we report.
But the voices we find for stories often rely on the luck of the draw — the teachers who show up at school board meetings to protest a policy change, the ones we encounter pulling lunch duty on the day we’re touring the cafeteria, the most prodigious tweeters — and those who seek out journalists to share important information.
When Baltimore City Public Schools placed current education data on a map of the city’s historic racial redlining, it was apparent that not much had changed, as district CEO Sonja Brookins Santelises tells the story. The segregated neighborhoods created in part by policies that barred predominantly black communities from federally subsidized mortgages were the same neighborhoods that today showed lower academic outcomes.
Santelises said those findings motivated her district to take a closer look at what kind of opportunities it provides students.
Can a State Help More Residents Finish College?
With 75 percent of the state’s jobs requiring postsecondary credentials, Colorado looks to boost college and career training
(EWA Radio: Episode 213)
Like many states, Colorado has set an ambitious goal for boosting the number of citizens with advanced degrees and credentials, all with an eye toward filling high-need jobs in areas like health care and manufacturing. In a five-part series, EWA Reporting Fellow Stephanie Daniel of KUNC (Northern Colorado Community Radio) looks at how the Rocky Mountain state is trying to do that: