Blog: The Educated Reporter
When I reported in middle schools I always picked up stray notes off the floor. A highlight of my collection is a crumpled piece of loose-leaf that says in now-fading pencil:
There are a couple of scholarships left for higher ed reporters to come to our conference in San Francisco next month. The money covers travel, hotel and registration. Scholarships for K-12 reporters are gone, sorry. But we would still love to have you.
My friend Lizzie Skurnick wades into the NPR discussion about how airtime and sources lean heavily male. Curious, I did some math on my source lists, which turn out to be about two-fifths female in preK-12 and one-third female in higher ed. Certainly if you look at the usual cast of characters commenting on education in the Washington policy world, it is very, very male—and very white.
Central Falls left a lot of reporters asking about how much turnaround has actually occurred since NCLB began, and what it has looked like. A new Education Sector report, “Restructuring ‘Restructuring,’” gives some useful context.
While I was away, I was glad to see I am not the only one who thinks newspaper online comments are a mess. Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Miami Herald and Connie Schultz of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer last week called for a ban on anonymous comments—though the atmosphere on comments threads is so toxic I am not sure requiring names will truly improve it.
The death of wonder teacher Jaime Escalante Tuesday at the age of 79 has provoked some thoughtful remembrances of his remarkable life and the even more remarkable math achievement he provoked among the many students he taught at Los Angeles’ Garfield High.
OK, Pet Peeve Time, readers of The Educated Reporter. Why is that so many charter schools in their promotional messages describe themselves as “tuition free”? I understand that people often are confused about what charter schools are or are not, but they are emphatically public schools, not private schools.
The Educated Reporter herself is a bit busy on a time-consuming project this week that will surely make the rest of us all the more educated. In the meantime, I will occupy the TER chair for the week. Who am I? I am an educated (at times, miseducated, perhaps) reporter from the smaller world of Baton Rouge, the state capital of the great independent state of Louisiana. I cover schools in this medium-sized city and have been doing so for the past nine years.
I am busy on an EWA project this week, so in my place you’ll have the immensely capable, witty and intelligent Charles Lussier. Charles is an education reporter for the Baton Rouge Advocate. He’s a native of Florida but applying for citizenship to the independent state of Louisiana. I will miss you all but am happy to leave things in good hands.
Today I watched a screener of “The Lottery,” the Eva Moskowitz informercial—er, sorry, charter school documentary—that is making the film festival rounds and coming out in May. Sure, I got a little teary-eyed at the end; every detail of this film is set up for the viewer to believe that if these children do not get into one of Moskowitz’s Harlem Success Academies, they are doomed for life. The sad thing is, I had the feeling the five-year-olds at the lottery got that dispiriting message as well.
Time is running out to apply for scholarships to attend EWA’s annual conference, “Examining the Evidence,” which is taking place May 13-15 in San Francisco. What will you find there? Practical workshops in approaching the beat, new media and finding data. Panels featuring top-level wonks and real-life practitioners. Speeches by an Oscar-winning director (Davis Guggenheim of “An Inconvenient Truth”) and a hot-stuff magazine editor (Joan Walsh of Salon).