Blog: The Educated Reporter
Mostly I like Las Vegas because I like to play cards, immerse myself in tourist kitsch and eat awesome if overpriced food. But you know what else I really like? Emily Richmond’s coverage of the area’s schools. She is a top-notch beat reporter who does a great job putting local stories in national context.
The Chronicle of Higher Education pointed me to UMagazinology, a new blog out of Johns Hopkins about alumni magazines. I don’t love the name, but I am intrigued by the topic. Alumni mags do a pretty good job with something traditional media does not: letting readers know what is happening in the classrooms and lives of university professors. And they seem to be once of the last groups on earth that pays freelancers decently.
… read this terrific profile in the upcoming New York Times Magazine about Mike Allen. I reside practically within watermelon-cannon distance from the nerve center of Washington and spent the most formative chunk of my professional life on the national desk of the Washington Post, during which time I was a recipient and observant of Mike’s generosities and curiosities.
The conversation about improving teacher quality these days centers primarily on two pieces: whether teachers should be evaluated and paid based on the test scores of their students, and how to fire bad teachers. But there are so many other point in the life cycle of a teacher where we might look at cultural and practical changes, tiny and massive, that might improve quality, from the point at which entering college students decide to major in education to the point at which teachers decide whether to retire.
Turns out you can see today’s 3 p.m. event on teacher quality even if you aren’t in D.C. Register for the live webcast here. It’s Joel Klein, Randi Weingarten, David Monk, Andy Rotherham and me. We are dispensing with the whole prepared-remarks thing and going “Meet the Press” style, me being the press. Is there something you want me to ask? Put it in the comments below.
That Pulitzer-prize-winning Bristol Herald Courier series on rural Virginians being denied royalties to the natural gas production under their land got less than half the hits of a story about local waitresses being picked for a Hooters calendar, according to the paper’s editor, quoted in the Washington Post.
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.