Demographics & Diversity

Overview

Demographics & Diversity

K-12 Education

The U.S. population is becoming more diverse than ever. In the fall of 2014, the country  reached a demographic milestone: For the first time, black, Hispanic, Asian and Native American children made up the majority of the approximately 50,000 students in the nation’s public schools.

K-12 Education

The U.S. population is becoming more diverse than ever. In the fall of 2014, the country  reached a demographic milestone: For the first time, black, Hispanic, Asian and Native American children made up the majority of the approximately 50,000 students in the nation’s public schools.

The number of non-white students is expected to grow even more over the next several years as a result of immigration and birth patterns among Hispanic and Asian populations. By 2023, students of color will represent nearly 55 percent of K-12 students in public schools, according to projections from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Meanwhile, the student population is changing in other ways, too. The share of students from low-income families is on the rise, as are students — including children born in the U.S. — who are learning English. (One in five school-age children were living in poverty in 2014, based on NCES data. About 9 percent of public school students were English language learners in 2013-14.)

The demographic changes have amplified challenges that U.S. schools have grappled with for decades — challenges such as preschool access, racial disparities in student discipline, and stark achievement gaps that show black and Hispanic students far behind their white and Asian peers. It’s also highlighted the issue of diversity in the teaching workforce, as more than 80 percent of teachers are white.

Racial and economic segregation have also emerged as major issues of concern for students of color. Research by the UCLA Civil Rights Project, the U.S. Government Accountability Office and other organizations has found that Latinos are the most segregated student group — even more so than blacks, though both groups tend to be enrolled in schools where poor children comprise the majority. These schools are more likely to employ inexperienced teachers and have higher discipline rates, and they are less likely to offer students access to gifted education programs or advanced-level courses. A 2016 GAO study finds a big jump from 2001 to 2014 in the share of public schools with mostly poor students who are Hispanic or black. The figure rose from 9 percent to 16 percent.

Today’s public schools also are grappling with issues related to other types of student diversity, including sexual orientation and gender identity. For example, high-profile debates have unfolded over bathroom access for transgender students. In addition, lesbian, gay and bisexual students experience substantially higher levels of physical and sexual violence and bullying at high schools, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2016.

Higher Education

Diversity and demographics are central to key debates in postsecondary education. How much should colleges and universities do to ensure their campuses are welcoming to students of color? Are these institutions enrolling and graduating enough students from lower-income backgrounds? What about the balance between male and female students, both on campuses overall and within specific departments? How inclusive is higher education with respect to sexual orientation and gender identity?

As the nation’s demographic makeup shifts and more people pursue education after high school, colleges and universities are confronting these questions and other challenges that come with change.

Enrollment of minority students in higher education institutions has gone up since the turn of the century. According to NCES data, of the 17.3 million undergraduate students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities in fall 2014, 7.7 million were students of color. Among Hispanic undergraduate students alone, enrollment has more than doubled since 2000 — from 1.4 million to 3 million. Black student enrollment also has seen a large boost, growing by 57 percent in 14 years.

But despite these increases, degree attainment for black and Latino students still lags behind their white and Asian peers. As of 2014, 15 percent of Hispanics and 22 percent of blacks between the ages of 25 and 29 had earned a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the Pew Research Center. By comparison, 41 percent of whites and 63 percent of Asians in the same age group had a bachelor’s degree.

There are many reasons for the gap. Black and Hispanic students are more likely to be first-generation college students — students whose parents did not attend college — and may require additional financial and academic supports during their college years. Hispanics are also more likely than other groups to attend community colleges. Meanwhile, blacks are overrepresented in for-profit colleges, which have much lower graduation rates than public and private colleges.  

In addition, black and Latino students are underrepresented at more-selective institutions. Part of the reason, research indicates, is that high-achieving minority students often choose so-called “safety schools” that may be closer to home or schools that have large proportions of same-race students, such as minority-serving institutions.

Just a few generations after the majority of colleges and universities agreed to enroll female students, women now comprise the majority of all students enrolled in four-year colleges nationwide. But from campus to campus — within the student body, faculty, administration, and academic departments — issues of gender equity frequently surface.

Sexual orientation and gender identity also are garnering more attention in postsecondary education, as colleges and universities seek to ensure that LGBT members of their communities are supported. The public bathroom privileges of transgender individuals has been a recent issue, sometimes putting universities at odds with federal or state policies that affect their institutions’ access to public funding.

Member Stories

November 9 – November 16
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Victoria Pasquantonio reports on how a professor uses her story of personal tragedy to teach students about media literacy, for PBS Newshour

 

A Florida couple whose son attends a private school for special-needs students contested U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos’ use of their story to promote voucher programs, reports Ann Schimke for Chalkbeat Colorado

 

EWA Radio

‘Raising Kings’: A Portrait of an Urban High School for Young Men of Color
Education Week-NPR series features social-emotional learning and restorative justice at new D.C. campus

Can schools ever fully fill the gaps in students’ life experiences that often keep them from succeeding in school? Two reporters, Education Week’s Kavitha Cardoza and Cory Turner of NPR, spent hundreds of hours at Ron Brown College Prep, a new boys-only public high school in Washington, D.C. that primarily serves students of color.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Getting Latino Students To and Through College

Michele Siqueiros recalled the day she arrived on a college campus.

“I thought I had arrived on another planet,” she told a recent gathering of journalists who attended the Education Writers Association’s fourth annual convening for Spanish-language media. “There were very few Latinos.”

Siqueiros, now the president of The Campaign for College Opportunity, a California nonprofit organization, said she was a straight A student in high school, but in college “I felt for the first time I wasn’t prepared.”

Member Stories

November 3 – November 9
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

EWA Reporting Fellow Stacy Teicher Khadaroo looks at the realities of college expectations as part of The Christian Science Monitor’s Equal Ed series.

 

To recruit badly needed teachers, Michigan turns on the charm, reports Lori Higgins for the Detroit Free Press.

 

Latest News

California Today: The Latino Education Crisis

Latinos make up the majority of students in California. And the state is widely regarded as being a bastion of Latino political power, with Latinos holding many of the top positions in Sacramento. And yet, a new report from The Education Trust-West shows a stark and persistent achievement gap between Latino and white students. In every county in the state the majority of Latino students are not proficient in math or English language arts.

Latest News

Trump’s Immigration Policies Leave Empty Seats at an Indianapolis School

When the Indianapolis Public Schools newcomer program opened its doors last year, there was a burst of enrollment, with new students trickling in throughout the year.

But with the Trump administration’s months-long ban on refugee admissions, the school — and the students it serves — are facing new challenges this year. Fewer students than expected are enrolling in the program, and many of the families at the school are living in fear of deportation.

Latest News

Students Protest Virginia Tech Instructor in Debate Over White Supremacy

It was just a few days after Charlottesville erupted in violence. Some 150 miles away, a student at Virginia Tech saw online posts that left her reeling. One began, “I am a white supremacist.” S

he alerted other students. And as word spread, so did efforts to force the university to fire a teaching assistant for statements he allegedly posted on social media — including some he says have been misunderstood, and one he denies making. Now, Virginia Tech and Blacksburg police are investigating threats made against the undergraduate who publicized the teaching assistant’s name.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

As Latino Enrollment in Charters Grows, Debates Persist

Charter school advocates and skeptics speaking at a recent Education Writers Association convening for Spanish-language media agreed on little except this: Charter schools are having a big impact on Latino communities nationwide.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Do Affirmative Action Policies Harm Asian-American College Admissions?

The often secretive and arbitrary-seeming acceptance and rejection decisions by elite colleges have long sparked controversy and, thus, news stories.

But new complaints by high-achieving students of Asian descent are raising questions about a kind of racism that may well be surprising to most Americans, as well as challenges to long-standing affirmative action policies, according to a panel of admissions experts who spoke at the Education Writers Association’s Higher Education conference Oct. 2-3.

Latest News

LAUSD’s Homeless Student Population Grew By 50% Last Year

The number of homeless students at LA Unified grew by 50 percent last year to 17,258 students — the highest number recorded by the district.

Because of that, you might think that LA Unified would be among the school districts in the state with the highest proportion of homeless students, but it doesn’t even crack the top 10.

Member Stories

October 19 – October 26
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Ann Dornfeld at KUOW public radio examines how an extremely high rate of homelessness at a Seattle elementary school, exacerbated by recent redistricting, has overwhelmed the school’s support structure. 

 
 

Wayne D’Orio reports for Wired on a Colorado school that is incentivizing project-based learning with a paycheck. 


 

Latest News

Why Having Police in Schools May Be a Risk for Undocumented Students

Throughout the nation, there are more than 17,000 school resource officers (SRO), sworn law enforcement tasked to prevent crime, respond to emergency situations and educate youth about safety on K-12 campuses. Their presence, which has swelled over the last 15 years, may be good-natured, but it has precipitated the school-to-prison pipeline, the streamlining of students, mostly black and brown, into the juvenile justice system through punitive discipline practices on minor, nonviolent school infractions.

Latest News

‘They Can’t Just Be Average’: Lifting Students Up Without Lowering the Bar

“They can’t just be average.”

Charles Curtis is talking about the roughly 100 young, black men in the inaugural freshman class at Ron Brown College Prep, a radical new high school in Washington, D.C.

The school is devoted to restorative justice, forcing students into uncomfortable conversations and face-to-face apologies instead of suspension or detention.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

With New Research, Policy Shifts, Bilingual Education on Rise

Decades of restrictions on bilingual education in public schools across the country — and particularly in California — led to a dramatic reduction of bilingual teachers. Now that California voters have permitted bilingual education through Proposition 58, which passed in November 2016, the state faces a shortage of talent.

EWA Radio

Girls Outscore Boys in the Middle East on Math and Science. But That’s Not the Whole Story.
Amanda Ripley, a New York Times bestselling author, discusses gender gaps and student motivation

When U.S. education experts look overseas for ideas and inspiration, they usually turn to places like Finland and Singapore. But journalist Amanda Ripley recently traveled instead to the Middle East to get underneath some surprising data about gender gaps in a recent story for The Atlantic. More specifically, why do girls in Jordan and Oman earn better grades and test scores than boys, even without the promise of lucrative jobs?

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

How to Report on Undocumented Students in the Time of Trump
As clock ticks on DACA, journalists must consider practical, legal, and ethical challenges in coverage

When the Trump administration announced plans in September to remove protections for some undocumented immigrants, Sasha Aslanian, a reporter with APM Reports, contacted an undocumented student to get a personal reaction to the news.

Having received a number of interview requests that day, the student told Aslanian: “I feel like I’m just trauma porn. People are leaving me messages saying, ‘I want to hear how you feel about this and I’m on deadline. Can you call me back within two hours?’”

Latest News

As renaming of J.E.B. Stuart High nears, divisions remain – The Washington Post

As the campaign intensified to strip J.E.B. Stuart High School of its name, Lisa McQuail’s friendships began to fracture. 

McQuail, an advocate for erasing the name of the Confederate general from the Northern Virginia school, was barred from an alumni group on Facebook, she said. So they communicated on the page “End Confederate & Segregationist Names for Public Schools.”

“I’ve lost many friends,” McQuail said. “It’s going to take years to rebuild the alumni community.”

Latest News

Richard Spencer Speaks, and Gainesville Emerges Weary but at Peace
Tampa Bay Times

Fists raised, a sea of defiant student protesters at the University of Florida relentlessly shouted down the white nationalist on stage. Richard Spencer paced, irritated, clinging to his chance to talk.

“Go home, Spencer,” hundreds chanted over him. “We won’t back down.”

By the time Spencer arrived to rile up his audience — two dozen believers, a legion of hecklers and a few in between — Gainesville had been suspended in a state of emergency for days.

Latest News

Desegregated, Differently

Hartford, Connecticut, is struggling. Teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, the state’s tiny capital wrestles with many of the same economic challenges as other predominantly poor post-industrial cities along the East Coast. Yet Hartford boasts one remarkably unique feature: Nearly half of its public school students attend desegregated schools.

Latest News

Almost Half of D.C. Children Have Suffered A Traumatic Experience, According to First-Ever Federal Survey

In the District, 47 percent of children and teens have experienced a traumatic event, such as the death or incarceration of a parent, witnessing or being a victim of violence, or living with someone who has been suicidal or who has a drug or alcohol problem, according to new federal data. In Maryland and Virginia, the rate was about 40 percent.

Latest News

A Year of Love and Struggle in a New High School

At Ron Brown College Preparatory High School, students aren’t kids or boys.

In the classrooms and cafeteria, they’re kings.

That’s just one of the many things that stand out in this new boys-only, public school in Washington, D.C. The school opened in August 2016 to a class of roughly 100 young men. All are freshmen. All are students of color. All are determined to change the narrative.

Key Coverage

Without Its Storied Principal, What’s the Future of Furr High?

This was supposed to be a banner year for Furr High School. It moved into a brand new building and was using a ten million dollar grant to reinvent high school. Even though Hurricane Harvey delayed the school year by two weeks, things seemed to be back to normal.

Longtime principal Bertie Simmons met with a mom who was trying to get her daughter into Furr. 

Member Stories

October 5 – October 12
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Lauren McGaughy of The Dallas Morning News follows the controversy of a cancelled conservative speaker at a Houston HBCU that led to a war of words and accusations of infringement on free speech.

 
 

Jason Gonzales examines the results of The Tennessean’s two-year investigation of the challenges for teaching literacy in Nashville schools, which reveal stark differences in reading levels fueled by poverty and environmental factors. 

Latest News

20,000 DACA Teachers At Risk and Your Kids Could Feel the Fallout, Too

Last month, the Trump administration began winding down Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the 2012 Obama administration program designed to protect undocumented immigrants brought here as children.

If lawmakers can’t fix DACA, Cambrón and thousands of teachers like her could face deportation when their work permits expire — in her case, that happens in February 2018.

Latest News

The Passing Of A “Failing” School

When a school shuts down, students lose more than a place of learning; they lose friends, mentors and a community. This is an experience that disproportionately affects black students in the U.S. Shereen Marisol Meraji looks at what it’s like when a predominantly black suburb outside Pittsburgh loses its only public high school.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

School Vouchers: What Do Latino Parents Want?

President Donald Trump and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos both say they want to expand school choice, including with public funding for private schools.

Recently, two parent activists on the front lines of the school voucher debate — one from Wisconsin, the other from Arizona — spoke to journalists attending the Education Writers Association’s convening for Spanish-language media.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

A Reporter’s Guide to Covering Campus Protests

Long the site of sit-ins, protests, and acts of civil disobedience, college campuses have, once again, become flash points for broader debates around race, free speech, and other highly-emotive issues.

Lisa Pemberton, an award-winning journalist and news team leader for The Olympian, knows well the challenges of covering protests, having spent much of her time recently covering racial tension and student protests at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.

Latest News

Florida’s Schools, Once Integration’s Great Hope, Are Resegregating

Florida witnessed more dramatic integration than other states, in part because desegregation was allowed — and then embraced — by LeRoy Collins, who was Florida’s governor in the late 1950s. The state’s school systems are also organized by county — encompassing cities and their whiter, more affluent suburbs — making it easier to create demographically balanced schools.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Show, Don’t Tell: The Power of Visualizing Data

In an era when data is more accessible than ever, how can journalists convey that information in a compelling way that gets beyond the numbers?

One strategy is to convert the data into visual representations that help to tell the story. Such visuals range from elaborate, interactive maps to a simple dot.

Latest News

NAACP Files Complaint Against CCPS Over Holding Class on MLK Day

The Collier County NAACP filed a complaint with Collier County Public Schools on Saturday over the School Board’s decision to hold class on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to make up for academic days lost to Hurricane Irma.

The decision was made at the Sept. 26 School Board meeting, which was held at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Administration Center.

The complaint was also emailed to all five School Board members.

Latest News

As School Year Starts, Washington’s Evergreen Among Colleges Working to Balance Free Speech, Safety

 The hate mail was specific, and it threatened violence.

I know where you live, read one email to one professor. To a student: I know what dorm room you live in. One letter was even mailed directly to the college president’s home.

Five months ago, The Evergreen State College was in the crosshairs of a spate of national political anger triggered by student protests. The students confronted a professor after he raised objections to an event designed to promote racial equity, but which he believed was oppressive.

Latest News

For DACA Teachers, Uncertainty Lingers on the Last Day to Renew

There are nearly 700,000 people in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivalsprogram, and Thursday is the final deadline for them to renew their DACA status, which the Trump Administration announced would be discontinued unless Congress steps in to save it.

With an application fee of $465, the program allows the recipients, often called DREAMers, to renew their temporary two-year work permits. But with no contingency plan, many are left with a feeling of uncertainty.

Member Stories

September 28 – October 5
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Natalie Pate of the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon, reports on how Congress’ failure to reauthorize two federal programs – the Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting Act and the Children’s Health Insurance Program – will potentially affect millions of children and vulnerable families nationwide.

 
 

Latest News

Georgia State Backed Up Analytics With Support System

ATLANTA — The predictive analytics system that administrators here at George State University implemented five years ago has gotten a lot of positive publicity for how it helped the institution become what one administrator describes as the only public university without an achievement gap.

Key Coverage

Minneapolis’ Black Families Lead Way in Fleeing to Other Schools

Once it was the biggest school district in the state. Now Minneapolis Public Schools is the biggest loser in Minnesota’s robust school-choice environment, surrendering more kids to charter schools and other public school options than any other district.

And unlike most other school districts in the state, most of the defections in Minneapolis are occurring among black families. The 9,000 departing black students make up more than half of the districtwide total, according to a Star Tribune analysis of state enrollment data.

Key Coverage

School Choice Splits Twin Cities Suburbs Into Haves, Have-nots

The bus cruising through Eden Prairie neighborhoods in the morning looks like any other yellow school bus.

But some families in the community know it’s different. They’ve hired the driver to pick up their children and haul them to the adjoining school district in Minnetonka. For some, the trip is 30 minutes one way and requires a change of buses.

Eden Prairie schools are usually ranked among the best in the Minnesota, but parent Jane-Marie Bloomberg says it’s worth paying $700 a year to bus her children to Minnetonka, where class sizes are smaller.

Latest News

U.S. Schools Brace For An Influx Of Students From Puerto Rico

Nearly a week after Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico, students who can’t return to school may need to continue their education on the mainland.

Some of the largest school districts in Florida, plus major cities like New York City and Chicago, are preparing for the possibility of an influx of students from the island.

In South Florida, Miami-Dade County public schools are already working to accommodate students who need to transfer from Puerto Rico.

Key Coverage

At This One-of-a-Kind Boston Public High School, Students Learn Calculus in Spanish

When the Boston Public Schools opened the Margarita Muñiz Academy in 2012, it was a first-of-its kind dual-language high school meant to address issues faced by the city’s growing Hispanic population. At the time, Hispanic students were both the most likely to drop out of the city’s schools and the least likely to enroll in college when compared to black, white and Asian students. They still are, but as the academy enters its sixth full year, its student outcomes are drawing praise from a variety of sources, even while administrators note that steep challenges remain.

Latest News

Why Education is a Limited Determinant of Mobility

This “rags to riches” tale embodies one of America’s most sacred narratives: that no matter who you are, what your parents do, or where you grow up, with enough education and hard work, you too can rise the economic ladder. A body of research has since emerged to challenge this national story, casting the United States not as a meritocracy but as a country where castes are reinforced by factors like the race of one’s childhood neighbors and how unequally income is distributed throughout society.

Latest News

Students in Flight: School Choice Splits Twin Cities Suburbs into Haves, Have-Nots

From Eden Prairie to Mahtomedi, suburban parents are going the distance to enroll their children in other school districts and charter schools that offer the programs and services they want. In the process, they’re effectively redrawing the map of school district boundaries in the Twin Cities metro and producing unexpected winners and losers.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Trump Urged to Renew Advisory Panel on Improving Education for Hispanics

For nearly three decades, a White House commission created to help boost Hispanic student achievement has advised four presidents and their secretaries of education. The advisory panel, however, is set to expire on Sept. 30 unless President Donald Trump issues an executive order to keep it going, according to Patricia Gándara, a commission member who is rallying to preserve it.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Slight Gains for Hispanics on ACT, but Achievement Gap Persists

More Hispanic students are taking the ACT college-entrance exam, and in some states their scores inched up, new data show. But the achievement gap persists for the class of 2017, with many Hispanic students failing to meet benchmarks for university-level work.

EWA Radio

Are the Feds Ignoring Segregated Schools?
EWA Radio: Episode 140

(Pexels/Pixabay)

In a cover story for The Nation, Emmanuel Felton of The Hechinger Report argues that the federal government has substantially abandoned Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in which struck down the doctrine of “separate but equal” education. Felton found nearly 200 school districts still under federal orders to desegregate, but many of them have failed to submit the requisite progress reports.

Latest News

Rising exodus of students puts more pressure on Minnesota schools

Minnesota students have had the right to attend school in other districts since 1990, but the number of elementary and high school students exercising that option is surging. Last year, about 132,000 Minnesota students enrolled in schools outside their home district, four times the number making that choice in 2000, a Star Tribune analysis shows.

Latest News

Despite Feeling ‘Defrauded’ By The End Of Daca, Dreamers Refuse To Return To Their Country Of Origin

DACA youth were “defrauded” by the government and were victims of their own success, a panel of experts, including DACA recipients, concluded at one of the workshops for journalists at the conference “EWA: Journalism for Latinos in Education in the Trump Era” on Monday in Anaheim.

The elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), announced by the Trump administration last week, was called a “fraud” by the panelists.

Latest News

Back to School in North Carolina—But Not for School Nurses

North Carolina public schools average only one school nurse per 1,086 students, according to the results of the state’s most recent Annual School Health Services Report.

The typical school nurse here serves two to three schools, but some cover as many as six, Ann Nichols, the school health nurse consultant with the North Carolina Division of Public Health, said when presenting these findings to the state Board of Education last month.

EWA Radio

When Students Talk Back, These Teachers Listen
EWA Radio: Episode 139

What do teachers learn from their most challenging students — the interrupters, the ones who push back or whose difficult home lives spill over into the classroom? Sarah Carr, the editor of The Teacher Project at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, discusses a new podcast partnership with The Atlantic, featuring candid conversations with educators and students, as each recall pivotal moments in their relationships.

Latest News

Counting DACA Students

How many students are affected by President Trump’s decision to end the program that shields young, undocumented immigrants, ages 15 and up, from deportation?

Counting students who have received approval for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) isn’t easy. The reason is that schools, both high schools and colleges, generally don’t ask students if they have DACA status. So the data aren’t collected. 

Agenda

Covering Campus Conflict in the Time of Trump: Agenda
Atlanta • October 2–3, 2017

Monday, October 2, 2017

9:45– 11:30 a.m.: (Optional) Journalists’ Tour of CNN

CNN has graciously agreed to give 20 EWA members a journalists-only tour of their newsroom, and a chance to talk with members of CNN’s newsgathering, digital and data analysis teams to learn about their state-of-the art techniques of building traffic. The tour will start at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 2 at CNN’s Atlanta headquarters, located at One CNN Center, Atlanta, GA 30303. Please be at the entryway at 9:45 a.m. so you can go through security.

Latest News

5 Former Education Secretaries: Keep DACA Intact

The Obama-era program that shields nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation just got a powerful endorsement: Five former U.S. education secretaries, both Republicans and Democrats, have written to Congress asking lawmakers to keep the program intact.

Latest News

Who Benefits From the Expansion of A.P. Classes?

Millions of federal and state dollars are spent each year on increasing the number of Advanced Placement classes in low-income majority black and Latino high schools. Is this a benefit to the students or a payday for the testing company?

Latest News

‘We Didn’t Know It Was This Bad’: New Act Scores Show Huge Achievement Gaps

New results from the nation’s most widely used college admission test highlight in detailed fashion the persistent achievement gaps between students who face disadvantages and those who don’t.

Scores from the ACT show that just 9 percent of students in the class of 2017 who came from low-income families, whose parents did not go to college, and who identify as black, Hispanic, American Indian or Pacific Islander are strongly ready for college.

EWA Radio

The End of DACA?
EWA Radio: Episode 138

With the Trump administration’s announcement of plans to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), a key focus is on college students who fear deportation. But ending DACA, which offers protections to roughly 800,000 immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children, has significant repercussions for K-12 school communities as well.  

Blog: The Educated Reporter

What’s the Price of High-Quality Child Care for All Kids?

Taryn Morrissey recalls that when she had her first child several years ago, “I knew how expensive it was going to be.” Morrissey is, after all, an associate professor at American University who studies child-care policy. Then she started shopping for child-care centers and got hit with sticker shock.

“It’s REALLY expensive,” she said with a laugh.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Hispanics Now Nearly One-Quarter of U.S. Students, Data Reveal

New U.S. Census data show a dramatic increase in the number of Hispanics attending school, reaching nearly 18 million in 2016. The figure — which covers education at all levels — is double the total 20 years earlier.

“Hispanic students now make up 22.7 percent of all people enrolled in school,” said Kurt Bauman, the chief of Census Bureau’s Education and Social Stratification Branch, in a statement.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

New Poll: Public Values Career Classes, Support Services at Schools

When it comes to judging a school’s quality, what matters most? A new poll suggests the American public puts a premium on offerings outside of traditional academics, including career-focused education, developing students’ interpersonal skills, and providing after-school programs and mental health care.

At the same time, even as local schools were generally viewed favorably in the national survey, parents said they would consider taking advantage of vouchers for private or religious schools if the price was right.

Latest News

Many Worry That Students of Color Are Too Often Identified as Disabled. Is the Real Problem the Opposite?

New research challenges a piece of common wisdom about special education: that black students are too often told they have a disability. It’s true that 15 percent of black students in the U.S. are identified as disabled, while only 13 percent of white students are. Some worry that misplacing black students in special education segregates them and lowers expectations for their success. The disparity has even prompted action from the federal education department, which has long cautioned school districts against over-identifying students of color.

Latest News

Even With Affirmative Action, Blacks and Hispanics Are More Underrepresented at Top Colleges Than 35 Years Ago

Even after decades of affirmative action, black and Hispanic students are more underrepresented at the nation’s top colleges and universities than they were 35 years ago, according to a New York Times analysis.

The share of black freshmen at elite schools is virtually unchanged since 1980. Black students are just 6 percent of freshmen but 15 percent of college-age Americans, as the chart below shows.

Latest News

Uncertainty for DACA Recipients

Currently, most undocumented students are protected from deportation under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a policy enacted by the Obama administration. But with immigration arrests up, many are unsure about their future.

EWA Radio

When Students Attend White-Supremacy Rallies, How Should Colleges Respond?
EWA Radio: Episode 136

In the aftermath of the white supremacy gathering in Charlottesville, Va., some universities are under pressure to take action against students who attend rallies organized by hate groups. Nick Roll of Inside Higher Ed discusses the situation and how postsecondary institutions are responding. How do universities balance respect for free speech with concerns about cultivating an inclusive campus environment?

Latest News

University of Texas at Austin Removes Confederate Statues in Overnight Operation

With little warning, the University of Texas at Austin removed three Confederate monuments from its campus overnight, 10 days before classes are set to begin. Work to remove statues of two Confederate generals, Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnston, and the Confederate cabinet member John Reagan began late Sunday and continued into the early morning. A statue of James Stephen Hogg, Texas’ 20th governor, was also being removed.

EWA Radio

On the Menu: Trump’s Proposed Budget Cuts and School Nutrition
EWA Radio: Episode 135

Tovin Lapan of The Hechinger Report visited Greenville, Miss., to examine how President Trump’s proposed budget cuts could impact rural school communities that depend heavily on federal aid for after-school and student nutrition programs. What does research show about the connections between connecting students’ eating habits and test scores?

EWA Radio

‘Eddie Prize’ Winner Kelly Field: Reporting on Native American Students
EWA Radio: Episode 134

Journalist Kelly Field recently won a top honor at EWA’s National Seminar for her compelling series, “From the Reservation to College,” on the education of Native American students. Field’s coverage for The Chronicle of Higher Education — supported by an EWA Reporting Fellowship — follows several students from the Blackfeet Indian reservation in Montana. Their experiences highlight the significant educational challenges facing Native communities in the U.S. today.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

More Efforts Proposed in Congress to Help Undocumented Youth

"Interviewing DREAMers" panel at EWA's 2016 National Seminar in Boston

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — or DACA — continues to make headlines, with several bills introduced in Congress this month aimed at protecting undocumented young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and providing them with a path to citizenship.

DACA provides recipients access to higher education, putting educators on the front lines of the debate over undocumented youth. Many colleges and universities have created special websites or designated personnel to help DACA students navigate college and feel safe on campus.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Parent Activists Flex Their Muscles in Education Policy Debates

From room mom to PTA president, parents have long played an important and active part in their children’s schools. But increasingly, parents are taking on a new, potentially powerful, role — activist.

In many states, parent groups have become a political force to be reckoned with — swarming  city halls and state capitols and flooding the phone lines of elected officials to voice their opinions on issues such as the Common Core State Standards, standardized testing, and school choice.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Arizona State Steps Up Game on Studying Latinos’ Political Engagement

Arizona State University, in an effort to break new ground around the engagement of Latinos in the political process, has created a new chair on the topic and hired a top political scientist, Rodney Hero, to fill the post.

The new chair is just the latest move by ASU, which serves nearly 100,000 students, to enhance its Hispanic programs as its Latino enrollment has increased (to about 20 percent).

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Finding — and Keeping — Teachers of Color

The nation’s public schools are serving increasingly diverse populations of students, yet the teachers in those schools are mostly white.

“It is absolutely right — we do not have parity,” said Richard Ingersoll, a professor of education and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, during the Education Writers Association’s annual conference in Washington, D.C.

He and other experts gathered for the EWA panel last month talked about a problem many school districts struggle with: How to recruit and retain teachers of color.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Trump Era Serves Up ‘Teachable Moments’ for Character Ed.

Days after Donald Trump won the White House, the Brookings Institution published an essay suggesting the 2016 presidential election should serve as a “Sputnik moment” for character education.

The campaign’s “extraordinary vitriol and divisiveness” offers a strong argument for a “renewed emphasis on schools’ role in developing children as caring, empathetic citizens,” wrote Brookings scholar Jon Valant.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

What Keeps Public School Parents Awake at Night?

When it comes to their children’s education, what are parents’ biggest concerns? Paying for college is No. 1. After that, they worry about their children’s happiness and safety at school.

But academics? Not so much. Parents do care, but as long as their children are perceived to be happy and succeeding — especially if that’s what teachers are telling them – they figure everything is fine in that area.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Community College Challenges Explored at Civil Rights Conference

The ongoing issues Latino students face in community colleges was the focus of a town hall meeting held earlier this month Phoenix, Arizona, during the annual conference this week of the largest Latino civil right organization in the U.S.

While more Hispanic students are graduating high school and enrolling in college, many still need remediation or are taking longer than the standard two years to earn an associate’s degree.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

New ‘Gates Scholarship’ to Offer Full Ride to 300 Students of Color

Starting July 15, high school seniors who are Hispanic, from low-income backgrounds and believe they have strong leadership credentials can apply for a private scholarship to cover virtually all college expenses.

Launched this year, the new program from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will award its first full scholarships to 300 students in 2018. The support will include not just tuition, but also cover fees, housing, books and other costs.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Beyond Boundaries: Deeper Reporting on School Attendance Zones

When Baltimore County school officials wanted to move boundary lines in 2015, some parents predicted declining property values and voiced fears of sending their children to school with “those kids.”

Liz Bowie, a reporter for The Baltimore Sun, pushed for clarity on the coded language. Doing so, she told a packed room at the Education Writers Association’s recent National Seminar, is crucial to news coverage of school boundaries and the often related issues of segregation, class bias, and equity.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Sourcing Stories: Getting Beyond the ‘Usual Suspects’

Tired of interviewing the same people?

Keith Woods, the vice president of newsroom training and diversity at NPR, has an antidote for you: Reach out beyond the familiar faces to more diverse sources.

Woods spoke at an EWA National Seminar session called “Untold Stories: Broadening Your Source Base,” or, as moderator Dakarai Aarons, the vice president of strategic communications at the Data Quality Campaign, dubbed it, “Ditching the Usual Suspects.”

Key Coverage

The Fight for Fairmount Park Elementary

She applied her “listen-to-me lipstick,” a hot pink that commanded attention, and got into her Toyota 4Runner for the long drive to Fairmount Park Elementary. It was time for some frank talk with the teachers who were struggling in one of Pinellas County’s toughest schools.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Five Stories You Might Have Missed This Week

A wrap-up of education news this week involving or affecting Latino students:

Big step for SUNY Albany: Havidán Rodríguez, a higher education leader in Texas, is the first Hispanic president of the State University of New York at Albany. “I am honored and privileged to have been chosen to serve as the University at Albany’s next president,” Rodríguez said.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Strong Scores for Hispanic Students Helps NYC’s Success Academy Win Charter School Prize

Success Academy Charter Schools, a network of 41 schools in New York with a high Latino student enrollment, was awarded the 2017 Broad Prize for charter schools this month along with $250,000 in prize money.

The prize, awarded by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, recognizes a public charter school management organization that has demonstrated high academic achievement, particularly for low-income students and students of color. The foundation announced the award during the National Charter Schools Conference held in Washington, D.C.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Teachers Union Offers Support to Educators in Puerto Rico

Educators in Puerto Rico are getting support from the American Federation of Teachers in their efforts to thwart a plan to close schools as a way of helping the island deal with its financial crisis.

AFT president Randi Weingarten sent a letter in April to the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico urging them “not to make devastating funding cuts to the education system that serves the 379,000 students in Puerto Rico.” The federal fiscal board is overseeing Puerto Rico’s efforts to deal with bankruptcy and resolve its debt.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Details, Data and Voices: K-12 Reporters Tell ‘How I Did the Story’

A teacher shortage in Oklahoma. Data-driven analysis of the Detroit School Board election. Teen suicide. The impact of an influx of Central American youths on a high-poverty Oakland school. Four of this year’s Education Writers Association award finalists recently shared their stories and took questions from a packed room at the EWA National Seminar on how they did their work.

Rocking the Beat

Blog: The Educated Reporter

D.C.’s ‘Opportunity Academies’ Aim to Get Students Back on Track

The rapid improvement over the past decade in Washington, D.C.’s district-run schools — as measured by rising test scores and graduation rates — has drawn national notice.

But officials with the District of Columbia Public Schools remain concerned that too many students still slip through the cracks, with 31 percent failing to graduate high school on time, based on the most recent DCPS data.

Key Coverage

P-TECH Ready to Put Partnerships to Test

When students from the Pathways in Technology Early College High School — or P-TECH in Brooklyn — graduate today with an associate degree as well as their high school diplomas, it will be much more than a formality, according to founding principal Rashid Davis.

“You are at the beginning of — I’m going to call it — an educational revolution,” Davis told some of the soon-to-be graduates at a celebration last week.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

DeVos Won’t Be Speaking at EWA Seminar But Here’s What Other Education Secretaries Had to Say

When U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos declined EWA’s invitation to speak at its 70th National Seminar, it prompted coverage from The Associated Press, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, among others, in part because of her already limited press availability in the nearly four months since she was appointed to the cabinet post.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Girls Get Fresh Start at All-Female Charter School

Ask the principal of any U.S. high school and they’ll likely tell you their goal is to graduate all of their students “college- or career-ready.” That is, students should be prepared to begin postsecondary education or enter the workforce and be successful.

Andrea Purcell, the principal of an all-girls charter school, is no different, despite the fact that her group of 120 or so high school-aged students are among the most at-risk for dropping out.

EWA Radio

‘Bridging the Divide’ – Can Schools Break Down Racial Barriers?
EWA Radio: Episode 118

A recent Baltimore Sun series by reporters Liz Bowie and Erica Green offers a penetrating look at issues of race and segregation in Maryland public schools. The four-part project, supported by an EWA Reporting Fellowship, examines hurdles to school integration, community resistance to redrawing boundary lines, and how well-intentioned efforts to create more diverse campuses often fall short.

Key Coverage

Hartford, Conn., Experiment Shows Challenges, Rewards of Diversity in Schools

Twenty years ago, public education in Baltimore and this New England capital had much in common.

Tens of thousands of minority students, living in pockets of poverty, attended schools that weren’t preparing them to graduate.

But after a lawsuit, Hartford took a different path. The city and state committed to take apart the system of de facto segregation in its public schools and institute voluntary integration.

Key Coverage

Within Integrated Schools, De Facto Segregation Persists

They were classmates and best friends, and they both wanted to get into the 11th-grade Advanced Placement English class at Columbia’s Hammond High School.

Since meeting in summer school just before ninth grade, Mikey Peterson and Eli Sauerwalt had been through a lot together. They’d each battled depression, they’d failed classes, they’d encouraged each other to do better.

As 10th-graders in English, the teens were each hoping for a prized recommendation to the AP English class for their junior year.

Key Coverage

Struggles of New East Baltimore School Show Challenges Of Integration

On the day that the Henderson-Hopkins school opened its doors to let children in, Crystal Jordan marveled at its light-filled rooms, curving stairs and interior play areas.

She couldn’t believe her family’s good fortune. In a city with so many struggling schools, her fifth-grade daughter was entering a new public school backed by some of the city’s most powerful institutions, and driven by a vision in which students of all socioeconomic backgrounds would learn together, and be held to high standards.

Key Coverage

Bridging the Divide
The Struggle to Move Past Segregated Schools

Jeff Sanford went to the debate at the high school cafeteria with an open mind.

The boundary lines for 11 schools in the Catonsville area had to be redrawn to relieve overcrowding. But there was a chance to achieve something more, something that could help improve the lives of all children: integration.

Sanford, an African-American father of two boys, had volunteered to represent Johnnycake Elementary on the boundary committee that would recommend changes to the Baltimore County school board.

Key Coverage

Struggles of New East Baltimore School Show Challenges of Integration

On the day that the Henderson-Hopkins school opened its doors to let children in, Crystal Jordan marveled at its light-filled rooms, curving stairs and interior play areas.

She couldn’t believe her family’s good fortune. In a city with so many struggling schools, her fifth-grade daughter was entering a new public school backed by some of the city’s most powerful institutions, and driven by a vision in which students of all socioeconomic backgrounds would learn together, and be held to high standards.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

State Supreme Court: Kansas Shortchanging Schools, Students

When policymakers and advocates refer to education as “a civil rights issue,” fiscal equity is often framed as a piece of that equation. And in a landmark ruling, the Kansas Supreme Court has ordered the state to address significant shortfalls in how its public schools are funded, citing low academic achievement by black, Hispanic, and low-income students as among the deciding factors.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

What Does Charter School Innovation Look Like?

At Summit Public Schools campuses, you won’t see PowerPoint lectures on “Antigone” in English class or witness lofty explanations of the Pythagorean theorem in geometry. Instead, you’ll hear a discussion about the morals and ethics in the ancient Greek tragedy tied to students’ own teenage identity formation and observe discussions on how real-life problem-solving skills can be applied to math.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Camino Nuevo Offers Families a Bilingual Choice

At 10 years old, Audrey Campos is the one who helps her 18-year-old cousin communicate with their grandparents. Unlike her cousin, Audrey speaks Spanish. That’s thanks, in part, to the public school she attends, part of the Camino Nuevo Charter Academy network.

Audrey was in the inaugural kindergarten class for the school’s bilingual program in 2011. She spent 80 percent of her day learning in Spanish that first year, though now Audrey speaks and hears mostly English in school.

EWA Radio

“The View From Room 205”: Can Schools Conquer Poverty?
EWA Radio: Episode 109

Peabody Award-winning radio journalist Linda Lutton of WBEZ in Chicago discusses her new documentary following a class of fourth graders in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Is a “no excuses” school model a realistic approach for kids whose families are struggling to provide basics like shelter and food? How does Chicago Public Schools’ emphasis on high-stakes testing play out at William Penn Elementary? How can education reporters make the most of their access to classrooms, teachers, students, and families? And what lessons from “Room 205” could apply to the ongoing debate over how to best lift students out of poverty?

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Report: Latino Kindergartners Trail White Peers in Math by 3 Months

Latino students in kindergarten trail their white peers in math by approximately three months’ worth of learning, a new study by Child Trends Hispanic Institute has found. 

Researchers drew a nationally representative sample of students from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-2011 who were followed through the end of their fifth-grade year. Sixty-two percent of the 2,199 Latino students studied had at least one foreign-born parent, and 45 percent spoke only Spanish or predominantly Spanish at home. Nearly half lived in poverty.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

School Segregation: Are Charter Schools the Problem?

Kriste Dragon grew up in Atlanta, a mixed-race child in a segregated school system.

When it came time to find a school for her children in her new Hollywood home, Dragon was hopeful that the neighborhood’s highly diverse demographics would be reflected in its schools. But instead, she found a low-performing school system that was as segregated — or worse — as what she’d experienced growing up.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Education Deans Share Ideas for Recruiting, Retaining Latino Teachers

Last summer, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics convened a meeting of education deans from Hispanic-serving institutions across the country to brainstorm ideas for getting more Latinos into the teaching profession. The group recently released a white paper with their recommendations — among them a challenge to recognize and remove implicit bias in education.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

For Trump Pick DeVos, Confirmation Hearing Is a Bear

Tuesday’s confirmation hearing for billionaire school advocate Betsy DeVos — President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for U.S. secretary of education — was a doozy.

DeVos sought to present herself as ready to oversee the federal agency, but some of her remarks suggested a lack of familiarity with the federal laws governing the nation’s schools.

In her opening statement before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, DeVos said:

EWA Radio

‘The Book of Isaias’: A Memphis DREAMer’s Uncertain Path
EWA Radio: Episode 106

Journalist Daniel Connolly spent a year embedded at a Memphis high school to learn first-hand about the educational experiences of Hispanic immigrants’ children. Connolly’s new book focuses on star student Isaias Ramos, “the hope of Kingsbury High.” The author explores how Isaias, born in the U.S., seeks to overcome obstacles to his plans for college. How did Connolly (The Memphis Commercial Appeal) gain such extraordinary access to the students, educators, and families of this school community? What does Isaias’ journey tell us about the hopes and aspirations of Hispanic immigrant families? And how are real world realities pressuring public schools to redefine expectations for student success?

Key Coverage

Broke: Why More California Families Are Becoming Homeless

California is failing to keep parents with young children from slipping into extreme poverty and, ultimately homelessness.

Despite federal and state money earmarked specifically to support children’s wellbeing, government programs are inadequate to meet the region’s rising housing costs and falling incomes, leaving the poorest families on the street.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Georgia Judge: DACA Students Can Pay In-State Tuition Rate

Undocumented immigrants in Georgia who came to the U.S. as children and have received temporary protection from deportation under the Obama administration will now be able to pay in-state tuition at the state’s colleges and universities, a judge ruled in the years-long court case Tuesday.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

What’s Next for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics?
A Q&A With Outgoing Executive Director Alejandra Ceja

Alejandra Ceja has been the executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics since 2013 — a position she’ll give up at noon on Jan. 19, the day before the presidential inauguration. I recently sat down with her at the U.S. Department of Education to talk about the state of Latino education, the Initiative’s first 25 years, and what we can expect from the Initiative under the next administration. 

Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length. 

EWA Radio

‘Unprepared’ in Memphis: The Realities of College Readiness
EWA Radio: Episode 99

In a new series, Memphis Commercial Appeal reporter Jennifer Pignolet tells the story of Shelby County students working hard to make it to college — and to succeed once they arrive. And their challenges aren’t just financial: for some, like Darrius Isom of South Memphis, having reliable transportation to get to class on time is a game changer. And what are some of the in-school and extracurricular programs that students say are making a difference? Pignolet also looks at the the Tennessee Promise program, which provides free community college classes to qualified students, and assigns a mentor to help guide them. 

THANKSGIVING BONUS: EWA journalist members share some of the things they’re grateful for this year. 

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Texas Education Board Rejects ‘Racist’ Textbook

After months of controversy surrounding a proposed Mexican-American studies textbook that critics called racist and inaccurate, the Texas State Board of Education voted this week to reject its adoption. 

The board rejected the textbook on Wednesday 14-0, with one board member absent. A final vote will take place today, but even if the board votes “no” again, the text could still show up in Texas public school classrooms — just not on the board-approved list of instructional materials.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

How Will Education Fare Under President Trump?

The long, strange election cycle came to an end Tuesday with the election of Donald Trump as the next president. And while his campaign platform was scarce on education policy details, there’s no question his administration will have a significant impact, from early childhood to K-12 and higher education.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Latino Students, Charter Schools and the Massachusetts Ballot Question

This Election Day, Massachusetts voters will decide whether to lift the cap on the number of charter schools in the state — a hotly contested ballot measure that’s drawn more than $34 million in fundraising among the two sides and garnered national attention, with parents of students of color and advocates for minority students on both sides of the issue.

Report

Changes in Income-Based Gaps in Parent Activities with Young Children from 1988-2012
American Educational Research Association

Numerous studies show large differences between economically advantaged and disadvantaged parents in the quality and quantity of their engagement in young children’s development. This “parenting gap” may account for a substantial portion of the gap in children’s early cognitive skills. However, researchers know little about whether the socioeconomic gap in parenting has increased over time. The present study investigates this question, focusing on income- (and education) based gaps in parents’ engagement in cognitively stimulating activities with preschool-aged children.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Feds: ‘E’ in ESSA Stands for ‘Equity’

Here’s a secret about federal laws: Even after Congress passes them and the president signs them, federal agencies can take actions –through writing regulations — that change their impact considerably. That worry is on full display almost a year after Congress overhauled the nation’s main K-12 education law, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

A Push for More Latino College Graduates in Texas, but Not by ‘Business as Usual’

Latino children will “pretty much determine the fate of Texas” during the 21st century, the state’s Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes said in his annual address this week.

That’s why the state will need to get more creative in educating Latinos and ensuring they graduate from college. “Doing business as usual,” won’t work, he said, according to the Austin American-Statesman

Key Coverage

In One Corner of the Law, Minorities and Women Are Often Valued Less

The 4-year-old boy was mentally disabled, unable to speak in complete sentences and unable to play with other children because of his violent fits of hitting and biting.

The decision facing one Brooklyn jury last year was how much a landlord should pay in damages to the boy — named “G.M.M.” in court documents — after an investigation showed he had been living in an apartment illegally coated with lead paint. To determine that, the jury would have to decide how much more the boy would have earned over his lifetime without the injury.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

As Feds Turn Focus on English-Language Learners, Teachers Struggle to Find Quality Materials

Craig Brock teaches high school science in Amarillo, Texas, where his freshman biology students are currently learning about the parts of a cell. But since many of them are refugee children who have only recently arrived in the U.S. and speak little or no English, Brock often has to get creative.

Usually that means creating PowerPoint presentations full of pictures and “just kind of pulling from here and there,” he said — the Internet, a third grade textbook or a preschool homeschool curriculum from Sam’s Club, for example.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Will Californians Vote to Overturn Ban on Bilingual Education?

The fate of the U.S. presidency isn’t the only thing hanging in the balance on Election Day 2016.

Come Nov. 8, dual-language education could either get strengthened or further suppressed in the state with the highest percentage of English-language learners, as voters in California face a decision about overturning the state’s longstanding ban on a bilingual approach to educating these students.

Key Coverage

From the Reservation to College

President Obama wants more American Indian students to graduate from college. But look at the challenges these high schoolers face, and it becomes clear why that is a tall order.

Read more from an occasional series of articles on the transition to college for students at Browning High School on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana.

Key Coverage

Higher Ground: KIPP Strives To Lift New Orleans Grads Past Their Struggles

Eleven years ago, as Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters receded, experts promised to transform the city by upending its schools, fixing poverty and crime by and through degrees. …

Far more students graduate from New Orleans public high schools now: 75 percent, up from 54 percent before the storm …

But the real test is what happens after high school. The new New Orleans won’t materialize if beaming teenagers walk off the graduation dais as if it were a gangplank.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Programs Providing ‘Excelencia’ in Latino Education

The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Excelencia in Education has released its annual list of college programs and community groups that are effectively supporting the educational advancement of Latino students in higher education, or “Examples of ¡Excelencia!“ 

Here’s a look at this year’s honorees.

Pathway to the Baccalaureate Program, Northern Virginia Community College

Key Coverage

Held Back: Battling For The Fate Of A School District

The Detroit public-school system was contending with an operating debt of more than $500 million, and the Citizens Research Council of Michigan had estimated that the total debt topped $3.5 billion. For years, money intended for students has instead been paying off old loans, and academic achievement has consistently ranked among the worst in American cities.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

In Texas, Latinos Run the Largest City School Districts

Source: Flickr/ via Tim Patterson (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The school districts in Texas’ eight largest cities all have Latino superintendents at the helm, as do half of the top 20, Dallas-based KERA News reported Tuesday. The story comes after the recent hire of Richard A. Carranza as superintendent of the Houston Independent School District, the largest in the state and seventh largest in the country. 

Key Coverage

Why Appalachian Colleges Are Recruiting Hispanics

More of the teenagers graduating from high schools in Appalachia look like Janeth Barrera Cantu, and fewer look like the middle- and upper-class whites from which local colleges and universities have historically drawn their enrollments. So Lenoir-Rhyne and other schools in the region have started trying to recruit Hispanics, who—like Barrera Cantu—increasingly want college educations.

EWA Radio

Bright Lights, Big City: Covering NYC’s Schools
EWA Radio: Episode 89

(Unsplash/Pedro Lastra)

Today’s assignment: Reporting on the nation’s largest school district, with 1.1 million students and an operating budget of $25 billion. Patrick Wall of Chalkbeat New York has dug deep into the city’s special education programs, investigated whether school choice programs are contributing to student segregation rather than reducing it, and penned a three-part series on on one high school’s effort to reinvent itself. He talks with EWA public editor Emily Richmond about his work, and offers tips for making the most of student interviews, getting access to campuses, and balancing bigger investigations with daily coverage. A first-prize winner for beat reporting in this year’s EWA Awards, Wall is spending the current academic year at Columbia University’s School of Journalism as a Spencer Fellow.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Crossing Borders Means Repeated Grades, Denied Enrollment for Some Mexican-American Students

Source: Bigstock

There are hundreds of thousands of students who cross borders to attend schools in both the U.S. and Mexico during their elementary, middle and high school years, but poor communication between the two nations often results in significant obstacles for their academic advancement, researchers said at a binational symposium in Mexico this week.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Where Students Miss the Most Class, and Why That’s a Problem

By woodleywonderworks [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

The precocious teen who’s too cool for school – earning high marks despite skipping class – is a pop-culture standard, the idealized version of an effortless youth for whom success comes easy.

Too bad it’s largely a work of fiction that belies a much harsher reality: Missing just two days a month of school for any reason exposes kids to a cascade of academic setbacks, from lower reading and math scores in the third grade to higher risks of dropping out of high school, research suggests.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Crossing International Borders for a Better Education

Public Domain

Crossing an international border can be a hassle. But some parents in Mexico do it every day in pursuit of a better education for their children. 

San Antonio-based KENS 5 recently aired a story of a father who walks his two young children across the Mexico-Texas border daily so they can attend school in the U.S. The trek is worth it, he says.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Growing Segregation of Latinos in Public Schools Poses Challenge for Academic Success

Source: Leland Francisco/ Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

More than six decades since the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision declared that segregated schools are “inherently unequal,” Latino students from low-income backgrounds are becoming increasingly isolated in public schools across the country.

The most-segregated schools Latinos attend often have fewer resources, including less access to Advanced Placement courses and Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) programs, compared with schools with high populations of affluent and white students.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Back-to-School: You Need Stories, We’ve Got Ideas

Back-to-School: You Need Stories, We’ve Got Ideas

The boys (and girls) are back in town. For class, that is.

See how forced that lede was? Back-to-school reporting can take on a similar tinge of predictability, with journalists wondering how an occasion as locked in as the changing of the seasons can be written about with the freshness of spring.

Recently some of the beat’s heavy hitters dished with EWA’s Emily Richmond about ways newsrooms can take advantage of the first week of school to tell important stories and cover overlooked issues.

Key Coverage

The Most Economically Segregated School Districts

The most economically segregated school districts in the country have childhood poverty rates that differ from neighboring school districts by more than 40 percentage points, highlighting the stark contrast among K-12 schools located just miles apart from each other.

The finding, included in an analysis released Tuesday from EdBuild, a nonprofit focused on education funding inequality, is just the latest in mounting pile of research focused onschool funding inequality.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Where Are the Latino Teachers?

Source: Flickr/ Mundial Perspectives (CC BY 2.0)

When Edgar Ríos was one of 126 students in the first class of a new charter school in Chicago in 1999, almost all of his teachers were white.

They were good teachers, he says. His favorite, though, was a teacher “who could speak Spanish with my mother and father, so I didn’t have to translate.”

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Latinos, Standardized Tests and the Opt-Out Movement

Karen Falla of Univisión Dallas, left, moderated a discussion on standardized testing and the opt-out movement with panelists Peggy McLeod of National Council of La Raza, José Palma of the University of Minnesota, and Ruth Rodriguez of United Opt Out National (not pictured). Source: Leticia Espinosa/ Hoy

While the number of parents who opt out of having their kids take their states’ standardized tests has grown nationally, much of this movement appears to be made up of white, wealthier families. Latinos and other minorities seem to be less inclined to avoid standardized testing.

That should not be the case, said Ruth Rodriguez, an administrator with United Opt Out National.

EWA Radio

Revisiting “Savage Inequalities” of School Funding
EWA Radio: Episode 85

HarperPerennial

For more than two decades, “Savage Inequalities” — a close look at school funding disparities nationwide — has been required reading at many colleges and universities. And with a growing number of states facing legal challenges to how they fund their local schools, author Jonathan Kozol’s work has fresh relevance. Education journalists Lauren Camera (US News & World Report) and Christine Sampson (East Hampton Star) talk with EWA public editor Emily Richmond about how Kozol’s book has influenced their own reporting.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Dual-Language Programs on the Rise Across the U.S.

Graduates in white and purple robes exited the auditorium, their newly turned tassels bouncing as they sang and danced to a recording of the popular Latin salsa tune, “Vivir Mi Vida.”

They had just graduated from the Margarita Muñiz Academy in Boston — many with more than a high school diploma. Forty-six of the 51 new alumni of the dual-language school had also earned a Seal of Biliteracy, an official recognition of their academic proficiency in both English and Spanish.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

D.C.-Area Latino Youth Programs Get Financial Boost

Source: Flickr via ||read|| (CC BY 2.0)

A community program working to reduce violence through soccer and an after-school robotics class serving Latino youth in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region have each received up to $50,000 in grants to aid their efforts from the Inter-American Development Bank.

Reporter Armando Trull provides insight into these two programs in a story for WAMU. 

Key Coverage

The Question of Tech Equity

The red-brick building of Ashburn Community Elementary School sits on a quiet street of bungalows, two blocks from the commuter rail line that cuts through the city’s Far Southwest Side.

The principal, Jewel Diaz, is a veteran who’s led Ashburn since 2003, the year after it opened. Nearly all of her students are low-income children of color, and a survey the school conducted last year showed that dozens of them don’t have internet access at home. To make up for this, Diaz has tried to compensate at school.

Multimedia

Getting High-Quality Teachers to Disadvantaged Students
Video Resources from the 69th EWA National Seminar

Getting High-Quality Teachers to Disadvantaged Students

Low-income and minority students are less likely to have experienced, high-quality teachers, research shows. What steps can school districts and educators put in place to improve these statistics? Panelists share some strategies.

  • James Cole, U.S. Department of Education
  • Sonja Santelises, Education Trust
  • Dyan Smiley, American Federation of Teachers
  • Jeffrey Solochek, Tampa Bay Times (moderator)