Demographics & Diversity

Overview

Demographics & Diversity

As the U.S. population grows more diverse, it's impossible to tell the story of American education without considering the many ways our schools and colleges are shaped by the demographic make-up of the people inside them.

As the U.S. population grows more diverse, it’s impossible to tell the story of American education without considering the many ways our schools and colleges are shaped by the demographic make-up of the people inside them.

Think about how your own socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, gender identity, immigration status, native language, residence, religion, and similar factors influenced which schools you attended. Think about how those factors affected your experiences in school. Think about how they constrain your options as a parent or guardian, and what they meant for our own parents and guardians to obtain the quality of education they wanted for their children.

Many educators agree that children and young adults benefit when classrooms and campuses comprise students and teachers representing a variety of races, ethnicities, religions, gender identities, immigration statuses, sexual orientations and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Yet demographics go hand-in-hand with disparities. Many schools and universities remain stubbornly segregated and student outcomes diverge dramatically among groups. Indeed, the country has a long legacy of educational haves and have-nots, and the dividing line between those groups has often fallen along demographic lines.

Reporters must consider how students’ experiences on campus and in classrooms affect their opportunities to learn — and how those experiences are shaped by their demographic differences. 

Since 2014, nonwhite children comprise the majority of the more than 50 million students in the country’s public schools. Latinos are the only racial group of new college students that is steadily growing. Projections show both those trends will continue. 

Historical data make clear that African American and Latino students have made considerable gains over the past few decades. Yet children of color are more frequently and more severely disciplined than white students. Racism and bigotry are daily realities for many students, in part evidenced by increasing reports of hate crimes on campuses. 

Other differences matter as well. Food and housing insecurity threatens to force students to choose between basic survival and their education. LGBTQ students are more frequently the victims of physical and sexual violence and bullying at high schools, according to a national study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Diversity or lack thereof among teachers must also be considered, as more than 80 percent of the nation’s public school teachers are white.

Whatever the issue, the same questions often are at its root: Who gets to go to which schools? What resources are available to support which students while they’re in school? The answers often cut along demographic lines, and can reveal whether education policies successfully create diverse learning environments and offer equal opportunities for students to succeed. 

Here is a guide to tackling this enormous topic that has major implications for every student and parent, and for any school or college in the country.

Updated May 2020

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Data/Research: Demographics & Diversity

Aside from instruction, research is a primary output of major universities. While some research centers are listed here, this isn’t a comprehensive list of all sources relevant to demographics and diversity in education. Check out what university-sponsored think tanks, research centers and consortiums might be near you, for they may have examined educational issues and collected data specific to your coverage area and readership.

General

National Center for Education Statistics

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History and Background: Demographics & Diversity

Covering demographics and diversity in the P-12 school system requires a careful review of the history so reporters understand the totality of the landscape.

School Segregation

Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 made school segregation unconstitutional. But excellent reporting and research throughout the country shows that, in the past six decades, division among racial groups in our educational systems not only hasn’t been remedied — in many places, it has gotten worse.

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Demographics & Diversity in Higher Education

To appropriately cover demographics and diversity in higher education, it’s important to first understand some of the background on this topic.

Race-conscious admissions

How and if colleges should factor race — and more specifically, race as it speaks to educational inequity — into their admissions processes is a perennial debate.

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Student Debt and Race

A college degree is widely considered one of the most reliable paths toward upward economic mobiilty. But for minority students, that promise often falls short. That’s in part because student debt exacerbates existing racial wealth gaps.

Latest News

Big Ideas for Education’s Urgent Challenges

Welcome to the start of a new school year and the 2021 edition of our Big Ideas report.

While returning children to school buildings safely and making the year as normal as possible is driving you and your work, we understand how much more complex your job has become.

The cover of this year’s report and the 10 essays inside reflect this complicated moment and the constellation of emotions we know you’re experiencing: hope, excitement, grief, urgency, trepidation, and determination.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Covering School Board Meetings? Tips to Tackle the COVID-19, Critical Race Theory Culture Wars
Attending hyper politicized school board meetings in this day and age requires much preparation.

Division over COVID-19 and racial justice is playing out in school board meetings across the country, turning typically sleepy gatherings into politicized and, at times, volatile events.

When meetings turn contentious, reporters need to take care to avoid amplifying misinformation, and provide context on key issues and the board’s authority.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Covering Critical Race Theory: Resources and Tips to Debunk Misinformation
How reporters can arm themselves with knowledge to prevent the spread of intentional and unintentional incorrect information.

After a more than 40-year-old graduate-level, academic research framework became the center of a national culture war that began last year, misinformation and disinformation infiltrated the public sphere, and internet searches increased.

In 2019, Nexis listed a total of 635 news articles mentioning “critical race theory.” Today, the phrase is cited in more than 5,000 pieces a month. And the vast majority of those stories focus on how history and race are taught in schools.

Key Coverage

The Tragedy of America’s Rural Schools

Harvey Ellington was 7 the first time someone told him the state of Mississippi considered Holmes County Consolidated School District a failing district. Holmes had earned a D or an F almost every year since then, and Ellington felt hollowed out with embarrassment every time someone rattled off the ranking. Technically, the grade measured how well, or how poorly, Ellington and his classmates performed on the state’s standardized tests, but he knew it could have applied to any number of assessments.

EWA Radio

Home Ec’s ‘Secret History’
New book explores how home economics influenced American life and public education beyond 'stitching and stirring' (EWA Radio Episode 276)

Often overlooked and misunderstood, home economics is about far more than learning to bake cakes or sew lopsided oven mitts, argues education journalist Danielle Dreilinger. She discusses her new book, “The Secret History of Home Economics: How Trailblazing Women Harnessed the Power of Home and Changed the Way We Live.” 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

8 Questions to Ask About College Enrollment Numbers
COVID-19 sparked enrollment declines at universities, especially among low-income students.

As students and higher learning institutions prepare for the fall semester, lagging vaccination rates and the rise of the delta variant present unanticipated challenges.

For reporters looking to tell stories about how the ongoing public health crisis is affecting higher education access, enrollment numbers are a good place to start.

Key Coverage

The Pandemic Knocked Many Native Students Off The College Track

When Marcus Jake, 18, first approached his teacher Guila Curley about taking her “college success” class last fall, she was hesitant. “Are you sure you want to do that?” she recalled thinking.

Jake, then a junior at Newcomb High School in Newcomb, New Mexico, was a good student, but Curley worried because the college-level class was online. Jake, who, like Curley, is Navajo, lived up a remote mountain road with no cell phone service.

Latest News

COVID At School: Boys Fell Behind More Than Girls. Can They Catch Up?

In Chicago and across the country, there is growing evidence that this year has hit Black and Latino boys harder than other students. Amid rising gun violence, a national reckoning over race, bitter school reopening battles and a deadly virus that took the heaviest toll on Black and Latino communities, the year has tested not only these teens, but also the school systems that have historically failed many of them. 

It has severed precarious ties to school, derailed college plans and pried gaping academic disparities even wider. 

Latest News

Can Right Answers Be Wrong? Latest Clash Over ‘White Supremacy Culture’ Unfolds in Unlikely Arena: Math Class

While history and literature seem like obvious battlegrounds for schools to address the effects of racial discrimination, some might question whether math — where achievement depends on precise calculations — is the appropriate venue for such fights. Those devoted to greater equity say the middle grades are a period when many Black and Hispanic students begin to turn off of math, only to continue struggling through high school. But the suggestion that answers to math problems are subjective became easy fodder for culture war conservatives.

Critical Race Theory 101: Essential Context for Education Reporters
Webinar

Critical Race Theory 101: Essential Context for Education Reporters

Legislation banning the teaching of “critical race theory” in schools and colleges is being advanced in statehouses all over the country. Lawmakers sponsoring these policies claim that such teaching is divisive, racist, and psychologically distressing. Opponents say that this is a manufactured misinformation campaign intended to chill teacher speech and limit educators’ ability to teach about race and racism.

Latest News

How NYC Has Failed Black Public School Students In Queens

A growing legion of black parents in Queens say the Department of Education has failed their kids through mismanagement and neglect — fueling an exodus out of the public school system.

Fed-up families in District 29 — a primarily black area which includes Hollis, Rosedale, and Cambria Heights — said the DOE has long tolerated abysmal math and English proficiency rates, despite high per-student spending.

Race, Racism and Career Pathways
Multimedia

Race, Racism and Career Pathways

What are the links between segregation among and within educational institutions and in the job market? Are “certificates” turning into second-class educational credentials?

Journalists learned about data on segregation at college campuses as well as efforts to break down racial barriers during a December 11 session at the Education Writers Association’s “Pathways to Good Jobs: Higher Ed’s Changing Role in Upward Mobility” seminar. 

Are ‘Merit’-based Education Admissions Practices Racist?
Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Are ‘Merit’-based Education Admissions Practices Racist?
Experts outline problems with - and efforts to improve - use of SAT scores, affirmative action, school lotteries.

It is one of the thorniest topics in education: What criteria should be used to fairly determine which students are admitted to America’s “elite” public schools, colleges and universities? 

Many top schools have faced criticism in recent decades for not reflecting the nation’s racial and socioeconomic diversity.

Member Stories

#tellEWA Member Stories (Apr. 2-8)
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week:

More school districts are turning to digital surveillance to keep tabs on students during remote learning. That has some families, educators, and privacy experts concerned, reports Education Week’s Stephen Sawchuk. 

Emily Tate of EdSurge explains why some guidance counselors are taking steps to address their implicit biases, and how that could improve services for students going forward. 

Reporter Roundtable: Following the Education Stimulus Funds in 2021
Webinar

Reporter Roundtable: Following the Education Stimulus Funds in 2021

The nearly $2 trillion stimulus package President Joe Biden signed into law last week contains an historic infusion of federal aid for schools, colleges and universities. Education journalists will play an important role in shedding light on the uses and impacts of that funding – over $125 billion for K-12 and nearly $40 billion for higher education.

Where exactly will the money from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 go? How will it be used? Will the funds “rescue” the schools and students with the highest needs?

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Covering the Pandemic Child Care Crisis
Experts discuss how existing inequities have been exacerbated in the strained sector

America’s system of child care was already seriously strained by surging expenses, high staff turnover and dwindling capacity before the pandemic upended everything.

“COVID really just highlighted the pre-existing situations and challenges of the early childhood system across the nation,” said Dionne Dobbins, the senior director of research at Child Care Aware of America, a research and advocacy group. “When COVID hit, it was layering it on top of a very fragile child care system — and, you know, some would say it even shattered.”

EWA 74th National Seminar  graphic
Seminar

74th EWA National Seminar
Virtual, May 2-5, 2021

The Education Writers Association’s 74th National Seminar will focus on the theme of “Now What? Reporting on Education Amid Uncertainty.” Four afternoons of conversations, training and presentations will give attendees deeper understanding of these crises, as well as tools, skills and context to help them better serve their communities — and advance their careers. 

To be held May 2-5, 2021, the seminar will feature education newsmakers, including leaders, policy makers, researchers, practitioners and journalists. And it will offer practical data and other skills training. 

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

How COVID-19 Is Crushing Colleges’ Budgets
Experts offer story ideas on inequities, budget squeezes and college closures.

The COVID-19 pandemic “is the most significant crisis (higher education) has faced, even going back to the late ‘60s, early ‘70s, and the Vietnam War protests,” said Carlos Santiago, the Massachusetts commissioner of higher education and a 40-year veteran of the sector.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

3 Surprising Ways COVID-19 Is Changing College Admissions And Tests
Experts offer new angles for reporters covering SAT, ACT and the test-optional movement.

Prom, graduation, the SAT. For decades, those three springtime rites of passage have been important steps for American teens marching toward adulthood.

But the coronavirus pandemic upended those traditions for the 3.7 million students in the high school class of 2020. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Investigative Reporters: What to Do When The Story Changes
Three strategies for piloting journalistic projects through news and change.

It’s hard enough these days for journalists to get the time, resources and editorial support they need to pursue ambitious projects. So when the story changes, or news, of, say, a pandemic breaks, reporters may fear that their story and hard work will be abandoned.  

But reporters who build good rapport with their editors, stay organized, and work out ways to incorporate new developments into their stories can save and even elevate their projects, according to teams of journalists from The Washington Post and APM Reports.

Unsplash/Tim Wildsmith
Blog: Higher Ed Beat

How to Cover The Way Race and Racism Are Taught
Start your research by checking reading assignments, instructor pay, and student demographics

Police brutality, race and social justice have long been on the syllabus for college professors who teach about ethnicity and cultural issues. But now, incidents such as the killing of George Floyd and protests against systemic racism have sparked much broader interest in race and diversity issues, according to three experts who spoke at the Education Writers Association’s 2020 Higher Education Seminar. 

What’s Happening With College Behind Bars?
Webinar

What’s Happening With College Behind Bars?

The vast majority of the 2.2 million Americans behind bars get almost no formal higher educational services, meaning they have little opportunity to develop new skills that might help them thrive upon release. 

But now, despite today’s polarized political environment, there’s a bipartisan push to improve prisoners’ access to higher education. Proposals such as Pell Grants for prisoners and STEM training programs for the incarcerated are winning support from Republicans and Democrats.  

Blog: The Educated Reporter

‘You Can’t Change Anything If You Don’t Talk About It’
Chastity Pratt sets the agenda as the Wall Street Journal's first education bureau chief.

As the new education bureau chief at the Wall Street Journal, Chastity Pratt says her personal experiences as a student in, and then a longtime reporter at, Detroit’s under-resourced public schools are helping her shape coverage that guides the finance-oriented readership into appreciating the profound societal and economic impacts of educational inequities. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Word on the Beat: NAEP
What reporters need to know about the 'nation's report card'

New achievement data for the nation’s 12th graders shows a slide in reading proficiency and no change in math skills,according to results released Oct 28. Overall, 37% of students scored at or above the proficient level for reading. In math, just a quarter met or exceeded the proficiency benchmark. (The assessment was administered in 2019, well before the pandemic upended U.S. education. Many educators and analysts are predicting significant learning loss as a result.)

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Pandemic-Driven Disparities Seen in After-School Programs
As coronavirus wears on, what role will out-of-school providers play in meeting community needs?

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a disproportionate toll on the education of low-income students and people of color. Stories abound on the situation, especially when it comes to remote instruction and plans for school re-opening. But even after the school day ends, the disparities persist.

Colleges Struggle to Serve Mental Health Needs During COVID
Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Colleges Struggle to Serve Mental Health Needs During COVID
One challenge: Differentiating between COVID anxiety and mental illness

Mental health is an increasingly important issue on college campuses, yet it is a topic that does not get enough coverage from education reporters, speakers said during a panel discussion on the topic during the Education Writers Association’s 2020 Higher Education Seminar.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

The Top 11 Higher Ed Stories Likely to Make Headlines This Year
Inside Higher Ed's Scott Jaschik highlights COVID, Title IX, affirmative action and more

COVID-19 will continue to be a major story topic for the 2020-21 school year, but reporters should also look at the future of affirmative action and race on college campuses, according to Inside Higher Ed’s Scott Jaschik.

Jaschik, veteran higher education journalist and editor, listed his top 11 topics he thinks every higher education reporter should be ready to cover.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

From Processing One Crisis to Covering Another: A New Ed Reporter’s Story
It is an 'incredible time' to be a journalist, says Charlottesville Tomorrow's Billy Jean Louis

Billy Jean Louis is no stranger to writing in times of crisis. As a young teenager in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the 2004 coup d’etat completely shifted the world around him. At the time, many people didn’t feel safe speaking about what was going on in the country due to the lack of press freedom in Haiti.

Key Coverage

‘A Battle for the Souls of Black Girls’

Zulayka McKinstry’s once silly, sociable daughter has stopped seeing friends, talking to siblings and trusting anyone — changes Ms. McKinstry dates to the day in January 2019 when her daughter’s school principal decided that “hyper and giddy” were suspicious behaviors in a 12-year-old girl.

Ms. McKinstry’s daughter was sent to the nurse’s office and forced to undress so that she could be searched for contraband that did not exist.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Understanding How Race Affects Reporting Is Crucial for Education Journalists
Pulitzer Prize winner Nikole Hannah-Jones to white reporters: Study race intensely

The fusillade of insults and threats aimed at The New York Times Magazine’s “The 1619 Project” is evidence of the power journalism has to create change, Nikole Hannah-Jones told a remote audience during an appearance at the Education Writers Association’s recent National Seminar.

Key Coverage

Her School Offered a Path to the Middle Class. Will Covid-19 Block It?

A year ago, when Bianca Argueta was beginning her senior year at Richmond Hill High, she felt pretty excited about what the fall of 2020 might hold for her. Richmond Hill is a big, old-fashioned public high school in central Queens, the alma mater of Rodney Dangerfield and Phil Rizzuto, and Bianca was a top student there, full of ambition, part of the leadership club, taking A.P. classes.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

How Is COVID-19 Impacting the Teacher Workforce?
Economic pressures, educator diversity, and rethinking professional development

The coronavirus pandemic is creating huge challenges for the teacher workforce — layoffs, pay cuts, fear of COVID-19 exposure among those returning to bricks-and-mortar classrooms, to name a few. At the same time, analysts and teacher advocates also see a unique opportunity to innovate and rethink traditional practices.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Schools Brace for Mental Health Challenges During COVID-19 and Civil Unrest
Experts discuss trauma, social and emotional development

As schools nationwide gear up for a new school year during the pandemic — whether virtually or in person — meeting the social, emotional and mental health needs of students and staff will be a huge challenge and priority for school systems.

Educators and counselors said stories are waiting to be told at every level of education as the combination of pandemic fears and racial injustice puts added pressures on students and teachers.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Schools Experiment to Allay the Inequitable Impact of COVID-19
Pandemic sparks calls for changes to technology, curriculum and funding.

In an effort to counteract the way COVID-19 is worsening many educational inequities, government and educational leaders around the country are trying a variety of interventions such as free headphones, traffic light Wi-Fi, and more explicit teaching about the realities of race relations.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Jeb Bush Says ‘Classic Conservatives’ Want More Educational Funding, Local Control and Parent Choice
Former Florida governor supports taxpayer vouchers, including for private schools with rules against hiring LGBTQ staff

Cable TV shouting heads can make it seem as if party politics — more than research — guides stances on how education leaders should respond to COVID-19. But in a conversation with education journalists, one prominent Republican outlined potential divisions among those who identify as conservatives.

Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and 2016 presidential candidate, called for additional federal funding to help schools during the public health crisis and to address historical inequities affecting low-income students.

Webinar

COVID-19 and Education: What’s the Future of School?

The pandemic has made stark the glaring worldwide inequities in access to education. Many now-shuttered schools in marginalized communities haven’t been able to provide  their students with any meaningful instruction at all. Those in wealthier communities are offering online classes of varying quality. And a growing number of the rich are setting up small private “pods” or mini-schools to ensure their kids get in-person tutoring.  

Key Coverage

Latinos Are More Wary Of Sending Kids To School, But They May Have More to Lose If They Don’t

In theory, Boise School District students could be returning to in-person classes in September. But Elizabeth Barrios’ two sons won’t be there. Her sons, who attend Whitney Elementary and South Junior High, desperately want to go back.

But Barrios decided they’ll be enrolled online until at least January. “It’s not the same, but I’d prefer to do that rather than go back to school (in-person),” Barrios said. “They’re kids. And kids aren’t going to be careful.”

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Educating During COVID: Superintendents and College Leaders Scramble to Fill Students’ New Needs
Solutions include more financial aid, free headphones and traffic light wifi hotspots

Pedro Martinez, the superintendent of the San Antonio Independent School District, oversees the education of almost 50,000 students. Ninety percent live in poverty, he said, and half of the families in the district make less than $35,000 a year. Martinez described educating students, kindergarten through high school, who live in cramped homes without computers or internet connections since the pandemic hit in March. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

DACA Ruling Has Important Implications for Educators, Students
Find tips and resources to inform local coverage of decision's impact

The U.S. Supreme court today struck down a Trump administration effort to end protection from deportation for more than 650,000 young undocumented immigrants — including many educators and students. The action to prevent these individuals from legally living and working in the United States was “arbitrary and capricious,” the high court declared in its 5-4 ruling.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Tools to Help Reporters Examine Their Racial Biases
Reporting guides and other materials to guard against unconscious bias

Among the biggest challenges journalists face these days: covering race issues accurately and fairly. Reporters not steeped in the subcultures they’re sent out to cover must especially guard against ways their own unconscious biases, or ignorance might cause them to unintentionally reinforce unwarranted stereotypes or even reinforce community traumas.

Below, we’ve gathered reporting guides; materials to help you acknowledge your privilege; books on racial inequities in schools; and places you can donate.

Seminar

73rd EWA National Seminar

EWA’s National Seminar is the largest annual gathering of journalists on the education beat. 

This multi-day conference is designed to give participants the skills, understanding, and inspiration to improve their coverage of education at all levels. It also will deliver a lengthy list of story ideas. We will offer numerous sessions on important education issues, as well as on journalism skills.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Elevating Your Reporting With Data: The Dos and Don’ts
How to marry basic reporting with a data set — and tips to read it correctly

You don’t need data to write a great story. But adding data, if done well, can take your reporting from McDonald’s to Michelin-starred.

These tips will help you elevate the coverage you produce every year, such as stories on student performance; ensure you correctly translate what the data is saying; and remind you to stay skeptical.

Tip Sheet

EWA Tip Sheet: Using Data to Improve Your Stories About Adolescents

Stories about adolescents present the opportunity for a variety of compelling characters, from parents and teachers to the teens themselves who feel passionately about the issues. But data can also be a powerful tool in crafting such narratives, as it provides vital context for the audience. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Teen Mental Health: Barriers to Treatment, Tips for Nuanced News Coverage
Don't leave your reader, viewer 'reeling' from your stories

When Nygel Turner was 5 or 6 years old, he would wake up in the middle of the night unable to breathe, with a lump in his throat.

He’d run to his father, who would put Vaseline on his chest. Turner’s father had written “breathe cream” in Sharpie on the Vaseline jar. It would calm Turner down every time.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Responsible Reporting on LGBTQ Students
Tips for coverage of youths' mental health, well-being, and more

Editor’s note: This post was updated on June 15, 2020, to reflect the U.S. Supreme Court decision that protects LGBTQ employees from being fired.

The news media must do a better job of covering the challenges faced by LGBTQ youths, a trio of advocates and educators told journalists attending an Education Writers Association seminar on adolescent learning and well-being in February.

EWA Radio

When College Students Aren’t College-Ready
Thousands of students struggle at Chicago’s two-year colleges. Is an overhaul of developmental ed. programs enough to help?
(EWA Radio: Episode 231)

In Chicago, thousands of students are earning high school diplomas but showing up at the city’s two-year colleges unprepared for the next step in their academic journeys. In a new project, Kate McGee of WBEZ looked at efforts to buck that trend, including an innovative program developed not by outside experts but the system’s own faculty.  Along the way, she explored a number of questions: Do students benefit more from remedial classes that re-teach them material they were supposed to master in high school, or from being placed directly into college classes with additional support like tutoring

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Super Tuesday: The Education Angles
What's at stake for public education in the 2020 election?

A flurry of education-related conversation surfaced at the most recent Democratic presidential debate on Feb. 25, as candidates exchanged jabs and defended their positions on charter schools, student loan debt, and setting up young people for meaningful careers.

The 10th debate came at a pivotal moment, just days before voters in 14 states will cast their ballots on Super Tuesday (March 3). With education taking a back seat in prior debates, the rapid-fire discussion caught the attention of education journalists and pundits.

Tip Sheet

EWA Tip Sheet: Using Data to Report on Risky Youth Behavior
Here's how to use CDC survey findings in your reporting

Today’s teenagers are generally steering clear of risky behaviors compared to young people in years past, but they still face hazards, especially if they identify as LGBTQ. The biennial Youth Risk Behavior survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looks at key risk factors that can make high schoolers more susceptible to diseases, violence, and death. 

“You don’t have to know Excel to find story hooks in here,” said Daniel Willis, education journalist and session moderator.

Participants who contributed to this advice:

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Getting Education Equity Messages Through the Noise Now Takes a 5-Prong Strategy
The Education Trust's Nicolle Grayson: Journalists should "leave us with hope."

Growing up in one of the nicer neighborhoods of Washington D.C., Nicolle Grayson assumed that her fellow students across the city had the same kinds of well-funded schools and highly qualified teachers as she did. Then she started volunteering at an elementary school across town, and discovered how drastically different public education could be for students just a few miles apart.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Investigating a University’s Ties to China
How one reporter used her EWA Fellowship to examine a school's growing Chinese population

The number of students from mainland China attending an American university has increased by more than 50 percent in the last decade. For many campuses, that student population has become a key source of tuition revenue and talent. For those who see China as an economic, political and military threat, this rapid growth has raised alarms.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Word on the Beat: Public Charge

In the latest sortie of a long-running legal battle, a federal district court ruled Nov. 2, 2020 that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services can not enforce the “public charge” rule to anyone applying for permanent legal status in the U.S. 

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Three Takeaways From Chicago’s Largest Charter School Network
At Noble campuses, it's 'college prep from the moment you walk in the door'

From the exterior, Muchin College Prep doesn’t look much like a high school. It’s located in an unremarkable office building in downtown Chicago, where an elevator carries visitors to the seventh-floor campus. There, the walls are festooned with college banners, classrooms are bustling with discussions and group work, and football helmets rest on top of a long row of lockers.

Report

The 2010s May Have Seen The Slowest Population Growth In U.S. History, Census Data Show

By William Frey

The 2020s are beginning on the heels of a decade that saw considerable demographic stagnation, highlighting important implications for immigration, congressional apportionment, and the country’s future.

The nation’s population growth from 2018 to 2019 grew by a mere 0.48%, according to newly released Census Bureau estimates. This is the lowest annual growth rate since 1918, and caps off a decade that should show the slowest 10-year population growth since the first census was taken in 1790.

Using Big Data for Education Story Ideas
Webinar

Using Big Data for Education Story Ideas

How effective is your local school? Sure, test scores aren’t everything, but until recently, efforts to crunch achievement data to draw conclusions about school quality have been undermined by concerns about fairness: Are test scores measuring the effectiveness of the school, or just the wealth of the parents? 

EWA Radio

Don’t Mess With Texas: Covering the Lone Star State’s Schools
Aliyya Swaby of The Texas Tribune talks source building, covering segregation, and more
(EWA Radio: Episode 222)

Prior to joining The Texas Tribune in 2016 as its statewide public schools reporter, Aliyya Swaby covered education for the hyperlocal New Haven Independent in Connecticut. Now she’s responsible for a beat that stretches more than a quarter-million square miles.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Colleges Struggle to Adapt to Changing Demographics
More diverse student body poses challenges in admissions, teaching and counseling

Quick: Picture a “typical” college student. Are you envisioning a young person wearing a college sweatshirt, living in a dorm and attending school full time? 

Try again: Full-time students who live on campus account for less than 15 percent of all undergraduates, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

At a recent Education Writers Association seminar, three experts on student demographics suggested that investigations into changes to the makeup of the nation’s undergraduate student body can spark fresh and impactful stories. 

EWA Radio

A Reality Check for Boston’s Valedictorians
The Boston Globe investigates K-12 and higher ed shortfalls in preparation and support for local students
(EWA Radio: Episode 195)

Ever wonder what happened to your high school’s valedictorian after graduation? So did The Boston Globe, which set off to track down the city’s top students from the classes of 2005-07. Globe reporters Malcolm Gay and Meghan Irons learned that a quarter of the nearly 100 valedictorians they located failed to complete college within six years. Some had experienced homelessness. Many have struggled in lower-skilled jobs than they had aspired to. What went wrong? To what extent did their high school education fail to prepare them? What should colleges do to better support students? Gay and Irons discuss their project, tell the stories of individual valedictorians, and share tips for journalists looking to undertake similar reporting in their own communities.

Seminar

Education and the American Dream: Pathways From High School to College and Careers
Northwestern University • November 14-15, 2019

What will it take to make the U.S. education system a more powerful engine for economic mobility? What are the obstacles, especially for low-income families and students of color?

At this journalists-only seminar on Nov. 14-15 in Chicago, we will explore these and other questions, with a special focus on emerging efforts to create stronger pathways from high school to college and promising careers.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Redrawing the Map for Student Success

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.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

School Discipline Reform: Easier Said Than Done?

For years, kicking students out of school was a common discipline move for administrators. Now, suspending students, a practice that disproportionately affects black and Hispanic youngsters, is out of favor, as educators work to respond to bad behavior without cutting off educational opportunities.

But the change hasn’t been easy, and many educators are still grappling with how to handle discipline problems in ways that don’t hurt students’ education, according to a panel at the Education Writers Association’s annual conference this spring in Baltimore.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Word on the Beat: Adversity Score
What reporters need to know about the College Board's experimental "Environmental Context Dashboard"

The question of which students should win admission to selective colleges is so heated that it has sparked state legislation, discrimination lawsuits and a celebrity-studded bribery scandal. So news that the College Board had been providing admissions officers data on the kind of “adversity” to which applicants had been exposed couldn’t help but stir controversy.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Word on the Beat: Busing
What reporters need to know about school desegregation efforts -- past and present

School segregation is a hot-button issue on the education beat. One strategy to address it, busing, has drawn widespread attention since a recent debate among Democratic presidential candidates.

In the latest installment of Word on the Beat, we explore what reporters need to know about campus reassignments to diversify schools — whether voluntary or mandatory – and how those efforts might impact students and communities.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Can Education Philanthropy Lift Students Out of Poverty?
Upward economic mobility, long-term positive outcomes renewed focus of foundations

An increased focus by philanthropy on the link between education and upward economic mobility is not a fad but rather is central to the work of many foundations, according to representatives of leading grantmakers gathered at the Education Writers Association’s annual conference in Baltimore.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

How to Cover Race Issues Accurately and Fairly

Examples of Americans — from prominent political and college leaders to teenagers – making tone-deaf or racist comments continue to make headlines in 2019. Journalists covering such incidents, or just reporting on people from different backgrounds, also need to be vigilant against committing their own faux pas. Deadline pressure, space constraints and implicit biases or lack of knowledge of other cultures can cause journalists to inadvertently make a hurtful statement.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Top 10 Higher Education Story Ideas for 2019-20
Inside Higher Ed's Scott Jaschik says admissions, free speech and rising graduation rates will make headlines.

While the hottest higher education story of early 2019 involved celebrities trying to bribe their kids’ way into elite colleges,  many other important stories are likely to make news in the 2019-20 academic year, according to Scott Jaschik, editor of Inside Higher Ed.

The veteran higher education journalist and editor listed the 10 topics he thinks every higher education reporter should be ready to cover in the coming months. 

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Covering How ‘Varsity Blues’ Affects College Admissions
Experts suggest following up with investigations into large inequities and sports recruiting.

The “Varsity Blues” scandal involved a small group of wealthy families using bribes and other tactics to gain admissions to selective colleges. But it also illuminated broader admissions problems – particularly those involving income disparities – that should be examined by education reporters, according to experts who spoke at the 2019 Education Writers Association seminar in Baltimore.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Six Story Ideas for Covering Race on Campus
College student body diversity, recruiting practices and history

Journalists who want to better cover the reality of the racial environment on college campuses should broaden their focus beyond protests against Confederate statues or controversies over yearbook pictures, advised a group of researchers, educators and veteran journalists gathered at the Education Writers Association’s 2019 National Seminar in Baltimore.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Tips on Covering Race Issues Responsibly
Ask followup questions, add context and use the "R" word carefully.

When covering race issues, journalists can get things things very right, or very wrong. From their story choices, to the context they add and the words they use, opportunities — and risks — abound. That’s especially true for reporters covering schools and colleges, which have been ground zero for some of the most important racial incidents and news stories of the recent past.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Secretary DeVos Comes Face to Face With Education Reporters

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos defended her education agenda in front of hundreds of education reporters on Monday, as she discussed efforts to expand school choice and the reversal of policies and guidance set forth by the Obama administration on student discipline, special education, and student loan forgiveness.

EWA Radio

Minnesota Needs More Teachers of Color. (But So Does Everywhere Else.)
The inter-state battle to attract more diverse teacher 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.

EWA Radio

Why Strom Thurmond High School Won’t Change Its Name
The controversial past (and present) of schools named for segregationists.
(EWA Radio: Episode 199)

What’s in a name? That’s an increasingly complex question for communities with public schools named after segregationist politicians. Two Education Week reporters, Corey Mitchell and Andrew Ujifusa, are tracking both the campuses and controversy. Education Week built a database of 22 schools in eight states named for politicians who signed a document known as the “Southern Manifesto,” protesting the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision in 1954 on school desegregation. Increasingly, groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center are advocating to turn the controversy into a “teachable moment” for these schools. What’s keeping school officials, including at South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond High School, from renaming campuses? How do students feel about the controversy? And what questions should reporters ask when they dig into the anti-civil rights legacies of these namesakes?

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Reporting on Race With Context and Empathy
'Respect people’s humanity and resilience when you use their life to illustrate a problem,' says Adeshina Emmanuel.

Long before Adeshina Emmanuel wrote a story that went viral about a teenager’s literacy struggle, the Chicago-based reporter was part of a small, teary-eyed audience listening to one woman speak.

The woman, Katrina Falkner, recounted stepping up to take care of her nephew, Javion Grayer, after the teen’s mother died in 2016. Falkner described the realization that, at 16 years old, Javion was reading at a second-grade level.

Report

(Report) Nonwhite School Districts Get $23 Billion Less Than White Districts Despite Serving the Same Number of Students

The story of our communities can in many ways be told through the lens of the school districts that serve our children. More than organizations that enable learning, school districts are geographic boundaries that serve as magnifying lenses that allow us to focus on issues of race and wealth. They are both a statement of “what is” and “what could be” in our society.

EWA Radio

The Schools Named For Segregationists
Communities, schools rethinking ties to anti-Civil Rights namesakes
(EWA Radio: Episode 199)

What’s in a name? That’s an increasingly complex question for communities with public schools named after segregationist politicians. Two Education Week reporters, Corey Mitchell and Andrew Ujifusa, are tracking both the campuses and controversy. Education Week built a database of 22 schools in eight states named for politicians who signed a document known as the “Southern Manifesto,” protesting the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision in 1954 on school desegregation. Increasingly, groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center are advocating to turn the controversy into a “teachable moment” for these schools. What’s keeping school officials, including at South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond High School, from renaming campuses? How do students feel about the controversy? And what questions should reporters ask when they dig into the anti-civil rights legacies of these namesakes?

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Dollars and Sense: How to Cover School Finance

It’s time for education reporters to take back coverage of school funding.

Too often, news outlets rely on journalists covering state government to also report on money for schools, said Daarel Burnette II, a reporter for Education Week. But journalists on the education beat bring valuable context and perspective on how schools work and the impact of funding.

“This is within our wheelhouse as education reporters, so don’t forget that,” Burnette advised journalists in November during an Education Writers Association seminar on educational equity.

EWA Radio

For These Boston Valedictorians, Good Grades Weren’t Enough.
K-12 and college systems both failed to prepare and support students, The Boston Globe's investigation finds
(EWA Radio: Episode 195)

Ever wonder what happened to your high school’s valedictorian after graduation? So did The Boston Globe, which set off to track down the city’s top students from the classes of 2005-07. Globe reporters Malcolm Gay and Meghan Irons learned that a quarter of the nearly 100 valedictorians they located failed to complete college within six years. Some had experienced homelessness. Many have struggled in lower-skilled jobs than they had aspired to. What went wrong? To what extent did their high school education fail to prepare them? What should colleges do to better support students? Gay and Irons discuss their project, tell the stories of individual valedictorians, and share tips for journalists looking to undertake similar reporting in their own communities.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Changing Demographics Mean Better College Odds for ‘Slugs’
A baby bust is forcing newsworthy changes to college admissions.

America’s declining birth rate has sweeping implications for the U.S. economy and society – especially its education system. Already, a decline in the number of 18-year-olds is forcing many colleges to take actions that journalists should cover, such as: changing recruiting practices, cutting costs, and, in some cases, going out of business, according to a panel of college officials, researchers and journalists speaking at a recent Education Writers Association seminar.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Why It’s Time to Focus on Equity in Rural Schools

Rural schools often get short shrift in the national dialogue on improving education and addressing achievement gaps, whether it’s policy debates, research, or news coverage. That’s a big mistake, according to participants in a recent EWA panel discussion, who made the case for reporters to pay more attention to education in rural communities.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

In New England, Efforts to Rethink Educational Practices Grow
But pushback on 'competency-based' approach serves as cautionary note

Across New England, policymakers and school leaders are experimenting with new models of learning, including those that are student-centered, personalized, and competency-based. One of the goals is to close stubborn achievement gaps between rich and poor students and white students and students of color.

But these educational shifts have not been universally embraced by the states’ students, parents and teachers. Maine, for example, one of the first states to pass a law requiring competency-based education, recently reversed course.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

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.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Patching the Leaky Pipeline to Teacher Diversity

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?”

Blog: The Educated Reporter

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.

EWA Radio

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.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Advocates, Educators Discuss ‘National Disgrace’ of Educational Inequity

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.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

What Do Teachers Really Think About School Discipline Reform?

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.

Seminar

72nd EWA National Seminar
Baltimore • May 6-8, 2019

EWA’s National Seminar is the largest annual gathering of journalists on the education beat. This year’s event in Baltimore, hosted by Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education, will explore an array of timely topics of interest to journalists from across the country, with a thematic focus on student success, safety, and well-being.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

The State of Educational Equity (and Inequity) in Schooling

More than six decades since the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education that separate was far from equal in 1954, many U.S. children attend schools that are still separate and unequal.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a report noting just that. The 2018 report, which focused on funding disparities in public education, stated that segregation in schools by race and income level is widespread, and that “the education available to millions of Americans” is “profoundly unequal.”

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Covering LGBT Issues in the Classroom
Shifts seen in textbooks to reflect gay, lesbian historical figures

When the new academic year begins for California public schools, for the first time instructional materials will be available to ensure every K-12 classroom has access to accurate and unbiased depictions of the sexual orientation and gender identity of historical figures.

The FAIR Education Act – FAIR stands for Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful – requires history and social studies curriculum to include references to contributions by people with disabilities and members of the LGBT community.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Covering Immigrant Students and Families in the Time of Trump

Covering immigrant students and their families – always challenging given legal and privacy concerns — has arguably never been more timely, as recent shifts in federal policy have thrust them into the national spotlight.

A panel of researchers and journalists offered advice on pressing issues, including: how reporters can explain the stakes of their stories to sources, whether undocumented students should be named, and how to discuss complicated immigration policy shifts in a clear and compelling way that draws in readers.

Seminar

Seminar on the Teaching Profession
Chicago • October 18-19, 2018

From state capitols to the U.S. Supreme Court, teachers are making headlines. Perennial issues like teacher preparation, compensation, and evaluation continue to be debated while a new wave of teacher activism and growing attention to workforce diversity are providing fresh angles for compelling coverage.

Seminar

Higher Education Seminar Fall 2018
Las Vegas • UNLV • September 24-25, 2018

The Education Writers Association will hold its 2018 Higher Education Seminar Sept. 24-25 on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The theme of this year’s intensive training event for journalists will be “Navigating Rapid Change.” This journalist-only event will offer two days of high-impact learning opportunities. The seminar will focus on how both postsecondary education and journalism are adjusting to an increasingly divisive political environment, the decline of traditional revenue sources, and continuing technological innovations that are upending much of the economy.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Teacher Residencies: The Future of Teacher Prep?
The hands-on approach is growing but whether it can deliver on promises remains to be seen.

Stubborn achievement gaps, troubling rates of teacher turnover, and a student population that is increasingly more black and brown than its teachers.

These are just a few of the realities that have prompted a rethinking of how teachers are prepared and trained in the United States today, with many questioning the traditional, college-based teacher prep programs that are the typical gateway to the classroom.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Making a Diverse Teacher Workforce a Reality

Diversifying the teacher workforce — an issue of growing concern to education leaders and policymakers — is difficult to achieve because of leaks in the pipeline and after teachers of color reach the classroom, a panel of experts told reporters at a recent conference. The challenges start in teacher-prep programs and extend through certification, hiring, placement, retention and leadership, the speakers said at a recent Education Writers Association event.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Beyond Protests: Better Ways to Cover Race Issues on Campus
Racial conflicts at colleges need deeper and more patient coverage.

Protests over statues honoring Confederate soldiers; shouting matches at presentations by white nationalist speakers; student drives to strip buildings of names honoring racist officials.

Such dramatic campus racial conflicts and controversies justifiably attract attention from reporters and the public, according to a pair of veteran education journalists, a researcher, and a college administrator who spoke on a panel at the Education Writers Association’s 2018 National Seminar.  

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Hispanic, Latino, Latinx: How to Cover the Fastest-Growing Student Group

Hispanic students, who make up the second largest racial demographic in schools today, are entering college in record numbers. But they are also dropping out of college at a far higher rate than white students. That reality has important implications for our educational and economic systems and the reporters who cover them, according to a group of researchers and experts gathered at the 2018 Education Writers Association National Seminar.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

From Words to Action on Newsroom Diversity

“Diversity is essential to the success of the news industry.” Those words, once so eloquently stated by award-winning journalist Gwen Ifill, capture the overarching message conveyed during a recent panel on diversity in the journalism workforce. The spirited talk was part of the Education Writers Association’s 2018 National Seminar in Los Angeles.

image of Miami, Fla.
Seminar

Beyond the Numbers: Getting the Story on Latino Education
The Fifth Annual EWA Conference for Spanish-Language Media

The Education Writers Association is pleased to partner with NAHJ to offer a 1½-day institute on covering education at the NAHJ National Conference in Miami. The July 20-21 education coverage bootcamp, which will be held in Spanish,  will feature some of the most important and influential researchers and educational leaders in the field of Latino education. They will help journalists gain a better understanding of the education issues affecting Latino students in the U.S., such as the impacts of school choice, teacher demographics, and student loans. You’ll also get training on data sources that can help you buttress or generate  education stories.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

What’s Missing From Stories on Campus Free Speech?

Campus speech has become one of the hottest topics in higher education — especially in recent months, as clashes have turned violent and drawn the attention of President Donald Trump and the Justice Department.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Why Race and Equity Matter in Education Reporting

Education journalists must think more critically about the ways in which race, ethnicity and gender play into the stories they tell, a panel of experts said at the first keynote session at the Education Writers Association’s national seminar in Los Angeles last week.

Finalist

The Redemption and Rejection of Michelle Jones
Single-Topic News or Feature: General News Outlets, Print and Online (Large Staff)

2017 EWA Award Finalist Banner image

About the Entry

This profile by The Marshall Project for The New York Times explores how universities weighed an aspiring scholar’s potential against her past, raising questions about attitudes toward ex-inmates who have served their time. 

Entry Credit

Finalist

Hard to Read: How American Schools Fail Kids With Dyslexia
Single-Topic News or Feature: Broadcast

2017 EWA Award Finalist Banner image

About the Entry

There are proven ways to help people with dyslexia learn to read, and a federal law that’s supposed to ensure schools provide kids with help. But according to an audio documentary by Emily Hanford, public schools across the country are denying children proper treatment and often failing to identify them with dyslexia in the first place.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Covering Teens: Lessons from the “Raising Kings” Journalists

Getting heartfelt, personally revealing comments from teenage boys is difficult enough for parents. So reporters Kavitha Cardoza and Cory Turner had to take a few creative risks to get good audio for their National Public Radio series on an all-boys public high school in Washington D.C. last year.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Word on the Beat: Chronic Absenteeism

What “chronic absenteeism” means: Researchers typically define chronic absenteeism as missing at least two days of school each month or 10 percent of all their classes. That amounts to about 18 days over the academic year in the average district. One out of every 10 students in public schools is chronically absent nationwide, according to the advocacy group AttendanceWorks.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Writing About DACA? Check Out These Tips for Smart News Coverage

For now, the early March deadline the Trump administration gave Congress to decide the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is moot. Major parts of DACA, an Obama-era program created to provide temporarily shield from deportation some young immigrants brought illegally to the United States by their parents, will continue amid legal challenges to the program.

photo of students at EWA Character & Citizenship event..
Blog: The Educated Reporter

What You Missed at EWA’s Seminar on Educating for Character & Citizenship

Dozens of journalists gathered in New Orleans this month to explore a dimension of education that often gets short shrift both in schools and in news coverage: developing students’ character and preparing them for active citizenship.

Reporters heard not only from educators, experts, and fellow journalists, but also students from New Orleans and beyond. Issues on tap included the moral education of young people, social and emotional learning, media literacy, and the rapid rise of ”restorative justice” as an alternative to traditional disciplinary practice.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

At High Tech High, Focus Goes Beyond the Classroom
Personalization, 'authentic' work, equity & collaboration billed as hallmarks

Walking onto a High Tech High campus is like entering a workshop. Our tour guide, sophomore Caroline Egler, pointed out classrooms that supposedly housed physics or humanities, but most students weren’t in those rooms. They were in the hallways working on projects, huddled around computers together, or even working at desks standing eight feet tall so they towered above the floor. It was chaotic, but not out of control.

Students seemed to be working with purpose, even if it was not immediately obvious what they were doing.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Word on the Beat: Career and Technical Education

“Word on the Beat” is a regular feature of The Educated Reporter, breaking down the buzzwords and helping you understand the issues of the day. Send your suggestions to erichmond@ewa.org 

Word on the Beat: Career and technical education (CTE). 

image from edweeek.org
EWA Radio

How Does Your State Fare on the Education Week Report Card?
Nation overall gets 'C' grade; State leadership a factor in slow improvement, experts say (EWA Radio: Episode 155)

Education Week’s annual “Quality Counts” report offers a wealth of state-level data on students and schools, from academic indicators to equity in funding formulas. But how can reporters make the most of these numbers — and the state rankings — to tell compelling stories about their own local schools? Assistant director Sterling Lloyd and reporter Daarel Burnette join EWA Radio to discuss the national and state-by-state results. Which states made gains, which slipped behind, and why?

Pedal to the Metal: Speeding Up Stalled Records Requests
Webinar

Pedal to the Metal: Speeding Up Stalled Records Requests

You file a freedom of information request with your local school district concerning financial data or a personnel investigation, but months later, there’s still no answer. What are the next steps, especially if your newsroom’s budget can’t stretch to cover the costs of suing for access? A veteran journalist and an expert on records requests offer strategies for success in making inquiries at the federal, state and local levels.

EWA Radio

Public Universities Aren’t Tracking Student Suicides. That’s a Problem.
Student mental health efforts would benefit from more data, experts say (EWA Radio: Episode 154)

More than half of the nation’s 100 largest public universities fail to track student suicides, a surprising discovery revealed in a new investigation by the Associated Press’ Collin Binkley. Among the schools not keeping these statistics are Arizona State University and the University of Wisconsin, which have both had recent student suicides, Binkley reported.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Word on the Beat: DACA

All eyes are on the U.S. Supreme Court as it weighs whether to preserve an Obama-era program that protected undocumented youth and young adults from deportation. In this installment of Word on the Beat, we examine the history of the DACA program, its legacy, and the significant implications the pending legal ruling could have on students, families and schools from K-12 through higher education.

Word on the Beat: DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).

EWA Radio

2018: What’s Ahead on the Education Beat
Betsy DeVos, Tax Reform, and DACA in the spotlight (EWA Radio: Episode 153)

Veteran education journalists Greg Toppo of USA Today and Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Ed offer predictions on the education beat for the coming year, as well as story ideas to help reporters cover emerging federal policies and trends that will impact students and educators at the state and local level. Top items on their watchlists include the effect of the so-called “Trump Effect on classrooms, and whether the revamped tax law will mean big hits to university endowments.

EWA 71st National Seminar Los Angeles graphic
Seminar

71st EWA National Seminar
Los Angeles • May 16-18, 2018

EWA’s National Seminar is the largest annual gathering of journalists on the education beat. This multiday conference provides participants with top-notch training delivered through dozens of interactive sessions on covering education from early childhood through graduate school. Featuring prominent speakers, engaging campus visits, and plentiful networking opportunities, this must-attend conference provides participants with deeper understanding of the latest developments in education, a lengthy list of story ideas, and a toolbox of sharpened journalistic skills.

Seminar

Beyond Academics: Covering Education for Character and Citizenship

The intensive focus in many public schools on basic academics has sparked concerns that the U.S. education system is neglecting a fundamental responsibility: to foster in young people the character traits and social-emotional skills needed to be successful students and engaged citizens. Empathy, collaboration, and self-efficacy, for instance, are essential in a democratic society. They also are important for success in a fast-changing job market.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

College-Educated Latinos Are More Likely to Report Discrimination
Survey finds that Hispanic-Americans experience slurs and bias.

A new, large-scale survey on U.S. discrimination has found that more than three-quarters of Latinos believe there is discrimination against Latinos in the United States. And about a third  say they’ve directly experienced some discrimination in the job market, or when shopping for a home.

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.”

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.

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?’”

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.

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.

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.

(Pexels/Pixabay)
EWA Radio

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

"Interviewing DREAMers" panel at EWA's 2016 National Seminar in Boston
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

More Efforts Proposed in Congress to Help Undocumented Youth

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.”

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.