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 million 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 million 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.

Latest News

Trump’s Words Used By Kids To Bully Classmates At School

Two kindergartners in Utah told a Latino boy that President Trump would send him back to Mexico, and teenagers in Maine sneered ”Ban Muslims” at a classmate wearing a hijab. In Tennessee, a group of middle-schoolers linked arms, imitating the president’s proposed border wall as they refused to let nonwhite students pass. In Ohio, another group of middle-schoolers surrounded a mixed-race sixth-grader and, as she confided to her mother, told the girl: “This is Trump country.”

Latest News

When the Culture War Comes to Class

Many professors, especially those without the protections of tenure, have come to recognize the danger of politically charged situations. All it takes is one irritated or impatient moment — perhaps secretly recorded on a student’s cellphone — to fuel the outrage machine that exists in social-media circles and on conservative outlets like Fox News. Each new controversy feeds the public appetite for stories about misbehaving liberal professors and the narrative, often misleading, that colleges are increasingly unmoored from, and even hostile to, mainstream culture.

Latest News

The Broken Promise of Alexander V. Holmes County Board of Education

When it rains, the roof of the decades-old facility leaks. During the worst downpours, hallways flood. Attempts to raise taxes to build a state-of-the-art high school in this high-poverty district have failed. Rand is new to teaching at Holmes Central, but she spent three years here as a student. Since she graduated in 2013, the name of the old high school had changed, but not much else.

Latest News

King County Takes Cues From Australian Strategy For Preventing Student Homelessness and Dropping Out

GEELONG, Australia — Over the next month, as schools here begin a new year, the staff at seven campuses will interrupt homerooms, ask students to put away assignments and hand each one of them a nearly 100-question survey.

Teachers and translators will help explain the questions, some of them deeply personal: How often do you go to bed hungry? When was the last time you crashed on a friend’s couch? Do you feel safe at home?

Key Coverage

As Colleges Close, How Will Vermont Schools Survive?

Low enrollment and financial troubles have caused a slew of Vermont’s small, independent colleges to shut their doors. What’s causing the problem — and is there a solution?

VPR’s Amy Noyes, who has been reporting on higher ed in Vermont with a fellowship from the Education Writers Association, has answers to these three questions:

“Why are student populations shrinking?” — Diana Clark, South Burlington

Latest News

More Students Are Homeless Than Ever Before

More students are living in emergency shelters, cars, motels, on the street or in some other temporary housing situation than ever before, new federal data shows.

Public schools identified more than 1.5 million children experiencing homelessness during the 2017-18 school year – an 11% increase over the previous school year and the highest number ever recorded.

Key Coverage

University of Minnesota’s Academic Work With China Chilled by Federal Concerns

The solar-powered air purification tower rises 200 feet out of a cluster of high-rises in China — a soaring symbol of new possibilities for its inventor, University of Minnesota engineering professor David Pui.

Collaboration with China has long been a linchpin of U research, and lately that work has accelerated. In the past five years, university faculty have published more than 4,300 scientific papers jointly with colleagues in China — more than any other country.

Latest News

Trump Travel Ban Expansion Could Affect HBCUs

This week, President Trump is expected to announce an expansion of his controversial travel ban that prohibits nearly all people from selected countries from traveling to or immigrating to the United States. The original travel ban was one of Mr. Trump’s first initiatives upon taking office and focused primarily on Muslim-majority countries. It took years of court challenges before it was finally upheld. This latest iteration is focused on a range of countries.

Key Coverage

University of Minnesota Mines China Connection But Worries About Future

Jieie Chen and Dong Xuan felt a strong connection to the University of Minnesota long before they arrived from China with their son, Ken, an incoming freshman.

They had spent hours online researching the university. They had heard the director of the U’s Beijing office make a case for joining the “Gophers family” at a meeting with admitted students in Shanghai last spring. They had later taken in testimonials from U students and alumni at one of the orientations the university hosts in China each summer.

Latest News

What Does Gentrification Mean For Local Schools? Fewer Students

New apartment buildings, new breweries, expanding public transit: central Denver is booming.

Greenlee Elementary, a school just southwest of downtown in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, is not. Over the last few years, its enrollment has dropped precipitously, falling from nearly 400 students in 2014 to 278 students in 2018.

Latest News

The Incredible True Story of How Booker T. Washington & the President of Sears Built 5,000 Schools for Generations of Southern Black Students

In 1910, Julius Rosenwald, president of the Sears, Roebuck mail-order empire, read Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery, an account of his emancipation and founding of the Tuskegee Institute, originally a school for teachers that became one of today’s most venerated of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Rosenwald recognized a kindred spirit, someone who, like him, was a fierce believer in the power of self-determination.

Latest News

Meet the New International Student

For the past several years, the story of international education has been one of uneasiness and uncertainty.

The travel ban, shifts in visa policy, a trade war with China, doubts about job prospects, increased competition from other countries, even fear of American gun culture — all have contributed to three years of declines in the number of new international students on American college campuses.

Latest News

Does D.C.’s School Choice System Hurt Neighborhood Schools?

When D.C. families choose a school that is not their assigned neighborhood campus, they tend to select schools that educate fewer students from low-income families, according to an 86-page study released Thursday from the Office of the D.C. Auditor.

The result: Traditional neighborhood public schools, particularly in low-income neighborhoods, struggle with declining enrollment over the long term and have higher concentrations of students living in poverty. Smaller schools are more expensive to operate, leaving campuses with less money to hire staff.

Key Coverage

More US Schools Teach in Spanish, But Not Enough to Help Latinos

The preschool dual-language program at Gates Street Early Education Center in Lincoln Heights, one of Los Angeles’ oldest neighborhoods with dense populations of Latino and Asian residents, is part of a growing number of bilingual education models taking root in California and across the country. Many of them are designed to serve students from Spanish-speaking families, as well as students from other cultures, under mounting evidence that learning two languages can help people from all backgrounds become stronger students.  

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.

Seminar

73rd EWA National Seminar
Rosen Centre Hotel • Orlando
May 27-29, 2020

EWA’s National Seminar is the largest annual gathering of journalists on the education beat. This year’s event in Orlando will explore an array of timely topics of interest to journalists from across the country, with a thematic focus on with a thematic focus on the vital roles that education and journalism play in democratic societies.

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.

Latest News

In a Homecoming Video Meant to Unite Campus, Almost Everyone Was White

The video was just two minutes long: a sunny montage of life at the University of Wisconsin’s flagship campus in Madison. Here were hundreds of young men and women cheering at a football game, dancing in unison, riding bicycles in a sleek line, “throwing the W” for the camera, singing a cappella, leaping into a lake.

“Home is where we grow together,” a voice-over said. “It’s where the hills are. It’s eating our favorite foods. It’s where we can all harmonize as one. Home is Wisconsin cheese curds. It’s welcoming everyone into our home.”

Latest News

States Have So Many Foster Children They’re Putting Them In Jails

Though he’s never been convicted of a crime, Geard Mitchell spent part of his childhood in a juvenile detention center, at times sleeping on cement floors under harsh fluorescent lights left on through the night during lockdowns.

He attended high school by clicking through online courses and had “no one to talk to but the walls” because of restrictions on phone calls. He attended group therapy with teens accused of rape, when what he really needed was grief therapy to process his mother’s death.

Key Coverage

Most Teachers Are White, Even as Schools Are More Diverse Than Ever

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — Ricardo Alcalá’s parents, born in Mexico, carried less than a second-grade education when they came to California to work the fields. His older siblings dropped out of high school. One was sentenced to prison for life and killed behind bars. Ricardo was 13 then, living in poverty.

But when he was 14, something changed. A Latina teacher told him he was too smart for pre-algebra and should move up.

Latest News

Fugees Academy Expands At Time Of Growing Hostility To Newcomers

Mariam was on a roll. A bubbly sixth grader in a bright pink hijab, she sat in a semi-circle with her four classmates, trying to identify as many words with a long “a” vowel sound as she could. “Rake,” she said. “Rake — perfect,” Sharon George, her teacher, said encouragingly. “So, take your yellow marker and highlight the ‘a’ in rake.” 

Latest News

The Year in Education

There was no shortage of news about American education in 2019. Presidential candidates debated school segregation, college costs and charter schools. Federal courts considered the future of college admissions and sentenced wealthy parents to prison for cheating on behalf of their children. Here are five of the biggest education stories of the year — and a look ahead to the issues that will drive 2020.

Latest News

Washington U. Is No Longer America’s Least Economically Diverse College. Is That Good Enough?

For two years, The New York Times browbeat Washington University in St. Louis about the institution’s dearth of students from low-income families.

Students at Vassar College were three times as likely to receive Pell Grants than students at WashU, the Times first reported in 2013. A year later, it compiled a College Access Index, which ranked WashU the least economically diverse of all top colleges, with only 6 percent of its students Pell-eligible.

Latest News

Can Changing School Funding Formulas Help The Most Vulnerable Students?

In a neighborhood dotted with tidy brick row homes, Bayard Middle School rises like a drab brick fortress, virtually windowless. A chain-link fence frames an American flag on the roof above the concrete entrance. The nearly 50-year-old school spans three city blocks on South DuPont Street, a thoroughfare named for one of the most celebrated and wealthy families of this tiny state.

The children at the school are almost entirely black and poor. Many of them, like Taheem, are scarred by violence and loss.

Latest News

Judge Pares Down Arizona Tribal Students’ Suit Vs US Agency

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A federal judge has pared down a lawsuit that accuses the U.S. Bureau of Indian Education of failing to adequately provide for students on a small Arizona reservation.

Only one of the six claims remain after a ruling this week by U.S. District Judge Steven Logan in Phoenix.

Latest News

After Equity Officer Calls Austin’s School Closure Plan Racist, How Does The District Move Forward?

When the Austin Independent School District announced it needed to close and consolidate schools back in February, it also posted a job for its first-ever chief equity officer.

But Stephanie Hawley didn’t start in the position until August, when the first draft of the school closure plan was almost complete. And she had been on the job for only three months when the board voted to close four schools.

The role of the chief equity officer is to help AISD leaders make decisions with equity in mind – including decisions on consolidating schools.

Latest News

How School District Boundaries Help Enable Segregation

For decades, debate over school segregation in the United States has focused on how school districts assign their students to individual schools. But it’s the lines that divide school districts from each other that have a much more profound effect in separating students by race, ethnicity and class.

Boundaries between districts enabled white flight from the cities to the suburbs after courts began enforcing desegregation orders. Those district lines also provided an escape route for middle-class black families, leaving city centers with concentrated poverty.

Latest News

Open Enrollment Has Drained One District. It’s Looking to Dissolve

The list of academic and extracurricular offerings at the Palmyra-Eagle school district in Wisconsin are seemingly endless. Agriculture, woodshop, and metal classes. Eight AP courses. A marching band, theater program, and robotics club. Football and equestrian teams with recent state championships.

The 600-student district is also on the brink of bankruptcy and now wants to dissolve.

Latest News

Dozens of School Districts Applied to An Obama-Era Integration Program Before Trump Officials Axed It. Since Then, Many Plans Have Gone Nowhere.

When Austin school officials applied for a $1.5 million federal grant to embark on a school integration initiative, they were blunt.

The city and school district had a long history of intentionally segregating black and Latino families and students, they said, and recent attempts to desegregate schools had failed.

Latest News

Minority Voters Chafe as Democratic Candidates Abandon Charter Schools

At issue is the delicate politics of race and education. For more than two decades, Democrats have largely backed public charter schools as part of a compromise to deliver black and Latino families a way out of failing district schools. Charters were embraced as an alternative to the taxpayer-funded vouchers for private-school tuition supported by Republicans, who were using the issue to woo minority voters.

Latest News

Everybody Supports ‘Equity,’ But How Do They Define It?

Pursuing equity—however it’s defined—has become a rallying cry for K-12 educators and advocates alike. More than half of America’s 50 million students today are nonwhite, and a growing number of them are English-language learners or students with special needs. There are widespread and well-documented disparities between the educational needs of these student groups and their classroom peers.

Latest News

It’s Not Just Teachers: How Counselor Diversity Matters for Students of Color

In a recent study, a high school counselor offered this honest description of the uncertainty of her job: “Maybe later, I’ll start to see kids come back and they’ll be like, oh this helped or that helped,” she said. Still, “Sometimes I leave and I’m like, I’ve done nothing.”

Now, new research captures exactly how much of a difference a counselor like her can make — and it’s substantial, particularly for low-income students.

Webinar

Using Big Data for Education Story Ideas

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? 

Latest News

In Mississippi, an Unlikely Model for School Desegregation

Nearly five decades ago, this town on Jackson’s outskirts decided to send students to schools organized by grade level, rather than geography.

So all of the kindergartners and first-graders would go to one school, all of the children in second and third grades would be at another, and so forth, all the way through 12th grade. The approach in Clinton was rolled out in 1971 to little fanfare.

Latest News

California’s Juvenile Halls Are Supposed To Hold Just The Worst Young Offenders. The Truth Is A Different Story

Probation chiefs and other officials in many counties across California say juvenile halls, which stand mostly empty following years of steep declines in youth crime, primarily hold the most serious and violent criminals. But a Chronicle investigation found that is not true: Thousands of teens like Marie are held for minor offenses.

Latest News

Pushed Out

Black girls are being pushed out of school and into jails at alarming rates. But this issue often is overlooked because youth incarceration reform focuses so much on boys. Reporter Ko Bragg explains how the cycle begins and what researchers hope will break it.

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. 

Key Coverage

‘Critically Divisive Lines:’ Why Inequity Persists In Illinois Schools

Yuliana Quintana worries she won’t succeed in college because she didn’t have access to lab equipment, Advanced Placement classes, and other resources during her high school years.

Quintana, 19, was last year’s valedictorian of her high school in DePue, a tiny village about 50 miles north of Peoria.

Quintana’s school district, DePue Community Unit School District 103, is one of the poorest districts in Illinois.

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.

Key Coverage

Students Have an Uphill Battle to Degrees, But Montana Educators Push for Success

At Helena College, a 26-year-old student raising her daughter alone schedules class around her job at a grocery store. Stephanie Heitman’s paychecks were going toward unpaid medical bills until her small college helped with a grant.

When Tristin Bullshoe landed at the University of Montana after growing up in Browning, he struggled to pursue his dream of being a doctor. He landed in a college lecture hall with 300 people after graduating high school with a class of 12, and the Blackfeet student faced culture shock.

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.

Key Coverage

Special Series: Offender Learning
The Oklahoman

At a time when Oklahoma — and the nation — continues to deal with overcrowded prisons and high rates of reoffending, higher education programs behind bars offer one of the most successful models at rehabilitation.

Through a fellowship with the Education Writers Association, The Oklahoman traveled to England to learn more about the nation’s prison education program at a time when Oklahoma’s high incarceration rate has most facilities over capacity and officials with the state Department of Corrections claiming new prisons are needed to handle the continued growth.

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.

Key Coverage

A Search For Answers, A Search For Blame

Max Eden didn’t even want to read about Parkland. He saw the news on Valentine’s Day, after a dinner date with his girlfriend at a little French place in Washington, D.C., taking an Uber home. There was the gut-punch—“oh shit, another school shooting”—then the queasy afterthought that none of this hits as hard as it used to. He knew what would follow. For a few angry weeks, Democrats would demand gun control and Republicans would call for arming teachers. He decided he’d sit it out this time, ignore the news as much as possible.

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.

Key Coverage

Only Two Percent Of Teachers Are Black Men, Yet Research Confirms They Matter

 A growing body of recent research asserts that a black man in the classroom is both rare and critically needed in American public schools.

Since 2014, ethnic and racial minorities make up more than half of the student population in U.S. public schools, yet about 80 percent of teachers are white and 77 percent of them are female. People of color make up about 20 percent of teachers; a mere 2 percent are black men.

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.

Key Coverage

From Prison To College: How A Formerly Incarcerated Student Overcame The Odds To Graduate

Like many people coming out of prison, Perry Cline never thought he’d get a college degree.

Cline, a 51-year-old black man and Chicago native, just graduated from college. He has a bachelor’s degree in social work. He also co-founded a non-profit to help those battling addiction, and he recently landed a job as a case manager at a substance abuse treatment facility in Champaign, Illinois.

Key Coverage

North Carolina’s Teacher Diversity Gap

In North Carolina, where minority students make up 52 percent of the traditional public school body, 80 percent of teachers are white. For students of color, especially black and Hispanic boys, that means they may seldom – or never – have a teacher who looks like them during their kindergarten through 12th grade years.

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.

Key Coverage

Far From Home: Different Stories, With Common Threads

On a bulletin board at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, a flier advertised a storytelling event for first-generation students to share their experience in their own words.

The event was part of a larger project headed by Senior Associate Dean of Students Luis Inoa. Inoa spent the summer working with a first-gen Skidmore student to research the best practices in first-gen student support at liberal arts colleges around the country. He discovered that storytelling, in particular, is very powerful.

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.

Key Coverage

My Hometown Schools Are Segregated Again. I Went Back to See Why.

In the fall of 1976, I started kindergarten by climbing onto a yellow school bus that wove its way through my tree-lined North Buffalo neighborhood and deposited me downtown near the edge of Lake Erie. 

Waterfront Elementary – a new Brutalist-style building made of corrugated concrete – was anything but brutal on the inside. We had a swimming pool, a dance studio, and open classrooms where children from all over our otherwise segregated city came together to learn. 

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.

Key Coverage

Rally Had Minor Impact on Admissions as UVa Addresses Financial Needs and Its Own History

The University of Virginia can seem like a textbook college campus: white columns and porticos, long lawns and statues of Thomas Jefferson and Homer.

In 2017, though, UVa’s Rotunda steps were transformed into a maelstrom as white supremacists carried torches and attacked protesters. For months, the school was roiled by protests and political soul-searching.

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.”

Key Coverage

A Little Finland, a Little Canada, a Lot of Moxie: Why One Indianapolis Teachers College Is Betting It Can Train More Successful Educators After a Radical Reboot

On a recent Friday, Kenith Britt joined a group of Marian University faculty members who were courting a student athlete over lunch. A young African-American man with a GPA of 3.99, the prospective student wanted to study engineering, like his father.

Britt gave his standard pitch for Marian’s brand-new Klipsch Educators College, the Indianapolis program where he is dean. “You can become a teacher, or you can become a teacher,” he joked at the end. “Those are your choices.”

Key Coverage

Louisville Elementary School Student Suspensions Are Soaring

The littlest learners in Jefferson County Public Schools were suspended more than 7,600 days last year — the equivalent of 21 years — as the district’s use of its harshest punishment on elementary students skyrocketed.

JCPS is doling out suspensions at a higher rate — in one case, at roughly five times the rate — than its peer districts across the country, a Courier Journal investigation has found. 

Key Coverage

Far From Home: Issues Facing First-Gen College Students

Every year, first-generation students across the country step onto college and university campuses that are different from their hometown in every way. Even for those financially and academically prepared, social and emotional challenges can influence their ability to stay and graduate.

This is the first of a four-part special report, “Far From Home.”

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.

Seminar

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

image of Miami, Fla.

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.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

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

photo of students at EWA Character & Citizenship event..

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). 

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)

image from edweeek.org

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?

Webinar

Pedal to the Metal: Speeding Up Stalled Records Requests

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.

Seminar

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

EWA 71st National Seminar Los Angeles graphic

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.

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.

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. 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.”

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.