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

Highlight

Race in P-12 Schools

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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Race in Higher Education

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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Data and Research

Tip: 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.

National Center for Education Statistics

Latest News

Students Aren’t Just Leaving Greek Life. They Want to End It.

When Zena Abro came to the University of Richmond in 2018, she wasn’t excited about the idea of joining a sorority. She did it only because her friends joined, and she didn’t want to feel left out on a campus where more than half of undergraduate women are in sororities.

Latest News

Kenneth L. Marcus, Education Dept.’s Civil Rights Chief, Steps Down

The Education Department’s civil rights chief has for 40 years labored to enforce civil rights protections in the nation’s schools and universities, but few in the position have attracted as much attention as Kenneth L. Marcus, who will leave the post this week after two years marked by dissension, disputes — and significant accomplishments.

Latest News

Introducing: Nice White Parents

“Nice White Parents” is a new podcast from Serial Productions, brought to you by The New York Times, about the 60-year relationship between white parents and the public school down the block.

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. 

Latest News

Survey: Less Time on Schoolwork, More Paper Packets in High-Poverty Districts

Once the pandemic upended normal school this spring, students of all ages in high-poverty school districts were asked to do less schoolwork and spend less time in class than their peers in affluent school districts.

That’s according to a national survey led by the American Institutes for Research, one of the most sweeping efforts to date to track what student learning looked like during that period. It includes responses from a nationally representative group of 474 school districts across the country, collected from mid-May to mid-July.

Latest News

San Antonio School Districts Still Struggle with the City’s Segregated Past

Recent graduates of Alamo Heights High School have spent most of their summer meeting with school district leaders to press for a more inclusive environment for Black and Hispanic students there.

But even as they were drafting proposed policy changes, a video was circulating on social media showing three white cheerleaders from the high school using a racial slur.

Latest News

New Bill Seeks to Repeal State Law Governing NYC’s Specialized High Schools Admissions

State lawmakers are trying a new approach to help enroll more Black and Latino students at New York City’s elite but segregated specialized high schools. A group of Assembly members this week filed a bill to repeal the state law governing admission to the schools, which would then give the city control.

The proposed law would phase out the current admissions process by 2022, partly to give the city time to come up with a new admissions plan.

Latest News

NYC Ed Dismantles Guidance Counselor Program

A South Bronx school still reeling from the loss of students’ parents to COVID-19 and the unexpected death of a beloved principal is now losing five of its eight guidance counselors due to city budget cuts.

Bronx Letters is one of dozens of middle and high schools in the South Bronx and Brownsville, Brooklyn, losing more than 100 critically-needed guidance counselors and social workers after city officials slashed the “Single Shepherd” initiative. Mayor de Blasio once touted the program as central to his education agenda.

Latest News

Migrant Students Work in Fields During COVID School Closures

Sisters Maria and Jennifer Salvador start their days before the sun. The Southern California teenagers report to work at an Oxnard strawberry farm with one goal: To harvest as many bright red strawberries as they can.

Each 20-pound box of stemless strawberries they collect brings in $3. 

Latest News

Texas Study Finds Black Principal Candidates Are Less Likely to Be Tapped

Educators who run U.S. schools aren’t a diverse group. Almost 80 percent of the nation’s 90,000 principals are white. Only 11 percent are Black and 9 percent are Latino, according to federal data. That doesn’t come close to reflecting the demographics of the nation’s 50 million public schoolchildren who are 46 percent white, 15 percent Black, 28 percent Latino and 6 percent Asian.

Read the full story here.

Latest News

Students Push UC to Abolish Police Departments

Ahmad Mahmuod was headed home from the library late one night during his freshman year at the University of California at Berkeley when he sensed someone following him. 

The person’s shadow came closer, and then a voice called out, “Young man.”

Latest News

Public Schools Are Failing Black Students With Dyslexia: One Grandmother’s Story

Geraldine Robinson stepped proudly onto the stage and stated her name. What she said next was an understatement: “I am a fightin’ grandmother.” 

Robinson, 65, is a devout and joyful Christian who’s now raising three of her grandchildren. She’s been a relentless advocate for two of them in particular. And, she told the audience, the stakes are high: “I am fighting for their life.” 

Latest News

College Football Feels Growing Impact of COVID-19

Historically black colleges and universities have canceled four football games that had been scheduled for the early part of the fall season as a growing number of players have tested positive for COVID-19 in university football programs around the country, mostly among major conference institutions.

Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in an interview with CNN sounded pessimistic about the odds of football seasons occurring this fall.

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.

Latest News

A Border School for Asylum-Seekers Goes Virtual

The Sidewalk School in Matamoros, Mexico, founded last summer by two American volunteers, defied convention from the start. Located just three miles from the border with the United States, it had no brick and mortar building, no buses, classrooms, blackboards or desks.

For months, its students, asylum seekers waiting with their families for permission to enter the country, met outdoors before moving to an abandoned tent — at least until the pandemic struck.

Latest News

Opinion: How to Be an Anti-Racist Teacher

Ask black students who their favorite teacher is, and they will joyfully tell you. Ask them what it is about their favorite teacher, and most will say some version of this: They know how to work with me. So much is in that statement. It means that these students want to work, that they see their teachers as partners in the learning process, and that they know the teacher-student relationship is one in which they both have power. In other words, black students know that they bring intellect to the classroom, and they know when they are seen—and not seen.

Latest News

More Than 100 Memphis Nonprofit Leaders Call For City to Fund Education And Criminal Justice Reforms

More than 100 Memphis nonprofit leaders are speaking out in support of protester demands for the City of Memphis to provide more money for K-12 education.

The letter, led by Black nonprofit leaders and supported by non-Black peers, was sent to elected officials and local corporations Monday and says nonprofits “see the direct impact of systemic racism and oppression daily.”

Latest News

California Teachers Worry Gap Widening For English Learners During School Closures

Teachers across California are worried that students who are learning English will fall behind in their language skills due to the school closures and are trying various approaches to connect with those students and their families.

Even as concerns have been raised about the quality of instruction for native English speakers, those who are still new to the language face an even greater hurdle.

Latest News

What’s Next for School Policing in Minneapolis

Issues of race and justice have roiled the Minneapolis school district for months. As the district’s chief of accountability, research, and equity, Eric Moore has been immersed in much of that debate.

In March, when the coronavirus pandemic shut down Minneapolis schools, the district found itself facing a profound digital divide: 70 percent of the district’s African-American students did not have a computer they could use for remote learning.

Latest News

Prairie View A&M Plans New Center For Race And Justice Following George Floyd’s Death

Fears and questions about students’ future have kept Prairie View A&M University President Ruth Simmons awake during the recent tumultuous days, since longtime Houstonian George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis.

His death has brought a murder charge against the arresting police officer and aiding-and-abeting charge against three others, and prompted eight straight days of protests across the country, including a massive march with as many as 60,000 people in downtown Houston Tuesday.

Latest News

George Floyd Protest: How Kids Can Process Racism With Schools Closed

In times of great political and social upheaval, schools often serve as a protected space outside the home for students to wrestle with difficult concepts, guided by an educated professional. But those conversations are hard to have right now. To start, there’s a pandemic, and school buildings are closed. It’s also the end of the academic term. Not to mention the ongoing hurdle: Many teachers are uncomfortable talking about race and racism, especially racism against black Americans.

Latest News

Portland Superintendent Says He’s ‘Discontinuing’ Presence Of Armed Police Officers In Schools

Portland Public Schools will no longer have city police officers patrol the halls of its nine high schools.

Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero on Thursday announced that the state’s largest school district is “discontinuing the regular presence of school resource officers,” saying he intends to invest in more social workers, counselors and culturally specific supports for students.

Latest News

Chicago Educators Reach Out To Students About Racism, Police Brutality

Across Chicago, teachers seized on a moment that felt familiar: helping students cope with trauma and express feelings and thoughts amid national outrage over the killing of a black man by a white police officer. After the death of Chicago teenager Laquan McDonald in 2014, and the murder trial of Chicago officer Jason Van Dyke, the city encouraged teachers to help students process rage, sadness, and confusion but to “stay neutral.”

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.

Latest News

Gordon Parks Showed America the Rage Behind Decades of Racial Unrest. On Thursday, Minneapolis Rioters Burned the School Named for Him

On the third night of the anarchy that is reducing my city to cinders, someone started a fire at Gordon Parks High School. It was one of hundreds of fires that have accompanied protests over the killing of a black man by Minneapolis police officers. The school fire did not make national headlines — no surprise, given that the main event the night that building was torched was the burning of the police department’s Third Precinct and several beloved and historic surrounding blocks.

Latest News

Breonna Taylor Protest: Kentucky High School Teacher of the Year Arrested

The 2020 Kentucky High School Teacher of the Year was arrested this weekend protesting the death of Breonna Taylor in downtown Louisville.

Matt Kaufmann, who teaches in Jefferson County Public Schools, was booked Sunday night on an unspecified misdemeanor charge, according to the Department of Corrections booking log.

Read the full story here.

Latest News

CPS Suspends Food Distribution Program ‘Based on The Evolving Nature of Activity’ in Chicago

Thousands of families will now have to look for another way to feed their kids after Chicago Public Schools suspended its meal distribution program “based on the evolving nature of activity across the city,” officials announced late Sunday night.

The district, the nation’s third largest, has given out more than 12.5 million meals since the start of the coronavirus pandemic through a food program that has been widely praised by parents who rely on schools as a primary food source. Of CPS’ 355,000 students, 271,000 come from low-income families and about 17,000 are homeless.

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.

Latest News

Minneapolis School Board, Teacher Union Call on District to Cut Ties With Police

The Minneapolis Public School Board on Friday wrote a resolution to cut ties with the city’s Police Department in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.

The district’s current budget puts over $1 million toward funding 11 school resource officers in the district’s buildings. School Board Chair Kim Ellison said she wants to end that contract because she can no longer trust the city police department’s values.

Latest News

After George Floyd Killing, Denver School Board Member Wants Police Out Of Schools

The morning after heated protests erupted in Denver over the police killing of George Floyd, school district leaders pledged to “stand up for justice,” and one school board member renewed his call to remove police officers from the district’s schools.

Denver Public Schools Superintendent Susana Cordova and three of the district’s seven school board members made a statement Friday on Facebook Live about the killing in Minneapolis.

Latest News

Schools Must Keep Serving English Learners During Pandemic, Federal Ed Officials Say

Schools that have switched to remote learning can’t give up on language services for their students learning English, the federal education department reminded school districts this week.

New guidance, published Monday by the U.S. Department of Education, answers questions facing schools serving the nation’s some 5 million English learners during the coronavirus pandemic, which has closed schools across the country.

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.

Latest News

Rap Video Challenge Enlists Youth to Fight Pandemic Apathy

The young rappers recorded their videos in kitchens, laundry rooms, garages, bedrooms and outdoors. 

With beats and rhymes, the teens open a window into their lives during the pandemic. Some videos are somber. Others take a lighter approach. But the underlying theme that comes through is that COVID-19 is no joke.

Tip Sheet

EWA Tip Sheet: Covering Adolescents Through Data

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 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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.