Demographics & Diversity

Overview

Demographics & Diversity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Updated May 2020

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Data/Research: Demographics & Diversity

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

General

National Center for Education Statistics

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History and Background: Demographics & Diversity

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

School Segregation

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

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Demographics & Diversity in Higher Education

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

Race-conscious admissions

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

Highlight

Student Debt and Race

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

(Staten Island Advance/Lauren Steussy)
EWA Radio

When Artists Visit a Low-Income School to Teach Theater and Music
EWA Radio: Episode 37

Over the summer The Staten Island Advance published a three-part series about an arts residency program that tasked professional artists to teach elementary school students to teach them theater and music – arts instruction that otherwise didn’t exist at PS 57, a largely low-income school in the New York borough. Reporter Lauren Steussy followed the kids, teachers and parents of the school as they took in the sights and sounds of a campus suddenly abuzz with the stomps and squeaks of performing arts.

Seminar

69th EWA National Seminar

The Education Writers Association, the national professional organization for journalists who cover education, is thrilled to announce that its annual conference will take place from Sunday, May 1, through Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in the historic city of Boston.

Co-hosted by Boston University’s College of Communication and School of Education, EWA’s 69th National Seminar will examine a wide array of timely topics in education — from early childhood through career — while expanding and sharpening participants’ skills in reporting and storytelling.

Boston, Massachusetts
Source: Flickr/ via Derek Mindler (CC BY 2.0)
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Hispanic ‘Disconnected Youth’ Numbers Improve

Fewer Hispanic 18- and 19-year-olds are disconnected from school and jobs than before the Great Recession, a new Pew Research Center analysis of federal data shows. 

The percentage of Hispanic youth who are unemployed and not enrolled in school is the lowest it has been in 10 years, with a dramatic drop from 21 percent in 2009 to 16 percent in 2014.

An abandoned school bus in New Orleans in 2005. (Flickr/Gilbert Mercier)
Blog: The Educated Reporter

After Katrina: New Orleans Schools Fight to Flourish

A decade after the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, the city continues its struggle to recover. Most of the local public schools were replaced by (public) charter schools in the wake of the storm. This dramatic shift in the city’s public education “system” is firmly in the national spotlight as an ongoing experiment in school choice and reform.

Report

The Alarming Effect Of Racial Mismatch On Teacher Expectations

Researchers find evidence of systematic biases in teachers’ expectations for the educational attainment of black students. Specifically, non-black teachers have significantly lower educational expectations for black students than black teachers do when evaluating the same students. We cannot determine whether the black teachers are too optimistic, the non-black teachers are too pessimistic, or some combination of the two.

Source: Flickr/ Enokson (CC BY 2.0)
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Miami Schools Look to Improve Spanish Instruction

Imagine taking an English class with a teacher who struggles with writing and grammar. 

That’s the type of instruction many students in Miami-Dade County Public Schools were getting in Spanish class, where teachers with Hispanic last names who spoke Spanish well enough to get by were being thrust into a role they weren’t trained for, according to recent articles by Christina Veiga of the Miami Herald. 

Flickr/OddHarmonic
Blog: The Educated Reporter

Back-to-School: Story Ideas That Shine

While it may seem that every back-to-school story has been written, the well is far from dry. Are you following the blogs teachers in your district write? Have you amassed the data sets you’ll need to write that deep dive explaining why so many local high school graduates land in remedial classes when they first enter college?

No? It’s OK. You’re not alone.

Source: Flickr/U.S. Department of Education (CC BY 2.0)
Blog: The Educated Reporter

Grit? Motivation? Report Takes Stab at Defining Terms

Education writing is famous for its alphabet soup of acronyms and obscure terms, but it could just as well be faulted for trafficking buzzwords in search of clear definitions.

Ideas like grit, motivation, fitting in and learning from one’s mistakes, often summarized as noncognitive factors, are just some of the concepts floated more frequently these days. A new paper released this week seeks to provide clarity to this fast-growing discipline within the world of how students learn.

Morris Jeff Community School in Louisiana, an  International Baccalaureate school. (Source: Flickr/Bart Everson)
Blog: The Educated Reporter

Schools With Tough Tests Send More Low-Income Kids to College

Schools that that teach low-income students a notoriously demanding curriculum are almost twice as likely to see those students enroll in college, a new report shows.

This news comes on the heels of growing research suggesting that challenging assessments, which are a staple of the International Baccalaureate program featured in the report, help students develop a deeper understanding of key subjects like math and history. That “deeper learning,” in turn, may lead to more college opportunities. 

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

A Look at Latino Charter School Students in California

“The spread of charter schools throughout the East Bay and California is often viewed as a blessing or curse, depending on whom you ask,” a recent Contra Costa Times article begins. 

But among Latinos in the area, it would appear to be the former, according to the newspaper’s analysis of charter school demographics in Oakland, California, where charter schools have seen their enrollment nearly triple over the past decade. 

Escaping the Ordinary: The Best Back-to-School Story Ideas
Webinar

Escaping the Ordinary: The Best Back-to-School Story Ideas
Back-to-School Webinar

For education reporters, coming up with fresh angles for back-to-school stories is an annual challenge. Two veteran education journalists—Steve Drummond (NPR) and Beth Hawkins (MinnPost)—share smart tips for digging deep, and keeping ahead of the curve on the latest trends. We discuss new ways of approaching the first day of school, ideas for unique profiles, strategies for data projects and how to make the most of your publication’s multimedia resources. 

Speakers

A mock schoolhouse outside the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. (Flickr/elonjoned)
Blog: The Educated Reporter

NCLB Rewrite Survives Senate Vote

It’s been a hugely busy week for education reporters on Capitol Hill, as the Senate plowed its way through the Every Child Achieves Act, one of the leading contenders to replace No Child Left Behind as the nation’s framework for funding public schools.

The Senate approved passage of the bill Thursday with 81-17 vote. 

Seminar

Mas allá de las Estadísticas: Reportando Sobre la Educación de los Latinos
Latino Ed 2015

Hay casi 12 millones de latinos matriculados en las escuelas públicas en los de Estados Unidos y la cifra sigue creciendo: Se proyecta que aumentará a 15.6 millones durante la próxima década. Sin embargo, estas cifras no nos presentan la historia completa sobre la educación de los estudiantes latinos. Cada día es más importante entender las estadísticas y reportar lo que realmente está pasando en los salones de clase, y esta labor es especialmente importante para los periodistas que trabajan en los medios de comunicación en español.

Orlando, Florida
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

College Board Goes ‘All In’ to Attract Latinos to Advanced Placement

Latino students might shun Advanced Placement courses if the only students they see in them are mostly affluent whites. 

That’s essentially what Jeremy Goldman, head of counseling at a Baltimore high school told NBC last week in an article about the College Board’s new campaign to boost the number of minority high school students enrolled in AP classes. 

Nikole Hannah-Jones, left, receives the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize, from EWA executive director Caroline Hendrie in Chicago on April 20, 2015. (EWA/Mikhail Zinshteyn)
Blog: The Educated Reporter

‘How I Did the Story’ – EWA’s Grand Prize Winner on Covering School Segregation

Nikole Hannah-Jones’ examination of school segregation – a piece she wrote for ProPublica — won this year’s Hechinger Grand Prize in EWA’s annual education reporting contest. Hannah-Jones joined the staff of The New York Times Magazine in May. We asked her to share some of her thoughts and ideas gleaned during her reporting of the project.

A student in a kindergarten classroom at the Cesar
E. Chavez Multicultural Academic Center in Chicago uses a tablet to learn letters of the alphabet through sound. (Carolina Astrain for EWA)
Blog: The Educated Reporter

Blending Time and Learning for English Language Learners

Laptops chimed as students played a game designed to teach them the basics of geometry inside a fourth grade classroom at the Cesar E. Chavez Multicultural Academic Center on the south side of Chicago. Large paper mobiles of various geometric shapes hung from the ceiling and a list of classroom jobs for each student was posted on the wall. 

Tim Lloyd of St. Louis Public Radio talks with reporters at EWA's 68th National Seminar in Chicago. (EWA/Mikhail Zinshteyn)
Blog: The Educated Reporter

How They Did the Story: Tips From Award-Winning Reporters

It was quietly proud grandfather and Vietnam War Veteran James Dent who grabbed reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones’ attention in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

For St. Louis reporter Tim Lloyd, it was an African-American middle-school teacher unnerved when a white driver pulled up beside him at a stoplight and pointed his fingers at him in a shooting gun motion.

Students a campus operated by the University of Chicago's charter school network. The Windy City's education policies took center stage during a session at EWA's 68th National Seminar. (Seong-Ah Cho, Urban Education Institute)
Blog: The Educated Reporter

The Urban Schools Landscape: Lessons From Chicago

Urban education leaders crammed a marathon of Chicago’s public education woes and wonders into a 45-minute session (more akin to a 5K race) at the Education Writers Association’s recent National Seminar in Chicago.

Sara Ray Stoelinga, the director of the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute, joined colleague Timothy Knowles for a breakfast panel titled “10 Lessons to Take Home From Chicago” at the EWA event.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Rising English Proficiency Among Hispanics Affected by Nativity, Education

Latinos older than age 5 are speaking English better now than the same demographic group did in 2000, a new Pew Research Center study shows. Among those driving the statistics are the U.S.-born and those who have completed a high-school education. 

According to the study — an analysis of 2013 U.S. Census Bureau data — 33.2 million Hispanics in the United States speak English proficiently, a record high. 

"Covering the Economics of Education," April 20, 2015.
Blog: The Educated Reporter

How to Get Dollars to Schools That Need Them

At a speech in December, Janet Yellen, the chair of the Federal Reserve, took the United States to task for the way it funds schools.

“Public education spending is often lower for students in lower-income households than for students in higher-income households,” she told the audience at the Conference on Economic Opportunity and Inequality, in Boston.

Story Lab

Story Lab: Making Federal Data a Gold Mine for Your Reporting

Need a state or national statistic? There’s likely a federal data set for that. From fairly intuitive and interactive widgets to dense spreadsheets — and hundreds of data summaries in between — the U.S. Department of Education’s various research programs are a gold mine for reporters on the hunt for facts and figures.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Minority Students in Md. School: We’re Perceived as ‘Academically Inferior’

Latino and black students in Montgomery County, Md., told school district officials they are sometimes perceived as “academically inferior” and want change under the district’s next leader. The speech by a group of seven minority students was given at a community gathering hosted by the Montgomery County Education Forum amid the district’s search for a new superintendent. 

By Jorge (originally posted to Flickr as School girls) CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Blog: The Educated Reporter

Motivation May Not Improve Student Scores, While Girls Still March Forward

At schools around the globe, girls outscore boys, and bored students are better test-takers than their more motivated peers. These topsy-turvy observations are the latest findings in a report from the Washington-based Brookings Institution, research that is part of a long-running series that aims to put a finger on the pulse of academics in the United States and abroad. 

Flickr/COD Newsroom/Creative Commons
Blog: The Educated Reporter

Webinar for Reporters: PISA Gender Disparities

If you’re writing about gender equity issues related to student opportunity and achievement, you won’t want to miss Wednesday’s journalists-only webinar. Attendees will receive exclusive embargoed access to a new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, based on the most recent PISA assessment. 

Source: Flickr/Alex Thompson (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Which States Do Best at Graduating Latino Boys from High School?

When it comes to giving high-school diplomas to Latino males, Alaska does it best. Nevada has some work to do.

According to a report released today by the Schott Foundation for Public Education – which focuses on the graduation rates of black and Latino males — graduation rates among Latino males have risen from 59 to 65 percent since 2009-10. The gap between whites and Latinos has also decreased 5 percentage points since that time.

Report

The Condition of Latinos in Education: 2015 Factbook
Excelencia in Education

Excelencia in Education

Excelencia in Education is committed to using data to inform public policy and institutional practice to achieve our mission of accelerating student success for Latinos in higher education. We know college success does not begin at the college gates. Every educational experience from early childhood to high school and into the workforce influences the potential for college success.

Report

When Schools Close: Effects on Displaced Students in Chicago Public Schools
University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research

This report reveals that eight in 10 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students displaced by school closings transferred to schools ranking in the bottom half of system schools on standardized tests. However, because most displaced students transferred from one low-performing school to another, the move did not, on average, significantly affect student achievement.

The report demonstrates that the success of a school closing policy hinges on the quality of the receiving schools that accept the displaced students.

A New Jersey high school canceled classes in observance of the federal and state holiday. (Flickr/Sister72)
Blog: The Educated Reporter

Should Schools Stay Open For Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday?

Today is a federal holiday, which means offices and schools are closed in Washington, D.C., as well as many other parts of the country. But it’s not an automatic day off for all students.

Last year, severe weather forced education officials to make some tough decisions about the academic calendar. 

Here’s a look at my post on this issue from 2014. 

Gymnasiums like these can be sites for explaining to families the process of applying for DACA. By Tedder (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

For Undocumented Immigrants, High Schools Can Play a Key Role

As many as 3.7 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States are eligible for the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which sets aside the threat of deportation and grants work privileges to eligible residents. Among the several conditions necessary to qualify for DACA approval is a high-school degree or its equivalent. That’s where schools enter the picture.

Studies show offering a culturally relevant education -- including courses in Mexican American studies and a mariachi band -- can improve academic performance among Mexican American students. Source: Flickr/ Justin Wagner (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Report: Mexican-American Studies Breed Better Academic Performance

Student participation in Mexican-American studies can be linked to better outcomes on state standardized tests and increased chances of earning a high school diploma, according to a recent report by the University of Arizona. 

The university researchers’ findings, published in the December 2014 edition of the American Educational Research Journal, reveal students’ chances of completing high school increased nearly 10 percent.

Source: Flickr/cdsessums (CC BY 2.0)
Blog: The Educated Reporter

School Discipline Policies Can Backfire

If tough school discipline measures are meant to maintain stability in the classroom, then a new definition of stable might be in order: A new study argues high use of suspensions and expulsions brings down all students – even the ones who behave well.

A researcher with the Albert Shanker Institute flagged the study, which was published this month in the American Sociological Review. Here’s more on the paper from the Shanker Institute scholar Esther Quintero:

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Think Like a Journalist: Parents Learn How to Get Involved

Just like journalists need to know the important questions to ask on the education beat, parents do, too. 

That’s the spirit behind a joint initiative by The Dallas Morning News, Al Día — it’s Spanish publication — and Southern Methodist University to get Hispanic parents involved in their children’s education. 

Report

Ready for Fall? Near-Term Effects of Voluntary Summer Learning Programs on Low-Income Students’ Learning Opportunities and Outcomes
RAND Corporation

Prior research has determined that low-income students lose more ground over the summer than their higher-income peers. Prior research has also shown that some summer learning programs can stem this loss, but we do not know whether large, district-run, voluntary programs can improve students’ outcomes. To fill this gap, The Wallace Foundation launched the National Summer Learning Study in 2011. This five-year study offers the first-ever assessment of the effectiveness of large-scale, voluntary, district-run, summer learning programs serving low-income elementary students.

A child from Mexico is evaluated by a border patrol agent in an immigrant holding facility. Source: Gerald L. Nino/ Wikimedia Commons
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

In Texas, Surge of Immigrant Children Had Little Impact on Schools

It wasn’t long ago unaccompanied immigrant children crossing the Texas border made the headlines of every major news network in the country — stories often accompanied by haunting pictures of children huddled together in holding facilities or sleeping on the floor.

So what ever happened to all those children? The Pew Research Center revealed the answer in a new report Thursday. 

Adults meet at the English Club for English Language Learners at the Rockaway Township Free Public Library in New Jersey. 
Source: Flickr/RT Library (CC BY 2.0)
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

School Districts Put Emphasis on Educating Parents

School districts in Texas’ Bexar County are offering more options for parents to further their education in order to get more involved in their children’s, including after-hours classes in learning English as a second language or preparing to a GED. 

Fewer than half of Hispanic students who took the ACT this year met the college readiness benchmarks in math or science, according to a new report. Source: Hoodr/ Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

The ACT, STEM and Latino Students

Fewer than half of Hispanic students who took the ACT this year met the college readiness benchmarks in math or science, but those who actually expressed interest in STEM fared better on the college admissions exam.

Veterans Day: Leaving the Battlefield for the College Classroom
Blog: The Educated Reporter

Veterans Day: Leaving the Battlefield for the College Classroom

Last fall at EWA’s Higher Education Seminar, we examined the challenges of military personnel making the transition from soldiers to students. Given today’s holiday, it seemed like a good time to re-share this post about the panel discussion, held at Northeastern University in Boston. 

Far more students seeking higher education degrees are part-time, older than the traditional 18-22 set and well into their careers. And colleges have been flagged for their lagging efforts to address the unique needs of these mature students.

Source: Flickr via Eric E. Castro
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Latino, Black Students Disciplined More Harshly Than Other Students

Ever since my second week living in the District of Columbia, when I found myself alone on a commuter train the conductor had apparently deemed malfunctioning while I was lost in my music, I like to keep all five senses focused on my surroundings.

But on Monday, I decided to give the headphones another try. I’d heard good things about the podcast “This American Life” and decided to download the latest episode from Oct. 17 – “Is This Working?”

Teaching Across Cultural Differences: Equity in Instruction and Classrooms
Multimedia

Teaching Across Cultural Differences: Equity in Instruction and Classrooms
EWA Seminar on Teaching

How are cultural and racial biases influencing classroom instruction and student learning? What does this mean for teachers and students, particularly in high-minority, urban school settings? What should education reporters know about cultural bias as it relates to their reporting on students, teachers, and schools?

Speaker:
Associate Professor Dorinda Carter Andrews, Michigan State University

Report

National Math and Science Initiative

DALLAS – The National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) boosted student enrollment in college-level math, science and English courses by more than 50,000 in the 2013-14 school year. Based on the most recent data from the College Board, NMSI’s College Readiness Program—working in just 566 schools—also raised the number of Advanced Placement* qualifying exam scores by more than 18,500 exams, representing more than 13,000 additional students who are better prepared for college after this past school year.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

A Lesson in Using Data for Education Stories on Latinos

When investigative reporter Mc Nelly Torres got a parking ticket on a college campus, her first thought wasn’t for her wallet. Instead, her mind raced toward story ideas: Could there be a database of all previous offenses? What’s the most ticketed spot on campus? Which officers give out the most citations?

The Mexodus project captures stories of violence-weary Hispanics who have crossed the border into the U.S. for a chance at a safer life. Source: Raymundo Aguirre/Borderzine.com
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Through ‘Mexodus,’ Insights on Immigration Stories

Fourteen-year-old Mariana of Chihuahua, Mexico, was kidnapped by 20 men dressed as police officers just days before she was to celebrate her passage to womanhood at her quinceañeraFor two days, they held her captive while her parents struggled to pay the $8,000 they had demanded for Mariana’s ransom. Upon her release, Mariana’s family escaped to the United States, leaving everything behind.

Robert Linquanti discusses the various processes states use to identify English language learners. Source: Jay Torres, Diario La Estrella
Blog: Latino Ed Beat

English Language Learners: Identifying Inconsistencies

Who are English language learners?

Some would argue there’s no consistent answer.

Robert Linquanti, the bilingual project director for English Learner Evaluation and Accountability Support at WestEd, presented on the topic at the EWA Spanish-Language Media Convening in Dallas earlier this month.

Report

Gains and Gaps: Changing Inequality in U.S. College Entry and Completion
Martha J. Bailey, Susan M. Dynarski

We describe changes over time in inequality in postsecondary education using nearly seventy years of data from the U.S. Census and the 1979 and 1997 National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth. We find growing gaps between children from high- and low-income families in college entry, persistence, and graduation. Rates of college completion increased by only four percentage points for low-income cohorts born around 1980 relative to cohorts born in the early 1960s, but by 18 percentage points for corresponding cohorts who grew up in high-income families.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Latino Ed Beat Blog Announces Change

For the past two and a half years, I have had the honor of writing the Latino Ed Beat blog and working with the talented staff at the Education Writers Association.

I have always believed that with education, comes power. This is especially true for the Latino community. My passion for writing about the issues facing Latino students was born out of my own Mexican American background on my mother’s side. 

Betsey Hammond and Daniel Connolly speak at the 67th National Seminar
Blog: The Educated Reporter

Open Records, Open Campuses: The Reporter Guide to Access

Education reporters are constantly negotiating access — to schools, students and data. In their session at EWA’s National Seminar, Betsy Hammond of the (Portland, Ore.) Oregonian and Daniel Connolly of the (Memphis, Tenn.) Commercial Appeal discussed two approaches for getting past gatekeepers and to stories worth telling.

Hammond, who described herself as a “data nerd” to the EWA audience at Vanderbilt University in May, focused on data available through public records law.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Study Examines Performance of Hispanic Serving Institutions

New research challenges the assumption that Latino students who attend Hispanic Serving Institutions are less likely to graduate than their peers at other colleges and universities. HSIs have undergraduate enrollments that are at least 25 percent Hispanic.

Researchers examined the graduation rates of Latino and black students attending HSIs and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in Texas from 1997 to 2008.

EWA Radio

To Avoid Suspension, Students Talk It Out
EWA Radio, Episode 9

In Texas, a state known for its zero-tolerance approach to school discipline, 80 percent of its prisoners are high school dropouts. And as more research finds a link between suspensions and quitting school early, the evidence is mounting that keeping kids from learning for behavioral reasons hurts their academic outcomes. Against this backdrop is White Middle School in central Texas.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Educators’ Interest in Latino Studies Courses Grows

Arizona made national headlines in 2010 with its law banning ethnic studies in public schools. That move resulted in the dismantling of the Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies program.

Four years later, educators in Texas and California are trying to drum up support for Latino and ethnic studies programs. The majority of public school students in both states are Latino. 

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Latino College Students Lag in Study Abroad

Over the years, studying abroad has become a popular part of the undergraduate college experience.

But studies show that it is also an experience that many low-income and minority students do not take part in.

According to the annual Open Doors Report by the Institute of International Education, in 2011-12 a record number of American students studied abroad — 283,332. But more than three-quarters of those students were white.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Study: Minority Youth Health May Improve With Better Schools

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics finds that low-income Latino and black youth who attend high-performing schools tend to engage in fewer risky health behaviors.

Researchers surveyed 930 high school students in Los Angeles – 521 who by lottery gained admission to top charter schools, and 409 not offered admission. Researchers noted that both groups were similar in demographics and in performance on exams in the eighth grade.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Kids Count Report Measures Child Well-Being

Three states with large Latino populations lingered in the bottom five states ranked in the annual Kids Count report on child well-being — New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona. Mississippi ranked last.

Overall, states in the Southwest with high poverty rates and large Latino populations tended to be near the bottom.

The Southeast and Appalachia also lingered near the bottom.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Latino Students Fuel Growth in Kansas Schools

Even in a largely rural state, Latinos are quickly reshaping demographics.

A new report reveals that Kansas public schools are losing white students and adding Hispanic students — fueling enrollment growth.

The new report by the Kansas Association of School Boards projects that by 2018-19, Latino students could make up about 22 percent of the state’s student enrollment, while white students will make up only 60 percent.

Report

A College Education Saddles Young Households with Debt, but Still Pays Off
Daniel Carroll and Amy Higgins

The labor market bonus for completing a college degree is not fully realized in the early years of working. Looking at the wage income of households headed by an individual between 30 and 65 years of age reveals a much larger premium, both at the median and the 90th percentile. In many professions, a college degree combined with work experience opens the door to senior-level administrative positions and higher salaries. The average wage-income premium among these older households was 88 percent for degree-holding median earners and 93 percent for 90th percentile earners.

 Source: Flickr/a loves dc
Blog: The Educated Reporter

The Summer Jobs Slide

The summer slide doesn’t just pertain to flagging academic skills while kids soak in the sun and skip the books. Increasingly, even as math and literacy fall by the wayside, high school students are losing out on access to summer wages.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

NPR Education Tweet Sparks Backlash

A tweet sent out by the official account of NPR’s Education Team has sparked quite a social media backlash and discussion about the sensitivity of education reporters toward minorities.

Last week, the following tweet appeared under the Twitter handle @npr_ed: “I reach out to diverse sources on deadline. Only the white guys get back to me :(”

The comment sparked a social media backlash and criticism, in particular from minority reporters and other journalists who challenged the assertion that minority sources are difficult to reach.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

OECD Report: U.S. Teens ‘Lack Financial Savvy’

In a new report comparing financial literacy skills among 15-year-olds in 18 countries, U.S. students scored in the middle of the pack on basic questions about savings, bank accounts and credit/debit cards, and weighing risks and rewards in deciding how to spend their dollars.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Schools Prepare for Increase in Unaccompanied Minors

With thousands of children from Central America flocking over the border — many of them without their parents — schools are now bracing for a bump in enrollment.

Apprehended children are being held at detention centers in states along the Mexican border. But other children are making their way further into the United States.

Many of the children are from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and have emotional needs, as well as educational. That means schools are also leaning on social service agencies.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

A Troubling Time Capsule: JFK On The State Of Education

To mark this week’s 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, here’s a 2013 post I wrote about the historic milestone. 

In his commencement speech at San Diego State College, the President of the United States covered unsurprising territory in describing the challenges facing the nation’s public schools – inequities for minority students, a high dropout rate, and the need for better teacher training.

What might be surprising is that the president was John F. Kennedy, and he was addressing the class of 1963.

Ron Walker speaks at the 67th National Seminar.
Blog: The Educated Reporter

Experts: Education Key to Breaking Cycle of Poverty in South, Nation

In more than a dozen states across the South and West, students from low-income families make up the majority of public school enrollment. Those students are more likely to be black, Hispanic or Native American.

Other trends emerge from there. Those minority students, particularly males, are more likely to be suspended or expelled. They are more likely to drop out. They fall into cycles that inhibit their chances to break the cycle of poverty.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Census Data Reflect Youth Diversity

Young people in the United States continue to grow in diversity – especially when compared against older generations – according to newly released Census data.

Notably, in some states there are wide gaps between the demographics of young people and older Americans. Those gaps can sometimes cause tensions. Some of those gaps can be attributed to immigration. However, most of the growth in the Hispanic population can now be attributed to U.S. births.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Criticism of NYC School Admission Exam Builds

Admission to New York City’s top public high schools is based on performance on a single exam. Whether intended or not, the result has been a shocking lack of diversity, especially when compared against the school district’s demographics. 

The push for change is building. While former Mayor Michael Bloomberg backed the exam, newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to end the single test admissions system.

The single test standard to gain admittance to the elite eight schools, which include the renowned Stuyvesant High School, has been in place since 1971.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Tech Industry Seeks to Reach Out to Latino Students

Last month, Google made the shocking admission that just 3 percent of its employees are Latinos. The news was particularly disheartening given that the tech company is headquartered in California, the state with the nation’s largest Latino population. 

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Texas Sued Over English Language Learner Services

A Latino advocacy group has sued the state of Texas, alleging that it is not adequately educating Hispanic English Language Learners.

The League of United Latin American Citizens brought the suit, with assistance from attorneys with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

The suit alleges that the state is not sufficiently training teachers who work with ELLs and that such students are not receiving the resources they need in order to improve their English proficiency.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Will California Ruling on Teacher Tenure Help Latino Students?

A California judge on Tuesday issued a preliminary decision finding that the state’s teacher tenure laws disproportionately hurt disadvantaged and minority students.

Los Angeles Judge Rolf M. Treu went as far as to write that the situation “shocks the conscience” and violated students’ civil rights. The lawsuit alleged that tenure and layoff policies hurt students by making it harder to get rid of bad teachers.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Study: Immigrant Parents Read With Children Less

A new study by researchers from Stanford University finds that “book sharing” is less prevalent in immigrant families, most significantly among Hispanic and Asian families.

Book sharing was defined who read or share picture books with young children. The findings were based on data from the California Health Interview Survey of parents with children under age six in 2005, 2007, and 2009.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Race and Social Media on Campus: Do Hashtags Help?

Sit-ins were the preferred avenue of protest on college campuses during the 1960s and 1970s. Students protested in support of civil rights and opposition to war, and their actions sparked social, legal and cultural changes nationwide. As recently as last year, the Dream Defenders spent 31 days camped in the Florida capitol to protest criminal justice issues.

Sit-ins take time, though – time to organize, time for the sit-in to transpire and time to have an impact.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Asian Americans and Affirmative Action

Below are tweets I picked that may help reporters tackle this important question of fairness on a demographic group tagged with many myths. Population projections show that by 2050 one in 10 Americans will have an Asian background. Thirteen percent of the U.S. will be African American.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Lawsuit: California Students Shortchanged on Class Time

A class-action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday accuses the state of California of failing to provide adequate classroom instructional time to minority and low-income students.

The suit, Cruz v. State of California, was brought by students who attend seven economically disadvantaged schools in the state. Schools in Los Angeles and Compton are included in the lawsuit, as are Bay Area schools.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

N.J. Superintendent Calls Out Segregation Problem

With the recent 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, civil rights and advocacy groups issued reports highlighting the continued segregation in American schools today.

The superintendent of Hamilton Township School District in New Jersey took the unusual step of posting an online commentary on the district’s website lamenting de facto segregation in the school district he leads. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Arne Duncan: Educational Equity Is Federal Priority

Sixty years after the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, there’s still a wide gulf in educational opportunities for low-income and minority students and their more advantaged peers, including when it comes to access to rigorous coursework aimed at preparing students for college and the workforce, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told the audience at the Education Writers Association’s 67th National Seminar at Vanderbilt University in Nashville today. 

Report

Brown at 60: Great Progress, a Long Retreat and an Uncertain Future

Marking the 60th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown v Board of Education, the UCLA’s Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles assessed the nation’s progress in addressing school segregation, and found that–contrary to many claims–the South has not gone back to the level of segregation before Brown. It has, however, lost all of the additional progress made after l967, but is still the least segregated region for black students. New statistics show a vast transformation of the nation’s school population since the civil rights era.

The students of the historic strike, as seen in the gallery of the Moton School Museum in Farmville, Va.
Blog: The Educated Reporter

Behind Brown v. Board of Ed: Remembering the Moton Students’ Strike

In 1951, black students in Farmville, Va., — led by 16-year-old Barbara Johns — staged a strike to protest conditions at Robert Russa Moton High School. The subsequent lawsuit later became one of five cases folded into Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark desegregation decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that made “separate but equal” unlawful. Moton was the only one of the five cases that began with a student-led challenge. 

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Indianapolis Schools Will Soon Have No Latino Administrators

Joél Muñoz is Mexican-American, learned English as a second language, and was the first in his family to graduate high school and college. 

He also is the only Latino administrator in the Indianapolis Public Schools, even though about 22 percent of students are Latino. Only about 48 of the district’s teachers were Hispanic in 2011.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

U.S. Students and PISA: How Much Do International Rankings Matter?

EWA’s 67th National Seminar starts Sunday at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, which makes this a great time to catch up on your background reading for some of the sessions. Some of the issues we’ll be talking about is how education reporters can better use student data in their stories, and the finer points of comparing achievement by U.S. students and their international counterparts. For background reading, here’s my post from December on the international PISA assessment.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

High School Seniors’ NAEP Scores Stall

New data show that the performance of twelfth-graders in math and reading on the National Assessment for Educational Progress, or NAEP, has not improved since 2009. The NAEP exam is regarded as “the nation’s report card.” Even more concerning, persistent achievement gaps remain between Latino and black students, and white students.

Report

New Gallup-Purdue Study Looks at Links Among College, Work, and Well-being for Life After College

WASHINGTON, D.C. — When it comes to being engaged at work and experiencing high well-being after graduation, a new Gallup-Purdue University study of college graduates shows that the type of institution they attended matters less than what they experienced there. Yet, just 3% of all the graduates studied had the types of experiences in college that Gallup finds strongly relate to great jobs and great lives afterward.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

The Highs and Lows of High School Graduation Rates

Amid the excitement over the news this week that the nation’s high school graduation rate has hit 80 percent for the first time, some important questions still need to be answered. Among them: What are the states that saw the largest gains doing right, and how can the momentum be ramped up to make sure more minority, special education, and low-income students earn their diplomas?

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

High School Graduation Rates Improve Slightly

New data shows that the four-year high school graduation rates of Latino students are steadily increasing, but still lag the national average. 

The newly released report from the National Center for Education Statistics examined four-year rates in 2010-11 and 2011-12. Between those graduation years the rate rose for all students from 79 percent to 80 percent. 

The rate for Latino students rose from 71 percent in 2010-11 to 73 percent in 2011-12.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Feds: Colorado District Discriminated Against Spanish-Speaking Students, Teachers

A report by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights finds that a Colorado school district created a hostile environment for Hispanic and Spanish-speaking students, parents and teachers. 

The report also concluded that the Adams 14 district in Commerce City, a district of about 7,000 students just north of Denver, did not effectively communicate with parents with limited English skills.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Stay Ahead of the Curve With EWA Webinars

In case you missed it, the recording is now available for our webinar on the approaching 60th anniversary of  Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court decision which outlawed segregation in the nation’s public schools.

Report

The Effect of ESEA Waiver Plans on High School Graduation Rate Accountability

Based on an extensive analysis of state waiver plans, this report shows that recent progress in holding schools accountable for how many students they graduate from high school—the ultimate goal of K–12 education—may be slowed in some states based on waivers recently granted under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The report includes a review of approved waiver plans submitted by thirty-four states and the District of Columbia.

Report

Building A GradNation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic (2014)

For the first time in U.S. history the nation’s high school graduation rate rose above 80 percent, according to the 2014 Building a GradNation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic report released April 28 by Civic Enterprises, the Everyone Graduates Center, America’s Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education.