Equity in Education
Although achievement gaps have narrowed in recent years, data shows that inequity in education continues to remain troubling.
- How many kindergartners in my district/state attended high-quality early-childhood education programs? How does my district/state measure kindergarten readiness and how do the results vary among different demographic groups?
- What does the funding look like for schools in my area serving low-income and minority students? How does that compare to affluent and/or predominately white schools? How do individual schools compare to the district average?
A more recent movement against school equity programs has conflated equity with critical race theory, a movement that started with legal scholars in the late 1970s.
While panic over critical race theory emerged in 2020, disputes in school board meetings turned particularly tense in the spring and summer of 2021, as lawmakers in dozens of states proposed legislation attempting to ban teaching on critical race theory.
Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that Texas would consider challenging a 1982 U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring states to offer free public education to all children, including those of undocumented immigrants.
The remarks came days after a leaked draft of a forthcoming U.S. Supreme Court opinion revealed that a majority of justices are poised to revoke Roe v. Wade, the landmark case establishing the right to abortion.
Parents, politicians and activists flooded school board meetings across the country in recent months, desperate to be heard.
In 60-second sound bites, they exploded over masks, books and so-called critical race theory. Their voices often echoed across social media and fueled viral news segments.
But hours after those tense meetings end, teachers and students walked into schools, feeling the reverberations of the culture wars that have consumed American education.
There are numerous LGBTQ style guides for journalists. Most include similar advice for what is and isn’t appropriate to ask gay and trans sources as well as how to steer clear of some oft-repeated misinformation. Offering your pronouns — e.g. she/her/hers, they/them/theirs — at the start of a conversation invites your interviewee to reply with the information they want you to have about their identity.
A consistent criticism from LGBTQ organizations of media coverage
of assault on gay and trans rights is that it features too few of
the people most affected. Here are three suggestions for
education reporters seeking to counter this.
Challenge the narrative: Francisco Vara-Orta is a former Education Week staff writer and EWA board member who is now director of diversity and inclusion for Investigative Reporters and Editors. Reporters need to push back on misleading or false assertions, he says.
How to Better Cover LGBTQ Students in the Pandemic Era of ‘Don’t Say Gay,’ Book Bans and Other Issues
This deep dive catches reporters up on the legislation and issues affecting LGBTQ students. Read this main story and two other related pieces to improve your coverage.
Ranging from “Don’t Say Gay” laws to bans on transgender students’ participation in sports and on gay- and trans-themed books in schools, a record 238 anti-LGBTQ bills were filed in U.S. statehouses during the first three months of 2022. Even before the first were signed into law, the new measures had an impact in K-12 schools and on college campuses.
Who gets to decide what teachers can say about our nation’s problematic history of racism? Covering this increasingly polarizing debate is a growing challenge for education reporters, as efforts to be fair and historically accurate now often draw accusations of bias or censorship.
To help journalists better navigate this challenge, the Education Writers Association gathered several veteran reporters with extensive experience covering the debates over critical race theory and the teaching of history. They shared their reporting tips and advice during a webinar.
The idea of optimizing school district property for evening and weekend use isn’t new, but Buena Vista Horace Mann K-8 Community School (BVHM, for short) in San Francisco appears to be the first modern public elementary school to have hosted a long-term, overnight family shelter.
Some objected: Shelter should not be the responsibility of a school, they argued.
And yet, “We were the folks that were willing to do it,” said Nick Chandler, the BVHM community school coordinator.
The fight for linguistic and cultural preservation predates statehood, given the assimilatory nature of Western education taught in New Mexico’s public schools. The struggle has been ongoing and, despite a massive victory through acknowledgment in a seminal court case, it continues through to today, an SFR analysis of fairness in the state’s education system finds.
Education Labs: The Past, Present and Future of Grant-Funded Journalism Units
“Community-funded journalism is not a silver bullet, but it’s potential support that can help you cover important service journalism.”
Some hope is rising amid the financial destruction that has decimated the newsrooms of local for-profit newspapers. At least five legacy news outlets have expanded their education coverage by raising grant funding in the last several years.
Of course, nonprofit news organizations are nothing new, considering The Associated Press is a 176-year-old cooperative. But these new projects are creating unusual hybrids: grant-funded reporting teams within traditional for-profit companies.
In at least 16 states, lawmakers are considering legislation that would limit or even prohibit the teaching and discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation in certain grades.
‘They Should Be Embarrassed’: Advocates Criticize Indiana Senate For 0-50 Vote On Special Education Bill
In a rarely seen display of opposition, the Indiana Senate voted 0-50 this week to kill a piece of legislation that would have changed the way special education disputes between families and schools are resolved.
Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn) sponsored the legislation but didn’t plan to call it down for a vote on Tuesday because he knew it would fail. But Kruse said he was urged by Senate colleagues to bring House Bill 1107 to the floor. Some lawmakers switched their “yes” votes to “no” votes until only one “yes” remained: Kruse.
Examining HBCUs During Black History Month
From Jan. 1 to Feb. 22 this year, Nexis listed a total of 89 articles that included “HBCU” and “bomb threats.” Only 29 articles mentioned “HBCU” and “enrollment” during the same time period.
Nearly a century since Black History Week was created, and more than 50 years since February was first recognized as Black History Month, many states and school districts are trying to suppress or control what the public learns about the history of Black people in America.
Parents Really Want Useful Education News. They Aren’t All Getting It.
“White parents seem to be able to leverage their informal networks with greater efficiency. These networks work better for white parents than they do for parents of color.”
This article was republished with permission from Nieman Lab.
American parents identify information about education and schools — their local schools, in particular — as their top news need, and that need has only grown during the pandemic. Brand-new studies conducted in the spring of 2020 and August of 2021 show that interest in news about schools increased substantially over the period.
Martin Luther King Jr. Said, ‘Education is a Battleground.’ Reflecting on His Words
King’s remarks on education continue to be relevant in 21st century America.
When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. accepted the John Dewey Award from the United Federation of Teachers in 1964, he spoke of education being a battleground in the freedom struggle.
“It was not fortuitous that education became embroiled in this conflict,” King said. “Education is one of the vital tools the Negro needs in order to advance. And yet it has been denied him by devises of segregation and manipulations with quality.”
These New Education Books Make Perfect Gifts. (Trust Us.)
What we’re giving the education reporters (and education enthusiasts) on our list this year
Shopping for the education writer in your life this holiday season? Any reporter can tell you which is the best seat in the school board meeting room: It’s the one near the only working wall outlet. While this popular version of a portable battery pack will set you back about $50, it’s reliable, durable, and speedy. (No, EWA does not do paid product endorsements. I actually use this.) It also has the benefit of being cable free if your gift recipient uses a compatible smartphone.
What makes a college “good”?
Providing stellar educations and career opportunities to a select few? Or creating lots of opportunities for all kinds of people, and helping disadvantaged students get into careers that can sustain families?
Reporters who want answers can use a new free data tool that helps identify whether colleges are opening the doors of socioeconomic mobility and promoting equity in education.
How to Put the HBCU Story in Context
Journalists share strategies for reporting on the chronic underfunding of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
If the disparity in underfunding Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) could be told through two schools, consider Texas Southern University (TSU) and the University of Houston (UH). Both started around the same time with similar missions, serving populations with similar economic backgrounds. The colleges were even located across the street from each other.
Covering School Board Meetings? Tips to Tackle the COVID-19, Critical Race Theory Culture Wars
Attending hyper politicized school board meetings in this day and age requires much preparation.
Division over COVID-19 and racial justice is playing out in school board meetings across the country, turning typically sleepy gatherings into politicized and, at times, volatile events.
When meetings turn contentious, reporters need to take care to avoid amplifying misinformation, and provide context on key issues and the board’s authority.