A Different Kind of College Rankings
The Washington Monthly uses unique metrics to measure quality, including return on investment, strong outcomes for students of color, and effective civic engagement.
(EWA Radio: Episode 248)
When choosing a college, students and families often turn to popular rankings to help inform their decisions. Rather than focus on test scores and how difficult it is to gain entry, The Washington Monthly gives schools points for factors that benefit society as well as individual students, like upward mobility for low-income graduates and encouraging civic engagement on campus and after graduation.
Who’s Watching the Kids?
A community's struggle to address child care crisis amid COVID-19
(EWA Radio: Episode 247)
The coronavirus pandemic has forced most child care centers to close in an upstate New York community where affordable options for families were already in short supply.
In This Baltimore Teacher of the Year’s Classroom, Race and Equity Matter
‘Becoming a Teacher’ offers candid look at challenging realities of the profession, and what it takes to master the craft
(EWA Radio: Episode 246)
In her new book, education writer Melinda D. Anderson chronicles LaQuisha Hall’s 17-year journey from nervous rookie to “teacher of the year” in the Baltimore city school system.
Can Schools Close ‘The Knowledge Gap?’
Author Natalie Wexler makes case for focusing on enriching classroom curriculum during the coronavirus pandemic to improve students’ literacy and understanding
(EWA Radio: Episode 245)
Much attention is focused on how schools will deliver instruction this fall, whether remotely or in schools with COVID-19 health and safety precautions in place. But what students are taught — the curriculum — is also an important story
Back-to-School: The Coronavirus Edition
Top reporters share tips for covering remote learning, inequities on the K-12 and higher ed beats in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic
(EWA Radio: Episode 244)
It’s a new academic year like no other on the K-12 and higher education beats. A pair of veteran education journalists share tips and insights for what’s ahead this fall and beyond.
‘Too Young To Die’ in Montgomery, Alabama
How community violence is shaping a generation of students
(EWA Radio: Episode 243)
In Alabama’s capital city, an epidemic of violence has shadowed the class of 2020 throughout their high school careers. Nearly a dozen of their classmates were killed before making it to graduation day. Reporter Krista Johnson of the Montgomery Advertiser set out to learn more about those who died, and to understand how trauma is shaping a generation of young people and their school communities.
The Future of School Police
Some school districts rethinking security guards and armed officers in wake of George Floyd death and protests of racial injustice (EWA Radio: Episode 242)
The tension over having armed police on public schools campuses isn’t new, but it’s moved back into the spotlight in recent months. In early June, the school board in Minneapolis — where George Floyd was killed during an arrest by the city’s police — voted unanimously to sever its ties with the city’s police department.
At These Christian Schools Getting Public Dollars, LGBTQ Students Pushed Into Conversion Therapy
New investigation finds academies receiving millions in taxpayer dollars are using the controversial practice with students with pseudoscientific conversion therapy (EWA Radio: Episode 241)
In a new investigation, The Huffington Post’s Rebecca Klein found disturbing examples of Christian schools that receive taxpayer dollars — through tax credit scholarship and voucher programs — that were requiring LGBTQ students to undergo “conversion therapy” in an attempt to change their sexual orientation. The controversial practice…
Protest Stories Are Education Stories
Longtime radio journalist Adolfo Guzman-Lopez shares insights from the Southern California schools beat, and how to effectively cover the public response to George Floyd’s death
(EWA Radio: Episode 240)
For education reporter Adolfo Guzman-Lopez of KPCC, Southern California Public Radio, life has been “an emotional roller coaster” since he was shot in the throat by police with a rubber bullet. The incident happened May 31 in Long Beach, where Guzman-Lopez was covering a protest against police brutality and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
What’s New With ‘Varsity Blues’
The latest on the college-admissions scandal, and how COVID-19 is reshaping what campuses will look like this fall
(EWA Radio: Episode 239)
With more celebrity defendants pleading guilty to using a high-priced fixer to help their kids cheat their way into top colleges, what’s been the impact on college admissions? The Wall Street Journal’s Melissa Korn, whose book on the “Varsity Blues” scandal has been optioned for a television project, discusses the latest developments, as well as the fallout more broadly for higher education.
Budget Cuts Loom for Education. How Vulnerable Are Your Local Schools?
COVID-19's economic fallout is sure to take a toll on districts, but impacts may vary widely
(EWA Radio: Episode 238)
With the nation facing a pandemic-driven recession unlike any in generations, public schools are bracing for a big financial hit. Reporter Daarel Burnette II of Education Week shares insights from his school finance coverage during the crisis and a new database that gauges the economic vulnerability of districts from coast to coast.
Do Students Have a Right to Literacy?
Landmark court decision finds access to adequate educational services is a “basic right”
(EWA Radio: Episode 237)
A federal appeals court recently ruled that the state of Michigan has failed to make sure children in Detroit are adequately educated. The April decision said the city’s schools have suffered from underfunding, poorly maintained facilities and too few qualified teachers. While the state is contemplating an appeal, the decision is still considered a landmark for civil rights advocates mounting similar challenges in state courts across the country.
‘There Are No Invisible Children’: Erica Green of The New York Times
Veteran reporter shares insights from the national education beat, and how COVID-19 pandemic is influencing her work
(EWA Radio: Episode 236)
Few, if any, education reporters are tackling tougher issues right now than Erica Green of The New York Times, whose stories often share a common theme of focusing on the unmet needs of marginalized students. She discusses recent coverage, including how school cafeteria workers in Baltimore are feeding an entire neighborhood, concerns about a potential federal waiver that would let districts pause services for students with disabilities, and a rare look inside a juvenile detention center where young adults are being left largely unprotected from COVID-19.
Higher Ed Goes Remote
How colleges and universities are adapting to the new realities of the coronavirus crisis
(EWA Radio: Episode 235)
With most colleges and universities forced to close campuses in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, postsecondary learning has moved online for millions of students. Doug Lederman, the co-founder and editor of Inside Higher Ed, discusses the fallout of the shift and its potential long-term implications, especially for postsecondary institutions that were already in precarious financial straits.
Self-Care for Journalists 101
How to protect your mental health and physical well-being while covering crises like the COVID-19 pandemic
(EWA Radio: Episode 234)
Education reporters, like everyone else, are struggling to cope with the stress and many day-to-day challenges of life during a pandemic. At the same time, they’re working hard under difficult conditions to chronicle the impact on students, schools and families. and pitching in on broader coverage for their newsrooms.
COVID-19 and New York City Schools
Covering the coronavirus pandemic, remote learning from the nation’s largest district
(EWA Radio: Episode 233)
With more than 1.1 million K-12 students, New York City’s public schools are dealing with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on a massive scale. While district officials scramble to close the technology gap and get computers to students who need them, teachers are getting a crash course in the “do’s and don’ts” of remote instruction.
Two States, Two Takes on Teaching U.S. History
New York Times compares history textbooks for California and Texas, and finds partisan politics help shape the content
(EWA Radio: Episode 227)
They say history is a tale told by winners — so who’s writing the textbooks for the two most populous states? And how are the differing political climates in California and Texas reflected in those materials? what do the differences in those books reveal about the political climate do they tell Dana Goldstein, a national education correspondent for The New York Times, read over 4,800 pages of U.S. history textbooks to determine how the political leanings of policymakers and the appointed textbook review committees influence what students — and future voters — are being taught about the nation’s history.
EWA Radio: The Impact of the Coronavirus on Education
How the health crisis is impacting students, schools
(EWA Radio: Episode 232)
As the coronavirus pandemic expands in the U.S., education reporters are on the front lines of the news coverage, with nearly three-quarters of public schools either closed or planning to close in coming days, and many colleges and universities moving to online learning or ending the semester outright.
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
Are Schools Adequately Preparing Students to Vote?
As political controversies trickle into classrooms, civics teachers connect curriculum to current events
(EWA Radio: Episode 207)
With the youth vote expected to be an important factor in the 2020 election cycle, civics teachers are increasingly using current events to help students understand the democratic system — and to be engaged and informed citizens. Reporter Stephen Sawchuk of Education Week shares insights from his news organization’s “Citizen Z” project, focused on the state of civics education in the U.S., including how it shapes individuals’ perspectives and community engagement beyond voting.
How Schools Handle Hate
After incidents of racism and anti-semitism, Seattle-area schools struggle to respond
(EWA Radio: Episode 230)
Education reporters are increasingly covering incidents of racism, antisemitism and other forms of hate committed by K-12 students. But what happens after the media spotlight shifts to the next story?
When Public Dollars Pay for Private School
A new investigation sheds light on a lesser-known provision of federal law intended to ensure students with disabilities get the educational services they need
(EWA Radio: Episode 229)
In New York City, separated by just 15 blocks, two boys with similar learning disabilities struggled in public school classrooms. Under the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), both were eligible to enroll in private school on the taxpayers’ dime as a remedy. But as a new investigation by The Teacher Project at Columbia University School of Journalism revealed, the financial status of the boys’ families played a big role in whether the district picked up the tab.
Paradise Lost? Hawaii’s Teacher Shortage
Educators struggle with high cost of living as Aloha State looks to boost pay, training, and workforce diversity
(EWA Radio: Episode 228)
In the mainland United States, typical conversations about Hawaii are more likely to center on dream vacations than teacher shortages. But there’s plenty to be learned from the state’s educational challenges, and how Hawaii is approaching teacher training, recruitment, and retention. Suevon Lee — who covers Hawaii’s public schools for Honolulu Civil Beat, an investigative news outlet — examined these issues with support from an EWA Reporting Fellowship.
How Partisan Politics Shape States’ History Textbooks
New York Times evaluates differences among textbooks in California and Texas, finding big differences in what students are taught about civil rights, immigration, and more
(EWA Radio: Episode 227)
They say history is a tale told by winners — so who’s writing the textbooks and deciding what students are taught in two of the nation’s biggest states? Dana Goldstein, a national education correspondent for The New York Times, read 4,800 pages of textbooks to determine how the political leanings of policymakers and the appointed textbook review committees influence what students — and future voters — are being taught about the nation’s history. Among the key findings for California and Texas: textbook publishers adjust the content on seminal topics like civil rights, immigration, and LGBTQ issues to align with state-specific standards.
Higher Education in 2020
Looming Supreme Court decision on DACA, new rules for college admissions, lead Associated Press’ reporter’s list
(EWA Radio: Episode 226)
While it’s a new calendar year, plenty of familiar issues are carrying over from 2019 on the higher education beat, says reporter Collin Binkley of The Associated Press. Many of the biggest headline-grabbers this year are likely to center on admissions – the process of deciding who gets into what college. To settle a federal anti-trust case, colleges recently scrapped old rules that limited what they could do to compete for applicants. Now, a potential admissions marketing free-for-all will create new winners and losers. The Trump Administration’s policies against immigration, and tensions with countries such as Iran can’t help but impact foreign students interested in studying in the U.S. And the growing trend by colleges to drop application requirements for ACT and SAT test scores could also mean big changes to college access.
A New Year on the K-12 Beat
What’s ahead in 2020: Equity, Civics, Safety Top Washington Post Reporter’s List
(EWA Radio: Episode 225)
Moriah Balingit, who covers education for The Washington Post, discusses what she sees as key story lines for the K-12 beat in 2020, from educational equity to civics and campus safety. Are public schools adequately preparing young people to become engaged and informed citizens? What’s the potential impact on students and families of the Trump administration’s plans to cut access to food stamps? How are school safety measures affecting the climate on campus?
Will Betsy DeVos Outlast All of Trump’s Cabinet Members?
Plus, what to watch for when presidential candidates talk education
(EWA Radio: Episode 223)
February 7 will mark the three-year anniversary of Betsy DeVos’ confirmation as the U.S. secretary of education. Few observers had bet she would stick around this long. But today, DeVos is one of the longest-serving members of President Trump’s cabinet. Rebecca Klein of The Huffington Post recently talked with dozens of people about the education secretary’s tenure, crafting an in-depth analysis of what motivates her decisions and keeps her on the job.
Teachers Fight for Student Loan Debt Relief
NPR investigation finds thousands of borrowers wrongly denied federal forgiveness
(EWA Radio: Episode 217)
Two federal programs intended to steer college students toward public service jobs like teaching in high-poverty schools instead became mired in missteps, as recipients found their grants wrongly converted into high-interest loans. Cory Turner of NPR’s education team spent 18 months looking at problems with the TEACH Grant program.
Listen to EWA Radio’s Most Popular Episodes of 2019
From fake AP tests to the fight over reading, these behind-the-scenes stories are perfect for holiday travel
It’s been a busy year for the EWA Radio podcast, with guests coming from across the country to discuss a wide range of education-related news stories — from school segregation to the science of teaching reading to how reporters covering traumatic events deal with the emotional toll.
I’m immensely grateful to the many talented reporters who take time out of their busy schedules to talk with me about their work. Getting to have these conversations, and to learn about the backstory to their reporting, is one of the best parts of my job as EWA’s public editor.
The Hidden Costs of ‘Free’ College
Tennessee’s Promise Program opens access to community colleges but students still struggle
(EWA Radio: Episode 190)
To succeed in college, many students need support and services far beyond tuition assistance. That’s the big takeaway from The Tennessean’s investigation of the state’s Promise Program, which seeks to smooth the road to community college for new high school graduates. EWA Reporting Fellows Jason Gonzales and Adam Tamburin found that while there was a statistically significant increase in community college enrollment since the program’s inception in 2015, students still struggle with outside factors like a lack of preparedness for the rigors of college classes or needing to work to support themselves and their families.
‘Terrified’: Illinois Education Reporters Find Massive Misuse of Student Seclusion
Reporters from ProPublica Illinois and The Chicago Tribune newsrooms team up to investigate into misuses of student seclusion brings swift action from lawmakers
(EWA Radio: Episode 224)
In a joint investigation, ProPublica Illinois’ Jodi Cohen and Jennifer Smith Richards of The Chicago Tribune teamed up to investigate the use of seclusion rooms in Illinois’ public schools. In the process, they discovered that seclusion — billed as a humane way to control misbehaving students — was misused, overused and ended up being disproportionately inflicted on students with disabilities.
A Thousand Days of Secretary DeVos
As President Trump's education chief approaches third year in office, a look at her impact, influence, and why she’s expected to stay the course
(EWA Radio: Episode 223)
When Betsy DeVos was confirmed as the U.S. secretary of education in early 2017, few observers would have bet she would stick around for long. Today, DeVos is one of the longest-serving members of President Trump’s cabinet. Rebecca Klein of The Huffington Post talked with dozens of people about the controversial education secretary’s tenure so far, crafting an in-depth analysis of what motivates her decisions and keeps her on the job.
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.
If DACA Ends, What Happens to Students and Schools?
Final decision pending after U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on program for undocumented children
(EWA Radio: Episode 138)
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case challenging President Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). The program has temporarily protected some 800,000 immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children from being deported. While a key focus is college-age students who fear deportation, ending DACA has significant repercussions for the K-12 school community as well. In this 2017 episode of EWA Radio, soon after Trump announced his plans to unwind DACA, Corey Mitchell of Education Week and Katie Mangan of The Chronicle of Higher Education discussed the potential implications.
Why Impeachment Is a Teachable Moment
As President Trump faces a congressional impeachment inquiry, teachers and education journalists share similar challenges to explain and inform
(EWA Radio: Episode 221)
Unlike long-running controversies over topics such as gun control or immigration policy, it’s been 20 years since the nation was roiled by efforts to impeach a sitting president. That gives today’s civics teachers a unique opportunity to help students connect historical and current events, explains Stephen Sawchuk of Education Week.
How To Cover a Teachers’ Strike
A reporter shares tips on cultivating sources, asking good questions, developing fresh angles
(EWA Radio: Episode 165)
With Chicago teachers on the picket lines this fall — and labor actions in recent months in smaller school districts in California, Colorado, and Washington — hear how Ben Felder of The Oklahoman reported on a statewide walkout by educators in 2018. Like their counterparts in West Virginia and Kentucky, teachers in the Sooner State were seeking more than bigger paychecks; they also aimed to draw attention to funding shortfalls for public schools statewide.
What School Choice Means in Rural Mississippi
The ugly history of ‘segregation academies’ hangs over community’s first charter school
(EWA Radio: Episode 220)
In rural Clarksdale, Mississippi, the phrase “school choice” has a different meaning, as it brings to mind the segregation academies set up by white families opposed to federally mandated school integration. Writing for The Hechinger Report, Danielle Dreilinger spent time in Clarksdale — known as the birthplace of the Blues — which recently got its first charter school, serving an almost all-black student population.
The Fight to Fix Reading Instruction
New documentary looks at science of literacy, debunked theories, and the ongoing debate over what works best
(EWA Radio: Episode 219)
In a new documentary for APM Reports, Emily Hanford digs into the disconnect between the cognitive science on learning to read and the instructional methods being used to teach millions of U.S. students. Among her findings: a popular technique is based on a flawed idea that researchers say may actually be holding back kids from becoming skilled readers.
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.
Paul Tough on Why College Years ‘Matter Most’
New book offers deep dive into social mobility, inequality in higher education
(EWA Radio: Episode 218)
In his new book, “The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes Us or Breaks Us,” author Paul Tough looks at inequities in access to high-quality higher education, specifically, the opportunity to earn degrees that research says lead to high-paying jobs, social mobility, and according to some research, better health and a longer life.
No Forgiveness: Teachers Struggle With Unfair Student Loan Debt
Two federal programs under scrutiny, as thousands of borrowers caught in administrative missteps
(EWA Radio: Episode 217)
Two federal programs that were supposed to steer college students to public service jobs like teaching in high-poverty schools instead became mired in missteps, as the recipients unexpectedly found their grants wrongly converted into high-interest loans. Cory Turner of NPR’s education team spent 18 months looking at problems with the TEACH Grant program, and his findings helped spur the U.S. Department of Education to reverse course.
The Missing Data on Student Restraint and Seclusion
Federal audit finds school districts failing to report the use of physical behavioral interventions
(EWA Radio: Episode 210)
School districts have been vastly underreporting instances when some of their most vulnerable students are physically restrained or sent to seclusion rooms by campus staff — that’s the conclusion of a new report from the Government Accountability Office, a federal watchdog agency. Two reporters on opposite sides of the country were already deep into the reporting on this issue: Jenny Abamu of WAMU in Washington, D.C., and Rob Manning of Oregon Public Broadcasting.
Can Puerto Rico’s Schools Be Saved?
As former education secretary Julia Keleher faces indictment, the U.S. territory struggles to keep schools open and students from fleeing
(EWA Radio: Episode 216)
In Puerto Rico, the public education system is still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Maria two years ago. Now, another storm has hit, but this time it’s political. Education Secretary Julia Keleher, who pledged to reinvigorate the U.S. territory’s crumbling and low-performing schools, resigned in April and has since been indicted on corruption charges. (She has pleaded not guilty.)
The Higher Ed Stories You Need to Know About
Underground fraternities, student loan debt, free speech on campus are top issues for fall
(EWA Radio: Episode 215)
Where can you find reliable data on how your colleges and universities are handling sexual-assault allegations on campus? How do you develop better sources among the faculty senate leadership? And why is now the time to focus on Greek life on campus — and a growing number of students’ opposition to it?
Back to School: Story Ideas, Tips and Trends to Watch
School choice, immigration raids, cultural competency top the list
(EWA Radio: Episode 214)
With a new school year getting underway, how can education reporters find fresh angles on familiar ground? Kate Grossman, the education editor for WBEZ public media in Chicago, offers story ideas, big trends to watch for, and suggestions for networking with parents, teachers, and administrators.
The Ugly Side of Beauty Schools
Students of for-profit career programs struggle with high loan debt, low paying jobs
(EWA Radio: Episode 196)
In this replay of a recent episode of EWA Radio, Meredith Kolodner and Sarah Butrymowicz of The Hechinger Report discuss their investigation into private cosmetology schools in Iowa that are reaping big profits at the expense of their students. Students are spending upward of $20,000 to earn a cosmetology certificate—comparable to the cost of two associates’ degrees at a community college.
Lessons From Parkland: Covering the Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting
Journalists Aric Chokey and Scott Travis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel discuss the newspaper's Pulitzer-winning reporting
(EWA Radio: Episode 204)
Heartbreaking. Frightening. Infuriating. All those words apply to the remarkable coverage by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The newspaper’s reporting since the February 2018 killings earned journalism’s top award this year, the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. The newspaper pushed back on stonewalling by district leadership and public safety officials to uncover missed opportunities that might have mitigated — or even prevented — the school shooting that left 17 people dead and dozens more seriously injured.
Why Is Reading Instruction So Controversial?
In award-winning documentary, APM Reports' Emily Hanford digs into the roots of nation's literacy challenges
(EWA Radio: Episode 181)
Across the country, the way most students are being taught to read is out of step with more than 40 years of scientific research on how children learn this essential skill. That’s the case being made in an award-winning radio documentary from APM Reports’ Emily Hanford, who describes the devastating domino effect of inadequate literacy instruction on students’ academic progress and opportunities.