EWA Radio

Overview

EWA Radio
Your guide to what's hot on the education reporting beat.

Each week, EWA's public editor, Emily Richmond, hosts engaging interviews with journalists about education and its coverage in the media.

Don't Miss an Episode! Subscribe to the EWA Radio Podcast

Find us on  iHeartRadio,  iTunes, Google Podcasts,  Google Play Music,  Pocket Casts  Spotify,  Stitcher,  or through the RSS feed.

If you have an idea for an episode, let Emily know. Remember to rate us on iTunes—your feedback and support will help us grow.

©2018 Education Writers Association

"Mother Will Call" by PK Jazz Collective used under terms of the CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.

Each week, EWA’s public editor, Emily Richmond, hosts engaging interviews with journalists about education and its coverage in the media.

Don’t Miss an Episode! Subscribe to the EWA Radio Podcast

Find us on  iHeartRadio,  iTunes, Google Podcasts,  Google Play Music,  Pocket Casts  Spotify,  Stitcher,  or through the RSS feed.

If you have an idea for an episode, let Emily know. Remember to rate us on iTunes—your feedback and support will help us grow.

©2018 Education Writers Association

“Mother Will Call” by PK Jazz Collective used under terms of the CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.

EWA Radio

Why Four-Day School Weeks Are Gaining Ground
Districts use shorter schedule to cut costs, recruit teachers
(EWA Radio: Episode 185)

Once more common to rural communities, the four-day school week is growing in popularity in suburban and urban districts as a way to reduce costs, boost student engagement, and even retain staff. Tawnell Hobbs of The Wall Street Journal found the number of school systems following a four-day academic week has skyrocketed in the past decade, from about 120 districts in 17 states to at least 600 districts in 22 states this year.

EWA Radio

The Feds Have 13,000 Migrant Kids in Custody. Who’s Teaching Them?
Investigation finds little oversight of private companies providing required academic instruction inside detention facilities
(EWA Radio: Episode 184)

Thousands of migrant children have been taken into custody while crossing the border into the U.S., either on their own or while traveling with family members. While they await a court date, the federal government is required to provide school-age detainees—being held in facilities across the country—with daily schooling. In a new investigation, Lauren Camera of U.S.

EWA Radio

Want to Help Students in Poverty? Help Their Families, Too.
A review of research finds positive benefits to boosting family well-being
(EWA Radio: Episode 183)

In the debate over how to boost student achievement, especially among kids from low-income families, out-of-school factors are often cited as hurdles that even the best school-based programs and services can’t fully overcome. But what about programs that focus on lifting an entire family out of poverty?

EWA Radio

Remember the Alamo. Forget Helen Keller.
There’s more to Texas' new social studies standards than the viral headlines
(EWA Radio: Episode 182)

Dallas Morning News reporter Lauren McGaughy was expecting another mundane Texas Board of Education meeting. Instead, she wound up with a story that quickly went viral, detailing plans to revise social studies standards — and remove references to Helen Keller and Hillary Clinton, among others. 

EWA Radio

Is It Time to Turn The Page on How Schools Teach Reading?
Outdated instructional approaches are hurting student learning, experts say
(EWA Radio: Episode 181)

(image: Katherine Zhou for APM Reports)

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 a new radio documentary from APM Reports’ Emily Hanford, who describes the devastating domino effect of inadequate literacy instruction on students’ academic progress and opportunities.

EWA Radio

When School Funding Isn’t Fair
What does educational inequity look like in Pennsylvania's schools?
(EWA Radio: Episode 180)

image of bleachers at Aliquippa Junior-Senior High School's football field

In recent years, multiple U.S. Secretaries of education, appointed by both Republicans and Democrats, have called access to quality public schools a civil rights issue. At the same time, a growing number of states face court challenges to how they fund their K-12 systems, amid concerns that current approaches exacerbate inequities, particularly for historically underserved groups like students of color.

EWA Radio

Back-to-School Story Ideas: Higher Ed Edition
From free speech to DeVos' policy rollbacks, how will colleges and universities approach new academic year?
(EWA Radio: Episode 174)

Scott Jaschik, the editor and co-founder of Inside Higher Ed, shares his annual “what to watch” list for reporters covering postsecondary education—from the impact of the Trump administration’s policies and rhetoric on international-student enrollment to efforts to train the next generation of workers in high-need fields. Other ideas Jaschik serves up: How are university leaders handling free speech issues on campus, from student protests to controversial speakers?

EWA Radio

Higher Ed ‘Deserts’: Who Lives in Them, and Why it Matters
For millions of would-be college students, convenient and affordable degree programs are out of reach
(EWA Radio: Episode 179)

About seven in 10 undergraduates are “nontraditional” students, according to the U.S. Department of Education, meaning they delayed starting college, have a job or children, or are attending part-time. Meanwhile,, millions of would-be college students live in what some have dubbed higher ed “deserts” without easy or affordable access to postsecondary education.

EWA Radio

What Does Hate Look Like in Schools? Education Week and ProPublica Show Us.
Is President Trump's Fiery Rhetoric Fueling Incidents at Public Campuses?
(EWA Radio: Episode 177)

Swastikas scrawled on bathroom walls. A confederate flag hanging behind a teacher’s desk. Chants of “build the wall” aimed at Hispanic students. As part of ProPublica’s “Documenting Hate” project, Education Week tallied incidents of harassment, bullying, graffiti and more at public schools across the country. The team, including Education Week’s Francisco Vara-Orta, sifted through thousands of tips, as well as news coverage of incidents from across the nation.

EWA Radio

This School Lets Teachers Decide Discipline. Is It Working?
A social-emotional approach to classroom management that's gaining steam nationally (EWA Radio: Episode 168)

image of teacher and students at Ohio Ave school.

What would happen if teachers had the flexibility to handle classroom discipline issues on a case-by-case basis, rather than following top-down mandates from the district or the principal’s office? Writing for The Atlantic, Katherine Reynolds Lewis visited Ohio Avenue Elementary School in Columbus, where an effort to rethink approaches to bad behavior appears to be paying big dividends.

EWA Radio

Want Reporting With More Impact? It’s Complicated.
In age of Trump, researchers look to high-quality journalism as tool for bridging divides (EWA Radio: Episode 176)

At a time of deep political polarization in the United States, how might journalists play a role in bridging the divide among Americans? Complicate the narrative, suggests veteran journalist Amanda Ripley. “We need to find ways to help our audiences leave their foxholes and consider new ideas,” she writes in a new piece for the Solutions Journalism Network.

EWA Radio

Summer Reading List: ‘Little Soldiers’
What happens when an American boy enrolls in a Chinese school?
(EWA Radio: Episode 175)

Around the time that China’s Shanghai province was drawing international attention for top scores on a global exam, U.S. journalist Lenora Chu and her husband moved into their new Shanghai home. They lived just blocks away from a highly-regarded primary school that she calls a “laboratory for Chinese education reform,” and managed to secure a spot for their young son. The next few years gave Chu an inside look into Shanghai’s elite school system, and sparked a deeper interest in education in China.

EWA Radio

What Are the Hottest Stories on the Higher Ed Beat?
Here’s Your Cheat Sheet. (EWA Radio: Episode 174)

Scott Jaschik, the editor and co-founder of Inside Higher Ed, shares his annual “what to watch” list for reporters covering postsecondary education—from the impact of the Trump administration’s policies and rhetoric on international-student enrollment to efforts to train the next generation of workers in high-need fields. Other ideas Jaschik serves up: How are university leaders handling free speech issues on campus, from student protests to controversial speakers?

EWA Radio

Districts Double Down on Student Data
Will investments in digital accountability, family engagement pay off for schools?
(EWA Radio: Episode 173)

All Systems Go! Andrew Hart Flickr

From test scores to parent portals, districts are making big investments in data management systems intended to inform everything from classroom instruction to staffing decisions. But as Jenny Abamu reports for EdSurge, school systems are also struggling to hire qualified data managers to oversee these often complex networks, and to make sure that educators are both inputting — and using — the collected information appropriately.

EWA Radio

In First-Ever Survey, School Police Speak Up
Campus safety, student civil rights, and active-shooter readiness in the spotlight (EWA Radio: Episode 170)

image of School Resource Officer

Who are the nation’s school police officers? Have they received adequate training to work with youths? And how prepared do they believe their campuses are for a mass shooting event? In a first-of-its-kind survey, Education Week got answers to these and many more questions from school resource officers. Reporter Evie Blad and Holly Yettick, the director of the Education Week Research Center, discuss the findings and their implications on this episode of EWA Radio.

EWA Radio

Digging Up Dirt: This Reporter’s Investigation Finds Filthy Chicago Schools
Lax oversight of private custodial services a big factor, Chicago Sun-Times finds (EWA Radio: Episode 169)

image of Chicago Sun Times article CPS's Dirty Little Secrets

When Chicago Public Schools decided to privatize its custodial and facilities maintenance services in 2014, district officials promised it would mean cleaner campuses. But as Lauren FitzPatrick of the Chicago Sun-Times reports in a new series, that’s a far cry from the reality. Instead, inspectors found rat and bug infestations, filthy bathrooms, and potentially hazardous conditions for students and staff.

EWA Radio

Helping Students Help Themselves
A social-emotional learning approach to school discipline (EWA Radio: Episode 168)

image of teacher and students at Ohio Ave school.

What would happen if teachers had the flexibility to handle classroom discipline issues on a case-by-case basis, rather than following top-down mandates from the district or the principal’s office? Writing for The Atlantic, Katherine Reynolds Lewis visited Ohio Avenue Elementary School in Columbus, where an effort to rethink approaches to bad behavior is paying big dividends.

EWA Radio

Can Kindness Be Taught? The L.A. School District Is Trying to Find Out.
Social and emotional learning is focus of new curriculum (EWA Radio: Episode 167)

In the nation’s second-largest school district, every preschooler — nearly 30,000 of them — are being taught an experimental curriculum that focuses on so-called “soft skills,” such as empathy and cooperation. Reporter Priska Neely of Southern California Public Radio recently explored the Sanford Harmony model — named for a billionaire banking philanthropist — which is being used with more than 1 million K-5 students nationwide, including in Los Angeles.

EWA Radio

Lessons From the Oklahoma Teachers’ Strike
Educators’ walkouts fuel push for better pay, statewide education funding (EWA Radio: Episode 165)

image of teachers rally in front of OK state capitol 2018.

After nine days on the picket lines, Oklahoma teachers are back to work this week. Like their counterparts in West Virginia and Kentucky who also went on strike this spring,  teachers in the Sooner State were seeking more than bigger paychecks; they also aimed to draw attention to funding shortfalls for public schools statewide. Ben Felder of The Oklahoman shares his experiences as a local reporter covering what quickly swelled into a national story.

EWA Radio

There’s a New Federal Budget. What’s in It for Schools?
Education Department sees boost, despite Trump, DeVos' push to downsize (EWA Radio: Episode 164)

image of Betsy Devos testifying before House Appropriations Subcommittee

After months of wrangling, Congress passed — and President Trump signed — a massive spending bill that ups funding for the U.S. Department of Education. The bipartisan measure is arguably a “wholesale rejection” of Trump’s education agenda, according to Caitlin Emma of Politico’s education team. For starters, rather than meet the call from Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to slash federal aid, lawmakers instead allocated an additional $2.6 billion, bringing the Education Department’s budget to nearly $71 billion. How did this happen?

EWA Radio

Three Countries in 14 Minutes: School Choice Lessons From Abroad
Vouchers, private schools, and open enrollment in France, Sweden, and New Zealand (EWA Radio: Episode 162)

photo of children during recess at Hokitika Primary School, New Zealand, 2017

School choice is one of the most contentious issues in K-12  education today. But it’s hardly an American invention. Sarah Butrymowicz of The Hechinger Report recently traveled to New Zealand, Sweden, and France to look at how school choice plays out, and whether there are lessons for the U.S. system. Why is New Zealand considered a “school choice utopia,” and how is its open enrollment policy driving programming and competition among local campuses?

EWA Radio

‘Reading, Writing, Evicted’: How Housing Woes Hurt Students and Schools
New series looks at academic and health effects of student mobility (EWA Radio: Episode 161)

image from the Oregonian of teacher and student in classroom

In Portland, Oregon, so-called “no cause” evictions are forcing hundreds of students to switch schools — sometimes more than once — during the course of the academic year. That leaves individual kids struggling to stay on track academically, and schools scrambling to high rates of student turnover.

EWA Radio

Lessons From the Stoneman Douglas School Shooting
Student advocacy, campus safety, and journalism ethics in the spotlight (EWA Radio: Episode 160)

Photo taken at student-led vigil.

For most journalists, the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida is a national story. But for Jessica Bakeman of WLRN public radio, it’s local. She’s closely covered the story for this NPR affiliate in South Florida, including the effects of the shooting on students, educators, and parents, and the student survivors’ growing grassroots campaign to enact stricter gun control laws both in Florida and nationally.

EWA Radio

Happy Anniversary Betsy DeVos (Part 2)
Part II: Education Secretary’s First Year Brought Big Changes for Higher Ed (EWA Radio: Episode 159)

photo of Betsy Devos at Valencia College in 2017

From rescinding guidance on how campuses should handle sexual assault cases to changing the rules for forgiving student loan debt, it’s been a busy first year on the job for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Some of her biggest policy moves — and ensuing controversies — have involved colleges and universities, explains Adam Harris of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Where has DeVos had the most immediate immediate impact at advancing the Trump Administration’s agenda? What’s been the fallout from her move to rescind Obama administration-era guidance on Title IX?

EWA Radio

Happy Anniversary, Betsy DeVos
Part I: How Has U.S. Education Secretary’s First Year Influenced K-12 Schools? (EWA Radio: Episode 158)

photo of Betsy Devos Swearing In Ceremony February 2017

Betsy DeVos was sworn in a year ago this month as President Trump’s secretary of education, following Senate approval by the narrowest of margins. Alyson Klein of Education Week reflects on DeVos’ first year and discusses how the secretary’s policy priorities are evolving, along with her comfort level in her first job in public education.  Klein also shares a glimpse of how teachers and education leaders rate DeVos’ job performance in a new Education Week poll.

EWA Radio

In Wake of Sex Abuse Scandal, What’s Next for Michigan State University?
Fallout from Larry Nassar conviction forces MSU President Lou Anna Simon's resignation; state, federal Title IX investigations in the works (EWA Radio: Episode 157)

Image of protest at MSU

Sports doctor Larry Nassar is in federal prison but the story is far from over for Michigan State University, his longtime employer. More than 150 women—including college and Olympic gymnasts—say that over the course of two decades he sexually abused them under the guise of providing medical treatment. The legal fallout alone could cost the university as much as $1 billion.

EWA Radio

This Reporter Found School District’s Secret ‘Blacklist’
Qualified teachers say they were unfairly kept out of Tucson Public Schools' classrooms (EWA Radio: Episode 156)

backlisted image

For decades, rumors swirled that the Tucson, Arizona, school district had a secret roster of former employees on a “do not hire” list, even though they never had faced serious disciplinary measures. Arizona Daily Star education reporter Hank Stephenson put some mysterious pieces together and brought the list to light. Among the clues: an off-hand comment Stephenson heard by a trustee at the close of a school board meeting.

EWA Radio

How Does Your State Fare on the Education Week Report Card?
Nation overall gets 'C' grade; State leadership a factor in slow improvement, experts say (EWA Radio: Episode 155)

image from edweeek.org

Education Week’s annual “Quality Counts” report offers a wealth of state-level data on students and schools, from academic indicators to equity in funding formulas. But how can reporters make the most of these numbers — and the state rankings — to tell compelling stories about their own local schools? Assistant director Sterling Lloyd and reporter Daarel Burnette join EWA Radio to discuss the national and state-by-state results. Which states made gains, which slipped behind, and why?

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.

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 Radio

Let’s Talk About Sex (Ed.)
How local politics are influencing public school programs, teen birth rates

The Central Valley is home to six of the 10 counties with the highest teen pregnancy rates in California. The same communities also have some of the highest rates of sexually transmitted disease. But as reporter Mackenzie Mays discovered by crunching the numbers in a new series for The Fresno Bee, those statistics vary widely by ZIP code, as does access to school-based health programs and services.

EWA Radio

The Tax Bill: What Education Reporters Need to Know
Public schools and universities on edge over Republican plan for overhaul

The tax legislation congressional Republicans are rushing to complete has potentially big stakes for education. Critics suggest it will translate into a big financial hit for public schools and universities, as the rules for education-related deductions, revenue-raising bond measures and more are potentially tightened. Andrew Ujifusa of Education Week and Eric Kelderman of The Chronicle of Higher Education offer a primer on the House and Senate versions of the tax-code overhaul, including key differences lawmakers still must hammer out.

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.

EWA Radio

When Cyber-Hackers Attack, School Districts Are Paying the Ransom.
Data security, student privacy, employee records at risk

From Georgia to California, school districts are facing a growing security threat: hackers. They target everything from employee payroll accounts to student records, and demand ransom in exchange for not taking advantage of sensitive information. Tawnell Hobbs of The Wall Street Journal discovered that school districts are surprisingly vulnerable to cyber attacks. And many are opting to pay the ransom and not reporting the crime to authorities. Is your school district a target?

EWA Radio

Why Public Research Universities Are Struggling
Higher education enrollment downturns, federal funding predictions, and how U.S. global competitiveness could be at risk.

For a growing number of public universities, particularly in the midwest, what was once a push for academic excellence is now more like a battle for survival, as detailed by The Hechinger Report’s Jon Marcus in a new piece for Washington Monthly. What happened? Enrollment drops, funding cuts and shifting public attitudes toward higher education.

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?

EWA Radio

After the Storms: Uncertain Futures for Puerto Rico’s Students
EWA Radio: Episode 144

The public education system in Puerto Rico was already struggling before two historic hurricanes — Irma and Maria — wreaked havoc on this U.S. territory. Reporter Andrew Ujifusa and photographer Swikar Patel of Education Week discuss their recent reporting trip to Puerto Rico, where they met students and teachers who have lost their homes — as well as their schools — and are now struggling to get the basic essentials, like food and shelter.

EWA Radio

What Students With Dyslexia Need — But Aren’t Getting — From Schools
EWA Radio: Episode 143

A new radio documentary by APM Reports concludes that American schools are failing to use proven methods for helping dyslexic students learn to read — techniques that could also benefit their classmates. Emily Hanford, a correspondent and senior producer for APM Reports, discusses why school districts are often resistant to identifying students as dyslexic, and how long-standing debates over how best to teach reading have kept some schools from adopting best practices.

EWA Radio

Are the Feds Ignoring Segregated Schools?
EWA Radio: Episode 140

(Pexels/Pixabay)

In a cover story for The Nation, Emmanuel Felton of The Hechinger Report argues that the federal government has substantially abandoned Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in which struck down the doctrine of “separate but equal” education. Felton found nearly 200 school districts still under federal orders to desegregate, but many of them have failed to submit the requisite progress reports.