With school back in session and a new federal education law on the books, K-12 reporter Motoko Rich of the New York Times shares her predictions for the hot topics on the education beat in 2016, as well as some of her favorite stories of the past year produced by other journalists. She also offers some smart tips for reporters looking to localize national issues for their own audiences.
For already struggling students in high-poverty schools, frequent turnover among their teachers – and an over-reliance on substitutes – can hurt achievement.
Faced with massive budget cuts in the wake of the recession, many Idaho school districts switched to a four-day weekly calendar. But more than seven years into the experiment, an investigation by Idaho Education News – lead by reporter Kevin Richert — found little evidence that the schedule change improved either student achievement or the fiscal outlook of cash-strapped districts.
John Merrow began his journalism career in 1974 with National Public Radio, and retired this summer as special correspondent with PBS Newshour. Along the way he racked up a slew of awards, broke big stories, and created a documentary production company.
Thousands of the nation’s smaller school districts struggle to get even the most basic Internet services, making it difficult to take advantage of the wealth of classroom technology that’s giving students more options for how, what, and when they learn.
Reporting the “Unsettled Journeys” project for the Baltimore Sun, veteran education reporter Liz Bowie spent eight months talking to students and staff at Patterson High School.
What does it really take to help students succeed at school and life, and how much of those gains can really be measured by test scores?
Those are some of the questions journalist Kristina Rizga set out to answer in her reporting on a San Francisco high school, first published by Mother Jones magazine. Her investigation turned into a four-year project and the new book “Mission High: One School, How Experts Tried to Fail It, and the Students and Teachers Who Made It Triumph.”
In 2013, Chicago education reporter Sarah Karp asked a question: Why was a no-bid contract for $20 million awarded to a relatively unknown company chosen to provide professional development services in the nation’s third-largest school district?
“Solutions Journalism” aims to draw attention to credible responses to social problems. A brand-new resource can help education reporters take that approach with their own work on the beat.
Why do so few students from low-income families earn college degrees, even when they were academic standouts as high schoolers? And what can be done to help these students make a smoother transition to higher education?
Kavitha Cardoza tackles these questions in “Lower Income, Higher Ed”, a new documentary for WAMU Radio in Washington, D.C.
The Noble Street Network of Charter Schools in Chicago is taking a radical in-house approach to teacher preparation, recruiting and training its own recent graduates for spots at the front of the classroom.
Reporter Becky Vevea of WBEZ Chicago followed new teacher Jose Garcia through his first year at Noble’s Rauner College Prep, while he was also completing coursework through the Relay Graduate School of Education.
Who should be responsible for teaching public school students to not only tolerate, but also appreciate, different views on religion? Where’s the line between instruction and indoctrination? And how effectively are teachers and schools handling the potentially problematic subject matter?
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is on the road this week for his sixth annual back-to-school bus tour.
In 2010, billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced an unprecedented gift: he would donate $100 million to the public school district of Newark, New Jersey (dollars that would eventually be matched by private partners).
Dale Russakoff, a longtime reporter for The Washington Post, spent more than three years reporting on what turned into a massive experiment in top-down educational interventions—with decidedly mixed results.
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.
The Washington Monthly’s new college rankings are out, and this year’s top performers are an eclectic mix of publicly funded institutions, innovative upstarts, and a handful of familiar Ivy League names.
The field of education-only news organizations has gotten surprisingly crowded in recent years, with a surge in coverage of policy and practice at the city, state, and national levels. Who are the players behind the surge? Do the organizations advocate a point of view, or hew closer to traditional objective news coverage?
What if digital gaming in the classroom didn’t just make school more fun for kids, it actually made them smarter? That’s the premise of veteran education journalist Greg Toppo’s new book, “The Game Believes in You”.
Conversations about classroom discipline typically focus on ways to teach kids there are consequences to their actions as a means of controlling future behavior. But a new approach gaining ground removes the sliding scale of punishment from the equation.
Clinical psychologist Ross Greene — whose books are well known to parents of so-called “problem kids,” is rewriting the rules for how some schools respond to challenging students.
Nestled within the new-agey sounding concept of “noncognitive factors” are fairly concrete examples of what parents and educators should and shouldn’t do to prepare students for the rigors of college and careers. Gleaned from research into brain development and human behavior, a toolkit is emerging on how to make the best of the scholarship focused on qualities like grit, persistence and learning from mistakes.
With Hispanic students accounting for the largest growth in college enrollment, how are higher education institutions reshaping programs and services to meet their needs? What are the most popular colleges for Hispanic students, and what’s driving their choices?
After nearly two years of public debate, and vociferous pushback from the higher education community, the White House announced it is pulling back on plans to rate the nation’s colleges based on a complex matrix of performance measures and student outcomes. Paul Fain, news editor for Inside Higher Ed has been following this story closely since the beginning, and he helped break the news that the Obama administration was scrapping the most controversial parts of its original proposal.
He spoke with EWA public editor Emily Richmond about who’s surprised by the decision (hint: not a lot of people), and the role played by aggressive lobbying against the rating plan by much of the higher education community. Fain and Richmond also discussed college ratings and consumer tools already available, and how to answer parents and students who ask for advice on choosing a school.
In his State of the Union address in January, President Obama noted that the nation’s graduation rate had hit a 30-year record high of 81 percent. But how accurate is that number? National Public Radio’s education team decided to find out, assigning 14 regional reporters to cover the story. What they found is that while there is likely some genuine improvement in student achievement, there are also plenty of instances where schools and districts are lowering expectations in order to raise the grad rate.
EWA Radio spoke with the lead journalists on the multimedia project: Anya Kamanetz and Cory Turner. They discussed the origins of the assignment, lessons learned along the way, and some smart tips for local reporters looking at the data in their own communities.
For students with disabilities, it can be a rocky transition from a supportive school environment to the “real world” of college and career. What programs and services are helping to clear their path? Which districts and states are doing the best job at preparing students with disabilities to advocate for themselves? And where is the policy and practice falling short? Education Week delves deep into these issues.
Education Week staff writer Christina Samuels, the lead reporter on the Diplomas Count 2015 report Next Steps: Life After Graduation, talks with EWA Radio about the national trends, examples of best practices, and story ideas for local reporters writing about special education issues.
Isensee of Houston Public Media talks with EWA
public editor Emily
Richmond about her
five-part series examining school funding inequities in the
Lone Star State.
A former reporter with the Miami Herald, Isensee also discusses making the transition from print to broadcast, how reporters can take advantage of multimedia opportunities, and the challenge of turning “numbers heavy” pieces into stories that listeners can relate to—and want to hear.
This spring marks the debut of online assessments aligned to the
Common Core, and so far the rollout has been uneven as many
states struggle with technical logistics.
EWA public editor Emily Richmond talks with education reporter Charlie Boss of the Columbus Dispatch about how Ohio’s districts, schools, teachers and students are adjusting to the demands of the new standards and tests.
How do teachers and parents determine whether school reform is effective? Hint: it’s not all about test scores.
Reporter Katrina Schwartz focuses on classroom innovations for KQED San Francisco’s Mindshift education blog, which is produced in partnership with NPR.
She spoke to EWA’s Emily Richmond and Mikhail Zinshteyn about sifting through the buzzwords, what attracts her to a potential education story, and why anecdotal evidence is worth considering when evaluating school and student performance.
Boston public radio reporter Kirk Carapezza (WGBH News) spent a week in Germany examining the country’s tuition-free higher education system. What lessons are there for the United States, which is grappling with issues of equity and cost at its own colleges and universities? How is Germany successfully training its next generation of vocational workers? Could Americans ever embrace a public school system that rigorously “tracks” students toward specific careers at an early age?
In her investigative takeout for Politico Pro, reporter Stephanie Simon tackles British publishing giant Pearson, which has raked in billions of dollars in profits as a direct result of the testing requirements mandated to U.S. by No Child Left Behind. Are lax regulations allowing Pearson to make huge profits despite falling short on its contractual obligations? Are states and districts in a position to do a better job of oversight?
Grappling with achievement gaps between their rich and poor students, a growing number of schools and districts are resolving to add more minutes or days to the academic calendar, and Boston has emerged as a leader in this trend.
The New Yorker magazine recently served up a deep look at Jeb Bush’s history as an education reformer, and how it might influence his positions as a potential candidate for president.
President Obama’s address to Congress laid out ambitious plans for higher education reform. But there was scant mention of initiatives for elementary and secondary students.
On Tuesday night, President Obama renewed his commitment to making community college free to most students, despite a distinct lack of enthusiasm from the Republican-controlled Congress.
Two journalists, a local reporter who covers education in Bakersfield and national reporter for NPR, discuss how they approach their beats, reflect on surprises they encountered in 2014, and provide predictions for the stories of 2015. Teaser: What grabs attention nationally may not be on the minds of local readers.
A reporter who covers Ohio State University and a national higher-ed reporter discuss how their vantage points influence coverage. Does having a background in covering K-12 improve higher-ed reporting? Do national reporters benefit from living near flagship state universities? The guests also make predictions for stories to watch in 2015.
Earlier this month, Rolling Stone magazine published a story about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia, which resulted in outrage, shock, and a temporary suspension of all fraternities and sororities at the vaunted institution of higher education. But now, serious questions have been raised about freelance writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s reporting, as well as Rolling Stone’s decision to publish the story without stronger verification.
It’s no surprise that many college students drink, especially those attending a flagship university with a storied sports program. Reporters Karin Fischer and Eric Hoover of The Chronicle of Higher Education explored the realities of a mass drinking culture at the University of Georgia in an extraordinary article, “A River of Booze.”
Politico’s Allie Grasgreen and Alyson Klein of Education Week join EWA Radio hosts Emily Richmond and Mikhail Zinshteyn to discuss the changing education priorities of Congress now that the GOP controls both houses. The reporters share their election surprises and provide tips for reporters on what to expect in federal legislation through 2016.
Why are so many principals in Denver leaving their jobs? And what is the local school district doing to try and stem the churn? EWA Radio speaks with Katharine Schimel of Chalkbeat Colorado about her story looking into the high rate of principal turnover, and what it means for student learning and campus climate in the Mile High City.
Whether you’re a veteran journalist or relatively new to the education beat, EWA’s resources can help you make the most of your reporting.
EWA’s Emily Richmond and Mikhail Zinshteyn speak with Annie Gilbertson of KPCC, Southern California’s NPR affiliate, about her investigation into the Los Angeles Unified School District’s $1.2 billion investment in classroom technology.
EWA’s Emily Richmond and Mikhail Zinshteyn speak with Money Magazine education reporter Kim Clark about the publication’s first-ever college rankings, which focus on the return-on-investment factor of earning a degree from a particular institution.
A Chicago Tribune investigation turns up instances of lawmakers intervening in teacher licensing decisions on behalf of their friends and donors. Tribune education reporter Diane Rado speaks with EWA’s Emily Richmond and Mikhail Zinshteyn about her ongoing coverage of licensing issues, and what it means for local students and schools.
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.