Federal Policy & Reform
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.
Reporting on Biden’s Higher Education Policies in a Divisive Era
Tips for covering state and federal policies, enrollment declines, campus challenges and more
University leaders hope to take advantage of a potentially historic influx of federal funding, re-engage students who left during the pandemic and stave off longer-term enrollment drops.
They face these challenges amid bitter fights over mask and vaccine mandates, and political polarization over affirmative action, freedom of speech and allegations of “cancel culture.”
Celebrating 75 Years!
Covering alleged incidents of sexual assault is a difficult assignment for any journalist. Education reporters have to deal with the added complication of Title IX, the 39-page federal law that addresses sexual discrimination in education.
In 2017, as many as 4.5 million young people—or 11.5 percent of young adults ages 16 to 24—were neither in school nor working, according to the nonprofit Measure of America. By the summer of 2020, the organization estimated, the ranks of these “disconnected” young adults had swelled to 6 million.
Read the full story here.
“Free college” was one of President Joe Biden’s most popular campaign promises.
But there’s no such thing as a free lunch. So what’s the reality behind the free college plans? What are the costs? Are there any gotchas?
The Education Writers Association’s 74th National Seminar will focus on the theme of “Now What? Reporting on Education Amid Uncertainty.” Four afternoons of conversations, training and presentations will give attendees deeper understanding of these crises, as well as tools, skills and context to help them better serve their communities — and advance their careers.
To be held May 2-5, 2021, the seminar will feature education newsmakers, including leaders, policy makers, researchers, practitioners and journalists. And it will offer practical data and other skills training.
Who Is Miguel Cardona?
President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for education secretary prioritizes equity, data, and collaboration, say Connecticut Mirror reporters
(EWA Radio Episode 259)
Connecticut education commissioner Miguel Cardona has surged into the national spotlight as President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Education.
How Will Your Community Benefit From the New $81 Billion in Pandemic Relief for Education?
Experts explain ins and outs of new aid flowing to schools and universities, and how to track it
More than $81 billion in new stimulus aid is coming to schools and universities as part of the new federal COVID relief measure. Get a quick introduction to tracking the money that will flow to the schools you cover in this EWA webinar.
Two policy experts explain:
EWA Radio: Your Top 10 of ‘20 Holiday Playlist
From COVID-19 coverage to the politics of textbooks, catch up with the top podcast episodes of the year
While most of us won’t be traveling far this holiday season, we still need those essential holiday playlists. Catch up with the most popular episodes this year of the EWA Radio podcast, which features journalists discussing the backstories to their best education reporting. (It’s also a good time to subscribe, so you don’t miss any new episodes in ‘21!)
What will President-elect Joe Biden’s victory mean for education? How does the uncertainty in political control of the Senate complicate matters? What actions can the Biden administration accomplish through executive action?
Get early indications of likely actions on issues including emergency aid for schools and colleges, civil rights enforcement, Title IX, student loans, and more during this Education Writers Association Webinar.
If elected president, what would Joe Biden do for education? Although campaign plans face plenty of obstacles when it’s time to govern, the former vice president has rolled out a sweeping education agenda, from the earliest years through college and beyond.
The Democratic nominee also has developed a “road map to reopening schools safely” amid the pandemic, and has been sharply critical of President Trump’s approach.
EWA’s National Seminar is the largest annual gathering of journalists on the education beat.
This multi-day conference is designed to give participants the skills, understanding, and inspiration to improve their coverage of education at all levels. It also will deliver a lengthy list of story ideas. We will offer numerous sessions on important education issues, as well as on journalism skills.
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.
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.
The push for free college is a recognition that the most well-traveled economic path to good jobs and the middle class requires at least some college for the vast majority of young Americans. It is also a response to the reality that many students and their families are taking on large amounts of debt to finance increasingly pricey postsecondary educations.
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.
Many Political Battles Over Higher Education Boil Down to Money
Partisans dispute how, how much, or even whether, taxpayers should support colleges
The political fault lines of higher education extend far beyond headline-grabbing student protests and furor over controversial speakers.
In fact, that sound and fury often distracts from a more practical political issue facing higher education today: How should Americans pay for college? Should students themselves bear the full costs of their education or should taxpayers help keep costs low? And if so, how should the burden be apportioned between state and federal taxes?
Colleges Struggle to Adapt to Changing Demographics
More diverse student body poses challenges in admissions, teaching and counseling
Quick: Picture a “typical” college student. Are you envisioning a young person wearing a college sweatshirt, living in a dorm and attending school full time?
Try again: Full-time students who live on campus account for less than 15 percent of all undergraduates, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
At a recent Education Writers Association seminar, three experts on student demographics suggested that investigations into changes to the makeup of the nation’s undergraduate student body can spark fresh and impactful stories.
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.