Federal Policy & Reform
‘Evergreen’ Education Stories for the Holiday Week
Wish lists, good deeds, and challenging realities for K-12 and higher ed students
Even when school is out for winter break, education reporters are still on the hunt for smart stories. Here are few “evergreen” ideas that will age even better than that fruitcake you scored in the office gift swap:
With President Trump expected to sign GOP legislation approved this week to overhaul the tax code, analysts are scrambling to unpack the complicated GOP deal, including the stakes for education. The plan could make it much harder for some communities to pay for public schools, analysts say, while it offers a new tax break for private school tuition and other K-12 expenses. Meanwhile, last-minute dealmaking has led to key shifts in how the tax package will impact colleges and universities.
EWA’s National Seminar is the largest annual gathering of journalists on the education beat. This multiday conference provides participants with top-notch training delivered through dozens of interactive sessions on covering education from early childhood through graduate school. Featuring prominent speakers, engaging campus visits, and plentiful networking opportunities, this must-attend conference provides participants with deeper understanding of the latest developments in education, a lengthy list of story ideas, and a toolbox of sharpened journalistic skills.
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.
Everybody says college is expensive. But exactly how costly are the colleges you cover? At 1 p.m. EST on Dec. 14, journalists participated in a free one-hour training webinar on two new and as-yet little-known data tools. They learned ways to quickly find the most reliable and relevant data on costs, prices and affordability.
Attendees had the opportunity to hear from – and pose questions to – two of the most knowledgeable college cost data experts in the country.
Campus racial conflicts, sports corruption scandals, and a new partisan divide over the perceived benefits of college are among the biggest potential storylines for journalists covering higher education these days, according to Inside Higher Ed co-founder and editor Scott Jaschik.
A commonly cited statistic used in news stories about campus sexual assault is likely wrong — but not for the reason you think.
An elderly black woman with a crumpled piece of paper helped reframe the way Jose Antonio Vargas views the debate over immigration in America.
Vargas is a longtime journalist, an undocumented immigrant, and an advocate for immigrants. He was at a Tea Party event in North Carolina a couple of years ago when the woman, who recognized him from television, approached. She held a document she said her great, great, grandmother was handed after landing in South Carolina.
It was a bill of sale.
From heated debates over free speech to the Trump administration’s threats to deport undocumented students, these are tense times on college campuses. For reporters who cover higher education, questions abound and important stories need to be told.
On Oct. 2-3, EWA will bring together journalists at Georgia State University in Atlanta to explore pressing issues in education after high school. (Here’s the preliminary agenda.) At this journalist-only seminar you will hear:
Monday, October 2, 2017
9:45– 11:30 a.m.: (Optional) Journalists’ Tour of CNN
CNN has graciously agreed to give 20 EWA members a journalists-only tour of their newsroom, and a chance to talk with members of CNN’s newsgathering, digital and data analysis teams to learn about their state-of-the art techniques of building traffic. The tour will start at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 2 at CNN’s Atlanta headquarters, located at One CNN Center, Atlanta, GA 30303. Please be at the entryway at 9:45 a.m. so you can go through security.
Taryn Morrissey recalls that when she had her first child several years ago, “I knew how expensive it was going to be.” Morrissey is, after all, an associate professor at American University who studies child-care policy. Then she started shopping for child-care centers and got hit with sticker shock.
“It’s REALLY expensive,” she said with a laugh.
With the White House expected to decide shortly on the fate of the DACA program, questions loom about future access to U.S. education by undocumented immigrants. And some education leaders are speaking out this week in favor of protecting the program.
“How many people are here in some part because you’ve made a request for a record and gotten the FERPA answer?” asked Frank LoMonte, an expert in the federal privacy law, to a roomful of education reporters at a recent conference.
Nearly all in attendance raised their hands.
“That’s why my phone rings 2,000 times a year,” said LoMonte during the Education Writers Association’s 2017 National Seminar in Washington, D.C.
In the aftermath of the white supremacy gathering in Charlottesville, Va., some universities are under pressure to take action against students who attend rallies organized by hate groups. Nick Roll of Inside Higher Ed discusses the situation and how postsecondary institutions are responding. How do universities balance respect for free speech with concerns about cultivating an inclusive campus environment?
The Trump administration has big ambitions to ramp up school choice — both public and private — but those desires have quickly bumped up against political reality. Will the president and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos deliver? It remains to be seen, though speakers on a recent EWA panel expressed some skepticism.
Journalist Kelly Field recently won a top honor at EWA’s National Seminar for her compelling series, “From the Reservation to College,” on the education of Native American students. Field’s coverage for The Chronicle of Higher Education — supported by an EWA Reporting Fellowship — follows several students from the Blackfeet Indian reservation in Montana. Their experiences highlight the significant educational challenges facing Native communities in the U.S.
A new investigation by NerdWallet’s public-interest journalism team focuses on student loan debt-relief companies that promise consumers savvy fiscal help but too often do little to actually lighten their load — and, in some cases, actually increase borrowers’ financial burdens. Reporters Richard Read and Teddy Nykiel discuss who is — and isn’t — holding these companies accountable. What would need to change at the state and federal levels to improve consumer protections?
Educators have been wading through a sea of conflicting messages from President Trump’s administration about undocumented immigrants, trying to figure out how best to serve these students without breaking the law.
Alyson Klein of Education Week and Andrew Kreighbaum of Inside Higher Ed discuss recent developments on the federal policy front, and what’s been a busy month for U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. The Education Department has hit the “pause button” on regulations aimed at reining in for-profit colleges, announced plans to scale back civil rights investigations, and suggested federal scrutiny of state accountability plans for K-12 education could be more forceful than some people — particularly Republicans — were expecting.