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Overview Rick Wilson

Latest Education News

A collection of the most recent education journalism, curated by EWA staff. 

A collection of the most recent education journalism, curated by EWA staff. 

Latest News

Free College In Chile: What The U.S. Can Learn

So poor was the education she received at her public high school, Pilar Vega Martinez had to take an extra year to study for the Prueba de Selección Universitaria — the Chilean version of the SAT.

The work paid off. Her score on the exam was good enough to get her into the top-rated University of Chile. Vega is now in her third year, studying to be a nurse. And thanks to an important change in government policy, life got easier after that: She didn’t have to pay.

Latest News

Dozens of School Districts Applied to An Obama-Era Integration Program Before Trump Officials Axed It. Since Then, Many Plans Have Gone Nowhere.

When Austin school officials applied for a $1.5 million federal grant to embark on a school integration initiative, they were blunt.

The city and school district had a long history of intentionally segregating black and Latino families and students, they said, and recent attempts to desegregate schools had failed.

Latest News

Minority Voters Chafe as Democratic Candidates Abandon Charter Schools

At issue is the delicate politics of race and education. For more than two decades, Democrats have largely backed public charter schools as part of a compromise to deliver black and Latino families a way out of failing district schools. Charters were embraced as an alternative to the taxpayer-funded vouchers for private-school tuition supported by Republicans, who were using the issue to woo minority voters.

Latest News

Everybody Supports ‘Equity,’ But How Do They Define It?

Pursuing equity—however it’s defined—has become a rallying cry for K-12 educators and advocates alike. More than half of America’s 50 million students today are nonwhite, and a growing number of them are English-language learners or students with special needs. There are widespread and well-documented disparities between the educational needs of these student groups and their classroom peers.

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These Nebraska School Districts Look to Serve Children Beginning at Birth

The family engagement room at Belleaire Elementary School in the suburbs of Omaha is bustling on a late October morning. Kindergarten teacher Kelsea Heesacker comes in to chat with the school counselor and to grab a winter coat for a little girl who came to school without one. Meghan McCormack, whose job is to visit families in their homes, pulls on her own coat as she hurries outside to meet a mom whose kids aren’t old enough for school yet.

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New Paper Examines Why Intergenerational Immobility Resurfaces When Looking at Advanced Degree Holders

Higher education is the great equalizer. Correction: a bachelor’s degree is the great equalizer. Graduate and professional degrees? Not so much, according to a forthcoming study in Social Science Research that seeks to explain why intergenerational mobility is high for college graduates but lower among advanced degree holders.

Latest News

More College Students Look for Mental Health Help on Campus

More college students are turning to their schools for help with anxiety, depression and other mental health problems, and many must wait weeks for treatment or find help elsewhere as campus clinics struggle to meet demand, an Associated Press review of more than three dozen public universities found.

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Florida Gov. DeSantis Rolls Out New Teacher Bonus Proposal

Saying he wants to recognize “really great teachers,” Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday unveiled a $300 million bonus program to replace the “Best and Brightest” bonus he deemed confusing.

In all, he said, it would affect nearly 80 percent of the state’s public school teachers, with some seeing their compensation increase as much as 15 percent.

The plan, as outlined by education commissioner Richard Corcoran, would pay bonuses to teachers and principals in schools based on their growth in the state’s A-F school grading system.

Latest News

It’s Not Just Teachers: How Counselor Diversity Matters for Students of Color

In a recent study, a high school counselor offered this honest description of the uncertainty of her job: “Maybe later, I’ll start to see kids come back and they’ll be like, oh this helped or that helped,” she said. Still, “Sometimes I leave and I’m like, I’ve done nothing.”

Now, new research captures exactly how much of a difference a counselor like her can make — and it’s substantial, particularly for low-income students.

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Texas State Education Commissioner Moves to Take Over Houston Independent School District, Replace Entire Elected School Board

The state’s education commissioner has notified the Houston Independent School District he’s moving to strip the nine-member board of its elected powers, a move that was widely expected but still marks an unprecedented takeover of the state’s largest school district.

First, he cited the special investigation into board misconduct that found multiple board members violated state rules and intervened in vendor contracts.

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In Mississippi, an Unlikely Model for School Desegregation

Nearly five decades ago, this town on Jackson’s outskirts decided to send students to schools organized by grade level, rather than geography.

So all of the kindergartners and first-graders would go to one school, all of the children in second and third grades would be at another, and so forth, all the way through 12th grade. The approach in Clinton was rolled out in 1971 to little fanfare.

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He Wakes Up at 4:10 A.M. to Go to High School. Is It Worth It?

Kashif Haynes sits shotgun in the idling Honda Civic, wide awake and waiting. His mother, behind the wheel but still in pajamas, not so much.

The Childs Park intersection feels lonely until bus No. 881 appears out of the darkness at 5 a.m., the earliest morning bus pick up in all of Tampa Bay.

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Struggling With Perceived Isolation, Many First-Gen College Students Face Mental Health Problems

Growing up poor outside Detroit in Dearborn Heights, Tanner Bonner worked at a sandwich shop part-time during the school year and full-time during the summer to help support his family.

His mom is unemployed, while his dad has been on disability since hurting his back cleaning carpets.

His senior year of high school, Bonner earned a perfect score on the ACT and won a national scholarship for students whose families earn, on average, less than $13,000 each year. He was accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and started classes there last fall.

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Divorce? Marry Off Your Kid? As Financial Aid Confusion Grows, Parents Consider Drastic Measures

If there’s one thing more frustrating than trying to get into the right college, it might be paying for the degree. That’s what thousands of parents discover daily while discussing how to foot the bill.

In online communities like Facebook and Reddit, some parents share standard suggestions like saving more money or choosing a less-expensive state school.

Others are proposing more drastic measures.

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California’s Juvenile Halls Are Supposed To Hold Just The Worst Young Offenders. The Truth Is A Different Story

Probation chiefs and other officials in many counties across California say juvenile halls, which stand mostly empty following years of steep declines in youth crime, primarily hold the most serious and violent criminals. But a Chronicle investigation found that is not true: Thousands of teens like Marie are held for minor offenses.

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Pushed Out

Black girls are being pushed out of school and into jails at alarming rates. But this issue often is overlooked because youth incarceration reform focuses so much on boys. Reporter Ko Bragg explains how the cycle begins and what researchers hope will break it.

Member Stories

#tellEWA Member Stories (Nov. 15 – 21)
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Arika Herron and MJ Slaby of The Indianapolis Star cover the Red for Ed Action Day in Indiana, where teachers gathered to seek more spending on public schools.

For EdSurge, Stephen Noonoo breaks down the pressures that have led many teachers to feel demoralized.

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114,000 Students in N.Y.C. Are Homeless. These Two Let Us Into Their Lives.

The number of school-age children in New York City who live in shelters or “doubled up” in apartments with family or friends has swelled by 70 percent over the past decade — a crisis without precedent in the city’s history.

By day, New York’s 114,085 homeless students live in plain sight: They study on the subway and sprint through playgrounds. At night, these children sometimes sleep in squalid, unsafe rooms, often for just a few months until they move again. School is the only stable place they know.

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America Draws Students From Around the World. Its Gun Culture Is Pushing Them Away.

A survey of about 2,000 current international students and recent graduates of American colleges by World Education Services, a nonprofit international-education research company, found that nearly two in five are worried about gun violence. This spring, the Chinese government even warned students and other travelers about the risks of going to the United States.

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Red For Ed Action Day: Indiana Teachers March, Public Schools Close

More than 15,000 people are expected to flood downtown Indianapolis on Tuesday for what could be the largest Indiana Statehouse rally in more than 20 years.

The Red for Ed Action Day, organized by the Indiana State Teachers Association and other labor groups, will see educators from every corner of the state showing up as lawmakers return to kick off the 2020 legislative session.

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For Classicists, ‘Quid Pro Quo’ is Music to the Ears

They could have chosen “this for that.” Or possibly even “tit for tat.” But instead, Democrats and Republicans alike decided to go with “quid pro quo” as the defining term for the central accusation of the impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

They disagree, of course, on whether an illegal quid pro quo occurred, but have embraced the alliterative Latin phrase as the lingua franca for the debate. Now all that remains is the ultimate political thumbs up or thumbs down decision.

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Study Finds Fewer Foreign Undergraduates in U.S. Colleges — The First Drop In 13 Years

The foreign undergraduate head count in U.S. colleges and universities fell about 2 percent in the last school year, the first annual decline on that measure in more than a decade, according to a study.

The report from the Institute of International Education, funded by the State Department and made public Monday, suggests challenges for the United States as it seeks to maintain dominance in global higher education.

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How Brooklyn is Trying to Integrate its Middle Schools

On the first day of sixth grade, at his new school in a new neighborhood, Angel Angon Quiroz, 11, sat by himself in the corner of the cafeteria, wondering if he had made a mistake.

Students at Angel’s old elementary school overwhelmingly come from poor and Hispanic families. Now, a new integration plan in Brooklyn had placed him at a middle school called the Math & Science Exploratory School. It was popular with affluent families, but would he fit in?

Key Coverage

Early Action? Early Decision? An Explanation of Looming College Admission Deadlines

Last week brought the first early decision deadlines for high school seniors applying to college — and also a lot of potential questions: Just what is early decision and how does it differ from early action? Have college admissions changed since the “Varsity Blues” scandal broke earlier this year? How do college admissions officers view Vermont’s new proficiency-based grading systems? What are the admissions options at Vermont colleges and universities?

Key Coverage

As Detroit Students Settle Into Their First Semester of College, ‘Bridge’ Programs Provide Needed Support

But still, despite excelling in her other classes, Marqell McClendon has struggled in the remedial math class she’s taking during her first semester at Michigan State University.

It’s an unfamiliar scene for McClendon, the valedictorian of her graduating class at Detroit’s Cody High School who’s used to students coming to her for help. Now, the tables are turned. She describes it as “bittersweet.”

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Student Debt Battle Pits DeVos With Key House Democrat

The U.S. Department of Education agreed to hand over department records late Thursday to Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., the Democratic chairman of the U.S. House education committee, just hours before Scott was set to subpoena Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for the records.

The information relates to the Education Department’s unwillingness to fully forgive the federal student loans of borrowers who say they were defrauded by for-profit colleges, including the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges.

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Thousands Expected for Red for Ed Action Day at the Indiana Statehouse. Here’s Why They’re Marching.

Half of Indiana’s public school students will be out of classrooms Tuesday while thousands of teachers from across the state rally at the Statehouse to demand better pay.

It’s an unprecedented move from Indiana’s teachers, who have spent the last several years watching their counterparts in other states and cities striking, walking out and marching their way toward higher salaries and better working and learning conditions.

Member Stories

#tellEWA Member Stories (Nov. 8 – 14)
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

For The New York Times, Dana Goldstein covers how a recent proposal to desegregate schools in a Maryland suburb has turned bitter. 

The high-profile I Promise School in Akron announces plans to offer transitional housing for students’ families, reports Jennifer Pignolet for Akron Beacon Journal

Latest News

Poll: Many Youths Say High School Diploma Is Enough

Although most young Americans believe in the value of higher education, many still consider a high school diploma alone to be enough for success, according to a survey of teens and young adults by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

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Pete Buttigieg Proposes Free College for Americans Earning Under $100,000 in His New Economic Plan

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg unveiled a plan Friday to make tuition at four-year public colleges free for families earning up to $100,000. The move is part of a package of new economic policies aimed at boosting the fortunes of middle- and working-class Americans and positioning Buttigieg as a clear alternative to more liberal candidates.

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‘I Am a Scavenger’: The Desperate Things Teachers Do to Get the Classroom Supplies They Need

Like nearly all teachers in America, Becky Cranson spends her own money to buy supplies for her students. Working in a rural school district in Michigan, where 70 percent of her middle school students come from low-income families, she shells out at least $1,000 a year for pencils, books, journals, glue sticks, tissues and much more.

But opening her wallet without reimbursement is only a small part of what she — and many others in America’s corps of 3.2 million teachers — do to secure classroom supplies they can’t get from their schools or from students’ families.

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Radical Survival Strategies for Struggling Colleges

When Steve Thorsett crunched the numbers, things looked grim.

Mr. Thorsett is the president of Willamette University, part of a higher education sector grappling with a sharp decline in enrollment and financial challenges that cry out not for incremental change, but for radical solutions. Colleges and universities that fail to adapt risk joining the average of 11 per year that the bond-rating firm Moody’s says have shut down in the last three years.

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In a Kentucky Election, Aggrieved Teachers Flex Their Muscles

When they marched on the statehouse in Frankfort, Ky., in the midst of a spring snowstorm and a political firestorm last year, teachers warned the governor: “We’ll remember in November.”

Nearly 20 months later, they appeared to have delivered on that promise, helping Democrat Andy Beshear receive about 5,100 more votes than Republican incumbent Matt Bevin in the Kentucky governor’s race. It is a state President Trump carried by 30 points in 2016.

Member Stories

#tellEWA Member Stories (Nov. 1 – 7)
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

District leaders propose a facilities bond to cover the cost of generators and backup batteries, reports Diana Lambert for EdSource. The goal? Avoid more school closures in California.

The 74’s Taylor Swaak covers how a Manhattan school is using The New York Time’s 1619 Project to reframe how slavery is taught.

Latest News

For Sale: SAT-Takers’ Names. Colleges Buy Student Data and Boost Exclusivity

Colleges rise in national rankings and reputation when they show data suggesting they are more selective. They can do that by rejecting more applicants, whether or not those candidates ever stood a chance. Some applicants, in effect, become unknowing pawns.

Feeding this dynamic is the College Board, the New York nonprofit that owns the SAT, a test designed to level the college-admissions playing field.

The board is using the SAT as the foundation for another business: selling test-takers’ names and personal information to universities.

Latest News

‘Hit them in their heart’: These Parents Lost Kids to Hazing. They’re Trying to Make Sure it Doesn’t Happen Again.
Susan Svrluga

The auditorium at the College of New Jersey was filled with hundreds of fraternity and sorority members, on a night during Greek Week. The event had sounded all too familiar to many: Go hear some adults tell you about the dangers of hazing. Again.

But their chatter had died away and their phones were in their pockets as Evelyn and Jim Piazza showed them photos of their tall, grinning son and told them how, after a gantlet of drinks and a headfirst fall down a flight of stairs at his Pennsylvania State University fraternity house, Tim Piazza was put in an ambulance, alone.

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The NRA Foundation is Raising Money by Auctioning Off Guns in Schools — to the Dismay of Some Parents
Beth Reinhard and Neena Satija

Parents and students trickled into the Muhlenberg County High School gym on a hot Saturday night as the sounds of cheers and a referee’s whistle carried from an athletic field nearby. Inside the “Home of the Mustangs,” Friends of NRA was raffling off guns: semiautomatic rifles and handguns, guns with high-capacity magazines and pump-action shotguns.

Member Stories

#tellEWA Member Stories (Oct. 25 – 31)
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

In part 3 of a series, EWA Reporting Fellow Cory McCoy of the Tyler Morning Telegraph highlights the financial burdens students face other than tuition and fees.

For The 74, Laura Mckenna reports on the lack of funds to address many aging school buildings in the U.S. and the potential effects on student achievement.

Latest News

Reading Scores on National Exam Decline in Half the States

The average eighth-grade reading score on a nationally representative test declined among public school students in more than half of the states, according to data released Wednesday by the National Center for Education Statistics, the research arm of the Education Department.

The dismal results were part of the release of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the “nation’s report card.” The test assesses a sample of fourth- and eighth-grade students — more than 290,000 in each subject in 2019 — every other year.