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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. 

Key Coverage

University of Minnesota Mines China Connection But Worries About Future

Jieie Chen and Dong Xuan felt a strong connection to the University of Minnesota long before they arrived from China with their son, Ken, an incoming freshman.

They had spent hours online researching the university. They had heard the director of the U’s Beijing office make a case for joining the “Gophers family” at a meeting with admitted students in Shanghai last spring. They had later taken in testimonials from U students and alumni at one of the orientations the university hosts in China each summer.

Latest News

Election 2020: Democrats Focus on Student Loan Debt. Do Voters Care?

Most of the Democratic presidential candidates have prioritized tackling the nation’s staggering student debt crisis and many have called for some form of debt forgiveness. But while campaigns have made college financing a major issue, and are likely to continue doing so in the final push before the Iowa Democratic caucus on Feb. 3, some voters say it’s just one of many factors that will impact who they cast their vote for.

Many of the candidates have also proposed wholesale changes to the higher education system, including free college at public institutions.

Latest News

Candidates Respond to Ducey’s Education Budget

Gov. Doug Ducey’s budget proposal for education has drawn sharply differing reactions from the candidates running for Legislative District 6. The budget plan continues to cut taxes and add to the reserves, but also includes new money for teacher raises, school counselors and capital needs.

However, even with the proposed increases in the governor’s budget, Arizona would remain near the bottom in per-student funding, high school graduation rates, college attendance rates, class sizes and teacher salaries, according to various national surveys.

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NC Education Leaders Push For Better Literacy Instruction

Education leaders and reading experts are asking how to shift reading instruction and proficiency in North Carolina as student results lag despite state investments. Those questions were discussed Thursday at the second meeting of a task force charged with guiding the State Board of Education’s literacy efforts.

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What Does Gentrification Mean For Local Schools? Fewer Students

New apartment buildings, new breweries, expanding public transit: central Denver is booming.

Greenlee Elementary, a school just southwest of downtown in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, is not. Over the last few years, its enrollment has dropped precipitously, falling from nearly 400 students in 2014 to 278 students in 2018.

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How To Go Back To College

Have you been thinking about going back to college? Perhaps you’re looking to change jobs, make more money or simply finish that degree you started.

Maybe there’s a program you’ve already checked out, or you’re just starting to explore your options. Wherever you are on your journey, here are six tips to help you take that leap.

Member Stories

#tellEWA Member Stories (Jan. 17 – Jan. 23)
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week:

For The Chronicle of Higher Education, Kelly Field reports on the efforts of a small Rhode Island college to remake higher education for those with some college, but no degree.

Columbia River Maritime Museum’s miniboat program provides students with a unique opportunity to brainstorm and troubleshoot, reports Katie Gillespie for The Columbian.

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Anti-LGBT Florida Schools Getting School Vouchers

In Florida last year, 156 private Christian schools with these types of anti-gay views educated more than 20,800 students with tuition paid for by state scholarships, an Orlando Sentinel investigation found.

Florida’s scholarship programs, often referred to as school vouchers, sent more than $129 million to these religious institutions. That means at least 14 percent of Florida’s nearly 147,000 scholarship students last year attended private schools where homosexuality was condemned or, at a minimum, unwelcome.

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Look Who’s Talking About Canceling Debt

Nine years ago, Occupy Wall Street activists in Zuccotti Park made an ambitious demand that was met with laughter and scorn: They called, for the first time ever in an organized way, for mass student-debt cancellation.

But a remarkable shift has unfolded in just a few years: A once-fringe idea is now part of mainstream political debate.

Read the full story here. 

Latest News

Free College, Debt Forgiveness, Pell Grant Expansion Dominate Higher-Ed Issues for Democratic Candidates

As the Democratic presidential primary race heats up and the list of candidates is winnowed, it’s time to take stock of their positions on higher education’s hot-button issues.

Here we look at the stances of the half-dozen candidates who participated in the final primary debate, in Iowa on January 14. This list may be updated as the campaign continues.

Here are the nuts and bolts on how each would push top higher-education policy concerns from the Oval Office.

Latest News

Taxpayers Fund College Degrees That Don’t Pay Off

Late last year, the Education Department publicly released the typical student debt and starting salary for graduates of thousands of higher education programs nationwide. A new interactive tool from the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) puts this data to innovative use, showing where the typical student’s debt burden is high relative to her earnings. It’s a useful tool for students, but it also exposes the hypocrisy and limitations of past federal government approaches to accountability for the colleges and universities that soak up billions in taxpayer dollars every year.

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Universities Aren’t Making a Lot of Money From University Research

For those and other reasons, and at a time when they would seem to be searching for new sources of revenue, U.S. colleges and universities are producing a surprisingly small proportion of the nation’s patents and startups and making so little money from licensing inventions that, at many schools, it doesn’t even cover the cost of managing them.

Click here to read the entire story.

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Hopefuls for W.Va. Governor Give Their Best Pitch to Teachers Union

Three candidates for governor of West Virginia let their ideas be graded by one of West Virginia’s big teachers unions.

Education issues have been front and center in West Virginia in recent years.

Two years ago, teachers went on statewide strike for nine days over pay and ever-increasing out-of-pocket costs for health insurance. Last year, an omnibus education bill that included a charter schools provision prompted a shorter teachers strike.

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Defrauded College Students Will No Longer Be Taxed on Their Canceled Loans

Student loan borrowers whose education debt has been canceled because their college closed or engaged in fraud will no longer face a tax bill, relief that arrives as applications for forgiveness continue to grow.

On Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance shielding borrowers from having their discharged federal and private loans treated as taxable income. The measure is effective for education loans canceled on or after Jan. 1, 2016. Anyone affected by the new policy may claim a credit or refund for an overpayment of taxes.

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Proposed Rule Focuses on Faith-based Colleges, Religious Liberty and Free Speech

The U.S. Department of Education has proposed a new rule clarifying that faith-based colleges are eligible for department grants on the same terms as other private organizations and prohibiting colleges from denying faith-based student groups “any of the rights, benefits, or privileges” allowed for non-faith-based student organizations as a condition of receiving grant funding.

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‘Why Didn’t You Believe in Me?’ The Family Reckoning After the College Admissions Scandal

LOS ANGELES—Matteo Sloane was home on spring break when FBI agents showed up at his family’s Spanish-style house in the hills of Bel Air at 6:15 a.m. to take his father to jail.

By the time his father came home at the end of that day after posting $500,000 in bail, Matteo, then a freshman at the University of Southern California, was ready to confront him.

“Why didn’t you believe in me?” Matteo asked. “Why didn’t you trust me?”

Key Coverage

Far From Home

In the 2017-18 school year, a handful of students (mostly from wealthy suburban Chicago districts) were sent to Discovery Academy or one of its associated facilities in Utah, and at least 70 more to other Utah boarding schools. That’s according to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, from the Illinois State Board of Education.

Latest News

Trump to Underline his Support for School Prayer as He Courts Evangelicals

Trump’s actions ahead of the 2020 election are fulfilling a promise he made earlier this month at an “Evangelicals for Trump” event. The president told evangelical supporters he would “be taking action to safeguard students’ and teachers’ First Amendment rights to pray in our schools.”

The Trump campaign has been angling to rev up support from religious voters critical to his political base, including Catholics and Evangelicals.

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Dallas ISD Preparing to Ask Voters for Largest School District Bond in State History

Dallas ISD is preparing to ask taxpayers for the largest school district bond in state history.

While details are months from being finalized, the district is considering three plans which range from $2.7 billion to $3.7 billion for the upcoming bond package, any of which would be the largest ever issued by a Texas school district, according to data from the Texas Bond Review Board.

Member Stories

#tellEWA Member Stories (Jan. 10 – Jan. 16)
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week:

The 74’s Beth Hawkins covers the little-known true story of how Booker T. Washington and the president of Sears built 5,000 schools for generations of Southern black students.

For Washington Monthly, Grace Gedye reports on the reasons teachers pursue graduate degrees despite decades of research questioning their effectiveness.

Key Coverage

Visiting Days: How a Detroit High School Extends Its Family Feel By Sticking With Graduates Through College

If you graduate from the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy and go on to college, there is no escaping Katherine Grow. She’ll call, she’ll email, and she’ll show up on campus. And usually, during those campus visits, she’ll ask to see your phone.

The cell phones are a gateway to the college grades of the Detroit charter school’s graduates, and looking in is a key way that Grow monitors how those students are faring.

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The Incredible True Story of How Booker T. Washington & the President of Sears Built 5,000 Schools for Generations of Southern Black Students

In 1910, Julius Rosenwald, president of the Sears, Roebuck mail-order empire, read Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery, an account of his emancipation and founding of the Tuskegee Institute, originally a school for teachers that became one of today’s most venerated of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Rosenwald recognized a kindred spirit, someone who, like him, was a fierce believer in the power of self-determination.

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Fast Track Eyed for San Antonio Sales Tax Election to Fund Pre-K 4 SA

City officials are discussing a faster timetable for the election to renew Pre-K 4 SA, the city’s early childhood education program, expecting it more likely to pass if voters get it in May rather than November.

The program stands a better chance, supporters believe, if it can be kept away from a bruising, high-turnout presidential election clouded by more controversial city ballot initiatives.

Read the full story here. 

Latest News

Liberal Arts Education: Waste of Money or Practical Investment? Study’s Conclusions Might Surprise You.

A study from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce finds that over the course of a career, a liberal arts education is remarkably practical, providing a median return on investment 40 years after enrollment that approaches $1 million. The results, searchable and sortable by institution, were released Tuesday.

Latest News

This Sex-Ed Teacher Lets Students’ Questions Guide Learning

About 25 years ago, a public school in the Baltimore suburbs invited Deborah Roffman to teach a class on puberty to fifth graders. Roffman, who was known as the “Sex Lady” at the private Park School of Baltimore, where she had been teaching for two decades, was flattered. But she was troubled by the restrictions that the public school’s vice principal had given her: She couldn’t use the words fertilization, intercourse, or sex. And she couldn’t answer any student questions related to those subjects. That wasn’t going to work for the Sex Lady.

Latest News

When Teachers Get Sick, Taking Leave Can Be Tough

As soon as they feel feverish or achy, teachers must juggle a tricky mix of considerations: Do I have enough sick time left to stay home right now? Will my principal be angry if I call in sick? Are my students at a crucial juncture in their learning, and how will they do with a substitute? Will my school even be able to find a sub, or will they impose on one of my colleagues to fill in for me?

Read the full story here.

Latest News

Bye-Bye, Booker

Gone from the Democratic primary, his education policy voice may yet return somehow.

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker’s presidential bid is over. On January 13 he announced that he was suspending his long-shot bid for the Democratic nomination, citing a lack of funding and an inability to attract enough polling support to qualify for the debate stage.

Latest News

Election 2020: Elizabeth Warren Says She Will Cancel Student Loan Debt on First Day

Sen. Elizabeth Warren would capitalize on the federal government’s current legal authority and begin canceling existing student loan debt on her hypothetical first day in office.

In a plan released Tuesday, Warren said she would direct the Secretary of Education to “use their authority to begin to compromise and modify federal student loans consistent with my plan to cancel up to $50,000 in debt for 95% of student loan borrowers,” which equals about 42 million people.

Latest News

Meet the New International Student

For the past several years, the story of international education has been one of uneasiness and uncertainty.

The travel ban, shifts in visa policy, a trade war with China, doubts about job prospects, increased competition from other countries, even fear of American gun culture — all have contributed to three years of declines in the number of new international students on American college campuses.

Latest News

NYC School Vocational Programs Threatened by Funding Cut

For the 130 students in the business program at Susan Wagner High School in Staten Island, the opportunity to design and run their own company has been life-changing.

The students are part of a class called Virtual Enterprise – a four-year high school business curriculum where students learn industry skills by creating a mock company. The course is offered in dozens of schools across the city through the Education Department’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) office.

Latest News

Two States. Eight Textbooks. Two American Stories.

The textbooks cover the same sweeping story, from the brutality of slavery to the struggle for civil rights. The self-evident truths of the founding documents to the waves of immigration that reshaped the nation.

The books have the same publisher. They credit the same authors. But they are customized for students in different states, and their contents sometimes diverge in ways that reflect the nation’s deepest partisan divides.

Latest News

San Diego Schools Sue Juul Labs Over Youth Vaping Epidemic

San Diego’s public school schools have filed suit against Juul Labs, Inc., the largest U.S. producer of e-cigarettes, accusing the company of deliberately marketing its vaping products to young people, effectively rolling back years of progress made by anti-smoking campaigns.

Latest News

Local Journalism Is in Crisis. That’s a Big Problem for Education

You could be forgiven if you think all of the important news is happening on the national level lately. If you have a news app on your smartphone, you’ve likely had few mornings over the last several years when you didn’t wake up to a screen of alerts about big, national stories happening in Washington: scandals, investigations, bombastic tweets from the president.

Member Stories

#tellEWA Member Stories (Jan. 3 – Jan. 9)
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week:

A proposed constitutional amendment in Minnesota seeks to strengthen the state’s public schools, reports Adelle Whitefoot for Duluth News Tribune.

For U.S. News & World Report, Lauren Camera covers the achievements and resignation of Louisiana’s long-serving state education chief.

Latest News

Does D.C.’s School Choice System Hurt Neighborhood Schools?

When D.C. families choose a school that is not their assigned neighborhood campus, they tend to select schools that educate fewer students from low-income families, according to an 86-page study released Thursday from the Office of the D.C. Auditor.

The result: Traditional neighborhood public schools, particularly in low-income neighborhoods, struggle with declining enrollment over the long term and have higher concentrations of students living in poverty. Smaller schools are more expensive to operate, leaving campuses with less money to hire staff.

Latest News

When The Vaping Industry Offers Scholarships, Is It Marketing to Teens?

While policymakers and parents are wringing their hands about how to get kids not to vape, a number of e-cigarette companies are offering college scholarships to teens.

Authors of a new report in the journal Tobacco Control interpret the scholarships as a possible marketing scheme. The report looked at the prevalence of these scholarships and the types of essay questions they ask high school students. Some ask teens to write essays about vaping — often with questions about the benefits of e-cigarettes over traditional cigarettes.

Key Coverage

More US Schools Teach in Spanish, But Not Enough to Help Latinos

The preschool dual-language program at Gates Street Early Education Center in Lincoln Heights, one of Los Angeles’ oldest neighborhoods with dense populations of Latino and Asian residents, is part of a growing number of bilingual education models taking root in California and across the country. Many of them are designed to serve students from Spanish-speaking families, as well as students from other cultures, under mounting evidence that learning two languages can help people from all backgrounds become stronger students.  

Latest News

Jersey City Mayor Wants Power to Appoint School Board Members, ‘Fix’ School System

A seismic change to how the state’s second largest school district operates could be afoot.

The Jersey City Council will vote on a resolution next week that would let voters decide whether the nine members of the Jersey City Board of Education continue to be elected by the public or are appointed by the mayor.

Read the full story here. 

Latest News

Here’s What 2020 Presidential Candidates Think About Your Student Loans

According to the latest student loan debt statistics, there are more than 44 million borrowers who collectively owe $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. Today, according to personal finance site Make Lemonade, student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category – second only to mortgages and higher than credit card debt and auto loans.

Some candidates have weighed in on the future of higher education, how to manage growing student loan debt, and how to pay off student loans faster.

Member Stories

#tellEWA Member Stories (Dec. 27 – Jan. 2)
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

A San Antonio school district’s approach to allocating funds for its highest-need schools served as a model for new statewide system, reports Emily Donaldson for the Rivard Report

The Salem Statesman Journal’s Natalie Pate tells the story of a Princeton scholarship recipient looking to the past of his immigrant parents to motivate his future.