Despite persistent political debates, the Common Core State Standards are now a classroom reality in public schools across the country. Yet much is in flux as educators wrestle with how best to teach the Common Core — or their own state’s version of it — and some states rethink the tests tied to the new K-12 standards.
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In the campaign for the White House, education has gained considerable attention, from proposals to make college debt-free to sharp criticism of the Common Core standards. The fault lines are not simply between Democrats and Republicans, but also among candidates in each of the two parties, and competing factions in their political ranks.
Many economists warn that the path to jobs is getting harder, as old industries get eclipsed by disruptive technologies and new fields arise that call for new skills. The task for schools is hardly simple: overhaul a system designed for the industrial age so that it prepares young people to thrive in the information age. While education alone is unlikely to address the country’s changing needs, scholars and educators are increasingly looking to concepts like grit, motivation and learning from mistakes to propel a new generation of students to become tomorrow’s talented workers.
There’s no question that living in a neighborhood with concentrated poverty and racial isolation can take a big toll on children’s learning. But how can journalists go deeper to better understand — and convey to readers — the educational challenges posed when families don’t have enough money for food, heat and other essentials, and often encounter the trauma of neighborhood violence? How can stories get beyond the stereotypes and statistics to put a human face on the circumstances of children in highly impoverished neighborhoods, and how those are translating into the classroom?
Beyond the Border: Covering U.S. Education in a Global Context
Seminar on International Comparisons and Lessons
In 2016, a wealth of new international testing data and analysis will be issued from two major assessments at the precollegiate level. The results for students in dozens of countries are sure to once again spark debate over U.S. standing on the global stage and the implications for schools.
With a critical shortage of teachers looming on the horizon, a perennial issue becomes more urgent. How well are America’s teachers prepared? Are future teachers ready for the first day of school? What is the evidence and should colleges of education and other training programs be held accountable?
Hay casi 12 millones de latinos matriculados en las escuelas públicas en los de Estados Unidos y la cifra sigue creciendo: Se proyecta que aumentará a 15.6 millones durante la próxima década. Sin embargo, estas cifras no nos presentan la historia completa sobre la educación de los estudiantes latinos. Cada día es más importante entender las estadísticas y reportar lo que realmente está pasando en los salones de clase, y esta labor es especialmente importante para los periodistas que trabajan en los medios de comunicación en español.
If you want to learn the skills to push your reporting on numbers to the next level, apply now to EWA’s Diving Into Data Workshop, a four-day seminar on collecting and analyzing data at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The data workshop is meant to encourage reporters to be more active with data-based reporting, whether for quick-hit stories or longer projects.
More knowledge. More skill. More potential. No matter what reason a student enrolls in college, the ultimate goal is usually the same: a degree that will expand opportunities. But for many students, earning a degree and finding work in their chosen field may pose stark and unanticipated challenges. And for many of their communities, turning colleges and universities into reliable places to find qualified candidates for the jobs that are available may prove easier said than done.
The Education Writers Association and American Educational Research Association are joining forces to offer a fellowship program for journalists interested in broadening their understanding of education data. Reporters and editors chosen for the fellowships will attend an intensive joint data workshop, as well as data-oriented sessions at EWA’s 68th National Seminar hosted by The University of Chicago and AERA’s 2015 Annual Meeting in the Windy City.
EWA’s National Seminar will gather some 500 journalists, experts, and supporting community members for dozens of sessions, including standalone speakers, panel discussions, how-to workshops, and visits to sites of interest. With its focus on financial issues, the National Seminar will arm attendees with new ideas for compelling stories on everything from salary schedules and bond issues to the burdens on families struggling to pay for preschool or college. At the same time, it will sharpen participants’ skills at making the most of their resources for producing high-quality coverage.
This academic year marks a critical juncture for the Common Core, as most states gear up to assess students on the shared standards for the first time. Are states, districts, and schools ready? What about states that are reviewing or have rescinded the standards? How can reporters make sense of it all? There’s no shortage of compelling angles to pursue in this complex and fast-evolving story—rendered all the more so by the political tussles erupting over the new standards and tests.
Charters & Choice: Making Sense of the Fast-Evolving Landscape in K-12 Education
Charter schools. Vouchers. Education tax credits. The “portfolio” model of schooling in cities. It’s nearly impossible to find consensus on these hot-button issues, but one thing is clear: American families are seeing more school options at the K-12 level than ever before, especially in urban areas. And the Republican gains in the 2014 elections at the federal and state levels are widely expected to provide further impetus for expanding school choice.
Since the advent of No Child Left Behind 12 years ago, standardized, fill-in-the-bubble tests have become a major part of the school experience. Some say too much of a part.
But beyond the debate over how much schools test, major changes are under way in how they test. Underlying those changes are questions about just what they’re testing for.
This intensive, journalists-only seminar will focus on a range of hard-fought changes under way that together are rewriting the rules of the U.S. teaching profession. What are the roots of today’s controversies over teacher training, tenure, evaluation and pay? In a pivotal year in the push for new standards and tests, are teachers still on board? What does the nation’s new majority-minority student population mean for classroom teachers? How are teacher colleges responding to new accountability pressures?
This fall, the share of K-12 students in the United States who are Latino is projected to climb to nearly one quarter, a figure expected to rise to nearly 30 percent by 2022. And proportionately more Hispanic students are enrolling in postsecondary education than white, non-Hispanic students.
Data journalism is more than just reporting on numbers. It’s taking the records of a half-million students and uncovering alarming absentee rates. It’s tracking the attrition of students from neighborhood schools.
For many college students — whether fresh out of high school or adults returning to school — their most serious obstacles to a degree won’t be homework or tests, but rather the challenges of navigating student life. Colleges are now being forced to face the longstanding problems that have often led to students’ flailing and failing on their own.
Blog posts, videos, podcasts and more from our 2014 National Seminar.
Join EWA and your fellow journalists Feb. 3-4 at our first seminar in 17 years to focus solely on covering early childhood education.