Education Week’s Andrew Ujifusa and Alex Harwin examine pronounced fluctuations in the number of desegregation cases reported by school districts.
In Charlotte, N.C., officials want more money to hire mental health workers because of increased demand in schools, Gwendolyn Glenn reports for WFAE.
In suburban Illinois, vocational training is getting fresh attention — and funding, writes Rafael Guerrero of The Courier News.
Reporting for Colorado Public Radio, Jenny Brundin looks at allegations of misconduct and abuse against a teacher at a public school for the arts.
DENVER ARTS SCHOOL INVESTIGATION II: “As a mother, I felt guilty for not speaking up sooner.” Vocal teachers return to DSA after allegations of emotional abuse, discrimination and retaliation. https://t.co/H8QLJ1Q2oi #edcolo @ChoralDirector @dpsnewsnow #vocal #TellEWA @codepted pic.twitter.com/7vuu4fVi1C
DENVER ARTS SCHOOL INVESTIGATION II: “As a mother, I felt guilty for not speaking up sooner.” Vocal teachers return to DSA after allegations of emotional abuse, discrimination and retaliation. https://t.co/H8QLJ1Q2oi #edcolo @ChoralDirector @dpsnewsnow #vocal #TellEWA @codepted pic.twitter.com/7vuu4fVi1C— Jenny Brundin (@CPRBrundin) April 30, 2018
As a rallying cry, “We’re 30th in the nation for teacher pay!” doesn’t quite inspire outrage. But that is, in fact, where Colorado ranked in 2016, despite reports to the contrary. A series of unfortunate events led to an inaccurate statistic being spread far and wide — that Colorado ranked 46th in the U.S. in teacher pay.
More than 9 in 10 teachers say they joined the profession for idealistic reasons — “I wanted to do good” — but most are struggling to some extent economically. Those findings come from a nationally representative survey by NPR and Ipsos of more than 500 teachers across the country. The poll was conducted in April amid widespread walkouts in several states, including Colorado, Oklahoma, Kentucky, West Virginia, and currently Arizona.
The latest wave of foreign workers sweeping into American jobs brought Donato Soberano from the Philippines to Arizona two years ago. He had to pay thousands of dollars to a job broker and lived for a time in an apartment with five other Filipino workers. The lure is the pay — 10 times more than what he made doing the same work back home. But Mr. Soberano is not a hospitality worker or a home health aide. He is in another line of work that increasingly pays too little to attract enough Americans: Mr. Soberano is a public school teacher.
Denver Post reporter Danika Worthington explains why Colorado teachers are walking out of class and rallying at the state capitol.
In DeKalb County, Ga., a school bus driver sickout is drawing complaints — and sympathy — from parents, Marlon A. Walker reports for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Rachel Cohen’s Beat Reporting at The American Prospect
Beat Reporting: General News Outlets, Print and Online (Small Staff)
Aliyya Swaby: Texas Tribune’s Public Education Reporter
Beat Reporting: General News Outlets, Print and Online (Medium Staff)
In Michigan, a school’s efforts to help hungry students is broadening its reach, Lori Higgins reports for The Detroit Free Press.
This food pantry was started by a middle school principal concerned about the growing needs of students. Now, it's open to families across @LivoniaDistrict. https://t.co/Tfee4taQTP via @freep #tellEWA
This food pantry was started by a middle school principal concerned about the growing needs of students. Now, it's open to families across @LivoniaDistrict. https://t.co/Tfee4taQTP via @freep #tellEWA— Lori Higgins (@LoriAHiggins) April 19, 2018
Kathy A. Bolten details for the Des Moines Register how a college student is using social media to criticize campus administrators for their handling of sexual assault allegations.
A @MountMercy student said she was going to keep her alleged sexual assault a secret. She changed her mind when the university closed its investigation. https://t.co/cRFuNX04n7 #TellEWA pic.twitter.com/2SN8kzZdw1
A @MountMercy student said she was going to keep her alleged sexual assault a secret. She changed her mind when the university closed its investigation. https://t.co/cRFuNX04n7 #TellEWA pic.twitter.com/2SN8kzZdw1— Kathy Bolten (@kbolten) April 18, 2018
The Palm Beach Post’s Andrew Marra digs into questionable expenditures by a charter school.
Broken laptops, books held together with duct tape, an art teacher who makes watercolors by soaking old markers.
Teacher protests have spread rapidly from West Virginia to Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona in recent months. We invited America’s public school educators to show us the conditions that a decade of budget cuts has wrought in their schools.
We heard from 4,200 teachers. Here is a selection of the submissions, condensed and edited for clarity.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — With the chants of hundreds of teachers ringing in their ears, Kentucky lawmakers voted Friday to override the Republican governor’s veto of a two-year state budget that increases public education spending with the help of a more than $480 million tax increase.
Two students in a Holocaust history class were killed during the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. Now Holocaust Remembrance Day has a deeply personal meaning for their teacher and classmates, Mark Keierleber reports for The 74.
“The lessons of the Holocaust came into our classroom." Timely look at how Stoneman Douglas High School teacher is folding her students' new reality into history curricula. @The74's @mkeierleber is my pick for this week's #tellEWA. https://t.co/EQMiZH6DfI
“The lessons of the Holocaust came into our classroom." Timely look at how Stoneman Douglas High School teacher is folding her students' new reality into history curricula. @The74's @mkeierleber is my pick for this week's #tellEWA. https://t.co/EQMiZH6DfI— Emily Richmond (@EWAEmily) April 11, 2018
Justin Murphy details for the Democrat & Chronicle how the recent death of a teen with autism — who wandered away from school unnoticed — symbolizes a broader special education crisis.
When West Virginia teachers initiated a nine-day labor strike this past winter, they secured national attention and a 5 percent pay raise. Oklahoma and Kentucky educators followed suit, with Arizona teachers threatening to do the same. Amid all this organizing was another strike threat, not previously reported, last week in California: between teachers in online classrooms and the organization that employs them.
An intensifying series of red-state battles over education funding and teacher pay threatens to loosen Republicans’ grip on some of the country’s most conservative states, as educators and parents rebel against a decade of fiscal austerity that has cut deeply into public education.
Remembrance Day: Ivy Schamis Was Teaching About the Holocaust When Shots Rang Out at Parkland, Killing Two of Her Students. Now the Lessons Are Deeply Personal
The students in Ivy Schamis’s class had just presented strategies to counter hate groups on college campuses — a seemingly distant threat — when gunshots rang out from the hallway.
Students leaped from their seats and scrambled to the corners of the classroom. Some ducked behind the teacher’s desk, and others sought shelter behind a filing cabinet. But there were few places to hide.
Teachers in Arizona are staging what they’re calling a walk-in today. They’re asking lawmakers for a 20 percent pay raise and for school funding to return to pre-recession levels. This comes as teachers in Oklahoma continue their walk-out. After more than a week of protests and dozens of closed schools across the state, Oklahoma lawmakers have already agreed to increase teacher pay and school funding. But teachers say, after a decade of deep cuts, it’s not enough.
Economists following the teacher protests in Oklahoma, West Virginia, Kentucky and Arizona say they saw this coming. As the costs of living, higher education, healthcare and retirement are rising, researchers studying salary trends note that the average pay for teachers has dipped.
Teachers from West Virginia to Oklahoma and Kentucky have staged protests or walked off the job in recent weeks to agitate for better pay and more money for their schools.
But the teachers who are the most underpaid in the nation – at least when compared to their peers with similar education levels – are in Colorado.
Teachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky are on the picket lines this week, pushing for better compensation for themselves and more money for schools in their respective states.
These strikes come just weeks after West Virginia’s schools were shuttered statewide for almost two weeks in March, eventually sparking the legislature there to award teachers pay raises.
Such work stoppages are historically rare, but the teachers involved say they were necessary to force resolutions to months - or even years - of stalled negotiations.
Moriah Balingit of The Washington Post shows how low pay and ballooning class sizes have left Oklahoma teachers in dire straits, fueling current calls for a strike.
Laura Pappano profiles the “privileged poor”— low-income first-generation students at elite colleges who must navigate the rocky transition across class lines — in an article for The Hechinger Report.
As these brilliant children of housecleaners and bus drivers move through the higher-education system, they are struggling to reconcile what it means to go from being poor to being privileged: https://t.co/L0wKHAumLC #highered #tellewa
As these brilliant children of housecleaners and bus drivers move through the higher-education system, they are struggling to reconcile what it means to go from being poor to being privileged: https://t.co/L0wKHAumLC #highered #tellewa— Liz Willen (@L_willen) March 30, 2018
The success of the teachers’ strike in West Virginia, which resulted in a 5 percent pay increase, has inspired a movement among educators across the nation.
Teachers and their supporters have staged demonstrations in Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona, closing down some public schools in those states — and more strikes could be coming soon.
Here’s a popular movie plot: Great teacher goes into a troubled neighborhood and turns around a low-performing school. Educators love the messages from these films, and even children are inspired. Unfortunately, many school districts never find the Coach Carters or Erin Gruwells who bring such happy endings. In fact, in a broken district such as Detroit’s, schools in hard-bitten neighborhoods sometimes go from “turnarounds” to closure.
On Easter morning, at the nearby Baptist church, Kenita Self closed her eyes and bowed her head in prayer.
The teacher prayed for her third-grade students, who face a high-stakes reading test this year that will determine whether they advance to fourth grade. She prayed for their futures. And she prayed that she was doing the right thing by not showing up Monday morning, instead joining thousands of teachers at the state Capitol to protest the deep cuts to education.
Getting heartfelt, personally revealing comments from teenage boys is difficult enough for parents. So reporters Kavitha Cardoza and Cory Turner had to take a few creative risks to get good audio for their National Public Radio series on an all-boys public high school in Washington D.C. last year.
Funds from a settled desegregation case have been supporting Mississippi’s HBCUs, but the money is about to run out, reports Adam Harris for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Lily Altavena of The Arizona Republic takes a look beyond the ‘D’ grade of a Mesa community school.
America needs teachers committed to working with children who have the fewest advantages in life. So for a decade the federal government has offered grants — worth up to $4,000 a year — to standout college students who agree to teach subjects like math or science at lower-income schools.
Gone are the days of libraries being silent zones, used for studying or reading only.
Enter the Bob Miller Middle School library, and you’ll find students working together on projects and teachers giving instructions aloud. Reading, researching and innovating intersect in this modern environment surrounded by books and technology. The blended learning space recently served as ground zero for a sixth-grade project in which students created advocacy videos about water conservation.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who made his name attacking unions and slashing school funding, is promising a “historic investment” in public schools as he campaigns for reelection.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, another proud cost-cutter, is bragging about his more recent increases to school funding as he prepares to launch a bid for the U.S. Senate.
The University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s underdog success story plays out on the court and in the classroom, writes Erica L. Green for The New York Times.
A new natural gas pipeline could be a boon for a struggling Ohio school district, reports Ashton Marra via State Impact Ohio.
The conversation around #pipelines almost always focuses on environmental concerns, but what about schools? @AshtonMarra takes a look at the controversy from the education angle: https://t.co/OsGqjZIbEo #TellEWA pic.twitter.com/kwjnIWYr6Q
The conversation around #pipelines almost always focuses on environmental concerns, but what about schools? @AshtonMarra takes a look at the controversy from the education angle: https://t.co/OsGqjZIbEo #TellEWA pic.twitter.com/kwjnIWYr6Q— StateImpact Ohio (@StateImpactOH) March 22, 2018
As students mobilized for #NationalWalkoutDay, journalists joined them on the streets and in the schools. A highlight: Ray Routhier’s interview with student organizers in Maine for The Portland Press Herald.
Meanwhile, administrators at a California middle school tried to discourage discussion of gun policy in school-sanctioned memorials, reports Mackenzie Mays of The Fresno Bee.
It was a crucial turning point, and a telling one. With no collective bargaining rights, no contract, and no legal right to strike, the teachers had managed to mount a statewide work stoppage anyway, and make their demands heard, marshal public support, and stick together until they won. And the rank and file, not union leaders, came to call the shots.
Sarah D. Sparks begins an Education Week series on teaching students behind bars with a visit to Wyoming Girls School, a remote juvenile correctional facility.
Teaching—and Reaching—Students Behind Bars. @educationweek captures the challenges of teaching students in the juvenile justice system. Part of a new special report on educating #vulnerablestudents. https://t.co/SxlHhjMfdl #TellEWA
Teaching—and Reaching—Students Behind Bars. @educationweek captures the challenges of teaching students in the juvenile justice system. Part of a new special report on educating #vulnerablestudents. https://t.co/SxlHhjMfdl #TellEWA— Catherine Gewertz (@cgewertz) March 7, 2018
Dana Goldstein of The New York Times covers the end of the strike by West Virginia teachers–and their place in the larger history of teachers’ unions.
Everyone knows that 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds ask a lot of questions. But that unrestrained curiosity can unsettle preschool teachers who feel they lack sufficient understanding of science, technology, engineering and math, often referred to as STEM. Hari Sreenivasan reports from Chicago on efforts to boost science learning among some of the youngest students by boosting teacher confidence.
West Virginia lawmakers at last reached a deal on Tuesday to raise teachers’ salaries by 5 percent. The agreement—along with the prospect of policy solutions to the educators’ other demands—brought to a close a teachers’ strike that had kept K-12 classrooms across all of the state’s 55 counties closed for nine school days. Even though the West Virginia walkout is over, however, observers suspect it has jump-started a national movement that could have lasting implications for country’s schools.
Could an upcoming decision by the U.S. Supreme Court justices lead to more labor unrest?
Gov. Jim Justice and West Virginia’s Republican leaders tentatively agreed Tuesday to end the state’s nine-day teachers’ walkout by giving 5 percent raises to not just teachers, but all state workers.
To pay for it, lawmakers will seek to cut state spending by $20 million, taking funds from general services and Medicaid, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Craig Blair said.
They were asked to preside over classrooms of up to 60 children, many of whom could not speak English, in a city surging with immigrants and struggling to control rampant child labor and typhoid in the water. All for the equivalent of $13,000 a year in today’s dollars.
Thus, in 1897, the Chicago Teachers Federation, and the modern teachers union movement, was born.
Daniel Lund Holstein, a New York City high-school math teacher, has spent most weekends this year knocking on the doors of fellow public-school teachers in the Bronx to remind them of what he says was their union’s role in securing higher pay and reasonable classroom sizes.
A strike by thousands of public school teachers intensified on Tuesday as thousands again descended on the state Capitol to protest low wages.
A large crowd outside the state Senate chamber loudly chanted slogans — including “United we stand!” and “Where is justice?” — and waved homemade posters as a walkout that began last Thursday escalated.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a major case about public-employee unions, with four justices appearing to support upholding agency fees for nonunion members and four other justices giving every indication that they are inclined to overrule a 40-year-old precedent that authorized such fees.
The shooting was all over, but the emotional reckoning had just begun, and so on Saturday the teachers of Broward County packed their union hall to discuss what it meant to have become the nation’s human shields.
“Last night I told my wife I would take a bullet for the kids,” said Robert Parish, a teacher at an elementary school just miles from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, where a former student killed 17 people, including three staff members who found themselves in the line of fire.
Since the attack last week, said Mr. Parish, “I think about it all the time.”
In this Des Moines Register feature, Kathy Bolten looks at the plight of parents who are mortgaging their future for their children’s higher education through federal parent loans.
Marta Jewson of The Lens reports that the last of the New Orleans’ traditional public schools are set to close or convert to charters.
New Orleans will close its last traditional schools this summer. This includes historic McDonogh 35, the state’s first high school for African-Americans, which will convert to a privately-run school with the same name. https://t.co/9kLFM0hjn1 #tellewa
New Orleans will close its last traditional schools this summer. This includes historic McDonogh 35, the state’s first high school for African-Americans, which will convert to a privately-run school with the same name. https://t.co/9kLFM0hjn1 #tellewa— Marta Jewson (@martajewson) February 14, 2018
Does Trump’s Education Budget Even Matter?
Big cuts to popular programs, boosting school choice proposed
President Trump’s proposed federal budget, unveiled Monday, calls for major cuts to existing education programs and a huge increase for school choice initiatives. The first question stemming from his blueprint is this: How seriously will Congress take his administration’s plan, even with Republicans controlling both chambers?
Hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants face uncertainty as the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, is slated to end in early March. What are the potential implications for students, K-12 schools, and higher education? What kinds of questions should education reporters be asking in their communities?
Andrew Ujifusa and colleagues from Education Week are reporting from Puerto Rico — and its schools — about ongoing efforts to recover from devastation Hurricane Maria wreaked four months ago.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, Megan Burks of KPBS examines San Diego Unified’s revamped sex ed. curriculum, which emphasizes consent and communication.
At High Tech High, Focus Goes Beyond the Classroom
Personalization, 'authentic' work, equity & collaboration billed as hallmarks
Walking onto a High Tech High campus is like entering a workshop. Our tour guide, sophomore Caroline Egler, pointed out classrooms that supposedly housed physics or humanities, but most students weren’t in those rooms. They were in the hallways working on projects, huddled around computers together, or even working at desks standing eight feet tall so they towered above the floor. It was chaotic, but not out of control.
Students seemed to be working with purpose, even if it was not immediately obvious what they were doing.
This Reporter Found School District’s Secret ‘Blacklist’
Qualified teachers say they were unfairly kept out of Tucson Public Schools' classrooms (EWA Radio: Episode 156)
For decades, rumors swirled that the Tucson, Arizona, school district had a secret roster of former employees on a “do not hire” list, even though they never had faced serious disciplinary measures. Arizona Daily Star education reporter Hank Stephenson put some mysterious pieces together and brought the list to light. Among the clues: an off-hand comment Stephenson heard by a trustee at the close of a school board meeting.
Megan Raposa of the Argus Leader (a 2017 EWA New to the Beat rookie) takes a close look at the educational opportunities for students growing up on South Dakota’s Rosebud Indian Reservation.
Writing for The Atlantic, Melinda Anderson explores how hiring biases could be holding back efforts to improve the number of teachers of color.
The conversation re desegregation is typically focused on students. I looked at faculty desegregation—and an overlooked solution to diversifying the teacher workforce. https://t.co/mH5sBsCoqv #tellEWA
The conversation re desegregation is typically focused on students. I looked at faculty desegregation—and an overlooked solution to diversifying the teacher workforce. https://t.co/mH5sBsCoqv #tellEWA— melinda d. anderson (@mdawriter) January 24, 2018
From offering child care to building tiny homes, districts are trying out a variety of ways to recruit teachers and keep them around.
You file a freedom of information request with your local school district concerning financial data or a personnel investigation, but months later, there’s still no answer. What are the next steps, especially if your newsroom’s budget can’t stretch to cover the costs of suing for access? A veteran journalist and an expert on records requests offer strategies for success in making inquiries at the federal, state and local levels.
Patricia Twymon set her jaw and spoke slowly and firmly.
“The misperception is that I am a babysitter,” Twymon told a room full of education journalists. “I am not a babysitter. I am an educator, I am a professional, and I should be treated as such.”
Something crucial is missing when the academic year starts in some of America’s largest school systems — a full slate of full-time teachers. Chalkbeat’s Matt Barnum requested and examined data and explains what it all means for students.
Theresa Harrington of Ed Source explains a school’s push to boost the quality of students’ writing in an effort that spans every class, including P.E.
The secret to student success may well be hidden in the buzzwords frequently used today to describe efforts to transform high school.
Personalized learning. Student-centered learning. Competency-based learning, and so on.
“There’s a common denominator in all these labels, and that common denominator is learning,” said Caroline Hendrie, the executive director of Education Writers Association at a recent seminar for journalists in San Diego.
We asked journalists to share some of their favorite education stories of 2017. Here are some highlights.
Bethany Barnes of The Oregonian investigates allegations of sexual abuse against a Portland Public Schools educator that span decades.
Peggy Barmier of The Hechinger Report explores the budget cuts and uncertainties a West Virginia program faces under the Trump administration.
Graduation rates are up, teen pregnancy is down, but the Trump administration could cut the budget for a West Virginia program that’s showing progress. by @PeggyBarmorehttps://t.co/mQsNdDmZP5 #tellEWA
Graduation rates are up, teen pregnancy is down, but the Trump administration could cut the budget for a West Virginia program that’s showing progress. by @PeggyBarmorehttps://t.co/mQsNdDmZP5 #tellEWA— Nichole Dobo (@nicholedobo) December 28, 2017
Our Top 10 Blog Posts: From Open Records to Betsy DeVos
Principal leadership, innovative schools, teacher diversity top the list
The most popular Educated Reporter blog posts of 2017 covered a wide range of subjects, from tips for tackling the intricacies of the beat to getting a grasp on what the Trump administration will mean for federal policy, schools, teachers, and students.
‘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:
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.
An apartment complex in Atlanta is providing a free after-school program as an amenity to help promote stability in a largely immigrant community, reports Linda Jacobson for Education Dive.
The Democrat and Chronicle’s Justin Murphy investigates the $300,000 deal between a New York charter school and a real estate firm that allegedly has ties to a reclusive Turkish mogul.
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.
Emily Hanford and Alex Baumhardt explore the higher education divide for rural students in the first part of a series from The Atlantic and APM Reports.
Parents and community leaders are faced with tough choices in Denver’s child care deserts, as Ann Schimke and Yesenia Robles report for Chalkbeat Colorado.
As a growing number of high-profile men in politics, the media, and entertainment industry face allegations of sexual misconduct, individuals who say they’ve experienced similar harassment in other professions are speaking up — including K-12 teachers.
A new project by The Hechinger Report, The Teacher Project, and Slate features early learners.
In California classrooms, teaching LGBT means teachers face difficult questions about historical figures who were not necessarily “out,” explains EdSource’s Theresa Harrington.
The AP’s Maria Danilova looks at U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ plans for scaling back the Office for Civil Rights.
Could Silicon Valley Reinvent Public Schooling?
Student-centered, personalized learning is focus for charter school network
At Summit Public Schools, a network of charters primarily in California’s Silicon Valley, students are in charge of their own learning. Customized digital “playlists” map out — and track — their daily instruction, guided by teachers who serve more as coaches than lecturers.
While news stories about President Trump’s trickle-down influence on voters claimed the national spotlight during this election cycle, education issues still managed to eke out a respectable showing on Tuesday.
On a chilly winter morning in a tiny pocket of Silicon Valley known as North Fair Oaks, Everest Public High School is buzzing with energy. Out front, a tall, skinny teen jumps out of a black Porsche SUV; moments later, three young women in matching black hoodies stream out of the front seat of a Toyota pickup that’s filled with trowels, buckets, and a ladder.
The public education system in Puerto Rico was already struggling before two historic hurricanes — Irma and Maria — wreaked havoc on this U.S. territory. Reporter Andrew Ujifusa and photographer Swikar Patel of Education Week discuss their recent reporting trip to Puerto Rico, where they met students and teachers who have lost their homes — as well as their schools — and are now struggling to get the basic essentials, like food and shelter.
A new radio documentary by APM Reports concludes that American schools are failing to use proven methods for helping dyslexic students learn to read — techniques that could also benefit their classmates. Emily Hanford, a correspondent and senior producer for APM Reports, discusses why school districts are often resistant to identifying students as dyslexic, and how long-standing debates over how best to teach reading have kept some schools from adopting best practices.
Beth Slovic, a longtime education journalist in Portland, Oregon, was making dinner for her family when she noticed a bearded guy on a bicycle pulling up outside her house.
Slovic thought maybe one of her neighbors had ordered takeout. Instead, the man, a process server, came to her front door: Portland Public Schools was suing to block her public-information request for employee records.
Bethany Barnes of The Oregonian discusses “The Benefit of the Doubt,” her investigation into how Portland Public Schools botched its handling of multiple allegations of a middle school teacher’s sexual misconduct stretching back more than a decade.
Certification Rules and Tests are Keeping Would-be Teachers of Color Out of America’s Classrooms. Here’s How.
Becoming a certified teacher in America usually means navigating a maze of university classes and certification tests — and paying for them.
The goal is a high-quality teaching force, and an array of powerful advocates have been pushing to “raise the bar” further. But the rules likely come with a hefty cost: a less diverse profession.
What do teachers learn from their most challenging students — the interrupters, the ones who push back or whose difficult home lives spill over into the classroom? Sarah Carr, the editor of The Teacher Project at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, discusses a new podcast partnership with The Atlantic, featuring candid conversations with educators and students, as each recall pivotal moments in their relationships.
Poor schools in urban and rural areas have something in common: Teachers are leaving, and it’s having a big impact on kids.
Benefit of the Doubt
How Portland Public Schools Helped An Educator Evade Sexual Misconduct Allegations
Something broke inside 17-year-old Rose Soto when Marshall High teacher Mitch Whitehurst called attention to her pants.
“You know why they’re so great?” Whitehurst said as he walked behind her up an empty stairway, according to an account she would tell police and school officials. “It’s because of the zipper in the back. You just unzip them and boom we’re on it.”
The 2001 remark capped a year of unrelenting sexual advances from the Portland educator who’d tapped her to be his student aide, she told police.
Concern is mounting about the relative lack of racial and ethnic diversity in the teaching force – whether in K-12 or higher education.
About 82 percent of U.S. public school teachers at the K-12 level are white and while 25 percent of public school students, or 1 in 4, is Hispanic, according to the most recent figures available from the National Center for Education Statistics.
Students at the MC2 STEM High School in Cleveland don’t sit through lectures all day. They learn through projects, like designing and building above-ground gardens, calculating the powers of a comic book superhero or constructing a recording studio to record a song.
Furr High School is gearing up to launch a new kind of ninth grade. It’s part of how Furr, which used to have a reputation for drop-outs and gang violence, is trying to transform high school, with the help of a $10 million grant. At one recent workshop, half a dozen ninth grade instructors brainstormed for the new ninth grade, thinking about how to give students more ownership in the curriculum and testing.
The nation’s public schools are serving increasingly diverse populations of students, yet the teachers in those schools are mostly white.
“It is absolutely right — we do not have parity,” said Richard Ingersoll, a professor of education and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, during the Education Writers Association’s annual conference in Washington, D.C.
He and other experts gathered for the EWA panel last month talked about a problem many school districts struggle with: How to recruit and retain teachers of color.
With enrollment in public prekindergarten programs at a record high, there is a growing emphasis on building stronger connections between children’s early learning experiences and the K-12 system. But bridging the divide between a sector that lacks a coherent structure and the more rigid K-12 system is a challenge rife with logistical as well as philosophical dilemmas.
How do reporters know good teaching when they see it? How do they tactfully write about bad teaching? And how do they tease out what came before the moment they set foot in a particular classroom?
Pamela Grossman, dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, and Elizabeth Green, co-founder of Chalkbeat, helped a roomful of journalists at the Education Writers Association’s 70th Annual National Seminar in Washington, D.C., see classroom teaching in a whole different light.
Educators in Puerto Rico are getting support from the American Federation of Teachers in their efforts to thwart a plan to close schools as a way of helping the island deal with its financial crisis.
AFT president Randi Weingarten sent a letter in April to the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico urging them “not to make devastating funding cuts to the education system that serves the 379,000 students in Puerto Rico.” The federal fiscal board is overseeing Puerto Rico’s efforts to deal with bankruptcy and resolve its debt.
A teacher shortage in Oklahoma. Data-driven analysis of the Detroit School Board election. Teen suicide. The impact of an influx of Central American youths on a high-poverty Oakland school. Four of this year’s Education Writers Association award finalists recently shared their stories and took questions from a packed room at the EWA National Seminar on how they did their work.
Rocking the Beat
Mikey Peterson didn’t care about class for most of his time in school. And he felt that his teachers, for the most part, did nothing to help.
Many education journalists are savvy enough to use social media as a way to attract readers to their stories. But if that is all they are doing with social media, they are not harnessing its full potential.
“Especially in our beat, it can be a really valuable — if potentially risky and dangerous tool — both for connecting with hard-to-reach sources and for generating story angles and ideas,” said Sarah Carr, who runs The Teacher Project, a fellowship program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
President Donald Trump’s first budget blueprint begins to flesh out the areas in which he sees an important federal role in education — most notably expanding school choice — and those he doesn’t. At the same time, it raises questions about the fate of big-ticket items, including aid to improve teacher quality and support after-school programs.
Schools across the country took a hit in attendance Thursday as immigrant children joined nationwide protests intended to demonstrate what life would be like without the nation’s more than 42 million immigrants in response to President Trump’s controversial immigration agenda.
The level of trust that middle school students of color have for their teachers could have long-term impacts on whether or not they enroll in college, according to a new study published in the journal Child Development.
After a bruising confirmation process and a Senate vote on Tuesday largely divided along party lines, Republican mega-donor and school choice advocate Betsy DeVos is the new U.S. secretary of education.
In her first public communication as secretary, DeVos signaled that school choice would be a paramount concern:
Last summer, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics convened a meeting of education deans from Hispanic-serving institutions across the country to brainstorm ideas for getting more Latinos into the teaching profession. The group recently released a white paper with their recommendations — among them a challenge to recognize and remove implicit bias in education.
To Attract Great Teachers, School Districts Must Improve Their Human Capital Systems
Center for American Progress
To succeed in today’s economy, organizations must capitalize on the skills, knowledge, abilities, and experience of their employees. Research shows that investments in human capital improve organizational performance—including team effectiveness, employee retention, and innovation—in both the private and public sectors. In other words, companies that attract and develop strong employees by prioritizing recruiting, investing in professional growth opportunities, and building positive workplace cultures tend to have greater efficiency and better outcomes.
This Asian island roughly the size of Austin has dominated international rankings in education, with students regularly outperforming their peers in math, science and literacy.
Singapore officials say the key to that success was simple: Hire only the best teachers.
“Teaching is akin to nation building. It’s about survival,” said Ee Ling Low, a professor to aspiring teachers at the country’s National Institute of Education.
In the two weeks since Republican Donald Trump won the presidency on a platform touting stricter immigration laws and mass deportations, Los Angeles leaders have taken steps to assure the immigrants within their borders that the city supports them.
A child’s race, ethnicity, and immigrant status could determine whether a teacher reaches out to that student’s parents, a new study out of New York University has found.
Time for Action Building the Educator Workforce Our Children Need Now
Center on Great Teachers and Leaders
States are now deeply engaged in developing plans for their federal education spending for the next several years. Decades of experience and education research indicate that states must strengthen and organize the educator workforce to implement change successfully. Now is the time to rethink systems and strategies and to focus funds and efforts on what matters most for learning: great teachers and leaders for every student and school.
Teacher Effectiveness in the Every Student Succeeds Act: A Discussion Guide
Center on Great Teachers and Leaders
Systemic challenges in the educator workforce require thoughtful and bold actions, and ESSA presents a unique opportunity for states to reaffirm, modify, or improve their vision of educator effectiveness. This GTL Center discussion guide focuses on one challenge that states face as part of this work: defining ineffective teacher in the absence of highly qualified teacher (HQT) requirements.
Teachers of Low-Income Students Are Nearly as Effective as Teachers of High-Income Students
Mathematica Policy Research
Although children from wealthier families outperform children from poorer families on achievement tests, a new study from Mathematica Policy Research finds that teachers of low-income students are nearly as effective as teachers of high-income students, on average.
Craig Brock teaches high school science in Amarillo, Texas, where his freshman biology students are currently learning about the parts of a cell. But since many of them are refugee children who have only recently arrived in the U.S. and speak little or no English, Brock often has to get creative.
Usually that means creating PowerPoint presentations full of pictures and “just kind of pulling from here and there,” he said — the Internet, a third grade textbook or a preschool homeschool curriculum from Sam’s Club, for example.
When schools consultant Tequilla Banks considers how best to ensure America’s low-income and minority students have access to effective teaching, her personal history is a helpful guide. Growing up in Arkansas, Banks witnessed first-hand how educational accountability can work – or not work, as the case may be — when state governments call the shots.
What she saw left her thankful for federal government intervention.
Black and Latino teachers may be minorities in the U.S. educator workforce, but a new study finds they also may be the most effective — at least according to their students.
In 2007, while writing about military recruiting at high schools, I met a fresh-faced JROTC cadet who planned to enlist after graduation. His older brother was already serving in Afghanistan as part of the U.S. response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The student, who was a seventh grader when the hijacked airplanes struck, eventually joined the Army and followed his brother to war.
Recent news stories once again have shined a spotlight on the troubling issue of teacher misconduct. Consider these headlines:
The boys (and girls) are back in town. For class, that is.
See how forced that lede was? Back-to-school reporting can take on a similar tinge of predictability, with journalists wondering how an occasion as locked in as the changing of the seasons can be written about with the freshness of spring.
Recently some of the beat’s heavy hitters dished with EWA’s Emily Richmond about ways newsrooms can take advantage of the first week of school to tell important stories and cover overlooked issues.
When Edgar Ríos was one of 126 students in the first class of a new charter school in Chicago in 1999, almost all of his teachers were white.
They were good teachers, he says. His favorite, though, was a teacher “who could speak Spanish with my mother and father, so I didn’t have to translate.”
Margarita is a four-year-old girl living in East Harlem. She speaks Spanish at home with her Mexican-born parents, is obedient, well-behaved and plays well with kids her age, younger and older.
Young Latinos who are not proficient in English are more likely to develop higher early literacy skills when their teachers are also Latino, according to a University of Virginia study released this week examining the teacher-student racial gap in pre-K.
In early May at Match Public Charter School in Boston, 18 freshmen are preparing to discuss themes from “Lord of the Flies.” Their English teacher is Ashley Davis, a 26-year-old native of Cincinnati who’s in her second year of teaching, but acts like a veteran.
Davis will soon have her students explaining the biblical allusions in the 1954 novel and debating whether mankind is naturally good or evil.
For education reporters, coming up with fresh ideas for back-to-school stories is an annual ritual. And if you’re balancing the K-12 and higher education beats, it can be an even bigger challenge.
The fourth grade students sit on a carpet, wriggling, shaking their hands, looking in all directions as a teacher uses the most basic of tools — a red sharpie and a big white pad — to deliver her lesson.
The day’s agenda: teaching the Common Core standard of finding “whole number quotients.” She writes an equation on the board, and the answer works out to be 100. But she’s not done.
“Diversity — (noun) the state of being diverse; variety”
Examining the Validity of Ratings from a Classroom Observation Instrument for Use in a District’s Teacher Evaluation System
This validation study examined principals’ evaluation ratings of teachers made on an instrument adapted from the Danielson Framework for Teaching and used in the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada in 2012/13. Principals used a four-point rating scale to rate teachers on 22 teaching components. The teaching components were expected to measure four different dimensions of teaching.
National record-keeping on teacher misconduct is inconsistent and incomplete, allowing those accused of malpractice to move into teaching jobs in other school districts that are unaware of the charges. Even some convictions may slip through the cracks.
How do you get the best teachers in front of the students who need them the most? It’s an issue getting increased attention, but a tough problem to solve.
Here’s a quick quiz. Rate the following statements on a scale from one to five, with one meaning you totally disagree and five meaning you wholeheartedly agree:
Beginners and experts essentially think in the same way.
Most people are either left-brained or right-brained.
Students learn more when information is tailored to their unique learning styles.
For every savant who’s skilled enough to ditch class and still ace the course, many more who miss school fall way behind, increasing their odds of dropping out or performing poorly.
The implications are major: If a school has a high number of students repeatedly absent, there’s a good chance other troubles are afoot. Feeling uninspired in the classroom, poor family outreach, or struggles at students’ homes are just some of the root causes of absenteeism, experts say.
How fair are controversial new tests being used by some states to certify teachers? Who are the prospective classroom educators struggling the most with the often costly, time-consuming process? And how might this impact efforts to diversify nation’s predominantly white, female, teacher workforce?
Writer Peggy Barmore of The Hechinger Report discusses these issues with EWA public editor Emily Richmond.
In the winter of 2015, the Center on Education Policy surveyed a nationally representative sample of public school teachers to learn their views on the teaching profession, state standards and assessments, testing, and teacher evaluations.
The report, Listen to Us: Teacher Views and Voices, summarizes these survey findings, including responses indicating that public school teachers are concerned and frustrated with shifting policies, over emphasis on student testing, and their lack of voice in decision-making.
In the dozen years that Angela Duckworth has researched the concept of grit, she’s found new ways to test its validity, identified examples of it in popular culture, and worked to bust myths about its application in schools. But she hasn’t developed a just-add-water curriculum package that interested schools can use to develop the character trait in their students.
Cara Fitzpatrick was in labor when her husband – and colleague at the Tampa Bay Times – asked her “So what can you tell me about segregation in Pinellas County?”
The paper had just decided to do a large-scale investigation into the district’s schools that were serving predominately low-income, black students. Two years later, Fitzpatrick’s son is walking and talking and she and the rest of the team have earned a Pulitzer Prize for their series Failure Factories.
Update: On May 2, “Failure Factories” won the $10,000 Hechinger Grand Prize in the EWA National Awards for Education Reporting.
The Pulitzer Prize for local reporting this year went to the Tampa Bay Times for an exhaustive investigation into how a handful of elementary schools in Pinellas County wound up deeply segregated by race, poverty, and opportunity.
As a regular feature, The Educated Reporter chooses a buzzword or phrase that You Need to Know (yes, this designation is highly subjective, but we’re giving it a shot). Send your Word on the Beat suggestions to email@example.com.
Word on the Beat: Equity
As a regular feature, The Educated Reporter chooses a buzzword or phrase that You Need to Know (yes, this designation is highly subjective, but we’re giving it a shot). Send your Word on the Beat suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Word on the Beat: Vergara
When Yehimi Cambron crossed the U.S. border from Mexico with her parents, they told her she would not have documented legal status in this country. But as a third-grader, she had no concept of how that would affect her.
It wasn’t until she was 15 and denied a $50 prize in an art competition because she didn’t have a Social Security number that she grasped its meaning.
Student reporters — some as young as 10 years old — are reporting on the race to the White House. But amid incidents of violence at recent rallies for Republican front-runner Donald Trump, some people are wondering whether it’s time to take the junior journalists off the campaign trail.
When President Obama leaves office in January, there will be no shortage of big-name corporations and Ivy League universities clamoring for his skills. But in a recent essay for The New Yorker Magazine, contributor Cinque Henderson — a former writer for Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom” — suggests President Obama consider teaching at a historically black college or university (HBCU), community college, or even an urban high school.
High-achieving countries share some common practices when it comes to the recruitment, training and development of public-school teachers, according to experts at a recent Education Writers Association event.
A few years ago in Singapore, teachers in a high school English department posed a question: Would having students conduct live debates on an issue before they wrote persuasive essays about it result in more highly developed final papers?
Steve Reilly, an investigative reporter and data specialist for USA Today, talks with EWA public editor about his newspaper’s groundbreaking year-long project examining shortfalls in how states track, and share information, about teacher discipline and licensing issues.
In the past quarter-century, Wendy Kopp’s idea for putting new college graduates to work in high-need public schools has grown from her undergraduate thesis project at Princeton into a $300 million organization responsible for recruiting, training, and supporting thousands of new teachers every year. Along the way, Teach For America has generated criticism even as it’s become a mainstay in many of the nation’s larger school districts.
What started as Princeton University senior Wendy Kopp’s undergraduate thesis is now has a $300 million operating budget and 40,000 alumni.
As districts face the recurring problem of ensuring every student has access to a high-quality teacher, a growing number have begun to proactively form deep, mutually beneficial partnerships with teacher preparation programs to produce teacher candidates who match their specific needs. These partnerships, when done well, take significant time and resources on behalf of both parties, but have the ability to transform the work of both institutions.
A new study finds that black students with the same test scores as white students are still less likely to be selected for gifted and talented academic programs in elementary schools.
When we think of elementary and secondary schools, many of us picture students in classrooms taught by lone teachers, overseen by a principal. In reality, many adults work in schools other than teachers and principals. It may be surprising to learn that there are as many non-teaching adults as there are teachers in U.S. public schools. These adults play roles from supporting students with special needs to coaching teachers to community outreach to maintaining facilities.
Demands for accountability have finally arrived at the doorsteps of teacher colleges. Helping to spur the change are a controversial Government Accountability Office report on teacher-preparation programs released over the summer, and forthcoming federal regulations intended to hold them accountable for how graduates perform in the classroom.
With most schools closed until after the New Year, the holidays can be a dry spell on the education beat. But there’s no shortage of ideas for creative reporters who are willing to venture into less-familiar territory.
Since 2009, Teach Plus has worked to recruit and prepare teachers to take on teacher-leadership roles in their schools, districts, and states.
For already struggling students in high-poverty schools, frequent turnover among their teachers – and an over-reliance on substitutes – can hurt achievement.
Faced with massive budget cuts in the wake of the recession, many Idaho school districts switched to a four-day weekly calendar. But more than seven years into the experiment, an investigation by Idaho Education News – lead by reporter Kevin Richert — found little evidence that the schedule change improved either student achievement or the fiscal outlook of cash-strapped districts.
As the tune of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” plays out over the music video, the lyrics are a bit different:
“We will make mistakes…our method’s gonna break…not a piece of cake…we’re gonna shake it off, shake it off…”
It was in this video Stanford University Professor and author Jo Boaler says she was compelled to do something she didn’t want to do. “They made me rap,” she said. When her undergraduate students challenged whether she had a growth mindset about her rhyme skills, Boaler said to herself, “Oh my gosh. I’m gonna have to rap.”
This Statistics in Brief describes the percentages of public schools that reported that they had teaching vacancies and subject areas with difficult-to-staff teaching positions in the 1999–2000, 2003–04, 2007–08, and 2011–12 school years.
Predicting teacher “shortages,” evidently, is much like forecasting the apocalypse. It’s best to go into the enterprise with a flexible time frame.
“There was always a ‘shortage’ of 2 million teachers, and it loomed a year or two ahead. It seemed to keep getting pushed further and further back,” said Steve Drummond, the senior education editor at NPR News, who has heard diagnoses of a shortage since the 1990s.
Alternative routes to teacher certification have grown rapidly over the last three decades, with more programs popping up all over the country. At EWA’s recent seminar in Chicago, three leaders in the field of teacher preparation discussed the implications this widening path will have on traditional teachers’ colleges and what lessons they might glean from their newer counterparts.
State Capacity to Support School Turnaround
Institute of Education Sciences National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance
More than 80 percent of states made turning around low-performing schools a high priority, but at least 50 percent found it very difficult to turn around low-performing schools. 38 states (76 percent) reported significant gaps in expertise for supporting school turnaround in 2012, and that number increased to 40 (80 percent) in 2013.
Coming off a successful initiative to get legal driving privileges for undocumented immigrants in Delaware, a Latino activist group in the first state has now turned its attention to education.
When a group of Harvard educators surveyed ninth-grade teachers and their students during a recent experiment, they found students who had common interests with their teachers started to perform better academically. The improvements were especially remarkable among black and Latino students.
Public school parents generally support standardized testing but think there’s too much of it, according to a new from Education Post, a nonprofit communications firm led by former Obama administration education official Peter Cunningham.
When asked how the test results should be used, 65 percent of the responding parents said helping students should be the top priority. Only 21 percent wanted test results to be a tool for identifying ineffective teachers.
The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics has launched a digital campaign to highlight the impact of Latino teachers and hopefully to attract more Latinos to the teaching profession.
Nationally, the number of minority teachers is increasing, but it’s not keeping pace with student demographics, concludes a new report issued by a union-affiliated think tank. The gap in parity between minority teachers and minority students remains wide. And that’s particularly true for African-American kids in nine large urban districts, according to the researchers’ findings.
It’s easy to get cynical about back-to-school stories – especially when you’ve been an education reporter for many years. But it’s important to remember that for many children and their families – one of the prime audiences for such reporting – this might be the first time they’ve gone through the experience.
The Education Writers Association, the national professional organization for journalists who cover education, is thrilled to announce that its annual conference will take place from Sunday, May 1, through Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in the historic city of Boston.
Co-hosted by Boston University’s College of Communication and School of Education, EWA’s 69th National Seminar will examine a wide array of timely topics in education — from early childhood through career — while expanding and sharpening participants’ skills in reporting and storytelling.
Researchers find evidence of systematic biases in teachers’ expectations for the educational attainment of black students. Specifically, non-black teachers have significantly lower educational expectations for black students than black teachers do when evaluating the same students. We cannot determine whether the black teachers are too optimistic, the non-black teachers are too pessimistic, or some combination of the two.
Imagine taking an English class with a teacher who struggles with writing and grammar.
That’s the type of instruction many students in Miami-Dade County Public Schools were getting in Spanish class, where teachers with Hispanic last names who spoke Spanish well enough to get by were being thrust into a role they weren’t trained for, according to recent articles by Christina Veiga of the Miami Herald.
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?
While it may seem that every back-to-school story has been written, the well is far from dry. Are you following the blogs teachers in your district write? Have you amassed the data sets you’ll need to write that deep dive explaining why so many local high school graduates land in remedial classes when they first enter college?
No? It’s OK. You’re not alone.
Education writing is famous for its alphabet soup of acronyms and obscure terms, but it could just as well be faulted for trafficking buzzwords in search of clear definitions.
Ideas like grit, motivation, fitting in and learning from one’s mistakes, often summarized as noncognitive factors, are just some of the concepts floated more frequently these days. A new paper released this week seeks to provide clarity to this fast-growing discipline within the world of how students learn.
Rethinking Teacher Preparation: Empowering Local Schools to Solve California’s Teacher Shortage and Better Develop Teachers
Bellwether Education Partners
After years of cuts to the teaching workforce, California districts are beginning to hire again. This positive change is offset, however, by the fact that teacher preparation programs are producing fewer graduates than the state’s schools and districts want to hire. As a growing number of districts face teacher shortages, or the prospect of them, California needs new strategies to improve both the supply and the quality of new teachers prepared in the state.
Teacher Preparation Programs: Education Should Ensure States Identify Low-Performing Programs and Improve Information Sharing
United States Government Accountability Office
Among other things, GAO recommends that the Department of Education monitor states to ensure their compliance with requirements to assess whether any teacher preparation programs are low-performing and develop mechanisms to share information about TPP quality within the agency and with states.
Fifty years ago, the federal government enacted the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty. The newest version of the ESEA, the No Child Left Behind Act, became law 13 years ago and has stayed in place ever since. On Thursday, a new version of the federal government’s most far-reaching K-12 education law moved closer to adoption. The U.S. Senate passed the Every Child Achieves Act, one week after the U.S. House of Representatives passed its own version, the Student Success Act.
How does student-centered learning change the pupil-teacher working relationship? And what do we know about the longterm benefits of the educational approach? We’ll hear from a student who has graduated from a school that was an early adopter of student-centered learning, as well as a student and teachers currently using it in their classrooms.
Reporters are sometimes afraid of numbers. But when it comes to pensions, this can be a problem. It means that they often write an incomplete story, giving voices to politicians who decry the size of teacher pensions. Or they’ll ignore pension stories entirely.
So it’s no surprise that the public often comes to erroneous conclusions—that teacher greed is the problem.
A data analysis by Education Week showed a decline in applicants to education schools in key states and Ed Week’s Stephen Sawchuk walks participants through it. ACT’s Steve Kappler unveils a disturbing new report on a dropoff in high school graduates aspiring to teach. Other speakers review the implications of their findings and sources.
Why would young people today want to become teachers? Or perhaps more importantly, why wouldn’t they?
We all recognize teaching as an opportunity to change lives and remember the teachers who made a difference for us. But weigh that intrinsic satisfaction against low wages, little public respect and an ever-growing workload, and the minuses often win out. And now that a rebounding economy offers more professional options, our country faces a serious challenge to educating the next generation.
If teachers and principals want students on center stage in their classrooms, they’ll first have to do a lot of work backstage. However, as a panel of teachers and students told attendees at EWA’s recent National Seminar in Chicago, the return on investment can be substantial.
When Revere High School, outside Boston, began moving to a more student-centered approach, the educators didn’t expect an overnight miracle.
What’s most notable about the Chicago kindergarten class where assistant teacher Nichelle Bell is temporarily in charge is what is not happening. Teachers are not redirecting pupils, who are not off-task. Hands are not in other people’s spaces. Voices—those of children and adults—are not raised.
With an eye toward reducing turnover and improving student learning, districts nationwide are experimenting with “teacher residencies.” These programs, which provide intensive support to new teachers during the early years of their careers, are typically partnerships between schools of education and local districts. The idea is to better align the training with the on-the-job expectations.
Need a state or national statistic? There’s likely a federal data set for that. From fairly intuitive and interactive widgets to dense spreadsheets — and hundreds of data summaries in between — the U.S. Department of Education’s various research programs are a gold mine for reporters on the hunt for facts and figures.
Most students don’t study using methods backed by scientific research, panelists at the Education Writers Association’s deep dive on the science of learning told reporters in Chicago at the association’s 68th National Seminar.
“Why do people find learning so hard?” asked Henry Roediger, a psychology professor at Washington University in St. Louis, who participated in the April event.
Despite previous reports that new teachers are ditching their professions in record numbers, new federal data suggest that a grand majority of novice classroom instructors are showing up for work year after year.
Eighty-three percent of rookie teachers in 2007 continued to educate public school students half a decade later, according to the 2007–08 Beginning Teacher Longitudinal Study. Ten percent of teachers left the field after just one year.
For teacher Merlinda Maldonado’s sixth graders at Hill Middle School in Denver, it’s not necessarily about getting the answer right. It’s not about memorizing procedures, either. If Maldonado’s classroom is clicking, frustration can be a good thing.
In a wide-ranging speech on educational opportunity, teacher quality, school funding and accountability delivered at the kickoff of the Education Writers Association’s 68th National Seminar, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner shared with reporters his vision for the future of education in the Prairie State.
EWA’s 68th National Seminar kicks off today in Chicago, and it’s going to be a fantastic three days of discussions, workshops, and site visits. The theme this year is Costs and Benefits: The Economics of Education. Be sure to keep tabs on all the action via the #EWA15 hashtag on Twitter.
Top Tweets from #EWAChoice’s first session
A bill that would make it easier for undocumented immigrants to obtain teaching licenses in Nevada will soon make its way to the state’s Assembly floor, various news outlets reported this week.
Over at EWA Radio, my colleague Mikhail Zinshteyn and I talked with Boston Globe education reporter Jamie Vaznis about a plan to expand learning time in that city’s elementary and middle schools. The Globe did its own analysis of a pilot program to add time to the academic calendar, and found mixed results.
Grappling with achievement gaps between their rich and poor students, a growing number of schools and districts are resolving to add more minutes or days to the academic calendar, and Boston has emerged as a leader in this trend.
The National Council on Teacher Quality has a new report out looking at teacher pension funds, which the advocacy group contends amount to a massive, underfunded liability for states.
Teacher pension debt now stands at nearly a half-trillion dollars, up about $1 billion from two years ago. (You can read my take on NCTQ’s 2012 report here.)
Among the takeaways from this year’s report:
Despite Reports to the Contrary, New Teachers Are Staying in Their Jobs Longer
Center for American Progress
Not only do our analyses show that since 2007, new teachers have been staying in the classroom at dramatically higher rates than is commonly understood, but they also show that teachers in high-poverty schools—defined here as those with more than 80 percent of students eligible for federally subsidized lunches—are staying at statistically similar rates as all beginning teachers. Teachers find high-poverty schools to be among the most challenging work environments, and they are somewhat more likely to leave teaching after working in a high-poverty school than in a lower-poverty school.
We have two new episodes of EWA Radio this week, looking at the hot-button stories on the education beat in the coming year.
When you write a blog, the end of the year seems to require looking back and looking ahead. Today I’m going to tackle the former with a sampling of some of the year’s top stories from the K-12 and higher education beats. I’ll save the latter for early next week when the final sluggish clouds of 2014 have been swept away, and a bright new sky awaits us in 2015. (Yes, I’m an optimist.)
For education beat reporters looking for story ideas next week, I wanted to offer a couple of suggestions.
First up: Do teachers in your district take on second jobs over the holidays to make ends meet, or to boost their Social Security retirement contributions?
As tools and data profiles of students become easier to use, are teachers sufficiently data literate to make sense of the information at their fingertips? Do teachers have the skills and access to data in useful formats, and are the school leaders and institutions responsible for their professional development providing them the training they need?
What teachers are paid matters. Many factors play a role in making the decision to become a teacher, but for many people compensation heavily influences the decision not only to enter the profession but also whether to stay in it and when to leave. For teachers, knowing where salaries start and end isn’t enough; they must also understand the path they will take from starting salary to the top of the scale.
By his third year of teaching, Jonas Chartock was overwhelmed, acting as a department head and taking on a variety of other roles at his school in addition to his regular duties at the front of the classroom.
“What I could tell you is I wasn’t being trained to do any of them,” Chartock said.
Those experiences helped drive Chartock’s decision to leave the classroom and to pursue a career in education leadership outside the school.
On a recent Wednesday morning, 11th-grader Sophia Wellington took to the undersized stage at the front of her high school gym and with seamless poise demonstrated what smarter student assessment could look like.