Teaching: A Profession in Transition

Overview DLoewenberg@ewa.org

Teaching: A Profession in Transition
Chicago • October 18-19, 2018

From state capitols to the U.S. Supreme Court, teachers are making headlines. Perennial issues like teacher preparation, compensation, and evaluation continue to be debated while a new wave of teacher activism and growing attention to workforce diversity are providing fresh angles for compelling coverage.

To help reporters make sense of it all, EWA will bring together journalists, educators, and experts for a seminar on October 18-19 in Chicago, hosted by the Urban Education Institute at the University of Chicago.

From state capitols to the U.S. Supreme Court, teachers are making headlines. Perennial issues like teacher preparation, compensation, and evaluation continue to be debated while a new wave of teacher activism and growing attention to workforce diversity are providing fresh angles for compelling coverage.

To help reporters make sense of it all, EWA will bring together journalists, educators, and experts for a seminar on October 18-19 in Chicago, hosted by the Urban Education Institute at the University of Chicago.

During the two-day event, we’ll tackle a host of issues. Were the widespread teacher walkouts last spring a one-off episode or a sign of things to come? What’s next for teachers’ unions in light of a recent Supreme Court decision widely expected to deal them a financial blow? We will spotlight promising approaches to rethink teacher prep, including “teacher residencies,” and to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the teaching profession.

Experts will also help reporters make sense of teacher salary data, explore the latest trends in teacher evaluation, and discuss the role of school principals in recruiting and keeping effective teachers. Plus, seasoned reporters will share tips for making the most of classroom visits, developing sources within schools, and mining education data to tell powerful stories about the teaching profession.

In addition, the event will begin with an optional school visit to see, in action, a highly regarded University of Chicago teacher preparation program that places a premium on providing aspiring teachers extensive, and carefully guided, classroom experience.

This event is open to EWA journalist members only. More information and an agenda for the event will be available soon.

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Blog: The Educated Reporter Rick Wilson

Is This a Political Turning Point for the Teaching Profession?

The journalist Dale Russakoff kept hearing the same word in her conversations with Arizona teachers during a reporting trip last spring for The New York Times Magazine. That word, she said, was “awakening.”

Blog: The Educated Reporter Erik Robelen

Patching the Leaky Pipeline to Teacher Diversity

Sometimes when Philadelphia school principal Sharif El-Mekki asks a roomful of students of color about their interest in teaching, they respond with laughter.

“We ask them — have you been thinking about it?” he said during a recent EWA panel on how to make the teacher workforce more racially and ethnically diverse. ”And the response,” El-Mekki said, is “No way. I’m having a miserable experience in school. Why would I commit myself to living there?”

Blog: The Educated Reporter Lori Crouch

How Do Teachers’ Unions Move Forward in Wake of ‘Janus’ Decision?
High court ruled against collecting 'agency' fees from non-members

In June, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling to prohibit public sector unions from collecting “agency” or “fair share” fees, some observers saw it as the beginning of the end for teachers unions.

But such dire predictions may be premature, according to education analysts and a union leader at the Education Writers Association’s October event on the teaching profession.

Blog: The Educated Reporter Rick Wilson

How a Reporter Enlisted Teachers to Expose Hazards in Philly Schools

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Barbara Laker isn’t an education reporter. She doesn’t have a long list of teachers’ phone numbers in her contacts. So, it’s amazing that she was able to find and convince 24 teachers and other school employees from 19 elementary schools to swab pipes, drinking fountains and suspicious patches of black on classroom walls.

Blog: The Educated Reporter Rick Wilson

Teacher Evaluation: The Only Constant Is Change, Experts Say

If there’s been one constant over the last decade in terms of teacher evaluation policies in the United States, it’s been change.

First, performance reviews incorporating student test scores became – mostly – the law of the land. Then, the academic standards educators and their pupils are measured against – mostly – changed. And then, in many places, those standards changed again.

So, has the implementation of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which did away with mandates on how states measure teacher quality, calmed the roiling waters?

Key Coverage Lori Crouch

A Little Finland, a Little Canada, a Lot of Moxie: Why One Indianapolis Teachers College Is Betting It Can Train More Successful Educators After a Radical Reboot

On a recent Friday, Kenith Britt joined a group of Marian University faculty members who were courting a student athlete over lunch. A young African-American man with a GPA of 3.99, the prospective student wanted to study engineering, like his father.

Britt gave his standard pitch for Marian’s brand-new Klipsch Educators College, the Indianapolis program where he is dean. “You can become a teacher, or you can become a teacher,” he joked at the end. “Those are your choices.”

Blog: The Educated Reporter Rick Wilson

Walkouts, Shortages, and Scandals: Reporters Describe ‘How I Did the (Teacher) Story’

There’s no one way to get a great data story on the education beat. You can start with a hunch, dig for data, and then humanize the story with on-the-ground reporting. Or you can start with the people and work back to the data.

Stellar journalists described both of these approaches at a recent Education Writers Association event, in a session called “How I Did the (Teacher) Story.”

Blog: The Educated Reporter Rick Wilson

In Chicago, Some Aspiring Teachers Get ‘Residency’-Style Training

The eighth grade classroom of English language arts teacher Natalie Mitchell is full of books by black writers. Titles like Natalie Y. Moore’s “The South Side,” and LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman’s “Our America: Life and Death on the South Side of Chicago,” are prominently displayed.

Mitchell’s literary choices here at the University of Chicago Charter School, Woodlawn campus, underscore a key element of her teaching: her own experience growing up on Chicago’s south side.

Blog: The Educated Reporter Marquita Brown

How to Make the Classroom Part of the Story

Visiting a classroom while reporting on education issues is a core part of understanding how instruction takes place. But it can also be a missed opportunity, without careful thought and planning.

If reporters don’t ask for a lesson plan in advance, for instance, stick around after students leave to speak with the teacher, or even make plans for a return visit, they risk failing to make the most of this on-the-ground reporting.

Blog: The Educated Reporter Erik Robelen

What You Missed at the #ewaTEACH18 Seminar in Chicago

Journalists from across the Great Lakes region and the U.S. gathered in Chicago Oct. 18-19 to learn more about the teaching profession during a time of transition for the field, and to get story ideas and inspiration.

The event explored the recent surge of teacher activism across the country and the growing mismatch between teacher diversity and student diversity. Reporters also explored teacher prep, teacher evaluation, and dived into data on teacher pensions, salaries, and absenteeism.