Trump Era

Overview

Education in the Trump Era

The election of Republican Donald Trump as president, coupled with the GOP's success in retaining control of Congress for two more years, appears likely to reshape federal education policy in significant ways, from preschool to college. Already, Republican lawmakers have moved to repeal key Obama administration regulations on school accountability and teacher preparation. The Trump administration made waves by backing away from Obama-era guidance for schools on bathroom access for transgender students.

The election of Republican Donald Trump as president, coupled with the GOP’s success in retaining control of Congress for two more years, appears likely to reshape federal education policy in significant ways, from preschool to college. Already, Republican lawmakers have moved to repeal key Obama administration regulations on school accountability and teacher preparation. The Trump administration made waves by backing away from Obama-era guidance for schools on bathroom access for transgender students. And early signals suggest expanding school choice will be the president’s top educational priority, one that could find favor among GOP lawmakers.

Even before the 2016 election, the bipartisan rewrite of the No Child Left Behind Act handed states and localities significantly greater control over school accountability and other aspects of education. In 2017, all states are revamping their accountability systems, which must be approved by the U.S. Department of Education now led by Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Beyond the K-12 level, Congress is overdue in reauthorizing the Higher Education Act. And the Trump administration is widely expected to pivot away from Obama priorities such as Title IX enforcement on sexual assault and increased oversight of for-profit colleges. Other issues that may gain favor include new strategies to pay for college, such as “risk sharing” arrangements, as well as competency-based education and more skills training at community colleges.

Meanwhile, the 2016 elections didn’t just shake up things in Washington. Republicans made further inroads in states, particularly notable given the push to give states and localities greater power over education. Currently, the governors of 33 states are Republican, while just 16 are Democrats and one is Independent. Republicans have what Ballotpedia calls a “trifecta” in 25 states (compared with six for Democrats), where the party controls the governorship and both legislative chambers.

Furthermore, there are plenty of fresh faces in key state positions of power that influence education policy. As Education Week recently noted, half the nation’s state legislatures have at least one new education chairman in 2017, and one-quarter of state superintendents are less than one year into the job.

EWA Radio

What Does Hate Look Like in Schools? Education Week and ProPublica Show Us.
Is President Trump's Fiery Rhetoric Fueling Incidents at Public Campuses?
(EWA Radio: Episode 177)

Swastikas scrawled on bathroom walls. A confederate flag hanging behind a teacher’s desk. Chants of “build the wall” aimed at Hispanic students. As part of ProPublica’s “Documenting Hate” project, Education Week tallied incidents of harassment, bullying, graffiti and more at public schools across the country. The team, including Education Week’s Francisco Vara-Orta, sifted through thousands of tips, as well as news coverage of incidents from across the nation.

EWA Radio

Want Reporting With More Impact? It’s Complicated.
In age of Trump, researchers look to high-quality journalism as tool for bridging divides (EWA Radio: Episode 176)

At a time of deep political polarization in the United States, how might journalists play a role in bridging the divide among Americans? Complicate the narrative, suggests veteran journalist Amanda Ripley. “We need to find ways to help our audiences leave their foxholes and consider new ideas,” she writes in a new piece for the Solutions Journalism Network.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Covering Immigrant Students and Families in the Time of Trump

Covering immigrant students and their families – always challenging given legal and privacy concerns — has arguably never been more timely, as recent shifts in federal policy have thrust them into the national spotlight.

A panel of researchers and journalists offered advice on pressing issues, including: how reporters can explain the stakes of their stories to sources, whether undocumented students should be named, and how to discuss complicated immigration policy shifts in a clear and compelling way that draws in readers.

Seminar

Seminar on the Teaching Profession
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.

Seminar

Higher Education Seminar Fall 2018
Las Vegas • UNLV • September 24-25, 2018

The Education Writers Association will hold its 2018 Higher Education Seminar Sept. 24-25 on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The theme of this year’s intensive training event for journalists will be “Navigating Rapid Change.” This journalist-only event will offer two days of high-impact learning opportunities. The seminar will focus on how both postsecondary education and journalism are adjusting to an increasingly divisive political environment, the decline of traditional revenue sources, and continuing technological innovations that are upending much of the economy.

EWA Radio

Districts Double Down on Student Data
Will investments in digital accountability, family engagement pay off for schools?
(EWA Radio: Episode 173)

All Systems Go! Andrew Hart Flickr

From test scores to parent portals, districts are making big investments in data management systems intended to inform everything from classroom instruction to staffing decisions. But as Jenny Abamu reports for EdSurge, school systems are also struggling to hire qualified data managers to oversee these often complex networks, and to make sure that educators are both inputting — and using — the collected information appropriately.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Tawnell Hobbs: ‘Always Get the Data’
The Wall Street Journal reporter offers advice about tapping data on the education beat.

Tawnell Hobbs doesn’t shy away from data.

When reporting on credit-recovery programs in public schools, she analyzed U.S. Department of Education figures on the number of students taking those courses. For context, she added stats about the nation’s high school graduation rates, which are climbing, compared to national test scores, which remain flat.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

How to Break News Using Social Media and Avoid ‘Bots And Trolls
Journalists need to join the technological arms race against misinformation

robot at computer

The scariest moment of the 2018 Education Writers Association National Seminar came when Steve Myers, the editor of The Lens, demonstrated how to alter reality in less than thirty seconds.

He pulled up an unsuspecting person’s tweet, and with a few clicks, made the text say something totally new. He only tinkered with the coding to change how the tweet appeared on his screen. (It went unchanged to the rest of the world.) But it was there long enough to take a screenshot.

Member Stories

June 29-July 5
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Sally Ho of the Associated Press explains where and why prominent charter school supporters are wading into state elections.

A lawsuit filed on behalf of Detroit students ends in disappointment for its supporters, reports Lori Higgins of the Detroit Free Press. 

For EdSource, Theresa Harrington examines why teachers in Oakland are preparing to strike.

Member Stories

June 22-June 28
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Eva-Marie Ayala of The Dallas Morning News examines the relationship between a shelter for immigrant children and a charter school that wants to educate them.

For migrant teachers in Dallas, performance evaluations could mean the difference between staying in the U.S. and facing deportation, writes Mario Koran for The 74.

Member Stories

June 15-June 21
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Emmanuel Felton of The Hechinger Report investigates charter schools where the student population is significantly whiter than neighboring district schools.

A lawsuit alleges that school districts across the country are excluding immigrant students. Zoë Kirsch of The Teacher Project explores the issue for Naples Daily News.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Hispanic, Latino, Latinx: How to Cover the Fastest-Growing Student Group

Hispanic students, who make up the second largest racial demographic in schools today, are entering college in record numbers. But they are also dropping out of college at a far higher rate than white students. That reality has important implications for our educational and economic systems and the reporters who cover them, according to a group of researchers and experts gathered at the 2018 Education Writers Association National Seminar.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Finances and Politics: Big Challenges for Public Universities

images of Timothy White and Janet Napolitano

Public university systems have weathered wave after wave of difficulties in recent years – from shrinking state funding streams to intense public scrutiny and criticism – and it’s not likely to get easier anytime soon.

That’s according to the leaders of the two public university systems in California, a state that has long led the way on higher education for the rest of the nation.

Multimedia

The State of Private School Choice
EWA National Seminar • Los Angeles May 16, 2018

The State of Private School Choice

Efforts to expand private school choice continue to spread, from vouchers for bullied students in Florida to education savings accounts and a new federal tax break for K-12 tuition. Such efforts also have a high-profile champion in U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. What’s happening, what’s ahead, and what impact are these programs having in communities?

Speakers:

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Understanding ‘Janus:’ The High Court Case That Could Shake Up Teachers’ Unions

The U.S. Supreme Court is on the cusp of a decision that could reshape teachers’ unions, putting new pressure on them to convince educators that paid membership is worthwhile.

At issue is a case over whether public employees, including teachers, who choose not to join unions can be required to pay agency fees. (Those fees typically cover the costs of collective bargaining.)

Seminar

Beyond the Numbers: Getting the Story on Latino Education
The Fifth Annual EWA Conference for Spanish-Language Media

image of Miami, Fla.

The Education Writers Association is pleased to partner with NAHJ to offer a 1½-day institute on covering education at the NAHJ National Conference in Miami. The July 20-21 education coverage bootcamp, which will be held in Spanish,  will feature some of the most important and influential researchers and educational leaders in the field of Latino education. They will help journalists gain a better understanding of the education issues affecting Latino students in the U.S., such as the impacts of school choice, teacher demographics, and student loans. You’ll also get training on data sources that can help you buttress or generate  education stories.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Five Questions to Ask After Court’s ‘Janus’ Ruling
Teachers' unions face uncertain future as decision looms

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling soon that could potentially deal a major blow to the size and strength of teachers’ unions.

The case, Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 31, pits public sector unions against employees who contend that requiring non-union workers to pay certain fees to the union violates their freedom of speech.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

What’s Behind the Spate of Teacher Strikes?

As a growing number of teachers across the country hold strikes to advocate for better pay and increased education funding, new questions are arising about the power of teachers’ unions, the role of social media, and what teachers are doing to continue their efforts beyond large-scale work demonstrations.

During a May 16 panel at the Education Writers Association’s annual conference, speakers sought to contextualize the teacher actions, what they mean, and what’s next.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Why Race and Equity Matter in Education Reporting

Education journalists must think more critically about the ways in which race, ethnicity and gender play into the stories they tell, a panel of experts said at the first keynote session at the Education Writers Association’s national seminar in Los Angeles last week.