Why Reporters Should Cover Middle School
Learning about the middle school years will help journalists better cover youth learning and brain development.
Although middle school is often treated as just a way station between elementary and high school, there’s much more to the story. In fact, the middle school years are a time of profound change for young people – physically, emotionally, and intellectually. These years are a crucial time for learning and brain development, a reality that is often overlooked or misconstrued.
Who gets to decide what teachers can say about our nation’s problematic history of racism? Covering this increasingly polarizing debate is a growing challenge for education reporters, as efforts to be fair and historically accurate now often draw accusations of bias or censorship.
To help journalists better navigate this challenge, the Education Writers Association gathered several veteran reporters with extensive experience covering the debates over critical race theory and the teaching of history. They shared their reporting tips and advice during a webinar.
As schools nationwide grapple with how to recover from pandemic-driven learning disruptions, “accelerated learning” is increasingly invoked as an effective way to address troubling academic gaps for students.
The concept is promoted in U.S. Department of Education press releases and guidance, cited in many states’ education recovery plans, and talked up by superintendents, school leaders, and more.
What makes a college “good”?
Providing stellar educations and career opportunities to a select few? Or creating lots of opportunities for all kinds of people, and helping disadvantaged students get into careers that can sustain families?
Reporters who want answers can use a new free data tool that helps identify whether colleges are opening the doors of socioeconomic mobility and promoting equity in education.
Conversations in English that never happened. Students struggling to follow a teacher’s demonstration of how to enunciate during lessons on Zoom. These were among the hurdles facing English language learners during the pandemic shutdown.
Oftentimes, science is seen as taking a back seat in K-12 education, especially at the elementary level. Learn how current events are reinvigorating the teaching of science and how educators are leveraging phenomena, such as climate change and COVID-19, to answer pressing questions that students have. Along the way, these efforts are seeking to engage young people in deeper learning in the discipline.
School leaders are scrambling, yet again, during the third academic year since the pandemic began disrupting education in spring 2020. Under pressure to keep schools open and close learning gaps, they must still provide instruction to students quarantined at home due to COVID-19 exposure.
How is it going so far? What are the biggest challenges, and how are they being addressed? To get answers to these and other questions, watch the Education Writers Association’s webinar.
How Will Educators Use Data on COVID-19 Learning Disruption?
Experts say recent findings can inform instructional strategies.
New data continues to show impeded academic learning during the coronavirus pandemic. A critical question is: What, exactly, should be done to address the problem? Efforts are growing to better connect education data with instructional strategies during the education recovery.
A Report Card on Teacher Retirement Systems
What education journalists need to know about an important but undercovered issue
State retirement plans for teachers are wildly uneven in quality, according to a new analysis. Some teachers can’t collect Social Security under their state plans, yet their retirement benefits don’t make up the difference. And, some are building up huge bills that taxpayers will have to pay.
Although school districts nationwide are expected to offer full-time, in-person instruction during the 2021-22 academic year, millions of students are poised to stick with online learning, with the number of virtual options growing. This raises a host of important questions for families, communities, and educators.
Watch the Education Writers Association’s timely webinar on remote learning. Experts identified critical questions education reporters should be asking in their local communities and provided some early answers.
Cognitive science has vastly expanded the body of knowledge on how people learn in the last 25 years. Yet, little of that knowledge has trickled down to the classroom.
A small, but growing, number of schools and districts are working to change that. More educators are looking at the science of learning after concerns expressed about learning disruptions and recovering from the pandemic. To learn more, watch the webinar recording below.
A Reporter’s Guide to Rethinking Grades Post-Pandemic
Experts explain how COVID-19 disrupted grading practices in schools and what's ahead
As with so many aspects of schooling, the pandemic exposed flaws in traditional grading policies and practices. As the number of Ds and Fs rose, educators altered, froze or suspended grades in an effort to hold students harmless for lack of Internet access and other circumstances beyond their control.
The ongoing pandemic has cast a gloomy shadow over education news. Even the most celebratory, feel-good stories have been clouded with loss. News stories have tended to focus on education system failures, such as missing students, growing equity gaps and budget cuts.
LGBTQ Stories Reporters Should Cover After Pride Month
Hear about laws targeting LGBTQ athletes, mental health and data to inform your coverage.
Pride month is coming to an end, but LGBTQ issues will continue to make headlines this summer and fall – especially for education reporters – because of continuing controversies over new school policies and laws.
Legislation banning the teaching of “critical race theory” in schools and colleges is being advanced in statehouses all over the country. Lawmakers sponsoring these policies claim that such teaching is divisive, racist, and psychologically distressing. Opponents say that this is a manufactured misinformation campaign intended to chill teacher speech and limit educators’ ability to teach about race and racism.
As schools gear up for education recovery over the next year, robust arts programs – in music, visual arts, theater and more – can be a powerful lever to help address key pandemic-driven challenges. That’s the case some arts education advocates are making.
Will the Pandemic Propel ‘Competency-Based’ Education Into the Mainstream?
Instructional model replaces 'seat-time' requirements with focus on mastery of content, skills
The pandemic forced schools to switch from in-person to remote learning nearly overnight, raising questions about the relevance of “seat time” as a standard measure for earning course credit. Now, as schools move into education recovery mode, an alternative model known as competency-based learning is getting a fresh look and is expected to see more widespread adoption.
School districts nationwide are racing to meet an August deadline to map out how they will spend their portion of $130 billion in recovery dollars under the American Rescue Plan, signed in March by President Joe Biden. This massive influx of federal aid comes on top of two earlier rounds of emergency support from Washington.
How Can We Widen the Pathway to the Middle Class?
Webinar offers background on "middle skills" research and training programs.
One of the most important goals of America’s education system is to launch citizens into “middle class” jobs that pay enough to provide economic security. But the number of those jobs have been shrinking, and the skills needed to land the remaining middle class jobs are changing faster than many traditional educational or training programs have been able to match.
The nearly $2 trillion stimulus package President Joe Biden signed into law last week contains an historic infusion of federal aid for schools, colleges and universities. Education journalists will play an important role in shedding light on the uses and impacts of that funding – over $125 billion for K-12 and nearly $40 billion for higher education.
Where exactly will the money from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 go? How will it be used? Will the funds “rescue” the schools and students with the highest needs?