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Blog: The Educated Reporter

Word on the Beat: “Adversity Score”
What reporters need to know about the College Board's experimental "Environmental Context Dashboard"

The question of which students should win admission to selective colleges is so heated that it has sparked state legislation, discrimination lawsuits and a celebrity-studded bribery scandal. So news that the College Board had been providing admissions officers data on the kind of “adversity” to which applicants had been exposed couldn’t help but stir controversy.

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When Schools Spy on Students
K-12 districts ramping up digital surveillance in the name of campus safety
(EWA Radio: Episode 212)

Ever feel like somebody’s watching you? If you’re in a in a K-12 school these days, you’re probably right. Education Week’s Benjamin Herold took a close look at the surge in digital surveillance by districts, such as tapping facial recognition software and scanning social media posts for worrisome language.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

The State of Early Learning in Your State
A pair of new reports shed light on the well-being of children across the U.S.

The best way to predict the future is to look at how children are faring. But the task is complicated given that the well-being of children varies widely from state to state. 

That’s what data presented by researchers Sarah Daily of Child Trends and W. Steven Barnett of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University show. The duo offered their takes on the state of early care and learning across the United States at the Education Writers Association’s 2019 annual conference in Baltimore. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Word on the Beat: Busing
What reporters need to know about school desegregation efforts -- past and present

School segregation is a hot-button issue on the education beat. One strategy to address it, busing, has drawn widespread attention since a recent debate among Democratic presidential candidates.

In the latest installment of Word on the Beat, we explore what reporters need to know about campus reassignments to diversify schools — whether voluntary or mandatory – and how those efforts might impact students and communities.

Seminar

Higher Education Seminar Fall 2019
University of Michigan • September 23-24, 2019

The Education Writers Association will hold its 2019 fall Higher Education Seminar September 23-24 on the theme of “Demographics, Politics, and Technology: The Forces Reshaping Higher Education.”

Held on the campus of the University of Michigan, this journalist-only intensive training event will offer two days of high-impact learning opportunities, including sessions on timely topics in higher education and practical advice for covering them effectively.

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Donate Today

The support of our members makes our work possible. Your contribution enables us to continue our work empowering education reporters and writers to tell stories that make a difference. Please consider making a tax-deductible* donation to the Reporting on Education Fund.

Last year your support helped EWA greatly expand the number of Reporter Scholarships to events designed to expand their skills and knowledge of the education beat. We hope you’ll help us this year as we continue to upgrade our offerings.

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The Strange Tale of the Fake AP Test
Principal, school under investigation for having unknowing students take ‘placebo exam’ instead of accredited test
(EWA Radio: Episode 211)

In South Florida, a high school principal is under fire for tricking hundreds of students into thinking they were taking a legitimate Advanced Placement exam that might lead to college course credit. As first reported by Cassidy Alexander of the Daytona Beach News-Journal, the principal determined that giving all eligible students the AP test would have been too expensive. Instead, the school paid for 78 students to take the real test.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Can Education Philanthropy Lift Students Out of Poverty?
Upward economic mobility, long-term positive outcomes renewed focus of foundations

An increased focus by philanthropy on the link between education and upward economic mobility is not a fad but rather is central to the work of many foundations, according to representatives of leading grantmakers gathered at the Education Writers Association’s annual conference in Baltimore.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Restoring Trust in Journalism Takes Transparency and Baby Pictures
Journalists outline five techniques to rebut 'fake news' misconceptions

Louise Kiernan, the editor-in-chief of ProPublica Illinois, once had an illuminating conversation with a reader about anonymous sources. The person thought that an anonymous source was unknown to everyone, including the reporters. 

“It wasn’t about this person’s ignorance, it was about our arrogance” and failure to fully explain how journalists gather and present news, Kiernan said during a session at the Education Writers Association’s 2019 National Seminar in Baltimore. 

(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
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Cory Booker, Mark Zuckerberg, and the Newark Schools Experiment
"The Prize" author Dale Russakoff discusses massive school reform intervention spearheaded by then-Mayor Cory Booker and funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and its mixed results
EWA Radio: Episode 38

In 2010, billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced an unprecedented gift: he would donate $100 million to the public school district of Newark, New Jersey (dollars that would eventually be matched by private partners).

Blog: The Educated Reporter

How Can Districts Find and Keep Effective Principals?

Effective school principals are hard to find and to keep, and turnover is a serious challenge. 

But school districts that put their minds to it can create a sustainable leader pipeline. Students score higher, and principals stay on the job longer in districts that make diligent efforts to select, prepare and mentor principals, according to a multi-year study, released in April, by the RAND Corporation, a public policy research firm.

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The Underreporting of Student Restraint and Seclusion
New GAO report details inaccuracies in district data
(EWA Radio: Episode 210)

School districts have been vastly underreporting instances when some of their most vulnerable students are physically restrained or sent to seclusion rooms by campus staff — that’s the conclusion of a new report from the Government Accountability Office, a federal watchdog agency. Two reporters on opposite sides of the country were already deep into the reporting on this issue: Jenny Abamu of WAMU in Washington, D.C., and Rob Manning of Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Reporter Guide

Making Sense of Research Literature Reviews and Meta-Analyses

When journalists want to learn what’s known about a certain subject, they look for research. Scholars are continually conducting studies on education topics ranging from kindergarten readiness and teacher pay to public university funding and Ivy League admissions.

One of the best ways for a reporter to get up to date quickly, though, is to read a study of studies, which come in two forms: a literature review and a meta-analysis.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

How to Better Understand and Cover Student Suicides

After a 10-year-old boy died by suicide in the middle of doing his chores, reporter Allison Ross was tapped to interview his grieving mother.

Ross struggled with how to share the Louisville family’s story sensitively, without being sensational in her coverage for the Courier-Journal newspaper.

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Summer Story Ideas on the Education Beat
Tips for tapping national issues to fuel localized reporting
(EWA Radio: Episode 209)

School might be out, but that doesn’t mean education issues take a vacation: Two experienced education journalists offer compelling story ideas to beat the summertime blues. Delece Smith-Barrow of The Hechinger Report and Lauren Camera of U.S. News & World Report join this week’s podcast to discuss a wide range of national topics ripe for localized summer coverage.

Tip Sheet

EWA Tip Sheet: Using Facebook to Report

Reporters can use Facebook to create communities, start conversations, find story tips and sources, and build their individual brands. Lynn Walsh, a veteran reporter, walked journalists through ways to make the most of Facebook at the Education Writers Association’s 2019 National Seminar in Baltimore

Blog: The Educated Reporter

The Financial and Emotional Costs of School Security

School safety is an important part of every education journalist’s beat, as states and districts invest billions in preventative measures, including those intended to stop the next campus shooting.

But how much of those investments are reactions to public perceptions about potential risks rather than grounded in best practices? And what questions should reporters ask when it comes to not just the financial costs but also the potential emotional toll such efforts take on students and staff?