Governors across the country are pledging to pump billions of dollars into early childhood education – historic investments that could have a far-reaching impact on the lives of young people.
But their success will depend on how well states implement those initiatives and the scope and quality of the programs put in place, advocates said during the Education Writers Association’s annual conference this month. And it will be up to journalists, the speakers said, to hold those states accountable.
With Civics, Do Schools Practice What They Teach?
As political tensions trickle into schools, how are schools preparing students to be engaged citizens and informed voters?
(EWA Radio: Episode 207)
Are public schools meeting their longstanding obligation to prepare students for the responsibilities of civic life? For the past year, a team of reporters and editors at Education Week has focused on the state of civics education in the U.S., from the instructional materials used by schools to examples where students are “living” civic engagement rather than just studying it. Reporter Stephen Sawchuk discusses the “Citizen Z” project, and how journalists can use it as a blueprint to inform their own work on this critical subject.
As calls grow for colleges to open food banks and assist homeless students, a debate is stirring over just how widespread student hunger and homelessness really are, and what colleges should do about it.
What students learn every day in their classes is the core of the K-12 enterprise. And yet, unless it’s part of a really terrible lesson that goes viral, content is rarely the focal point for education news coverage.
As curriculum rises on policymakers’ agendas, it should also be a focus of the nation’s education reporters, agreed panelists at the Education Writers Association’s 72nd annual conference in Baltimore this month.
The education beat offers a wealth of data — on student achievement, college admissions, teacher turnover, student discipline, K-12 and higher ed finance, and more. For data-savvy journalists, the story possibilities are limited only by their curiosity and skill level.
That’s where EWA comes in.
EWA is inviting applications for its popular Diving Into Data Workshop on July 26-29 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. We will select 20 reporters to spend three days working on self-selected data projects and getting hands-on training in data analysis methods and tools such as Excel and the programming language R.
Participants will work with our team of data coaches—veteran journalists skilled at analyzing and reporting with data. The coaches will meet you where you are skills-wise and help you navigate data for a particular project while also building your overall data skills.
The application deadline is June 7. To qualify, you must be an EWA journalist member. Click here for membership information.Scholarships are available for airfare, lodging, and registration.
Please note: Applicants will need to provide a letter of recommendation from their editor. Also, participants will be required to bring their own laptops.
Have questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lessons From the Higher Ed Beat
David Jesse of Detroit Free Press wins top EWA Award for coverage of MSU, Larry Nassar scandal
(EWA Radio: Episode 206)
Reporter David Jesse’s scoops went so deep in covering the Larry Nassar sexual assault scandal at Michigan State University that some campus officials wondered if he was being cc’ed on internal emails. Nassar, a physician affiliated with MSU’s athletics program, was sentenced to 70 years in prison for sexually abusing students who were his patients at the campus clinic, as well as members of the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team. The university’s president also resigned in the wake of the fallout. Jesse, who’s been covering higher education at the Detroit Free Press for nearly a decade, won the Moskowitz Prize in this year’s EWA National Awards for Education Reporting.
Covering How ‘Varsity Blues’ Affects College Admissions
Experts suggest following up with investigations into large inequities and sports recruiting.
The “Varsity Blues” scandal involved a small group of wealthy families using bribes and other tactics to gain admissions to selective colleges. But it also illuminated broader admissions problems – particularly those involving income disparities – that should be examined by education reporters, according to experts who spoke at the 2019 Education Writers Association seminar in Baltimore.
‘An Ethical Obligation to Care’ When Reporting
'I try to write like people's lives depend on my words,' says Jenny Abamu.
While working as a journalist in New York City at the start of her career, Jenny Abamu experienced firsthand one of the challenges of daily breaking news coverage in a huge media market. Her job, at the television station NY1, required quickly moving from one assignment to the next, even on the same day.
At times she felt like part of the “media herd” chasing shiny objects, Abamu recalled recently to EWA. She felt she moved on from stories that deserved more depth and context.
“I felt like I was slipping in and out of people’s lives,” she said.
The Education Writers Association announced today that Claudio Sanchez, a longtime education reporter for NPR, was awarded EWA’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Prize, which was inspired by the late EWA board president Mike Bowler.
The Education Writers Association is pleased to announce the appointment of five new members of the EWA Board of Directors and the election of the board’s 2019–20 officers.
Joining the governing board for their first two-year terms as directors will be Sarah Carr of The Teacher Project at Columbia University, Erica Green of The New York Times, Barbara McKenna of the Learning Policy Institute, Denise-Marie Ordway of Journalist’s Resource at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Beth Shuster of the University of Southern California.
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos defended her education agenda in front of hundreds of education reporters on Monday, as she discussed efforts to expand school choice and the reversal of policies and guidance set forth by the Obama administration on student discipline, special education, and student loan forgiveness.
‘Surrounded’: Risky Routes for Los Angeles Students
A Los Angeles Times project examines dangerous commutes for kids in the nation’s second-largest school district
(EWA Radio: Episode 205)
For many Los Angeles students, getting to and from class can be a risky proposition, as they navigate neighborhoods with high rates of homicides. In a new project, education reporter Sonali Kohli crunched the data and found surprising examples where the reality contradicted public perceptions of the “most dangerous” schools.
The Story Behind the Sun Sentinel’s ‘Parkland’ Pulitzer Prize
Reporters discuss covering Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and its aftermath, holding officials accountable, and lessons learned
(EWA Radio: Episode 204)
Heartbreaking. Frightening. Infuriating. All those words apply to the remarkable coverage by the South Florida Sun Sentinel of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The newspaper’s reporting since the February 2018 killings earned journalism’s top award this year, the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. The newspaper pushed back on stonewalling by district leadership and public safety officials to uncover missed opportunities that might have mitigated — or even prevented — the school shooting that left 17 people dead and dozens more seriously injured.
The Education Writers Association is pleased to announce its seventh class of EWA Reporting Fellows as part of the organization’s ongoing efforts to support enterprising journalism projects.
“We were thrilled to receive many strong proposals for in-depth reporting projects, including from outlets focused on local news,” said Caroline Hendrie, EWA’s executive director. “We are proud of the outstanding coverage that EWA’s fellowship program has supported to date, and we’re confident that this new round will prove equally excellent.”
Is New York City’s Elite High School Exam Unfair?
Officials, equity advocates, and families battle over entrance test for specialized high schools
(EWA Radio: Episode 198)
New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio wants to scrap the entrance exam that determines whether students gain admission to eight specialized public high schools in the city. The move, intended to make the schools more diverse, has some equity advocates cheering. But a large number of students and families – including a coalition of Asian-Americans parents who have mounted a lawsuit — are pushing back about the proposed changes for the elite schools, saying it will squeeze out the most talented kids. Christina Veiga of Chalkbeat New York discusses the equity challenges facing the nation’s largest district, why Asian-American families are mounting a lawsuit to block DeBlasio’s plans, and how early childhood education and gifted and talented programs fit into schools Chancellor Richard Carranza’s plans to improve diversity and inclusion throughout the city’s vast network of public schools. Also, Veiga offers advice for journalists on covering diverse campus communities, and story ideas to consider when reporting on issues related to race and inequities in educational opportunities.
An American Boy in a Chinese School
In 'Little Soldiers,' journalist shares her family's immersion into Shanghai Province education system, amid China's push for globally competitive students
(EWA Radio: Episode 175)
Around the time that China’s Shanghai province was drawing international attention for top scores on a global exam, U.S. journalist Lenora Chu and her husband moved into their new Shanghai home. They lived just blocks away from a highly-regarded primary school that she calls a “laboratory for Chinese education reform,” and managed to secure a spot for their young son. The next few years gave Chu an inside look into Shanghai’s elite school system, and sparked a deeper interest in education in China.
How much money do states spend on pre-K education? What policies are they implementing to support early learning? How large are the class sizes and how well-trained are the staff?
The National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University releases an annual report card on state-funded pre-K that provides answers to these and many more questions.