2021 Finalists for the National Awards for Education Reporting

Discover in-depth reporting from journalists selected as finalists in each category.

The Complete List

Audio Storytelling

Smaller Newsroom

Sasha Aslanian & Alisa Roth
APM Reports
Under Pressure: Inside the College Mental Health Crisis

Lee V. Gaines
Illinois Public Media

A Debate Over Defunding the Campus Police Takes Root at the University of Illinois

Kyra Miles

LGBTQ Students Find Hope in New Affirming School: The Magic City Acceptance Academy

Larger Newsroom

Sasha Aslanian, Catherine Winter, Karin Fischer & Jennifer Ruark
APM Reports, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Fading Beacon: Why America Is Losing International Students

NBC News staff
NBC News Digital


Ki Sung, Jessica Placzek, Nimah Gobir & Seth Samuel

Grades Have Huge Impact, But Are They Effective?

Beat Reporting

Small newsroom

Linda Jacobson
The 74

Covering American Education’s Most Turbulent Year

Asher Lehrer-Small
The 74

ELLs’ Absenteeism, Blue State/Red State Learning Divides, TA to BA and More

Jon Marcus
The Hechinger Report

Jon Marcus: Higher Education Beat Coverage

Midsize newsroom

Mila Koumpilova
Chalkbeat Chicago

Mila Koumpilova: Beat Reporting

Olivia Krauth
The Courier Journal

Olivia Krauth: Beat Reporting

Kate McGee
The Texas Tribune

Higher Education in Texas

Large newsroom

Dana Goldstein
The New York Times

How the Pandemic Has Affected Students, Teachers and Families

Erica Green
The New York Times

How the Nation’s Troubles Affected Education

Talia Richman
The Dallas Morning News

Talia Richman: Beat Reporting


Small newsroom

Max Kutner
Los Angeles Magazine

How L.A.’s Brentwood School Became a Battleground in the Culture Wars

Caroline Preston
The Hechinger Report

The Jobs Where Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Never Stopped

Charlotte West & Monica Braine
The Hechinger Report

How Native Students Navigated the Pandemic

Midsize newsroom

Trisha Powell Crain & Amanda Khorrambadi
AL.com, Reckon South

Alabama High Flyers

Rita Omokha
The Hechinger Report, Vanity Fair

The Orphans Covid Left Behind

Patrick Wall, Stephanie Wang, Sarah Darville, Kalyn Belsha, Alex Zimmerman, Lori Higgins & Melanie Asmar

Covid Shutdowns: One Year Later

Large newsroom

Mike Hixenbaugh & Antonia Hylton
NBC News Digital

The Critical Race Theory Battle in Southlake’s Schools

Hannah Natanson
The Washington Post

Race in the Classroom

Casey Parks
The New York Times Magazine

The Tragedy of America’s Rural Schools

Investigative Reporting

Smaller newsroom

Morgan Matzen
Argus Leader

South Dakota Social Studies Standards Series

Samantha Smylie
Chalkbeat Chicago

How Chicago Fell Behind Serving Students With Disabilities

Jack Stripling
The Chronicle of Higher Education

‘The Biggest Mess’

Larger newsroom

Hannah Dreyfus

“The Liberty Way”

Kenny Jacoby

Six Women Reported a Louisiana College Student for Sexual Misconduct. No One Connected the Dots.

Mandy McLaren
Louisville Courier-Journal

Magnetic Pull: How Louisville Sacrifices Poor Schools to Ensure Its Elite Magnet Programs Thrive


Small newsroom

Rebecca Koenig & Emily Tate

How China’s New Education Policy Affects Teachers, Parents and Students Around the World

Jackie Mader, Kavitha Cardoza & Kate Rix
The Hechinger Report

The Trauma Epidemic

Neal Morton
The Hechinger Report

A Year in the Life of a Small-Town Superintendent Shows the Federal Bailout Won’t Be Enough

Midsize newsroom

Nuria Martinez-Keel & Josh Dulaney
The Oklahoman

Ninnekah Schools Abuse Scandal

Ileana Najarro, Holly Peele, Eesha Pendharkar, Maya Riser-Kositsky, Stephen Sawchuk, Sarah Schwartz, Kaylee Domzalski & Brooke Saias
Education Week

A Year After George Floyd

Jack Stripling
The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Tenure Case of Nikole Hannah-Jones

Large newsroom

Emily Donaldson, Talia Richman, Corbett Smith, Eva-Marie Ayala & Allie Morris
The Education Lab at The Dallas Morning News

Texas Public Schools and Censorship

Anya Kamenetz

School Board Front Lines

Erin Richards, Alia Wong & Jack Gruber

School Reopening Coverage

Public Service

Smaller newsroom

Alex Baumhardt, Will Craft, Sabby Robinson, Will Callan, Chris Julin, Catherine Winter, Andy Kruse & Dave Mann
APM Reports

Who Wants to Be a Teacher?

Eric Hoover
The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Most Onerous Form in College Admissions

Janine Zeitlin
Naples Daily News / The News-Press/ USA TODAY Network-Florida

How the Pandemic Magnified Inequities for Florida’s Migrant Students

Larger newsroom

Sarah Butrymowicz, Meredith Kolodner & Jon Marcus
The Hechinger Report 

Hidden Debt Trap

Laura Bauer & Judy Thomas
The Kansas City Star

Unlicensed and Under the Radar

News staffs
Big Local News, EdSource, The New York Times

The School Enrollment Project

Visual Storytelling

Smaller newsroom

Justin Allen & Daniel J. Willis

Following Covid Money in Education

Alec Fischer
Fischr Media

Covid Confessions: Teachers Share Their Experiences Working During the Pandemic

Yuxuan Xie & Daniel J. Willis

Tracking learning modes of California students

Larger newsroom

Kevin Armstrong & Amr Alfiky
The New York Times

“No Shortcuts” on 40-Mile Rite of Passage

GBH News Staff
GBH News

COVID and the Classroom

Anya Kamenetz, LA Johnson & Steve Drummond

The History of Vaccine Mandates