Rank #1: Budget Cuts Loom for Education. How Vulnerable Are Your Local Schools?
May 26 2020
Rank #2: When Public Dollars Pay For Private School
In New York City, separated by just 15 blocks, two boys with similar learning disabilities struggled in public school classrooms. Under the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), both were eligible to enroll in private school on the taxpayers’ dime as a remedy. But as a new investigation by The Teacher Project at Columbia University School of Journalism revealed, the financial status of the boys' families played a big role in whether the district picked up the tab. Mike Elsen-Rooney, now with The New York Daily News, was part of the team behind the investigation. The story sheds new light on disparities in access to educational opportunity that’s been a federal guarantee for decades. What did the team learn about who’s taking advantage of the private school provision nationally, and at what cost? How can reporters find families to share their own experiences with this lesser-known school choice option?
Feb 18 2020
Rank #3: How Schools Handle Hate
Education reporters are increasingly covering incidents of racism, antisemitism and other forms of hate committed by K-12 students. But what happens after the media spotlight shifts to the next story? Dahlia Bazzaz of The Seattle Times interviewed dozens of students, teachers, parents and civil rights advocates to find out what they see as effective tools for school communities to combat racial bias and ignorance. Which corrective measures are really improving campus climate? What does the research show about the mental health impacts on students of these kinds of incidents? And how can reporters do a better job framing these high-profile cases as part of a larger picture of what the daily school experience is really like for marginalized students?
Feb 26 2020
Rank #4: Higher Ed Goes Remote
With most colleges and universities forced to close campuses in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, postsecondary learning has moved online for millions of students. Doug Lederman, the co-founder and editor of Inside Higher Ed, discusses the fallout of the shift and its potential long-term implications, especially for postsecondary institutions that were already in precarious financial straits. Along with student mental health, what topped a list of concerns among college presidents in a recent survey? Why should education reporters distinguish “remote learning in a pandemic” from less-harried efforts to expand online classes? And what are some ways to approach remote sourcing when the usual shoe-leather approaches are now off-limits?
Apr 21 2020
Rank #5: The Impact of the Coronavirus on Education
As the coronavirus pandemic expands in the U.S., education reporters are on the front lines of the news coverage, with nearly three-quarters of public schools either closed or planning to close in coming days, and many colleges and universities moving to online learning or ending the semester outright. Lesli Maxwell of Education Week and Karin Fischer of The Chronicle of Higher Education, are helping to steer coverage of the crisis for their news outlets. They offer insights on the short-term and long-term impacts for the K-12 and higher education systems, as well as for students, educators, and families. Maxwell discusses efforts to ensure vulnerable students continue to have access to wraparound services like meals, concerns about whether districts are prepared to provide distance education for an extended period of time, and how the lost learning time could impact things like high-stakes tests. Fischer discusses higher education’s challenges in moving unexpectedly to online learning, and efforts to help low-income students who might not have the funds to get back home or have the wifi needed to stay connected to their coursework once they get there. Along the way, they share ideas for news coverage now and looking further down the road.
Mar 17 2020
Rank #6: Do Students Have a Right to Literacy?
A federal appeals court recently ruled that the state of Michigan has failed to make sure children in Detroit are adequately educated. The April decision said the city’s schools have suffered from underfunding, poorly maintained and too few qualified teachers. While the state is contemplating an appeal, the decision is still considered a landmark for civil rights advocates mounting similar challenges in state courts across the country.
Reporter Jennifer Chambers of The Detroit News has covered the case since it was filed four years ago, and has visited dozens of schools over the past few years to observe learning conditions for the city’s students. What’s changed since local control was restored in 2017, following more than seven years of state control of the Detroit district.
Why are the district superintendent and school board chief urging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to settle the case What might that settlement look like in terms of funding and resources for schools? Chambers, who has reported from Detroit for 20 years, also offers suggestions for building trust among sources and covering equity issues more broadly. In addition she shares how the switch to remote learning is going for local schools and students, and what it was like to be on furlough from work when the court decision was handed down.
May 12 2020
Rank #7: Self-Care for Journalists 101
Education reporters, like everyone else, are struggling to cope with the stress and many day-to-day challenges of life during a pandemic. At the same time, they're working hard under difficult conditions to chronicle the impact on students, schools and families. and pitching in on broader coverage for their newsrooms. What do journalists need to know about protecting their mental health and physical well-being during this challenging time? Kimina Lyall, the deputy director of the Dart Center Asia Pacific, a project of the Columbia Journalism School, shares insights from her 15-year reporting career, which includes covering mass shooting events and surviving the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. Now in the final stage of her training to be a psychologist in her hometown near Melbourne, Australia, Lyall shares strategies for handling challenging assignments, how to set healthy boundaries -- especially when working remotely -- and how to recognize signs that someone might need additional help or support.
Apr 07 2020
Rank #8: Are Schools Adequately Preparing Students to Vote?
With the youth vote expected to be an important factor in the 2020 election cycle, civics teachers are increasingly using current events to help students understand the democratic system -- and to be engaged and informed citizens. Reporter Stephen Sawchuk of Education Week shares insights from his news organization’s “Citizen Z” project, focused on the state of civics education in the U.S., including how it shapes individuals’ perspectives and community engagement beyond voting. From the instructional materials used by schools to examples where students are “living” civic engagement rather than just studying it, Sawchuk shares how journalists can use the Education Week team’s findings as a blueprint to inform their own work on this critical subject.
This episode of EWA Radio originally aired on May 21, 2019.
Mar 03 2020
Rank #9: “There Are No Invisible Children:” Erica Green of The New York Times
Apr 28 2020