The Top 10 Education Stories That Will Make Headlines

Education-blackboard

By: Allison Kopp, Jonathan Coffin, Maggie Kinnealey and Beth Parker

A team from VOX Education recently joined more than 600 education journalists and experts at the Education Writers Association’s 69th Annual National Seminar held on the campus of Boston University. This year’s theme was “The Quest for Quality and Equity” and delved into a wide array of topics impacting the U.S. education system today, from K-12 through higher education.

Coming out of three days of panel discussions and seminars, we have compiled a list of the top 10 education stories that reporters were most interested in and will likely make headlines in the coming months:

  1. State accountability under ESSA: The Every Student Succeeds Act gives states some flexibility as they develop new accountability systems. What is required by the new law and what is optional? And, will these new systems adequately ensure that every student, in every zip code, has access to the same quality education?
  1. The Digital Use Divide: Schools in high poverty communities may now have greater access to broadband and technologies, but they are not engaging students with technology the same way schools in more affluent communities are. And, students in lower income communities are often unable to extend their digital learning outside of school. According to Pew Research Center, 70 percent of teachers require internet for homework, yet 5 million household do not have broadband access. These households are more likely to be low income, black, Hispanic. What are the consequences of this divide and how do we solve it?
  1. High School Overhaul: The model for the American high school has not changed much over the past 100 years. Today there is a push to reengineer U.S. secondary education so that it empowers students to drive their own learning and connects their present to the future. Several charter schools and non-profit organizations are already trying new student-centered approaches to high school learning. Are they working and what are the barriers to changing the traditional high school model?
  1. School Segregation Today: Research has shown that integrated schools produce better results for students both academically and socially, yet there is a trend toward greater racial isolation in public schools. In fact, the achievement gap widens the longer students of color remain in segregated schools. In the year ahead, look for stories that examine the value of diversity in education, solutions to better diversify classrooms by schools and districts, and the long-term implications of racially segregated schools on students and families.
  1. School Discipline – Schools across the country struggle with disciplinary issues and the unintended consequences of school suspensions on communities. How can we train our teachers to better understand our students’ disciplinary issues? A new curriculum and teacher training could offer a way to restructure behavioral expectations in the classroom. This topic of restorative justice – particularly with how it intersects with racial integration – could dominate the news over the coming months.
  2. Universal Pre-K—Is universal pre-K vital to closing the achievement gap? Should the government subsidize every pre-K education for every child, or should pre-K funding be targeted to low-income children, rather than subsidize middle-class families who can afford it? Democrat candidates have made universal pre-K a campaign promise.  This debate is not new, but we can expect increased coverage of it surrounding the presidential election.
  3.  Social and Emotional Learning (SEL): Just like reading and math need to be taught, kids aren’t born with the social and emotional skills they need to succeed in school and in life. Research is showing lessons that teach SEL skills like paying attention, staying calm, and feeling invested in school are helping to improve student and school outcomes. Look for stories that investigate effective approaches to teaching SEL, how teachers are trained, and how success can be measured.
  1. Sexual assault on campus: Just this past week, Harvard announced new sanctions on members of single-gender organizations – part of a plan aimed, in part, to tackle sexual assault. And as dozens of universities remain under review for their handling of sexual assault cases, there’s increasing concern about ensuring due process rights. Meanwhile, a bipartisan coalition of Senators continues to press for passage of legislation that would enact major changes to how colleges respond to instances of sexual assault. In short, concerns about sexual assault will remain on the editorial agenda for the foreseeable future.
  2. College Affordability: Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) may be the one pushing free college, but both he and Secretary Hillary Clinton have made the cost of college a key theme of their presidential campaigns. At the same time, tuition-dependent independent colleges have faced increasing challenges meeting their enrollment targets, while state funding for higher education is reaching acute status in some places (see Louisiana as just one example). The bottom line: Don’t expect the cost of college alarm bells to stop ringing any time soon
  3. Diversity and inclusion on campus:  With North Carolina as the flash point, transgender rights in schools and bathrooms will continue to dominate coverage in the months ahead. And while racially-charged campus protests were the story of last year, expect new stories to look at how colleges and universities—and their presidents—are actually implementing inclusion initiatives. As just one example, the shortage of persons of color on the Ph.D. track is well documented; are colleges making faculty diversity promises they can’t keep?

 

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Education

The Top 10 Education Stories That Will Make Headlines

Education-blackboard

By: Allison Kopp, Jonathan Coffin, Maggie Kinnealey and Beth Parker
A team from VOX Education recently joined more than 600 education journalists and experts at the Education Writers Association’s 69th Annual National Seminar held on the campus of Boston University. This year’s theme was “The Quest for Quality and Equity” and delved into a wide array of topics impacting the U.S. education system today, from K-12 through higher education.
Coming out of three days of panel discussions and seminars, we have compiled a list of the top 10 education stories that reporters were most interested in and will likely make headlines in the coming months:

State accountability under ESSA: The Every Student Succeeds Act gives states some flexibility as they develop new …

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