What Should Education Reporters Do?
Reporters should get into classrooms more often and cover what's going on there, say the good folks from the Hechinger Institute in a recent report and an EdWeek commentary (What to Look for in Classrooms, Know the Game and Cover the Action). And, ideally, they're right. Nuanced, in-depth reporting from the classroom can be amazing. The current situation, in which many reporters only step into class momentarily to find a colorful anecdote that fits their story angle, is pathetic. I should know.
Realistically, however, most reporters don't have time, patience, or knowledge to sit in a classroom day after day and figure out what's really going on. It's just not going to happen. But that's no excuse. Even the most time-strapped and education-oblivious reporter can find some knowledgeable and engaged folks to give context and balance to whatever the principal, teacher, or superintendent has to say. That means parents (not just the ones picked by the principal), community leaders (not just the ones who reliably oppose everything), local officials, and organizations that work with the school.
Where do you think reporters should spend their time to get the inside scoop and convey the real issues?