With 2016 quickly winding down, let’s take a look back at the year’s education journalism gems.
As you will see, there’s no shortage of quality work. Clearly, there are lots of smart, hard-working, and extremely devoted reporters and editors working to bring stories about American schools to readers.
Short of time? The 2016 story with the most real-world impact is probably the Houston Chronicle’s expose of state-led limitations on special education. The most explosive story might have been the NYT’s story about a Success Academy charter school teacher’s outburst, captured on video. The most memorable piece is probably Nikole Hannah-Jones’ first-person essay on choosing a majority-black school for her daughter.
But you’ll be missing a lot if you stick to those three
NATIONAL / POLITICAL
With the late-2015 passage of ESSA and Common Core and standardized testing being all but ignored in Campaign 2016, this wasn’t a big year for education on the national scene. But there are still several pieces worth highlighting.
The untold story behind Bernie Sanders’s 1963 arrest https://ow.ly/k2X6307hwTL
The dramatic black and white pictures, combined with the fascinating and little-known tale of Sanders’ involvement in school desgregation efforts, made this Chicago Reader piece something everyone who came across it wanted to read.
Meet The Organizer Behind Education Protests Sweeping The Country https://ow.ly/4nfLfS
This Think Progress story takes us behind the scenes and help us understand the people and dynamics that are shaping what’s happening on the streets or at press conferences. (For more behind-the-scenes coverage, see The Atlantic’s story titled The Ambitious Education Plan of the Black Lives Matter Movement https://ow.ly/wwGO307jnb2 and NPR’s Questions Of Race And Charter Schools Divide Education Reformers https://ow.ly/p8dJ307jIqf.)
Crushing defeat leaves charter-school movement in limbo https://ow.ly/imSB307hGap
This Boston Globe piece gives the fascinating backstory behind the Massachusetts ballot fight over charter schools, in which outside money was trumped by a massive, methodical, teacher-led ground game. For more about Question 2, see Money at the heart of the Mass. charter debate https://ow.ly/1rZ3307gugQ.
The Education of Barack Obama https://ow.ly/TNLi307goZB
The Nation takes a big-picture look at the Obama education agenda as it evolved over time — from a focus on charters, standards, and accountability to a more recent emphasis on integration and school discipline. (For more high-quality campaign coverage, see also The Atlantic piece titled Hours Before Campaigning With Obama, Clinton Tries to Distance Herself on Education https://ow.ly/Gl0r307jmVh.)