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Journalism: Chalkbeat Co-Founder Moving On

News is getting out that Chalkbeat co-founder Alan Gottlieb (pictured via Google Plus) is leaving the network of four local education news sites he helped start with Elizabeth Green.

Alan G photo

After eight years during which Gottlieb built EdNews Colorado, then merged it with GothamSchools and created the Education News Network which then became Chalkbeat, the Colorado-based Gottlieb is going to write, consult, and do other things.

"I’d like to do more writing (maybe another book or two some day, possibly/probably unrelated to education), editing and just helping people think through good communications strategies. And, truth be told, I’d like to spend less time traveling."

Gottlieb is a Peace Corps alumnus, a 15-year newspaper journalist before EdNews Colorado began, and has written two books, according to his official bio

There's been a surge of nonprofit education news coverage in recent years, and not everybody's convinced that it's making a difference or going to last. But Gottlieb says he's not worried about what happens next for Chalkbeat. It's over a year since he shifted over from the editorial side and became editor at large. "The leadership of the organization is so solid that I have every confidence Chalkbeat will survive and thrive without me." Rebecca Ross has been COO since early last year.  Green is now CEO.

"She’s indefatigable, she has a strong vision, and she turns out to be a fundraising prodigy," says Gottlieb. He says that the outlet is making "big strides" on earned revenue increases, and funder relations remain strong.

One of the most notable things about EdNews Colorado was that it attracted veteran journalists and was funded both by pro-reform groups and teachers unions. 

Related posts: NPR Expands Education Coverage;  Local NPR Stations Beefing Up Education CoverageBut Are All The New Ed-Focused Outlets Really *Helping*?Why Catalyst & The Notebook Aren't Joining ENN (2012); Chalkbeat, USA!;  Education News Network Expands To IndianaTwo Local Ed News Sites Join Forces;  Where EdNews Network Is Heading.

Disclosure: I did a couple of freelance pieces for Gottlieb back when he was at the Piton Foundation, and have called on him for advice and feedback on various stories and endeavors over the years. 

Update: What *Really* Happened At #EWA15 This Year? (According To Me)

I'll let the good folks at EWA tell you the official version of this week's goings-ons, and try to focus on the things that you won't find out about elsewhere.  

No, not the mundane stuff like my surreal Friday afternoon visit to Noble Street's new Speer campus on the Near West Side, how strangely intimidating I find EWA staffers though they're mostly very friendly, or my unexpected Monday night bunkmate (it's not as bad as it sounds).

I mean the good stuff.  You know -- newsroom changes, comings and goings, subtle trends and dynamics going on behind the scenes that folks might not have said out loud or tweeted but were (it seemed to me) going on.

Take a look, and then let me know what I missed or got wrong.  Send your tips (anonymous and otherwise) to me at alexanderrusso@gmail.com

Continue reading "Update: What *Really* Happened At #EWA15 This Year? (According To Me)" »

Morning Video: Did Ohio's 3rd Grade Reading Initiative Work? (Plus 2 Extras)

Watch last night's PBS NewsHour segment on the Ohio reading initiative intended to ensure that students were proficient readers before moving on to the rest of elementary school. (Big hint: holding lots of kids back is controversial and expensive.) Or, watch a segment featuring Arne Duncan's interview in Chicago on WTTW Chicago Tonight. Or, watch Jeb Bush wiggle on Common Core via Tampa Bay Times.

People: Journo Who Broke Chicago SUPES Story Two Years Ago Changing Jobs

Catalyst Chicago deputy editor Sarah Karp, widely credited with having broken the $20 million SUPES story that has now led to an FBI Investigation and the stepping down of the head of the Chicago school system, is leaving to join the Better Government Association of Chicago. 

For a time, it seemed like nobody would ever follow up on Karp's 2013 SUPES scoop.  Local NPR station WBEZ had her on to talk about the story, and local ABC 7's Sarah Schulte did a segment.  However, neither the Sun-Times or Tribune followed up in any meaningful way -- until now.

That's nothing new. Super-competitive news outlets sometimes refuse to "follow" other outlets. Other times, they re-report each others' stories and pretend their competitors' versions don't exist (which is understandable but super-annoying). Of course, sometimes it's not a conscious decision, they just have other stories to work on, more urgent-seeming matters, and don't have time or staff to cover everything they'd like.

In any case, Catalyst is looking for a new reporter to replace Karp, and publisher and founder Linda Lenz noted graciously "We're pleased that she will take all the knowledge she gained at Catalyst to a new audience. The city, in effect, will get an additional ed reporter."  Reporter Melissa Sanchez remains.

Meantime, Catalyst is also celebrating a 25th anniversary and figuring out where and what to do next.  (So is Philly's Notebook, another long-running district-based news outlet focused on education. Here's an overview of anniversary activities and events surrounding Catalyst's 25th.

While it may seem like a strange move, the BGA has staffed up with reporters in recent years and covered education along the way. After a decade at Catalyst, Karp starts at the BGA next month. She's going to cover K-12 education as well as higher ed and state government. Read more about Karp and the story she broke nearly 2 years ago here.  

Disclosure: I used to do some freelancing for Catalyst, and they lent me a free desk for a time, and kindly hosted the launch of a book on Chicago school reform I edited that came out in 2004.

Events: Highlights (& Lowlights) From #EWA15 Day One

It was an action-packed first day of #EWA15, with a firehose of journalists' frantic tweets and an appearance of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to help fuel the scandal surrounding Chicago superintendent Barbara Byrd-Bennett. 

OVERTWEETING? The tweeting was a bit much, you'll know if you tried to follow along online, especially once folks not at the event started barging into the hashtag (as is their right). If the conference continues to get bigger, and social media continues to proliferate, then we'll probably have to create sub-hashtags to go along with the single event hashtag.  Or maybe folks will self-organize and focus their tweeting on certain issues or topics.  I wonder how other, bigger events handle a glut of livetweets.  I guess it's a good problem to have.

A LOCAL SCANDAL NOT YET NATIONAL: Speaking of Rauner, the fast-moving Chicago story provides an exciting backdrop to the conference surroundings, though most of the journalists in attendance don't know or care much about it (and financial misdeeds aren't really news in Chicago). Maybe the story will go national, but I'm not sure. 

STORIES YOU NEVER HEARD OF BEFORE: The evening's awards ceremonies highlighted a slew of education stories that you (and I) may not have been aware of when they were first published.   What's amazing to realize is that some of the best education stories of the year -- at least according to EWA and those who submitted their pieces -- aren't all big sexy splashy pieces that get passed around widely but are smaller, more focused pieces or series whose impact builds over time.

THE "EVERYTHING" BEAT: It was also great to hear EWA president (and ChalkbeatIN honcho) Scott Elliot describe education as the "everything" beat. "Your audience as an ed journalist: Everyone who has a kid, cares about kids, and/or pays taxes. So, everyone!" I couldn't agree more. 

A PULITZER FOR A FORMER EDUCATION REPORTER: The day ended with news that a local news team in Southern California had won a Pulitzer Prize for its education-related coverage -- but that the education reporter who had kicked things off had left the newsroom for a better-paying public relations job.  If that isn't a great illustration of education journalism in 2015, I don't know what is.

Events: Torrent Of Tweets From #EWA15 In Chicago

The torrent of social media updates from #EWA15 is pretty overwhelming. Any of it any good? I've yet to find out. But I'm asking. 

Correction: NPR Blogger Corrects New Orleans Tweet (But Stands By Story)

I don't know all the details but here's a tweet from NPR's Anya Kamenetz correcting a previous message about suspensions. There was a bunch of Tweeting to/at NPR last week about their NOLA story. If you know the inside scoop, email me at alexanderrusso@gmail.com

Books: First Look At Dale Rusakoff's Forthcoming "The Prize"

9780547840055_lresHere's a first look at Dale Rusakoff's forthcoming book about Newark, titled The Prize and scheduled for release in September. 

"Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Christie, and Cory Booker were ready to reform our failing schools," proclaims the book promo copy. "What they got instead was an education."

"Their plans soon ran into a constituency not so easily moved — Newark’s key education players, fiercely protective of their billion-dollar-per-annum system. It’s a prize that, for generations, has enriched seemingly everyone, except Newark’s students."

Rusakoff's writing on Newark has appeared in the New Yorker

"The Prize is a portrait of a titanic struggle over the future of education for the poorest kids, and a cautionary tale for those who care about the shape of America’s schools."

See more here.

Rusakoff is appearing at this week's EWA conference in Chicago. It's a big week for education book. Greg Toppo's book about learning games is out this week, as is Ken Robinson's book on schools and creativity.

Related posts: New Yorker Digs Into Newark Reform BacklashWhat They're Saying About That New Yorker ArticleNew Yorker Reporter Talks NewarkFact-Checking Cami AndersonWhite Reporters & Students Of Color.

Video: Tisch Vs. Ravitch On Opting Out (What's Hayes Making Of All This?)

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this segment from Tuesday is watching host Chris Hayes try and make sense of the issues. Tisch and Ravitch basically stick to their talking points and fight to a draw. Along the way Hayes raises the education-poverty question and brings up the comparison to anti-vaxxers. he seems to understand that the issue can be seen as one of individual choice vs. collective need. ("You just destroy the dataset.") At the same time, he describes the movement as a "digital grassroots."

Or, watch NPR's Anya Kamenetz on The Nightly Show, talking about whether college is worth it.

Pop Culture: Meet "Primary School Problems," One Of The UK's Most Viral Twitter Feeds

The account is one of several run by a group of young entrepreneurs in the UK whose company, Social Chain, regularly takes over social media, according to this BuzzFeed article. Other popular accounts are Exam Problems. The company has been accused of stealing others' content and -- more problematically -- functioning as an advertiser without sufficient disclosure.  

Why should you care? Because your Twitter feed isn't just accidentally filling up with updates about things. Whether advertisers or advocates, the Twitterverse if increasingly filled with folks paid to influence your opinion or make you think things are bigger or smaller than they may be in real life. 

Related posts: New Study Suggests Journalism Being Left Out Of Education Debate12 Observations About EdNext's "Top Twitter Feeds"How Twitter Has Helped & Hurt.

Update: Mainstream Coverage Of NY Testing All Over The Place

A few weeks ago, I chided mainstream media outlets for how they covered the New Jersey testing rollout.

Are they doing any better this week, with New York?  

It's a mixed bag, with several outlets yet to show their stuff.

Some of them are doing quite well, treating the story carefully:

The WSJ's Leslie Brody reports that there are pockets of opt-outs but wide variations from one place to another (including just one kid opting out in East Harlem).

Others seem to be focused on making the opt-out numbers seem as big as possible, without bothering to verify numbers (or do much math).

The NY Daily News passes along a 300,000-student estimate of opt outs that is, far as I can tell, just a number a district superintendent pulled out of thin air. The headline for a NY Daily News piece by Rick Hess calls the opt-outs a "tsunami," which seems wildly overstated given what we know at this point. (He's much better in this US News piece about ending the reform wars.) 

Last year, as you may recall, the opt-out number turned out to be only about 70,000 statewide, and the NYC number was less than 2,000.

Lots of folks are missing from the field, so far at least, perhaps because of the lack of any hard numbers to work with:

I haven't seen a NYT story on this yet - perhaps one is in the works. A Kyle Spencer piece that came out before testing started noted that opting out was less common in most parts of the city last year and that even parents who don't agree with the tests struggle to pull kids out.

Some folks are angry about this:

 WNYC did a piece about parents being pressured one way and the other and has done several call-in segments about the pros and cons of opting out, but has yet to produce reporting on the trend.

ChalkbeatNY is aggregating others' coverage but doesn't seem to have reported out any original pieces on this yet this year so far.
 
NY governor Cuomo and NYC's Carmen Farina aren't commenting or providing real-time numbers, creating a vacuum. Governor Cuomo also ratcheted up pressure on the tests this year by calling for 50 percent of teacher evaluations to come from student test score results.
 

Events: More Visuals From Today's Senate NCLB Markup, Please?

Heading into Day 2 of the Senate education committee markup of #EveryChildAchievesAct (aka #ESEA or #FixNCLB), we can't help but wish for a little more Campaign 2016-style coverage by traditional media and everyone else who's there.

We've got near real-time images of Hillary ordering at Chipotle and talking to community college kids in Iowa:

But there have been precious few visuals coming from all the lobbyists, advocates, staffers, and journalists in the Senate markup so far.

Washington Partners' @DellaBCronin was among few who were giving us an inside view of the markup:

The official Republican @GOPHELP account provided an image:

You're at the Coachella of education, and frankly we don't need all of you tweeting the same basic information. Serious or silly (or a little bit of both), what we need is some Twitter pics, maybe a Vine, or even some Periscope/Meerkat. Snap someone's great tie, or shoes.  Make a sleepy colleague (or rival) Twitter-famous for a few minutes. 

Livestream here.

Reality Check: Restorative Justice Not As Easy As It May Seem

Check out this new story from Bright about the realities behind "restorative justice," the approach meant to replace zero-tolerance school discipline policies.

Quotes: Why Those Cali. Poll Numbers Looked So Bad For Tenure, Seniority

Quotes2This poll happens in a certain context, which is that over the last number of years, there’s been a well-funded, concerted effort to attack teachers’ seniority, to misrepresent it—and to scapegoat teachers for problems in the classroom.

-- Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers, in the LA Times (Unions critical of poll on teachers tenure and seniority-based layoffs)

Morning Video: Christo Rey Featured On Al Jazeera

 

Now 28 schools nationwide, Christo Rey has expanded to Baltimore, and has corporate support, but its graduation rate is about average and not all kids thrive there (Cristo Rey: The school corporate America built) via Al Jazeera.

Pop Culture: The Middle School Teacher Who Played "Unhittable Sidd Finch"

Screenshot 2015-04-10 16.27.12
Thirty years ago this month, Sports Illustrated pulled off one of the biggest media hoaxes imaginable at the time, presenting a long feature story by George Plimpton about a mysterious buddhist with a 168 mph fastball who was going to propel the Mets to World Series success. As revisited in this ESPN documentary short (Sidd Finch and the Tibetan Fastball), the man who played the mysterious pitcher was actually a middle school teacher from Chicago named Joe Berton. The explanation starts here.

Events: GSV+ASU Conference Sounds Like "Shark Tank" For EdTech

Today's the last day of the three-day GSV+ASU Summit in Scottsdale Arizona, which has some of the edtech aspects of SXSWedu, some of the venture capital/innovation feel of the NSVF event, and also seems to have some EIA (Education Industry Association) elements.   It's big -- 2,500 -- but "much more focused on the deal-making/business [side] of education than other conferences," according to event organizers. (Yeah, Mark Cuban was there.)

Today's lineup includes some familiar folks, like Arthur Levine, who's there to talk about the coming transformation of higher education. Colorado state senator Mike Johnston --apparently one of New Leaders' co-founders -- was also there. Common (the rapper) was there, too.  (Did you see his performance on the Jimmy Fallon lip synch show vs. John Legend, BTW?). Miami-Dade's Alberto M. Carvalho was there.  Duncan, of course. (The USDE Office of Education Technology got on the Medium bandwagon with this post from the event). 

Michele Molnar's EdWeek writeup (Education Business Summit Explores Issue of Learning Equity) notes that reducing inequality is a big motivation for edtech hopes (perhaps attendees didn't read about education's limited impact on inequality or mobility).  Betsy Corcoran's EdSurge writeup (Reporter's Notebook: ASU GSV Summit Packs in Edtech Fans) notes that there are lots more teachers there than in the past and that only the newbies go to the panels (everyone  else is in meetings doing deals).

There's been some controversy surrounding the event, or at least GSV. One of its advisors is an Emanuel school board appointee to the school board ("Enough Is Enough": Education Investor Denounces Meddling Journalists).  GSV's Mike Moe was an education advisor to Newt Gingrich in 2011.

The media coverage includes Nichole Dobo (Hechinger), Michele Molnar (EdWeek), Donnie Dicus (Bright), and EdSurge, WashPo, NYT, Inside Higher Ed I'm told. Broadcast crews from Bloomberg and PBS are apparently there, too.Bright is Gates-funded (so is EdWeek). EdSurge is GSV-funded. 

Livestream is here. Social media: @asugsvsummit #asugsvsummit #gsv2020vision

Related posts: Test Prep & Instructional Materials $37B Of $789B K12 Spending.

Media: Are We In Some Sort Of Golden Age Of Education Journalism?

 

If there's any doubt that we're going through an interesting and abundant time in education journalism, yesterday's return from Passover/Easter weekend might have put it to rest:

First, there was the NYT's in-depth look at Success Academies (At Success Academy Charter Schools, Polarizing Methods and Superior Results), by Kate Taylor. See above for Ashley Mitchel's favorite part (the side-eye). 

Then there was Peg Tyre's equally long look into the current state of blended learning, published in a new outlet called Bright. (See also Matt Candler's response, if you're interested in how one of the story sources felt about the final result.)

Last but not least, there was another NYT piece about anti-cheating systems being used in conjunction with online testing (Online Test-Takers Feel Anti-Cheating Software’s Uneasy Glare). The Natasha Singer piece tells us about facial recognition software program called Proctortrack.

It's not so much that more is always better, or that longer pieces are better than shorter ones (some editing-down would help many pieces I see these days). I and others have issues with all of the above pieces, and may come back to one or more of them later this week. 

But there's a lot to choose from out there -- new writers, new outlets, new topics (or at least new angles on familiar ones) -- and that's generally a good thing.

People: Next Year's Spencer Fellows Are Romo, Mosle, & Richards

Just in time for Passover and Easter, the three new Spencers for 2015-2016 have been announced.  They are LA-based Vanessa Romo, former New Yorker and NYT Magazine writer Sara Mosle, and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Erin Richards.

Currently a Newark teacher and occasional contributor to the NYT etc., Mosle's proposed topic is the past, present and future of the national standards movement. (Her long-awaited book about a school explosion in Texas is forthcoming.)

On staff at the Milwaukee Journal, Richards is going to focus on voucher schools, which makes a lot of sense given Milwaukee's long checkered history with them and their recent resurgence of sorts.

A veteran of LA's local NPR affiliate KPCC and the LA School Report, Romo is going to focus on Standard English Learners (kids whose first language is English but who don't speak or read academic English used in classrooms).

Read the official bios/announcement here. Richards, Romo, and Mosle will replace this year's Spencers: Linda Lutton, Mitra Kalita, and Joy Resmovits, and while they may be sad about their imminent return to the real world the rest of us will be very glad to have them -- and their regular reporting -- back. 

In other Spencer-related news, Greg Toppo's book about game-based learning -- The Game Believes In You -- is coming out later this month. Check it out - fascinating stuff.

Related posts: Six Years In, Is the Spencer Fellowship (Still) Worth It? (2015);  Spencer Fellowships 2014-2015 Go To Lutton, Resmovits, & Kalita (Who?) (2014); New Spencer Fellows, New Research Topics (2013).

Quotes: Children's Academic Success Vs. Minority Voting Rights

Quotes2The big problem here is that somehow we have arrived at a point wherein placing value on student achievement results is mutually exclusive to respecting the voting rights of African-American communities... That is a fight that neither side can win, nor should want to fight. - Former Mass Insight head Justin Cohen @justcohen) on his new blog.

Corrections: Nothing Like The Rolling Stone UVa Story Has Ever Happened In K-12 Reporting (Right)?

I can think of a handful of incidents in which mainstream news outlets got things wrong, and a couple of higher ed stories where facts and reporting were called into question. (There was the Tulane education study that was retracted not too long ago, and just last week the Times confused the Dead Sea and the Red Sea.)  

But I can't off the top of my head think of anything approaching the Rolling Stone magazine UVA rape story, which has now been retracted after a lengthy investigation by Columbia.  That's right - fully retracted.

Not everyone's happy about the blame being passed around (see Erik Wemple Publisher Jann Wenner is in complete denial), but that's another issue. Has there ever been a big K-12 education story like this that turned out to be so wildly unfounded that had to be retracted and the reporter and editors' careers were in jeopardy? I can't think of any, but I can't imagine that it hasn't happened, either.

Related posts: Fraud Or Fabrication In Ed Research Industry? 2010; Big Retraction On Bennet Story From NYT;  Charter Supporters Debate Online Behemoth K12, Inc.New Orleans Think Tank Head Quits After Flawed Study (2014)

Quotes: The Hazards Of Talking To The Press

USC's Morgan Plikoff: "Sometimes, even when they record your words, you still end up with a lousy, out-of-context quote. I need to work on making that impossible."

People: Berkeley Professor Becomes NYT Contributor, Joins Twitter

Newish NYT contributor @DavidKirp had only 85 followers as of a few minutes ago and is following just 30 folks. (I'm not one of them, are you?)

According to his NYT bio, Kirp is a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of “Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America’s Schools.”  He wrote a book about Union City schools, and was on the Obama policy review team in 2008. His book was listed along with Ravitch and Kahlenberg's in this list of HuffPost favorite education books of 2014

At the Times, Kirp's unofficial beat is education and inequality, and his pieces for the Times (going all the way back to 2012) include Make School a DemocracyClosing the Math Gap for BoysRage Against the Common CoreHow to Help College Students GraduateHere Comes the NeighborhoodThe Secret to Fixing Bad SchoolsMaking Schools Work.

I haven't written very much about him here or elsewhere, though I did raise a question on Twitter about one of his recent columns:

It seems like Kirp will function as the Times' unofficial education columnist, which was written for better and worse for many years by Richard Rothstein, Sam Freedman, and Michael Winerip. I didn't always agree with those columnists but I appreciated the regular (and often intellectually honest) attempts to address complicated education issues fairly and with nuance. 

Related posts: Underwhelmed By Union City Turnaround Story (Bruno); Why Cory Booker Should Have Respected Newark's Families and Teachers (Thompson); Who's Who On The Obama Policy Review Team (2008). 

Quotes: Reforming In Good Faith (Is It Too Much To Ask?)

Quotes2My review criticized Klein not for his own good-faith works on behalf of our schools, but for his refusal to believe that his foes were also working in good faith. Nothing in his reply suggests that I was wrong.

-- Jonathan Zimmerman in the NYROB (Good Faith & the Schools by Joel Klein)

Magazines: What To Make Of Education Next?*

Alexander Russo   Education Next   Education NextAlexander Russo   Education Next   Education Next ArchiveLast week's EdWeek's review of Education Next (Policy Views, With an Edge) is a good opportunity to talk about what the 14 year-old magazine does -- and doesn't -- get right, and where it fits in the ever-changing education media landscape.

More and more education-focused outlets are coming online these days, from BRIGHT to the Boston Learning Lab. Each outlet has its strengths and weaknesses. RealClear Education does 2 great roundups a day but doesn't have much original content. The Hechinger Report doesn't have strong commentary to go along with its strong reported pieces. You get the idea.

Education Next's strengths seem to be smart well-chosen articles about policy and politics, and a general willingness to address topics that are controversial and don't necessarily support pro-reform positions. (*I should know, having written several of these over the years -- see at left.)

I'm also a big fan of "Behind the Headline," a blog feature that attempts to contextualize the day's big education story or debate, and of Petrilli et al's interest in tracking (and manipulating) the media (see Related Posts below).

Its weaknesses might be its offerings getting lost among all the other posts and reports and pieces being put out by Fordham (and Harvard, and Hoover) and coming out only quarterly. It could also be stronger and more distinctive on social media, I think. There's a blog and Twitter but they're relatively low-profile compared to Petrilli et al -- despite having 81,000 followers (jealous!).

In a perfect world, Education Next would produce broadly appealing feature stories (like the Atlantic's education page), be perhaps a bit more journalistic and less wonky, more distinct from Fordham and all it's offerings, and maybe take more chances. But it's still a strong magazine and a worthwhile part of the education media landscape. 

Related posts: Best 5 Of Education Next's Top 20 Stories Of The Year (2103); 12 Observations About EdNext's "Top Twitter Feeds" (2014); Petrilli's Surprise Apology (2105);  But Are All The New Ed-Focused Outlets Really *Helping*?.

Journalism: Hard To Pick A Fight With "Bright" (But Someone Will Anyway)

Screenshot 2015-03-31 15.31.03

There's a pretty new education site launched today, called Bright, the creation of the folks at Medium (a newish platform created by some Twitter alumni) plus the Gates Foundation and the New Venture Fund.  
 
It's being edited by Sarika Bansal, who has also worked on the Gates-funded Solutions Journalism network.
 
In her Welcome to the Bright Side explainer, she writes "Our stories will be vibrant — both literally and figuratively... We love creative storytelling. And we hate jargon."
 
 
EdWeek's Mark Walsh compares 'Bright' to Education Post and sounds pretty skeptical about it's ability to change the conversation.  
 
I'd compare it to Edutopia, the Lucas Foundation-funded effort that's been out there for a while, or maybe Good or TakePart. Or maybe even EdWeek's Teacher magazine? 

Journalism: Simon Leaving Politico Education Team (Plus Other Job Openings)

Screenshot 2015-03-31 10.50.36In case you didn't see it on Twitter yesterday, Politico's senior education writer Stephanie Simon (pictured via Twitter) is leaving the team and heading to a non-education gig at the Boston Globe.

Simon came to Politico via Reuters and the WSJ. The news of her departure was greeted with a certain amount of sadness from some (and probably a bit of muted cheering from others):

Politico's education team has been in flux pretty much from the start. Nirvi Shah was the founding section editor but quickly moved up to Deputy ME. Mary Beth Marklein came in from USA Today to edit the page but has since left (and may not yet have been replaced). Libby Nelson left to join Vox. 

According to Simon, "The Politico ed team remains intact & will be expanding. So keep reading!" Caitlin, Allie, and Maggie are still there, far as I know.

Anyway, there's a job opening at Politico if anyone is looking.  And there's also a job posting at ChalkbeatNY. (In the case of Chalkbeat, I'm not sure if someone left or if they're expanding the staff.) And then there's that mystery job posting for editors and reporters posted on Mediabistro among other places that all of you keep sending me (please stop!). 

Related posts: Who Covered Yesterday's House NCLB Markup Best? (February 2015); Politico Launching "Pro" Education Site Monday (July 2013); Maggie Severns Fills Out Politico Education Team (November 2013); 12 Problems With Politico's TFA Story (+1 With TFA) (October 2013); Politico Takes More Hits, Promotes Education Editor (February 2014): Reuters' Simon Wins National Education Coverage Award.

Morning Video: New Daily Show Host Slams Oprah's African School

The new Daily Show host Trevor Noah mocks Oprah's scandal-ridden African school. "You're getting a beating! Everybody's getting one!" There may be other, better examples, but this one will help you make it to lunchtime.

Events: 6 Ways To Diversify That Conference Or Panel (ie, "Pass The Mic")*

This year's education conferences seem like they're doing better and better modeling diversity and finding new & authentic voices to talk about education, but there's still lots of room for additional improvement.

So here are some ideas to help -- or maybe you've got better ones to suggest?

6 -- If you're organizing a conference or panel, make sure you include a variety of perspectives and backgrounds when you're picking speakers, even if it means reaching out to new connections or recruiting new participants. #Wetried is not enough.

5 -- If you're invited to participate in a panel, tell the organizer it's important to you that the panel includes a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds, and be so bold as to suggest some folks who might fit the bill if the organizers seem unfamiliar.

4 -- If you're invited to open or close a conference, or function as a keynote speaker, tell the organizers how important diverse panels and perspectives are to you.

3 -- If you somehow find yourself on a panel that's all white (or even all white and male), don't just lament the situation. Give up your time to someone in the audience who has a valuable perspective not otherwise represented on the stage, or do something really bold and give up your spot. 

2 -- If you're someone who's used to being asked to speak on panels or give talks, consider giving up your spot to give someone else a chance and -- just as important -- come to the event anyway, sit in the the audience like a normal person, and you might learn something.  

1 -- If you're attending a conference or panel in the audience and you happen to notice that the panel is, say, all white (or that the conversation is being dominated by men) say something.  (Be nice about it -- the organizers are  probably very tired and doing their best -- but still say something.)

Bottom line: Talking about diversity is great but insufficient at this point.  Programs aimed at diversifying the pipeline of teacher and leaders are great but way in the future in terms of their impact.  

Finding and elevating new and diverse voices to speak at conferences and sit on panels could make a small but concrete difference to the success of the movement. And those of us who've been privileged enough to sit on panels and speak at conferences should take the lead in helping make these shifts, rather than resisting them or even appearing to undercut them.

*For those of you not following along on Twitter, the question of diversifying panels and the responsibilities of conference organizers and convening organizations came up in a series of tweets this morning. The PIE Network's Suzanne Tacheny Kabach and I talked more about it this afternoon and that conversation was the inspiration for some of the above. 

Journalism: Using SnapChat (Or Vine, Meerkat, Periscope) To Cover Education

image from www.niemanlab.orgUnless I lose my nerve (or someone talks me out of it) I'm going to try and Snapchat (or at least Vine) tomorrow's Yale ELC event.  
 
What's that mean?  Basically, that I'm going to try and tell the story of the event through pictures and video, in real time.
 
You might think that Snapchat only goes between one person and another, and that images and videos disappear.  Well, not any more. There's a My Story function that allows unlimited views by anyone on Snapchat to view videos for 24 hours. Plus you can save everything before you send it out, and post it afterwards, a la Storify. (There are no familiar "likes" or comments, just views and people snapping back.)

I won't be the first person to try this.  Earlier this week, BuzzFeed's Molly Hensley-Clark interviewed a teen using Snapchat. And lots of different news outlets are trying their hands at the mobile video approach, according to the Online News Association (Can Vine and Snapchat be reporting tools?).  The Nieman Journalism Lab rounds up several efforts (How 6 news orgs are thinking about Snapchat) many of them focused on experimenting with live coverage. Huffington Post, Fusion, Mashable, NPR, Philly.com, and The Verge are all Snapchatting. The Knight Lab has another roundup (How news organizations are using SnapChat to report and distribute news) focused on NowThisNews, the Washington Post, NPR, and Mashable. In fact, Snapchat and Vine are no longer the new kids on the mobile video block, now that Meerkat and Periscope have launched.  (These new versions offer live-streaming options.)

The big question is whether a conference is lively and colorful enough to make video and images appealing enough.  It might be silly or boring.  I may entertain only myself.
 
Another question is whether there are enough grownups actually using the app to have enough of an audience.  Most adults I know are struggling to deal with Twitter and Facebook, and hoping Snapchat and Vine will go the way of the dodo bird.
 
In the end, these apps might be better for finding sources or information from teens and teachers.  
 
Anyway, it's good to experiment and I'll learn a ton whatever happens.  Way, way back in the day when I first signed onto Facebook and Twitter, there was nobody there, nobody taking it seriously.  But now iDitto with blogging, I guess, come to think of it.   
 
The hashtag for @YaleELC this year is #backtowhy (or just #yaleELC). You can find me on Snapchat at "thisweekined" (or maybe "alexanderrusso" -- I still haven't quite figured it out :-).

Journo-Politics: 2 Things About That "Hillary Being Squeezed" Piece

Ann O'LearyFirst things first: The most notable thing about Tuesday's much-tweeted NYT story about Hillary Clinton and education (Hillary Clinton Caught Between Teachers and Wealthy Donors) might be that Team Hillary put Ann O'Leary out in front to represent the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate.

"Both the teachers’ union and the reformers will really feel like they have her ear in a way they haven’t,” said Ann O’Leary in the NYT piece. "She believes we need to have some kind of ways that we can measure student progress,” Ms. O’Leary said.

But she said Mrs. Clinton was “also sympathetic that the test regime has become very burdensome in driving the education system in ways that many people think is problematic.”

Longtime readers of this site already know about her (see related posts, below).  And longtime Hillary-watchers know her, too.  She's on Politico's top Hillary Clinton influentials.  Need to know more? Check out her official Next Generation bio

After the article came out, O'Leary (@Ann_OLeary) tweeted " It's true: I do believe ed community will be pleased @HillaryClinton's someone who listens to all good education ideas."

OK, sure.

As for the piece itself, well, it's obviously a good media "get" for DFER and the like to have the NYT talking about reformy pressures that are (supposedly) being put on the presumptive Democratic candidate. The "leaked" memo worked again!

But there's an undertone of fear and uncertainty just below the surface, and let's be clear: reformers like the unions don't really have anywhere else to go.  They can threaten to stay home or focus on other races but they're pretty much all Democrats and don't really have any interest in having a conservative Republican win the White House. Team Hillary wants their money, sure, and will listen to them, sure.

However, I can't imagine folks as smart and experienced as Team Clinton are feeling any real pressure to do something "crazy" (like coming out hard for the Common Core or even annual testing) anytime soon.  (Coming out in favor of vaccinations was already a bit of a surprise.) So if anything, the Clinton folks might not like the public display that DFER et al are trying to put on here, and Team DFER could get some cold shoulder. For a little while. Nobody can hate nice-guy Joe Williams for long.

Related posts:  A Clinton Ed Staffer On The High Court? (2010), Power Couples In Education, The Update (2007), More Agency Review Team Names (2008), West Coast Reboot For DFER & Steve BarrWinners & Losers of 2008  (According To Me).Image via Twitter.

Morning Video: Rahm Challenger Mis-Labels Charters As "Elite" & "Private"

Or at least, so says Factcheck via HuffPost: "In an ad released on March 18, Garcia stands in front of a closed school and states that the mayor “took the money from these schools and gave it to elite private schools founded by his big campaign contributors." (Chuy Garcia Mayoral Ad Stretches The Truth About Rahm Emanuel's School Funding Decisions). Not really impressed? Read about last night's debate, or about Garcia and De Blasio are and aren't alike (on mayoral control, among other things).

Journalism: 4 New Stories I'd Like To See

There's a ton of great education journalism out there these days, with more and more of it coming online all the time.  But sometimes editors and reporters get stuck covering the same things the same ways and they need some new stories or new ways to come at old stories.  And that's where "Stories I'd Like To See" comes in.  Take a look at the latest batch, steal them if you want, tell me if they've already been done, or suggest your own if you think there's something that needs covering and isn't being covered:

1- UNDER ATTACK! At least a couple of school districts have been hacked/ attacked during this spring's Common Core testing rolllout -- in one case with a $500 bitcoin ransom demand. Are the attacks coming from Common Core critics (joke!) or random Russians (no offense)? Are districts anywhere near prepared for DNS attacks and ransom demands that could interrupt both testing and instructional time?

2 - WHY NOT WORKPLACE-BASED SCHOOL ASSIGNMENT? Should parents be allowed to enroll their children in schools near work, not just schools near home? That's one of the issues raised by the case of the daughter of a live-in nanny in affluent Orinda, California, who was temporarily dis-enrolled from her mother's employer's neighborhood school. Parents with choices find schools close or convenient to work, using charters, magnets, and private options. Why not everyone else?

3 - CHEATING WITH SOCIAL MEDIA: While most of the attention has focused on whether testing companies and districts are "spying" on kids by monitoring social media for kids sharing test items, another question is whether (how) kids are using social media to cheat on tests (Common Core or otherwise). With its disappearing images, SnapChat sounds like a perfect cheating tool. But then there's plain old Twitter, texting, and private Facebook groups. The days of copying the test at Kinko's (what!?) and sharing it among friends are long gone.

4 -UBER GOES TO SCHOOL: Parents are using Uber and other services to ferry their kids around town, reports the Washington Post. What are schools to do when some kids are jumping into strangers' cars to go home or to dance practice? Should schools consider Uber as an alternative to expensive bus services and voucher arrangements? Special tip: Uber's spokesperson used to work for LEE.

Related posts:  Three Education Stories I'd Like To See (February)

Kids: Reporter Uses SnapChat To Interview Teen Climber

image from static.ow.ly

Intrepid BuzzFeed education and business reporter Molly  Hensley-Clancy took to the teen-dominated social media app called Snapchat to interview a 13 year-old climbing phenom.

For the most part, the teen climber used the image-based app to answer questions posed to her in plain text form.  

But then MHC went the extra mile and posed a question to the teen climber using the application herself (pictured).

This is the first time to my knowledge that an education reporter has used and published the results of a Snapchat interview.

Image used with permission.

Pro Tip: With Tailored Alerts, Nuzzel Lets You Know What's Hot On Social Media

image from wilab.comSocial media is great, and we all know how to set up streams on Hootsuite or Tweetdeck and use hashtags and check for updates constantly and all the rest, but it's still been hard to figure out where the conversation is going without spending all day watching Twitter, right?

Until now, that is.  A newish program called Nuzzel (tag line: "News from your friends") watches social media for you and lets you know when a bunch of your "friends" are going crazy over something. 

That's what's happening this afternoon, with the publication of Maggie Haberman's story on DFER, Hillary Clinton and the teachers unions

When a story like this one gets big, you get an alert and then you can click down and see who (among your friends) got the ball rolling and how it unfolded.  In this case, it was @maggieNYT who quad-tweeted her story out at noon, followed by Bloomberg's Jennifer Epstein, Gotham Gazette's Ben Max, and Politico's Caitlin Emma.

Or at least, that's how it appears on my Nuzzel - perhaps you have more or better friends than I do. 

But wait, there's more!  Nuzzel lets you get a daily email, plus individual alerts at a threshold level of activity you can determine.  You can synchronize Twitter, Facebook, and other social media accounts. You can even subscribe to custom feeds, (aka Twitter lists, whose usefulness has always been limited to vanity), and get alerts that way. 

Basically, Nuzzel is a way to tame Twitter. It basically tells you what's trending within the group of folks you already know and love (or at least follow) that's not reliant on hashtags, saved streams, or Twitter's lame Trending lists. 

It may not yet be a full replacement for Feedly (or for having your own social media manager pinging you in the Bahamas when something comes up), but it's a big step forward.

And, it's a big argument for following or friending folks who don't agree with you already because it makes the echo chamber pretty obvious. Don't follow your opponents or others and you won't know what they're excited or upset about.

Big thanks to JGW for tipping me off about it.Click below for some screenshots if it's still not making sense.

Continue reading "Pro Tip: With Tailored Alerts, Nuzzel Lets You Know What's Hot On Social Media " »

Morning Video: Will Restorative Justice Programs Lead To School Chaos?

 

In this recent segment from Fox News posted by Media Matters, "Fox News host Bill O'Reilly attacked efforts to decrease school suspensions and expulsions with programs known as "restorative justice," ignoring that these traditional punishments disproportionately target students of color." (Bill O'Reilly Attacks "Restorative Justice" Programs). Or, watch Charles Best's SXSWedu presentation below.

Continue reading "Morning Video: Will Restorative Justice Programs Lead To School Chaos?" »

Update: Mixed (Predictable) Reactions To My CJR Common Core Reporting Piece

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com
Thanks to everyone who passed along my recent CJR piece on the challenges of reporting the Common Core testing rollout this spring. Much appreciated! The story was a top read for CJR all week.

By and large, those of you who are pro-Common Core liked the piece, and those of you who are critical thought it was less likable. Pretty predictable. (Your positions are reversed when I'm criticizing Rhee or Kopp or Cunningham, though.)

Far as I know, nobody was willing to admit publicly any major change of mind on the tests or the coverage -- such is rigidly orthodox world of education debate these days (and also of course the limits of my writing). 

Most of you who work as education reporters didn't say anything one way or the other -- at least not publicly. (A few of you were kind enough to write privately that it was a useful piece, or that it was helping you to rethink your coverage tendencies, which I appreciated tremendously.)

Alas, the only journalists I could find to talk about the issue on the record were John Merrow (one of its subjects) and Linda Perlstein (a former Washington Post reporter and EWA's founding Public Editor). I hope that won't always be the case, as I think constructive conversation about media coverage is a positive and healthy thing and shows confidence in the work.

Turned by back CJR from commenting on their site, Merrow finally posted his own response on his blog this afternoon (Reporting About Reporting).  He makes some good points, as you'll see, but he also makes some weaker ones, according to me at least, and unfortunately resorts to (gentle) criticisms of character.

Read on for more about Merrow, a handful of less predictable responses, some errors and omissions on my part, and a few sentences that were left on the cutting room floor.

Continue reading "Update: Mixed (Predictable) Reactions To My CJR Common Core Reporting Piece" »

Foundations: Six Years In, Is the Spencer Fellowship (Still) Worth It?

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comNot counting this year's class (pictured), the Spencer Education Fellowship at Columbia University's Journalism School is now six years old. 

Wow, time has flown. I was in the first class (2008-2009). The seventh class (2015-2016) will be notified as soon as later today and announced in a few weeks. Here are the people making the decisions this year.

At the time the Spencer Foundation was considering what to do, I thought that a small, expensive program like the Columbia model was a bad idea.

The folks I talked to as part of some research I did on journalism education all told me that small, ongoing, community-focused training was better and more effective than flashy fellowships, and more likely to benefit those who really needed them, and I believed them.  

It's possible that they were right.  Some of the biggest books on education -- Amanda Ripley's book, for example, or Steven Brill's -- weren't a product of the Spencer Fellowship.  Several of the folks that have gotten Spencers aren't really focused on education journalism, per se.  A few of them already had book deals and might not have needed the fellowship in order to get their work done.  Given the current conversation about white privilege, it's important to note that we are many of us awfully white.

Then again, a bunch of the books and projects that have come out of the Spencer Fellowship have been helpful contributions to the field (as far as I can tell) and wouldn't otherwise have happened.  Some examples that come to mind include books and other projects by Goldstein, Green, and Solomon. Ideologically, the products of the Spencer Fellowship have been pretty mixed -- reflecting the advisory board that makes the final decisions.

The newest offshoot of the Spencer project is a reporting program through Columbia and Slate featuring work from Matt Collette and Alexandra Neason that seems like it's been pretty useful. And I'm pretty excited about whatever this year's class -- Lutton and Resmovits especially -- are going to do next, and S. Mitra Kalita's forthcoming endeavors at the LA Times. Toppos' education book is coming out any minute now. 

Related posts: Columbia J-School Doubles Down On Education Reporting Goldstein Taking Her Talents To The Marshall Project. Image used with permission.

People: Sun-Times Journo Wins University of Chicago Fellowship

Longtime readers already know that the Chicago Sun-Times' Kate Grossman is one of my favorite editorial page writers.  She (along with the LA Times' Karin Klein) report their own pieces and sometimes scoop or differ from their own beat reporters, which I think is healthy.  

Well the latest news is that Grossman and a few others (including Davis Guggenheim) have won a new fellowship at the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics, and will be teaching a course among other things.  Read all about it here: Sun-Times deputy editor Kate Grossman wins U. of C. fellowship. "Starting March 30, Grossman will spend 10 weeks on campus examining education issues and the debate over how best to improve schools."

Related posts: Two Great Education Writers You May Not Know AboutWhere's Ravitch's Research? Sun Times Edit Board Questions Narrow RttT Focus On Data Systems.

Speaking of fellowships, I'm told that today is the day that the Spencer Fellowships are being decided for 2015-2016.  Good luck to everyone who made it to the finals!

Journalism: US News' Reformy New Education Opinion Page*

Knowledge Bank   US NewsAnother day, another new education page of some kind (right?)

Today's newish entrant is US News' Knowledge Bank, which (so far) includes a rogues' gallery of reformers with a particularly heavy dose of Bellwether (Mead, Rotherham), Fordham (Pondiscio), and AEI (McShane, Hess).*  

Elaine Allensworth from the Chicago Consortium is in there, as is Catherine Brown. You get the idea.  

These folks already  have in-house blogs and other outlets to get their views out there, but now they've got a regular outlet for their views plus US News' logo etc. as well.

There's the added legitimacy of the venerable magazine, plus also the potential confusion for readers who -- as with Valerie Strauss's blog page -- sometimes see the outlet listed but don't realize that it's an opinion piece (especially on Twitter). In fact, you could look at this as the reform version of the Answer Sheet.

In any case, I'm told that the page is looking for a mix of contributors and will continue to add/shift things around as things develop.  It'll be interesting to watch.

*Corrected: I got them confused - McShane & Hess are AEI, Pondiscio is Fordham. Apologies.

Morning Video: Google Vs. Apple Battle Over Amish Country Classrooms

 

Tech giants battle for classrooms in Amish country From PBS NewsHour. Click the link for the show transcript.

Journalism: Some Common Problems With This Spring's Common Core Reporting

Here's something new from me via the Columbia Journalism Review, focusing on the challenges of reporting the Common Core testing rollout this spring:

Screenshot 2015-03-18 11.13.18

As you'll see from my review of coverage from PBS, the NYT, WSJ, AP, and the Washington Post, it's no easy task for journalists to describe the varied experiences different schools, districts, and states are having -- or to find hard numbers or nuanced viewpoints.

But in my view the national coverage has somehow ended up upside-down, focusing on the relatively few hotspots and problem areas (and passing along one-sided speculation) without giving readers a clear sense of the vast majority of instances where the process of implementing the new tests seems to be going well.

Related posts: Missing Context In AP's Common Core Testing StoryLet's Focus On What Actually Happens -- Not What *Might* HappenPlease Do A Better Job Covering Testing This Year, Journos!Inside The Common Core Assessment “Field Test”. Image via CJR.

#EdGif Of The Day: Duncan Slow Walks Through Chicago Testing Protesters

OK, technically it's a Vine (with sound!) not a GIF, but who cares? The Chicago Tribune's Juan Perez saw fit to highlight a few seconds of Duncan's forced walk through anti-testing protesters in Chicago the other day. The moment took place because Duncan car ended up in a dead-end alley -- some poor driver or advance staffer got in trouble for this (or should have).  

Read Sun-Times for additional coverage. The EdSec claims that the USDE didn't force Chicago to administer PARCC, and Mayor Rahm is saying that it was the state (not Washington). Hmm. Read more Tribune for how the rollout's going so far.

Philanthropy: Leave No Privilege Behind (DonorsChoose Meets AirBnB?)

WellDeserved is a a new app that allows folks to offer surplus privileges -- free food at work, extra dental appointments, a soon-to-expire SoulCycle coupon -- to fellow citizens who might want to purchase them.

Their motto: "Privilege goes unused every single day.Why would we waste any of it?"  

Great idea, no?

But they need people to post more education-related privileges that are going unused, and maybe you can help them out.

For starters, there are all the extra laptops, tablets, and smart phones laying around many homes -- not to speak of all that unused broadband access and data.  But that's not all. A student who doesn't need all of the Kumon hours his parents signed him up for could offer them to a fellow classmate.  A private school family living in a desirable neighborhood could offer its spots at the local elementary school. I'm sure you can think of other examples.

Charles Best better watch out.

Morning Video: PBS NewsHour's [Seriously Flawed] Common Core Update

Check out last night's PBS NewsHour segment (Why some students are refusing to take the Common Core test), which in my opinion includes an unfortunate number of errors.  These include exaggerating the number of opt-outs, linking the Newark student sit-in to the Common Core, and minimizing the role of NJEA in opposing the tests (and Newark). That being said, there is some great footage and interviews by correspondent John Merrow.

Campaign 2016: 3 Email-Related Scandals I Can Think Of - But There Are More

You might be interested to note that Hillary Clinton isn't the only one to have a bit of an email scandal on her hands - though education's versions aren't nearly as prominent as those the presumptive Democratic nominee faces currently (and are, frankly, not as recent as I'd like):

This Washington Post article (Group Opposed to Vouchers Cites Shortcomings) includes an embarrassing email from then-Bush Administration appointee Nina Rees about then-Senator Arlen Specter ("while I hate the guy, we need to be nice to him I'm told."

This AP/ USA Today story (Bush reading program beset by favoritism, mismanagement) included embarrassing emails from Reading First director Chris Doherty (also under Bush) expressing disdain for "whole language" developers: "They are trying to crash our party and we need to beat the (expletive deleted) out of them in front of all the other would-be party crashers who are standing on the front lawn waiting to see how we welcome these dirtbags."

Then there's the alleged scandal between an education reporter and Miami's Carvalho, summarized in the Miami New Times (Carvalho's Liaison): "The emails document discussions the pair had about her coverage of Miami-Dade Public Schools, as well as some sexually explicit banter."

I'm sure there are others -- I can think of at least one more off the top of my head -- but I'd love to hear more from you, dear reader.

No, the USDE notifying TFA that it was the subject of a FOIA request doesn't count. Not for ideological reasons, but just because it isn't really all that scandalous.

Quotes: Both Sides Have "Lost Their Minds" On Annual Testing

Quotes2On one side, you have a group of reformers who say that getting rid of federal mandates for annual testing would be apocalyptic, and that’s crazy.... On the other side, you have people who think that getting rid of it would lead to utopia. I think both sides have lost their minds on this. -- Author and Emerson Fellow Amanda Ripley in the Washington Post (Some parents across the country are revolting against standardized testing)

TV: What To Make Of All The School-Related Developments On Popular Shows

There may be too few educators on cable TV (and too few education-related segments, too), but has there ever been a time when schools were as much a central part of so many TV shows?

*On Fresh Off The Boat, the hip-hop loving son of immigrant parents has to make new friends at a Florida school where there has apparently a student who isn't white, black, or Hispanic.

*The New Girl is now an assistant superintendent and her boyfriend/employee teacher works at the same school (or still did, last I looked).

*Girls' most appealingly deplorable character, Hannah, substitutes at a private school after crashing and burning at her Iowa MFA program.

*In episode 6 of Tina Fey's new show, The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt, the protagonist encounters a burned-out GED teacher who wants to be reported so he can get assigned to the rubber room. (There was a rubber room on Silicon Valley, too.)

*The female half of a bored married couple starts getting involved with an LA charter school startup in Eagle Rock that might also be good for her kids. (Repeat of Parenthood, sort of.)

Plus also: High Maintenance (seriously), Blackish (yep), Empire (just kidding), The Good Wife (I wish).

These aren't just silly pop culture coincidences, I'd argue -- or at least not only that.  They're a representation of what the larger public thinks or knows about education, or is at least what the public is curious about.  Clearly, charter schools and the rubber room are fascinating to writers, and the notion of smart young people trying out teaching isn't as foreign or obscure as it once may have been.

Related posts: Oh, No! Girls' Lena Dunham Is Going To TeachNeighborhood Segregation The Central Issue In New HBO Show;  Apparently Not Everyone's Cut Out To Be A Teaching FellowSilicon Valley's Rubber Room Includes A Rooftop GrillLouis C.K. Takes Us Back To 8th Grade Science.

 

Journalism: When Reporters Appreciate PR Help Just A Bit Too Publicly

thanks

According to Jim Romenesko, an El Paso TV reporter ended a segment by thanking school’s PR team for feeding her information: "I would like to thank the El Paso ISD [Independent School District] public information team for giving me this information tonight to give it to you first before you hear it anywhere else.”

But the rival El Paso Times called the station out for the unusually public thank-you (and for claiming to have an exclusive it didn't really have, responding "Since when does a journalist thank a ‘PR team’ for doing what they’re supposed to do, which is provide the media with information?”

The segment has apparently been scrubbed with a new voice over since the controversy arose last week.

Let's be clear that some journalists have exceedingly hands-off (even antagonistic) relationships with the districts and sources they cover, and others have uncomfortably friendly ones, but the relationships are in nearly all cases complicated, somewhat symbiotic ones. 

Related posts: Gannett Paper Fires "Veteran Education Reporter"

Update: Bigger List Of Education Journalists Of Color (#edJOC)

There were lots of interesting responses to my post on Friday about white reporters and students of color -- one of the most immediately useful of which was lots more education journalists of color (#edJOC) identifying themselves or being mentioned by others in addition to those previously listed:

Thanks to @dcrunningmom and @C_C_Mitchell (Corey Mitchell) for clueing me in about @StateEdWatch (@AndrewUjifusa),  @drsuperville@EarlyYearsEW (@casamuels),  @amatos12@StribLonetree@LoriAHiggins@Bobjohnson1word.

The good folks at the Maryland SDE reminded me that there were at least three area #edJOCs: BaltSun's @ericaLG @OvettaWashPost & WBAL's Tim Tooten.  

The three journalists at the San Antonio Express-News  -- @fvaraorta@mlcesar, and @AliaAtSAEN -- might be the most diverse education team out there.

There's also the Greensboro News & Record's Marquita Brown (@mbrownNR) and Cherise Newsome (@CMNewsome) at The Virginian-Pilot.

Last but not least, Lisa Pemberton at the Olympian (@Lisa_Pemberton), Samatha Hernandez (@svhernandez) at the Door County Advocate, and freelancer Tara Garcia Mathewson (@TaraGarciaM). 

Two other journalists who don't write exclusively about education but whose names I've seen and tweeted enough times to think they should be included (assuming they don't mind):  @jbouie & @jdesmondharris.

None of this is to suggest that there isn't a diversity problem when it comes to the education beat -- especially at national outlets and/or beats -- which is especially noticeable given the kids, schools, and communities that are often being covered.

Somebody turn this plus the original post into a Twitter list that we call can follow (if such a thing hasn't been done already)?

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in This Week In Education are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.