Best of the week (August 4-10, 2018)

 

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🏆  STRONG WORK FROM THE 74 🏆

The best of the week award goes to The 74 for two very strong pieces on school safety and immigrant education. The first piece, Mark Keierleber’s deep dive into the $3 billion school security industry, provides important insight into an angle of the school safety narrative that’s gotten too little attention in all the concern (and media hype) about school gun violence. The second piece, Brendan Lowe’s look at a recently-reunited immigrant teenager figuring out where he’s going to go to school this fall, with the help of volunteers from places like KIPP, Sidwell Friends, Yale, and SMU.

🚨 HOW TO REVIVE THE LA TIMES‘ LACKLUSTER EDUCATION COVERAGE 🚨

When it comes to education stories, LA has them all: immigrant and refugee students, a possible strike, innovative programs, looming financial problems, an elected school board. But the need for the LA Times to try some bold new ideas is clear. Leaving the education coverage as it currently is – under-staffed, unfocused, and isolated from the discussion – would be a shame. This week’s column suggests a handful of ideas for how the paper might make dramatic improvements.

📰 BACKLASH AGAINST SLOPPY LEBRON SCHOOL COVERAGE 📰

Kudos to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Patrick O’Donnell for his very helpful explainer showing how much of the costs of LeBron James IPROMISE school will be paid by the district (about 75 percent) and how much will be paid by the NBA superstar’s foundation (about 25 percent). This is the kind of steady, nuanced reporting that would have been so helpful during the first big wave of generally superficial and credulous reporting about the school that’s now being decried as fake news by conservatives like Mike Cernovich.

🔥 VARA-ORTA HEADING TO CHALKBEAT 🔥

News got out this week that Francisco Vara-Orta is leaving EdWeek after two years and joining the national team at Chalkbeat. It took Chalkbeat a long time to make a hire, but it seems like they made an excellent choice. Read Francisco’s announcement — and the stream of congratulations from fellow journalists — here. Congrats to everyone involved. Can’t wait to see what comes of the move.

⏰ EWA FELLOWSHIP APPLICATIONS DUE AT THE END OF THE MONTH ⏰

EWA is looking for a new set of folks for its extremely successful fellowship program. From EWA’s Kim Clark: “What would it take for you to successfully tackle your dream reporting project on K-12 or higher education topics? How about up to $8,000? Apply today to come closer to making realizing that dream.” Make haste, however. The deadline is August 31.

 

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ALEXANDER RUSSO (@alexanderrusso) is editor of The Grade.

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