ICYMI: Residency enforcement & race, problems with Parkland coverage, #thankateacher

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The best education journalism of the last few days is Avi Wolfman-Arent’s WHYY Philadelphia series “Kicked Out” showing how suburban districts try to keep non-district parents out of their schools, and the racial breakdown of those efforts.

In one segment, the reporter rides along with a private investigator hired to help enforce residency, hoping to get a “money shot” showing that a student does not live in the district. In another, Wolfman-Arent details the impact on kids and families of color. There’s a third audio segment hidden here.

Reached on the phone earlier this week, Wolfman-Arent says that he’d heard about the issue over the years and thought that it was an interesting and somewhat different way to get at race, inequality, and funding issues. He’s not the first to try and report this story — it’s a widespread phenomenon — but his piece focuses new attention on what he calls “racial disproportionality” in districts’ enforcement efforts. “It does seem that in districts that do this if you’re a student of color you’re more likely to be kicked out.”

I missed it the first time around, but EdWeek’s Benjamin Herold pointed me in the right direction. I recommend it highly. Maybe something similar is going on in your area, too? (Just today, “reverse” residency fraud is being reported in DC public schools.)

NB: Jessica Bakeman’s WLRN story also deserves a second look. Once you get past the scoop (that the Parkland shooter had in fact been referred to Broward County’s PROMISE program), you’ll see that the piece is really much-needed a deep dive into the PROMISE program, an attempt to decrease suspensions and dropouts that has been the subject of much controversy but perhaps too little reporting.



🏆 AP: Review: More than 30 mishaps from armed adults at schools
🏆 Washington Post: Across the country, measures to arm teachers in schools stall
🏆 NYT: He Wrote Disturbing Plans for a School Shooting. But Was That a Crime?
🏆 Miami New Times: Runcie’s Excuse About Parkland Shooter’s Disciplinary Record Questioned
🏆 WLRN: Shooter Was Assigned To Controversial Broward Discipline Program, Officials Now Say


🏆 SF Chronicle: Political veteran vs. political outsiders in race for superintendent 
🏆 Buzzfeed: These Teachers Went On Strike. Now They’re Running For Elected Office
🏆 Reason: DeVos Responds to Her Critics


🏆 EdWeek: The Teachers Are Winning. What Does It Mean for the Profession?
🏆 American Prospect: Teachers Are Finally Winning Raises, But Many of Their Co-Workers Aren’t
🏆 NPR: Why So Many Gifted Yet Struggling Students Are Hidden In Plain Sight
🏆 StoryCorps: Teacher Appreciation Day
🏆 VOSD: How Predatory Teachers Stay on the Job


🏆 Washington Post: D.C.’s School of the Arts plagued by enrollment fraud, investigation finds
🏆 WSJ: What it takes to change admissions to New York middle schools 
🏆 NY Post: How an ultra-exclusive public school has avoided a citywide diversity push [see also Chalkbeat]
🏆 EdWeek: There Are Wild Swings in School Desegregation Data. The Feds Can’t Explain Why 
🏆 Chalkbeat: Inside the growing divide over whether to require New York’s vaunted Regents exams.
🏆 IHE: Yale police called on black graduate student who was napping


On Sunday, WLRN’s Jessica Bakeman dropped a story that revealed that the Parkland shooter had, in fact, been referred to Broward County Public Schools’ PROMISE program — a possibility the Broward schools head Robert Runcie had previously derided as “fake news.”

The connection between the shooter and the program may or may not turn out to be a substantive part of the events leading up to the February 14 tragedy, but it indicated that Broward schools may not have been getting the same aggressive coverage as has been given to nearly every other agency involved.

That was the subject of this week’s column, which found that some evidence that coverage of Broward schools may have been more deferential than is warranted, and a number of unanswered questions about the shooter’s complicated journey through various diversion programs, alternative, and general population schools.

The Miami Herald’s Carol Marbin Miller described the column as “a thoughtful, fair and well-reported critique.”

Update: On Friday, the Sun Sentinel published a scathing account of Broward Schools stonewalling media requests and failing to cooperate with investigators on the Parkland shooting — news that had not previously been shared with the public. On Saturday, the Sun Sentinel published new information about lax discipline standards in Broward.


📰 YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO GET: When the Miami Herald asked Florida International University for information about the pedestrian walkway that crashed recently, it received a boatload of data that seemed to incriminate FIU. FIU tried to get the revealing data back. Sorry, said the Herald.

📰 VISUAL REPRESENTATION: Looking for some stock images with diverse students and teachers who look engaged? Aren’t we all. EWA’s Lori Crouch suggests this trove. Thanks to Lumina’s Terri Taylor for pointing out the problem.

📰 THE LOCAL FIX: Here’s a fascinating list of news and journalism sources to check out/interact with, including familiar names and a few that might be new.

📰 SUPERINTENDENTS LAST LONGER THAN YOU THINK: It turns out that superintendents last a lot longer than the roughly three years you have probably reported. It’s really five or six. But don’t worry, you’re not alone. “The three-year number has been mentioned, often without caveat, in outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, Education Week, and, yes, Chalkbeat,” reports Matt Barnum. The new numbers come from a Broad Center report, and also reflect data that’s been lurking in the Great City Schools reports in previous years. The 74’s Caroline Phenicie also reported the new numbers.

📰 WNYC MAKES A CORRECTION – SORT OF: No, a New School study issued last week didn’t actually “rebut the notion” that school segregation is the result of residential segregation, as WNYC initially claimed. It largely confirmed it. So kudos to the station for changing the incorrect sentence (to say that the study “challenges the argument that public school segregation in New York City results exclusively from segregated housing patterns.”) Demerits for not indicating to readers that the story has been corrected.

📰 AFT OBJECTIONS: AFT head Randi Weingarten has been registering complaints about a Politico story on Project Veritas head James O’Keefe. “You note the attacks of O’Keefe and Project Veritas against teachers and their unions, but only spoke to one side?” Weingarten tweeted to reporter Tim Alberta. Then, later, she asked “Wondering why this story didn’t get into your article.” The WashPost’s Valerie Strauss has weighed in on the court case that focuses on a Veritas video of AFT folks in Michigan that the union doesn’t want released.

📰 AN INCOMPLETE PICTURE: If education journalists spent anywhere near as much time writing about school reform critics as they do covering reform supporters (as in this Chalkbeat story about the NSVF conference), the public would have a MUCH fuller, more complete understanding of the battle that’s going on over public education. The current mix of stories that is highly imbalanced. It’s strange, and a shame.

📰 THROWBACK FRIDAY: Four years ago, a national report on teacher absences made a large error — mistaking San Antonio Independent School District with Northside ISD. The study was widely written up, and after the think tank acknowledged their mistake, news outlets had to issue their corrections — and there were a lot of them. Always a good reminder to get outside opinions on studies and question data that doesn’t add up.

📰 CRACK VS. OPIOIDS: Thanks to David Dennis Jr. for putting two images side by side, showing the stark differences in how the media has covered children from the crack epidemic vs the opioid epidemic. “Everything is so different”, tweeted reporter Danyel Smith about New York Magazine’s cover story, “Children of the Opioid Epidemic,” which depicts a photo of an angelic white child dressed in white. “Like this?” responded reporter David Dennis, with a photo of a New York Times headline from 1990 that reads, “Crack Babies Turn 5, and Schools Brace.” “This is America,” he added (presumably a reference to the viral Childish Gambino video out since last weekend).

📰 PROGRESSIVE VIEWPOINTS IN THE NEWS: Mainstream media lacks voices from the left, according to this conventional wisdom-shattering CJR article that seems specifically written to enrage the Fordham Foundation’s Mike Petrilli. Good topic for #EWA18 session on viewpoint diversity next week. It should probably be noted that liberal outlets (Mother Jones, The Intercept) had stories that made the #EWAawards this year. Conservative ones did not.

📰 WHAT NEXT FOR NATIONAL REVIEW? Speaking of viewpoints, Dann Fun asks “Can National Review do more than preach to the choir?” in the Columbia Journalism Review. The magazine faces a crisis: how to modernize and continue to attract conservative readership in the era of Trump and as “extremists, bigots, kooks, anti-Semites, and racists” thrive online — without sacrificing its ideals.

📰  DIVERSITY, EQUITY, & INCLUSION. Newsrooms are slowly but steadily heading towards more robust DE&I efforts. Check out some of the newsrooms that have signed on to one such effort. Neither EWA nor any education-focused news outlets seem to be on the list.


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🔥 Let’s all welcome Koby Levin, who joins Erin Einhorn, Julie Topping, and Kimberly Hayes Taylor at Chalkbeat Detroit. Meanwhile, the Chicago bureau hire remains unknown. Check out the announcement here.

🔥 Welcome also to Bianca Vázquez Toness, who’s listed as the ME and Correspondent at the WGBH education desk. Or maybe she’s only new to me. Her LinkedIn says “I’m building the K-12 education desk at WGBH.” Check out a recent story of hers (via EWA) here.

🔥 It’s true. Azi Paybarah is taking over Politico NY’s education beat, which has previously been handled by Eliza Shapiro. She heads off to do the Spencer in June.

🔥 Last Friday, the NYT’s Dana Goldstein penned this piece explaining how and why she ended up writing about foreign workers who’ve been hired (in small numbers) to teach in US schools. It’s always interesting to hear how reporters pick stories.

🔥 Alas, Kyra Gurney from the Miami Herald moved off of education to another beat. She did some great work. Maybe we’ll get her back someday. People seem to come back to the beat all the time.

🔥 Give it up for the journalists who run for office. Laura Moser is a one-time education columnist (for Slate), her campaign is unionized, and she just made it through her (Texas) primary.

🔥 Check out Zahira Torres’ Texas Monthly piece on mentorship and invisible work. A former education reporter who’s now editor-in-chief of The El Paso Times, Torres makes the case that some invisible work, such as mentoring other women, shouldn’t stop — it should just stop being invisible. We’re working on a column about the role of mentoring in education journalism. Keep an eye out for it!

🔥 “I was a journalism student going through a rough patch when Dean Tim Gleason, who I had cornered for an interview for the student paper, steered the conversation towards my grades,” tweeted the Washington Post’s Moriah Balingit as part of Teacher Appreciation Week. “You’re good, but you need a college degree if you want to work.”

🔥 “I felt unremarkable as a student until one teacher in 6th grade, Mrs. Holt, an immigrant from the Philippines, told me she loved my writing in English & should explore that,” tweeted EdWeek’s Fransisco Vara-Orta. “My grandfather couldn’t read or write. Now I do it for a living.”


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⏰ Earlier this week, Chalkbeat Chicago teamed up with Generation All for an #onthetable session asking what’s missing from the conversation about Chicago schools? Sounds like a cool idea.

⏰ Yesterday and today, Collaborative Journalism Summit has been running. Get some information here. Check out the hashtag #TheWholeStory.

⏰ You have until May 14 to enroll in Poynter’s Table Stakes online seminar, described as a method that dozens of newsrooms have used “to become audience-first organizations.” 

⏰ Next week is EWA’s 71st annual National Seminar, in Los Angeles, which includes all sorts of sessions as well a bunch of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) programming. For example, a lunchtime discussion on diversity in journalism in the first day, a concurrent session on viewpoint diversity, a Friday morning focus on covering race and diversity featuring a session led by an instructor from Fault Lines, the journalism diversity curriculum developed by Maynard Institute. Journalists of color are also invited to take part in a Journalists of Color caucus on Thursday.

⏰ CityBureau’s Summer 2018 Reporting Fellowship applications are open. If you want to get an amazing journalism experience within the most innovative newsroom in Chicago, apply before May 28citybureau.org/reporting-fell…#jourjobs

⏰ Calling all journalists of color! The Maynard Institute is now accepting applications to its first Maynard 200 Fellowship for training diverse storytellers. “Our goal is to expand the pipeline of PoC in media by training 200 diverse journalists in the next five years…Please spread the word and apply by May 31st!”

⏰ Entries for the 2018 Online Journalism Awards (OJAs), honoring excellence in digital journalism around the world, should be sent in as soon as possible. They’re looking for your stuff!

⏰ Boston University’s Data-Driven Storytelling Workshops are taking place June 4-8. Register here.

⏰ There’s at least one education-related #IRE2018 panel: Behind the story: Schools without rules (Orlando Sentinel story). Check it out hereJune 14-17, Orlando FL.


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Looking for an excuse to write about Donald Glover’s “This Is America”? Find and interview the kids who dance with him. Ask them about their experiences in schools, and why they think they’re such an important part of the video. (Or maybe someone’s already done this, in which case I will be very happy to read and share.)

The Best of the Week newsletter is “a terrifically informative & fun weekly roundup of the best ed writing nationwide,” according to New York Daily News education reporter Ben Chapman. Sign up here for the free weekly email. It comes out on Fridays, and then gets posted online the following Monday. 

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

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