Best education journalism of the week (October 13, 2017)

The Grade Hed

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There’s not nearly enough journalism explaining to readers what’s going on behind the scenes – the why behind the what. That’s why I appreciated this NYT story (The ‘Resistance,’ Raising Big Money, Upends Liberal Politics) so much. It’s not really about education in any immediate way, but it provides explanations for all sorts of interesting things (why CAP has taken a distinct turn to the political left, who Reid Hoffman (not Reed Hastings) is giving his money to, and more). More like this, please?


Principal Wanda Alvarez stands on the remains of the private school El Eden Paraiso Infantil in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. Via Miami Herald.

Storm recovery is still one of the biggest education stories out there, and I’m happy to say that lots of reporters and outlets are doing strong work. See the Miami Herald, the Orlando SentinelWLRNABC NewsWashington Post,  Miami Herald (again), NPR (this morning), and VNews.

The one unfortunate exception would have to be AP, whose recent Hurricane Maria roundup implied that Puerto Rico isn’t part of the US. Hat tip to @CMT_82 for flagging the issue, and kudos to the outlets that changed the headline before publishing the story. “Mainland” is much better.


NPR: The Monumental Task Of Reopening Puerto Rico’s Schools See also here.

NYT: After Hurricanes, Schools Accommodate Puerto Rican Students

ABC Chicago: Student from Puerto Rico enrolls in Chicago school after Hurricane Maria 

The 74: Puerto Rico Teachers Fleeing Hurricane Maria Arrived at Orlando’s Airport With Nothing. They Left With Jobs


NPR: What’s Changed In South Carolina Schools Since Violent Student Arrest

NYT: The girl in the No. 8 jersey scored a soccer goal. Her parents were 600 miles away, on a getaway to Las Vegas.

There are lots more homeless kids in NYC than you might think – roughly one in ten, or twice as many homeless students in New York City as total students in Boston(NYT, Chalkbeat).

ALSO: “Wrong Answer,” the forthcoming Ta-Nehisi Coates screenplay about the Atlanta cheating is mentioned in this NYT profile of his work. And Chalkbeat reports that a newish documentary about schools named “Teach Us All” is ruffling some feathers.
Social media images of some of the victims, including educators and school staff.


Beyonce of Journalism World

The latest column from The Grade, featuring Nikole Hannah-Jones (aka The Beyoncé of Journalism) came out on Thursday, the day after it was announced she is a new MacArthur Foundation “genius” awardee (see more about that below).

The piece was in the works well before the announcement. The Beyoncé reference is Hannah-Jones’ own invention, cribbed from her Twitter bio.

Hannah-Jones’ talent and accomplishments are tremendous. We are so lucky that she’s chosen to write about what she calls the “scourge of segregation.”  At the same time, renewing efforts to integrate American schools is a prescription for easing racial inequalities that warrants careful examination – uncomfortable as that may be for some of us.

Meantime, the Washington Post tells us that Florida’s schools – “once integration’s great hope” – are resegregating.



Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 10.45.31 AM

The big education journalism news of the week has to be the announcement that Nikole Hannah-Jones has been recognized by the MacArthur Foundation as one of this year’s geniuses.

Reactions from around the education world poured in. “Congrats to the bad ass, brilliant @nhannahjones,” wrote the NYT’s Erica Green. Hannah-Jones thanked EWA’s Lori Crouch “for focusing your org’s attention to covering the scourge of segregation.” The Times put out a “Best of Nikole Hannah-Jones.” There’s a nice interview with her and her boss, Jake Silverstein, here (from which the picture above is taken). Chalkbeat recommended 4 great Hannah-Jones education stories.

On Twitter, Hannah-Jones understandably objected to being asked about being one of the nation’s preeminent black writers (she’s usually compared to Ta-Nehisi Coates) in this piece (CityLab). “When does anyone ever call white writers preeminent WHITE writers?” She pushed back harder when asked pretty much the same question in another piece (Poynter).


AU in Puerto Rico

EdWeek sent Andrew Ujifusa (pictured) to Puerto Rico, where his beautiful writing and elegant prose stood out to AASA’s Sasha Pudelski. Read more of EdWeek’s on-the-ground reporting here. Find his twitter feed here.



ASNE Newsroom diversity survey

The new ASNE report is out: How Diverse Are US Newsrooms?  No big surprises – or big movement: Newsrooms are still mostly white and male. Minority journalists comprise 16.6 percent of the workforce in U.S. newsrooms, according to the latest survey… Women make up 39.1 percent of newsroom employees. Larger newsrooms are generally more diverse than smaller ones. Online outlets do better than legacy/print outlets.

Also: CJR put out a special report Covering a country where race is everywhere. “Not only do our racial identities as reporters matter, but so does our understanding of how race functions”


Apply now! FIJ, Schuster Institute boost diversity in social justice investigative reporting  via @fvaraorta


The 2017 Network For Public Education conference later this month in Oakland features advocates, academics, & — she’s everywhere! — Nikole Hannah-Jones.

The 2017 conference of The National Coalition on School Diversity is being held October 19-20 in NYC.


Snopes: No, a principal in Springfield, Ohio, was not arrested for defecating on his desk during the Pledge of Allegiance.

USA Today: Texas high school gets new name L.E.E. — or does it?

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

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