Best education journalism of the week (July 14-20, 2018)

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🏆 BEST OF THE WEEK: SYSTEMIC INEQUALITY IN BOSTON 🏆

There’s lots of great education journalism that was put out this week — see below for the Honorable Mentions — but for me the best story was this James Vaznis piece in the Boston Globe: Boston school assignment system shortchanges black, Latino students, report finds. It’s not a big piece. But it’s particularly timely, following on similar reports from New York City, DCPS, and other districts showing widespread, systemic inequalities in big-city school systems that have at times been ignored or downplayed in recent years due to debates over choice, technology, and other issues.

🚨 ‘COMPLICATING THE NARRATIVES’ IN EDUCATION JOURNALISM 🚨

Late last month, Atlantic contributor Amanda Ripley published a viral thought piece on some promising ways journalists could break out of fixed, simplistic narratives on polarizing issues. This week, Ripley and I reflect on how education journalists can produce more nuanced, less superficial coverage.

Among the most interesting things Ripley has to say: “Don’t use student quotes as garnishes,” says @amandaripley. “Really listen to them. They will necessarily complicate your narrative because they don’t have coherent narratives that align to adult viewpoints.” You can read it here: ‘Complicating the narratives’ in education journalism.

📰 MEDIA TIDBITS 📰

Kudos to AP’s Sally Ho for engaging with critics of her reporting on charter schools over the past few days. “This story focuses exclusively on non-profit charter advocacy organizations and their work,” explained Ho on Twitter. “The ‘other side’ is not the school districts but the teacher unions, which we include in the story for context.” I don’t think it’s much of a defense — the AP coverage has been way too narrow for my tastes — but I applaud Ho’s willingness to engage her critics about her work. (Note that the Gates foundation is one of the organizations that funds The Grade.)

🔥 PEOPLE, JOBS, & AWARDS 🔥

Kudos from AASA’s Noelle Ellerson Ng to EdWeek’s Andrew Ujifusa, whose coverage she describes as “unparalleled, and unquestionably leadership.” I couldn’t agree more.

This is an abbreviated version of the weekly newsletter. Sign up to get your own full copy here.

⏰ EVENTS, DEADLINES, ANNOUNCEMENTS ⏰

Looking for a great list of books to check out this summer or order for fall? You could do much worse than those listed in the back of Roxanna Elden’s new book, Adequate Yearly Progress, which is out next month.

Note: The Grade is taking a break next week so there will be no newsletter Friday, July 27. See you back here the first week of August!

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

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