The Grade

Beware The Overly Broad “Teacher Shortage” Story

The temptation to write “looming teacher shortage” stories can be a strong one for journalists, given the recent spate of “I’m quitting” testimonials and shortage hotspots like Las Vegas. But this recent FiveThirtyEight post, plus a new AFT report, are good reminders that reporters should be cautious about creating the impression that shortages are widespread… Read more »

On Fox, Jeb Bush Takes On Common Core Critics

Watch the latest video at Last night on Fox, GOP frontrunner (for now) Jeb Bush talked about some of his positions that are unpopular with conservatives including Common Core: “We need higher standards. They need to be state-driven. The federal government should play no role in this, either in the creation of standards, content,… Read more »

When Media Organizations Take Outside Funding for Events – But Not News Coverage

The other day appeared an eye-grabbing headline from a newish site called Inside Philanthropy: What’s Up With That Big [$550,000] Grant to the Atlantic Monthly From the Walton Family Foundation?. There’s a lot of foundation money in education journalism these days — part of the reason this blog exists (and how it’s funded). Foundation funding isn’t… Read more »

Perhaps Video Games Creep Us Out More Than They Should

Speaking of BRIGHT, the solutions-oriented site that popped up on Medium this spring, here’s an excerpt recently published from Greg Toppo’s new book about game-based learning that asks the question What if we prescribed video games, and not Ritalin, to treat ADHD?. The longtime USA Today education reporter’s book is the product in part of… Read more »

The Promise and Peril of “Solutions” Journalism

Though the paper hasn’t confirmed it to me directly, news is getting out that the Boston Globe is soon going to launch an expanded, solutions-oriented education news desk. Once it does so, the Globe will be joining the Seattle Times, which has been combining daily news coverage with solutions-oriented features coverage for the past couple… Read more »

The Never-Ending Debate Over John Oliver’s Testing Segment

Nearly five days after it first ran, this 18-minute “Last Week with John Oliver” segment on testing, Pearson, and all the rest continues to generate attention on social media and elsewhere: By and large, those concerned about testing, test-prep, and accountability-based school reform loved the HBO segment (and thought it was hilarious). Reform critic and… Read more »

AltSchool, Media Hype, & the Dilemma of Innovation Stories

There are two problematic approaches to writing about education I see a lot of these days: one I’ll dub “hysteria,” and the other I’ll call “hype.” The first — much in vogue right now among some national reporters and local outlets — is taking a hyper-negative, super-critical approach in which a new program, idea, company,… Read more »

Four Pinocchios for Jon Stewart on Education Spending

HBO’s John Oliver isn’t the only cable news comedian getting heat for recent comments about education. The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart recently got dinged in the Washington Post for wildly overstating the amount of funding going to build schools in Afghanistan that could otherwise be better spent closer to home (ie, in Baltimore). As you may… Read more »

Welcome Aboard!*

Welcome to The Grade, a new blog about education journalism. No actual grades will be given — though praise and criticism will be offered quite regularly. Think of it as NPR’s “On The Media” for education news, or as a public editor or ombudsman for national K-12 news coverage. There’s a ton of education news… Read more »