Posts tagged "Education Writers Association"
April 16, 2012
New York City’s controversial school turnaround proposals represent a tiny piece of a sweeping effort, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, to overhaul the country’s lowest-performing schools. In the first of three articles about the reform effort produced by Education Week, The Hechinger Report, and the Education Writers Association, Alyson Klein examines the effects of federal School Improvement Grants on districts across the country — and the grants’ uncertain future. GothamSchools was one of a dozen news organizations to contribute to the reporting.
After two years, the federal program providing billions of dollars to help states and districts close or remake some of their worst-performing schools remains an ambitious work in progress, with roughly 1,200 turnaround efforts under way but still no verdict on its effectiveness.
The School Improvement Grant (SIG) program, supercharged by a $3 billion windfall under the federal economic-stimulus program in 2009, has jumpstarted aggressive moves by states and districts. To get their share of the money, they had to quickly identify some of their most academically troubled schools, craft new teacher-evaluation systems, and carve out more time for instruction, among other steps.
Some schools and districts spent millions of dollars on outside experts and consultants. Others went through the politically ticklish process of replacing teachers and principals, while combating community skepticism and meeting the demands of district and state overseers.
It’s not at all clear if the federal prescription can cure the most ailing schools and lead to long-term improvements, but preliminary student achievement data for the program offer some promise. The U.S. Department of Education looked at about 700 of the schools in their second year of the program and found that a quarter of them posted double-digit gains in math during the 2010-11 school year. Another 20 percent showed similar progress in reading.
A collaborative reporting project drawing on the efforts of more than 20 news organizations and affiliated journalists paints a mixed picture of how the SIG program is playing out on the ground. The major findings show: (more…)
March 16, 2012
If there were value-added evaluations for education journalism, GothamSchools would be in for a fall.
Fortunately, we learned recently that small year-to-year changes among top performers can sometimes cause outsized variation in value-added scores. That’s why we’re thrilled and not disappointed to be a second-place winner in a national competition for education journalism.
The Education Writers Association announced the winners of its 2011 contest on Thursday, and GothamSchools won second prize in the journalism blogging category. We had taken home the first-place prize in each of the first two years that the association awarded prizes for online journalism.
This year’s first-place blog winner was StateImpact Florida, a nonprofit news site about education that is produced by National Public Radio and three affiliate stations in Florida. The association also awarded a special citation to the staff of the Philadelphia Public School Notebook for their coverage of Philadelphia’s cheating scandal.
GothamSchools thrives because it operates as a team, and nine people helped make us great in 2011. (more…)
February 28, 2011
GothamSchools won two first prize awards in a national competition for education journalism, the Education Writers Association announced today. One award, in the journalism blogging category, went to our editorial staff plus our Newsroom contributor Kim Gittleson. The other, in the community blogging category, went to Community section contributor Ruben Brosbe and Community section editor Philissa Cramer.
This is the second year in a row that GothamSchools has won first prize in the journalism blogging category. Last year was the first year that the annual awards included a category for online news.
Other New York City education reporters received honors: NY1′s Lindsey Christ won four awards in the broadcast category, including first prize in the investigative reporting category for her story exposing that District 16′s community education council was effectively defunct due to low participation, despite having an administrative assistant assigned to the council. Helen Zelon and a team of City Limits reporters won second prize in investigative reporting for their stories on the Harlem Children’s Zone. The New York Times’ Sharon Otterman won a special citation for beat reporting in the large news organization category.
Disclosure: I serve on the board of the Education Writers Association. The contest is judged by an external panel.
February 12, 2009
A statistic that Joel Klein, Al Sharpton, and Mort Zuckerman have all recently employed to bemoan the racial achievement gap appears to be wrong.
“today the average 12th-grade black or Hispanic student has the reading, writing and math skills of an eighth-grade white student.”
The problem isn’t the principle behind the claim; America definitely has a racial achievement gap. The problem, according to an official at the National Center for Education Statistics, is in the specific way that Klein et al describe the gap.
The best available measure we have to compare all American kids is the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or the NAEP test. But the NAEP test, which is given only to a sample of students across the country, not to every child, does not permit the kind of detailed comparison Klein’s statistic would demand, Arnold Goldstein, the NCES official, said. “It would be great if we could. It’s kind of frustrating not to be able to make these sorts of statements,” said Goldstein, who is program director for design, analysis, and reporting at NCES’s assessment division. “But that’s a limitation of the data.”
I contacted the Department of Education several times for comment but got no response this week. UPDATE: A spokesman, Andrew Jacob, wrote to say that Klein got the statistic from “No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning,” a book by Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom. (more…)