Common core. Digital learning. School choice. There is no shortage of solutions when it comes to education. Indeed, many of the major story lines in education are about how to fix its problems: achievement gaps between rich and poor students, unequal access to higher education, high suspension rates, low graduation rates, the mediocre performance of American students on international tests – the list goes on.
But how to make sense of it all? Education reporters can find themselves wading through complex data sets, conflicting academic research, and competing claims about success and failure. Adopting a solutions lens – digging into the evidence and explaining how various responses work, or don’t work – can help journalists navigate these debates, bring fresh angles to their reporting, and go beyond the political fights that dominate education news.
The new Education Reporter’s Toolkit, produced by SJN and The Hechinger Report, shows education journalists how to apply the solutions approach to enhance their coverage. It explains some of the most urgent challenges facing schools, pointing to opportunities for high-impact solutions reporting. It parses the tricky landscape of education data, and shows how journalists should search for and treat evidence. It examines actual solutions stories about schools – and offers tips from reporters and editors from The Wall Street Journal, The Seattle Times, and elsewhere who already use a solutions framework regularly in their work.
High-quality solutions reporting can help turn the often fractious rhetoric around schools into more constructive public discourse that better serves communities. Find out how. Download the free Education Reporter’s Toolkit here. And look for more beat-focused toolkits from SJN over the next year.