It’s easy to lament bad writing in education. I certainly have my gripes. I think there is too much writing focused on Betsy DeVos. Too many articles allow who funds an organization to stand in for analysis of whether or not what that organization does is good or bad. I think all of us are tired of writers wedging every education issue into a horserace narrative between “reformers” and everyone else.
But for all of the writing that is frustrating, talented journalists, researchers, and commentators are writing amazing, interesting, and challenging pieces. They deserve recognition and plaudits. In that spirit, I wanted to highlight eight great pieces that I read this year. Note, this is not meant to be the eight best pieces I read or the eight most important articles of the year, just eight great ones. (In full transparency, I kept it to eight because I needed to cut it off somewhere, and I like the assonance with “great” and “twenty eighteen.”)
That said, here they are, in alphabetical order by author last name:
This story has a lot going for it; awesome local reporting, incredible images paired with it, and a powerful reminder that behind all of the statistics we examine there are real kids and real lives. For me, this piece also reinforced that our schools can be terrible for atypical kids. If a kid has an odd hobby, or an interest that is outside the norm, schools can be neither welcoming nor accommodating.
The decline of local education reporting has not only meant fewer great stories like this one, but also much less oversight of local school districts. Huge contracts are rubber stamped, teachers and administrators are quietly fired or reassigned, statistics are fudged and juiced, and more, all outside of public purview. Here’s hoping that 2019 brings more great local reporting like this.