Covering the Common Core

As the Common Core educational standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA) are phased in around the country, the issue of whether schools should use them has become increasingly politicized and controversial. What is a journalist to do?

The Poynter Institute and the Education Writers Association joined forces to produce a Specialized Reporting Institute, held in Chicago in June 2014, to provide journalists with the resources and knowledge to cover this important issue. The workshop was funded by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and directed by Poynter's vice president of academic programs, Kelly McBride.

Find an Expert

Lori Crouch, assistant director, Education Writers Association (EWA), email:; tel. 202-452-9830 ext. 1002

Javier Hernandez, education and politics writer, The New York Times, email:

Elle Moxley, KCUR, veteran education reporter, email:

Robert Pondiscio, senior fellow and vice president for external affairs, Thomas B. Fordham Institute and senior adviser to Democracy Prep Public Schools, a network of high-performing charter schools based in Harlem, New York email:

Emily Richmond, public editor, Education Writers Association (EWA), provides individualized writing and reporting assistance to journalists, email:

Andrew Ujifusa, state policy and politics reporter, Education Week, email:

Rachael Wolin, events and sponsorship manager, Education Writers Association (EWA), email:

Twitter Tags to Follow

@lkcrouch: Lori Crouch, EWA assistant director

@hernandezjavier: Javier Hernandez, politics and education writer for The New York Times

@rpondiscio: Robert Pondiscio, senior fellow and vice president for external affairs, Thomas B. Fordham Institute

Blogs Worth Reading

Common Core Watch: An EWA best blog finalist

EWA's Ed Beat, a blog about education journalism

Andrew Ujifusa's State EdWatch, tracking education policy and politics across the 50 states

Also from Education Week: K-12 Schools: Beyond the Rhetoric writer Jack Schneider hosts dialogues about contentious K-12 policy issues.

What Others Are Doing

House votes to cut number of testing hours for Ohio students, Laura A. Bischoff and Jeremy P. Kelley, Dayton Daily News, Nov. 20, 2014

Common Core: Some say approach takes fun out of learning, Vicki Gonzalez, News 3, Oct. 24, 2014

Common Core standards falling out favor by Nevada educators, Vicki Gonzalez, News 3, Oct. 24, 2014

Common Core: Loved and hated, Aerin Curtis, Wyoming News, Oct. 18, 2014

Wyo.'s Common Core standards are not what some initially expected, Aerin Curtis, Wyoming News, Oct. 11, 2014

Common Core: West Michigan students prepare to be tested on new English and math standards, Monica Scott,, Oct. 3, 2014

New, more rigorous Common Core standards start in kindergarten, Wendy Leung, Ventura County Star, Sept. 3, 2014

New test, new stress: Exam promises headaches as schools adjust to the Common Core’s latest challenge, Tara García Mathewson, Illinois Issues, Sept. 2014

Key Resources

Resources from the SRI and the EWA

The Education Writers Association's page on the Common Core features a wealth of recent news and information. The website also offers resources for journalists, including news, blogs, Reporter Guides, listservs and Research Briefs.

Web Resources

Common Core State Standards Initiative is a great place to begin your research. As the official home of the Common Core State Standards, this site is hosted and maintained by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center). It provides parents, educators, policymakers, journalists and others easy access to the actual standards, as well as supporting information and resources.

Editorial Projects in Education is the independent, nonprofit publisher of Education Week and other high-quality print and online products on K-12 education. EPE's mission is to raise awareness and understanding of critical issues facing American schools. Its **Research Center links to several reports and studies on the Common Core.

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute views itself as an "education gadfly" advocating for policies and practices that the organization believes will advance educational excellence for young Americans.


Webinar Replay

Covering Common Core: Telling Classroom Stories: Learn why states adopted the Common Core, what it means and how to use the history of this set of academic standards to inform your reporting. Learn how to craft a reporting plan that captures both the political controversy and practical concerns about implementation. This Webinar replay is free, thanks to the generous support of the McCormick Foundation.

Grading the Teachers: Writing about Teacher Evaluation: States across the country have adopted teacher evaluation systems that are radically different from past systems for rating teachers' performance. In this Webinar you will learn what this trend means for teaching and learning and how to provide your audience with an insider’s view of this complex issue. Learn about the types of questions to consider in your coverage to be fair to teachers and informative for your audience.

Self-Directed Course

On the Beat: Covering Education: Everyone has a stake in education, and everyone needs the educational system to serve them. Reporters on the education beat have the opportunity to help their readers see the connection between schools and the community. This course will provide a brief introduction to the most pressing issues facing the educational system today, as well as tips on how to cover this beat.