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Findings from a weeklong hunt for education news

4122590627_63b6143658_m As we noted last week, news stories about education are never far from the headlines in Baltimore.

The city's schools, statewide policy and higher education are all major recurring themes at NewsTrust Baltimore. In addition, the practice of education has been a crucial part of our mission. From the beginning, NewsTrust Baltimore has been working closely with a number of educational partners. Last week, we got a close look at one of these great schools and experienced a wonderful symposium at the Baltimore Freedom Academy, a remarkable public charter school in Baltimore City.

It should be no surprise that, during our news hunt on the topic of education, NewsTrust Baltimore staff and community members posted and discussed an array of fascinating examples of journalism.

This news hunt ran from Monday, March 28, through Sunday, April 3. During the week, the NewsTrust Baltimore community found and listed 58 stories in the education category. Of these, 22 stories were reviewed, 12 received a NewsTrust rating, and 12 were considered above average. 

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One of the biggest education stories of the week was Nancy Grasmick's announcement that she will retire from her post as state superintendent of schools. Broken by WBFF-TV, the news spread quickly and prompted a lot of discussion. The Baltimore Sun's laudatory editorial about Grasmick seemed to set the tone of much of the coverage. In the following weeks, as her legacy is debated and the search for a successor begins, it will interesting to see if more critical voices come forth.

Public school funding is a major chunk of both the state and city budgets. In coverage of Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's budget, the Baltimore Brew highlighted her support for schools (perhaps at the expense of some other important programs). Maryland's General Assembly also seems to be keeping education foremost in its budget negotiations, according to the The Baltimore Sun. As the legislative session winds down, readers and reviewers may find particularly timely news at Maryland Reporter, the Baltimore Sun's Maryland Politics blog, and other sources highlighted in our politics section.

In coverage of the Baltimore County Public Schools, Towson Patch has kept close tabs on controversies over transparency and salaries in a series of stories.

At a time when arts and music in our schools seem endangered, a charming Towson Times story on a steel drum band at Stoneleigh Elementary School, prompted Susan MaloneWide Angle Youth Media's executive director, to note on NewsTrust: "It is wonderful to see positive youth stories about schools providing young people with musical or artistic opportunities."

"It would have been nice to see a comparison of steel drum programs in the city verses the county, and to learn more about the outcomes for youth in the county programs," she wrote.

Baltimore's colleges and universities are a major part of the city's economy, culture and news scene. In addition to some sharp journalism students who contribute to the News Trust Baltimore community, these schools are also producing some provocative news in their student-run newspapers.

For instance, Towson University's Towerlight published an interesting profile of two students who spent their winter break helping victims of flooding in Honduras. The Towerlight published another interesting story about the sometimes-poignant reasons why people tattoo themselves.

At the University of Maryland, The Diamondback has been in the midst of reporting on some very contentious campus labor disputes.

Thanks to our community

We'd like to thank our community members and media and educational partners who helped find the stories that were part of this news hunt. If you are not yet a member of NewsTrust Baltimore, please sign up and join the experiment; your voice is needed and welcome.

This week, you can help us find the best journalism on youth in Baltimore by posting and reviewing stories in the youth topic. Stephanie Dickard from partner organization Wide Angle Youth Media is helping us gather and review articles.

Please help us post and review stories on these topics -- the success of this social news experiment depends on the participation of members like you.

Thank you again, and see you on the site!


Photo credit: Dr John2005 on Flickr



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