Special Reports

Early Education

Providing children with the experiences they need to succeed in school before starting kindergarten is critical. But what should those experiences be? Who should pay for them? As parents, school leaders and policymakers struggle to answer these and other questions, we cover what’s working, and what’s not, in early education. Read Stories

Future of Learning

The factory model of education is out. Now more schools are personalizing learning and trying to motivate students by empowering them in the classroom. Will this improve academic outcomes? Will it close achievement gaps? The Hechinger Report explores the innovations at the core of today’s cutting-edge schools. Read Stories

High School Reform

Experts often urge educators to catch struggling students “before it’s too late,” but high schools are charged with educating all students, regardless of their past. The Hechinger Report is spending two years exploring high schools successful with diverse groups or trying innovative approaches. Read Stories

Higher Education

Even as policymakers push to increase the proportion of Americans with degrees, university and college students and their families contend with ever-rising costs and debt, low success rates, and growing concern about equal access to a higher education. We cover the causes of these problems, and the innovations being tried to solve them. Read Stories


Just over 3 percent of children under 18 living in America were foreign-born in 2013. In striving to make it through the K-12 system and on to higher education, this small but important portion of public school students faces special challenges. Read Stories


The largely poor and rural state of Mississippi suffers from the highest rate of childhood poverty in the country, along with some of the lowest scores on standardized tests. A legacy of racism and segregation are among the roadblocks that keep the children of Mississippi from reaching their full potential. Read Stories

New Orleans

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, officials dramatically remade the long-struggling education system in New Orleans, turning it into the nation’s first all charter-school system. Our stories will look at what’s working — and what’s not — in the nation’s largest, most ambitious experiment with school decentralization. Read Stories

Race and Equity

Over 50 years since the Civil Rights Era, there is perhaps no issue in American education more intractable or more painful than the persistent gaps in educational outcomes between black and brown students and their white peers. Racial disparities endure at every level of the system and are only compounded for boys. We will explore the root causes and look for solutions using research, data and on-the-ground reporting. Read Stories

More Reports

A Promise to Renew

In 2012, Newark education officials set out to reform their city’s lowest-performing schools. The Hechinger Report was granted extraordinary access to one of them, Quitman Street Renew School, to chronicle its successes and setbacks. Our ongoing series, which has won numerous journalism awards, goes behind the scenes as Principal Erskine Glover and his staff take on one of the hardest –– and most important –– jobs in the nation. Read Stories

Arts Education

The arts challenge, inspire and enlighten us, yet access to high-quality arts education is uneven and often elusive. We look at the state of arts education around the country and ask what can — and is — being done to improve the caliber and availability of arts programs in our schools. Read Stories

Building A Better Teacher

The Hechinger Report has partnered with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to produce an eight-part series that looks at the teaching profession in Wisconsin and nationally. Read Stories


Home to the largest number of public school students in the nation, California ranks at the bottom on measures of per student spending and academic performance. The Hechinger Report is paying attention to this bellwether state as it attempts to grant more students a shot at the California dream. Read Stories

Common Core

The Common Core lays out what students should know in English and math and was intended to transform American education. But as the standards have rolled out in more than 40 states, they’ve sparked controversy. Our coverage goes beyond politics to show how the standards are affecting kids and impacting learning. Read Stories

Connecticut Achievement Gap

Connecticut has the nation’s largest achievement gap between poor students and their more affluent peers, and it’s acute even in higher-income towns like West Hartford. This is a three-part series looking at how Braeburn Elementary School in West Hartford is trying to close the gap. It’s the first collaboration between the Connecticut Mirror and The Hechinger Report. Read Stories

Coronavirus and Education

In many parts of the country, the coronavirus has altered nearly aspect of life – the way we work, socialize and educate our kids. With school shutdowns spreading, we want to hear from you. What are your questions about education and the coronavirus? How is the virus exposing divides within education, are there opportunities for new ways of learning, and how can schools, parents and teachers respond? What are you seeing in your communities? Send us your questions and we’ll answer them.

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Debate Over Diversity

Racial separation in public elementary and secondary schools is at levels not seen since the 1960s. Meanwhile, progress for nonwhite students has slowed after rapid gains during the 1970s and 1980s, when schools were more integrated. Does school diversity make a difference in outcomes for students? Are the benefits of integrated schools worth the trade-offs? The Hechinger Report has partnered with The Atlantic in several stories that look at the debates over racial diversity and integration at the K-12 and college levels. Read Stories

Digital Divide

Digital education may be the future of education, but most American schools are far from ready. This Hechinger Report series examines a national effort to close the digital divide by connecting all American schools to high-speed Internet, and why so many schools still lag so far behind. Read Stories

Districts in Debt

America’s school districts owe more than $400 billion in debt, a number that has grown rapidly in the last decade. The system is rife with inequities and the hidden financial pressures districts face can end up having a big impact on classrooms and kids. Read Stories

Divided We Learn

Once the way up the socioeconomic ladder in America, higher education may now be deepening the divisions. First-generation, low-income students disproportionately wind up at campuses with the fewest resources; their wealthier counterparts, at the best. And, contradicting public promises, universities are raising their net prices faster for low-income than higher-income students. Read Stories

Economic Stimulus

The Hechinger Report and the Education Writers Association partnered with more than 30 newspapers nationwide to take a look at how the stimulus money was spent. Read Stories

Education Nation

The Hechinger Report has teamed up with NBC to highlight examples of schools and communities that have come up with innovative solutions and have succeeded. The stories are part of NBC’s annual Education Nation Summit in New York City. The three-day event brings together more than 300 of the country’s leaders in education, government, business, philanthropy and media. Read Stories

First Step to the Middle Class

The Hechinger Report traveled to three counties with very high numbers of adults without a high school credential to learn about the obstacles schools and families must overcome to provide and obtain this essential first step to a middle-class life. The three counties, all in the rural South, are profoundly different in terms of race and ethnicity — and in their experiences of racism and segregation. Read Stories

For-Profit Colleges

For-profit institutions have come under fire for saddling students with too much debt and not enough job options, even as enrollment has nearly tripled to 1.8 million since 2000. New federal regulations are aimed squarely at the booming businesses, threatening to cut off student aid if too many graduates default on their loans. Read Stories

Guidance Gap

Counselors are key to helping students navigate school, apply to college and map out careers, but there’s a critical shortage of them in our nation’s schools. We look at how the school counseling crisis is affecting kids. Read Stories

Hechinger en Español

The Hechinger Report relate historias de la desigualdad y la innovación en educación con un periodismo profundo que utiliza la investigación, los datos y las historias de los estudiantes, maestras y familias afectadas para mostrar al público cómo se puede mejorar la educación y por qué es importante. Read Stories

Immigration Crisis

The heated national debate about immigration is having a profound impact on many students and their teachers. Students who are fearful family members might be deported, traumatized by experiences back home and on their journey here, and worried about their own futures, are having trouble coping. In this series, The Hechinger Report examines how teachers and administrators are doing their best to help them focus on their school work and navigate a difficult political time. Read Stories

Learn and Earn

Many students drift through college unsure of what they want to do, what jobs are available, or how to get them. Now efforts are under way to better sync up graduates’ skills with workforce needs. This series of stories relates to the problems and solutions in the area of higher education and workforce preparedness. Read Stories

Lessons from Freedom Summer

As the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer approaches, The Hechinger Report will look back at the violence surrounding the 1964 campaign to register blacks to vote in Mississippi and the murders of three civil rights workers. Change has been a long time coming; racial divisions and inequities still run deep. Yet there are many efforts underway to stem the achievement gap between black and white students and to make sure history does not repeat itself. Read Stories

Math Achievement

American students’ math achievement nationally has been improving slowly since 2003. But U.S. 15-year-olds fall behind 22 countries on one international test and 12 on another. Math is a frustrating subject for many students and their parents and educators and policymakers agree the U.S. needs to do a better job to remain competitive in an increasingly technical global economy. Poor math skills exacerbate inequities, shut people out of jobs and make it hard for voters to understand complex issues such as the cost of health care and the size of the national debt. Read Stories

Mississippi Child Care Crisis

Mississippi has some of the lowest standards for child care centers in the country and some of the weakest oversight. The Hechinger Report joined with the Clarion-Ledger to investigate how the state fails to serve all its children well, why it falls short and possible solutions. Read Stories

Never Too Early

By sixth grade, a child from a poor family has spent an estimated 6,000 fewer hours learning than a peer from an affluent household, who tends to have more exposure to books, museums, travel and summer camp. The Hechinger Report is spending a year exploring this so-called “opportunity gap.” Read Stories

Rural Education

Rural disaffection has helped to drive the nation’s politics. Yet little attention has been paid to the role of education in this. We examine rural K-12 and higher education through the stories of rural schools and students. Read Stories

School Improvement Grants

Education Week, the Education Writers Association and The Hechinger Report partnered with 18 news outlets in 16 states to investigate how $3 billion in federal School Improvement Grants are being used to revitalize some of the nation’s lowest-performing schools. Interviewing scores of students, teachers, researchers and education officials at all levels of government, participating reporters set out to determine how the money is being spent and whether the changes it sparks are likely to last. Read Stories

School Leadership

School leadership is central to improving student outcomes, as recent research has shown. But it’s not about the school leader as drill sergeant, or the charismatic leader whose skill-set is impossible to replicate. Instead, it’s about a leader capable of creating conditions in which students and teachers can flourish. It’s about vision, instructional leadership and a strong school culture. Schools that make significant progress are often led by a principal whose role has been radically re-imagined. And while school leadership is essential, there also must be consistent, strong leadership at the district level. Read Stories


We explain what’s working, what’s not and what matters in education. Our stories are deeply researched, carefully written and rigorously edited. Our mission isn’t only to expose problems. We want to find out what’s being done to fix them and whether those solutions are working and can be replicated. Read Stories

Spotlight on Scholarship Funding

In April, education activists invited 70 students to protest against cuts to the state’s merit-based college scholarship program, TOPS. They wrote letters to legislators demanding funding for at least low-income families. Here are their letters, a lesson plan to help launch similar efforts in other communities, media coverage, and more. Read Stories

State of the Union

For decades, teachers unions have used their political power to exert enormous control over the country’s education system. But now, under attack from the left and the right, the unions face the prospect of weakening strength. The Hechinger Report is investigating where the unions stand now and what their future holds. Read Stories

Student Veterans

Military veterans are returning to school in large numbers, thanks in large part to the more than $10 billion a year they get in Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. Universities and colleges are anxious for that money, too. But how are those institutions supporting veterans? Read Stories

Student Voices: New Orleans perspectives

These pieces are a collaboration between The Hechinger Report and high school students at Bard’s Early College in New Orleans. The teenagers wrote opinion pieces on whether all students should be encouraged to attend college, the value of alternative teacher preparation programs such as Teach For America, the importance of desegregation, or the best approach to school discipline. Read Stories

Student Voices: What I would do with more money for California schools

Students from Alhambra, California — a predominantly immigrant Los Angeles suburb — write about how they’d spend a new influx of funding for the state’s schools. The Local Control Funding Formula, passed in 2013, provides extra money to California districts and also requires that they listen to parents, teachers and community members as they decide how to spend it. The series is a partnership between The Hechinger Report and Reporter Corps, a USC Annenberg program that trains young adults to report on their own communities. Read Stories

Suspicious Test Scores

The Hechinger Report, USA TODAY and several other news outlets partnered to investigate the standardized test scores of millions of students in six states and the District of Columbia. The investigation identified 1,610 examples of statistically rare, perhaps suspect, gains on state tests. Read Stories

Teacher Effectiveness

Teacher effectiveness has more influence on student achievement than any other in-school factor. Since 2010, at least 35 states have revamped teacher evaluation policies to include student performance despite educators’ protests. The Hechinger Report has traveled the country to learn what the controversial changes mean for the classroom. Read Stories

Teacher Preparation

Teacher training programs are facing profound challenges. Enrollment in traditional programs is down while alternative routes to the classroom proliferate. Amidst a growing call for raising the quality of the U.S. teaching force, The Hechinger Report is examining whether teachers are being adequately prepared. Read Stories

Teaching the Teachers

The federal government gives local districts more than a billion dollars a year for the professional development of teachers. But there’s little accountability for how the money is spent and whether it’s improving teaching and learning. The Hechinger Report is investigating how professional-development funds are spent in the country’s largest school system—New York City—as well as in other districts around the nation to see what we can learn from schools, districts and countries that excel at ongoing teacher training. Read Stories

The Dropout Problem

Graduation rates at U.S. high schools have hovered around 70 percent for decades. But many urban and rural areas routinely graduate only 40 or 50 percent of their students. The dropout crisis in many cities is acute, with 2,000 high schools producing half of the nation’s dropouts. Cutting the dropout rate and turning around “dropout factories” are among the Obama administration’s priorities. But what strategies work? In collaboration with the Washington Monthly, we looked at how New York City, Philadelphia and Portland, Ore., have fared in their attempts to cut dropout rates. Read Stories

The Terrible Twos

This series looks at what makes the 2-year-old year so critical and what could be done to better support toddlers in America. The series was produced by The Hechinger Report and Columbia Journalism School’s Teacher Project, nonprofit news organizations focused on education coverage, in partnership with Slate Magazine. Read Stories

The Worrying State of Science Education

While American students do better in science than they do in math on international comparisons, over time, science scores have not improved, while math scores have risen, and other countries have caught up. In a 2007 test of eighth graders, the U.S. students placed just tenth, behind countries like Japan, England and Russia. That worries experts because of how it can impact everything from the U.S. supply of engineers and researchers to the ability of everyday people to make decisions on things like vaccinations or conserving energy. Read Stories

Time to Learn

By sixth grade, a child from a poor family has spent an estimated 6,000 fewer hours learning than a peer from an affluent household, who tends to have more exposure to everything from books to museums to travel and summer camp. The resulting divide can seem impossible to reverse. Is it? The Hechinger Report is spending a year exploring this so-called “opportunity gap” and how schools around the country are trying to narrow it by providing more time to learn. Read Stories

Tuition tracker

The Hechinger Report, the Education Writers Association, and the Dallas Morning News have teamed up to study how financial aid and tax credits for tuition have shifted from lower- to higher-income students. Read our stories below or click on the logo to find out how much you might pay to go to college. Read Stories

Twice Abandoned

Foster kids graduate high school and go to college at a much lower rate than other groups of children. The federal government is trying to help these young people from falling behind, but many states aren’t doing their part. We look at how schools and child-welfare systems are each failing the foster youth in their care. Read Stories

Universities, Inc.

Universities run much like any other human institutions, something that seems as obvious as it has long been misunderstood. They need revenue, market themselves, and in general serve their self interest. We look at how American higher education operates in ways that many Americans may not know. Read Stories

What is Rigor?

Remember the three Rs – reading, writing and ’rithmetic? Get ready to add a fourth: rigor. It’s the buzzword in education. From presidents to principals, billionaires to school board members, governors to teachers, everybody seems to be promising rigor, demanding rigor, or deploring the lack of rigor in American schools. But what does the word “rigor” actually mean? What are the hallmarks a rigorous curriculum? And do students in other countries receive a more rigorous education than U.S. students? Read Stories

Willing, able and forgotten

Up to 90 percent of students with disabilities are capable of graduating high school fully prepared to tackle college or a career if they receive proper support along the way. Only 65 percent graduate on time. Those who do cross the finish line often aren’t ready for the next step. Read Stories