Liz Willen
Liz Willen is associate editor of The Hechinger Report. She is a former senior writer focused on higher education at Bloomberg Markets magazine. Willen spent the bulk of her career covering the New York City public school system for Newsday. She has won numerous prizes for education coverage and shared the 2005 George Polk Award for health reporting with two Bloomberg colleagues. Willen is a graduate of Tufts University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and an active New York City public school parent.

So how are college graduates really doing? A few schools are willing to tell us

A word rarely uttered on college tours sits atop the website of St. Olaf, a small liberal-arts college south of Minneapolis with an annual estimated cost of $51,860. Next to clickable categories about arts and athletics appears the unlikely word “outcomes.’’ And if you click on the word, a headline materializes promising “The Return on […]


Could New York’s Pre-k plan pit politics and posturing above kids?

No matter who ends up paying for universal pre-k program in New York, it seems that both Cuomo and de Blasio have a lot of work ahead. There hasn’t been enough room or enough money or enough support for such programs in years.


Can we please change the conversation about college admissions?

If you’re spending any time in the company of ambitious high-school seniors or hyper-competitive parents these days, you may be reading Facebook posts with status updates proclaiming acceptances at prestigious colleges: “Dartmouth! Duke! Vassar! Swag! I’m three for three!” You may not read about rejections, but you will certainly hear plenty about them, along with […]


Reaction to pricey LA school board elections: Many claims of victory

The Los Angeles school board election attracted enormous amounts of outside money and attention, so it’s no surprise that lots of people are claiming victory in the aftermath. In the end, an incumbent aligned with Supt. John Deasy and an incumbent supported by the teachers union each won, while a third candidate will be in […]


Will Obama’s early childhood plan actually work? How?

Questions about how much President Barack Obama’s ambitious early childhood partnership plan will cost and how quality will be maintained emerged immediately on Thursday, soon after Obama delivered long-awaited details in Decatur, Ga. “Study after study shows that the earlier a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road,’’ Obama told […]

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Why change is still a long time coming in Mississippi education

For education advocates in Mississippi, it must be difficult to sit quietly and watch the tepid progress, or, as some put it last week, “small scale ideas” that are emerging in a state with a perpetual education crisis. After all, it’s been 30 years since the so-called “Christmas Miracle” — the historic December day when […]


Will a new conversation about funding pre-k take hold in Mississippi?

A new conversation about pre-k is emerging in Mississippi as citizens examine the reasons behind the state’s woeful academic performance—documented in the first story of our “Mississippi Learning” series and since taken up by other news media in the state. This is an important conversation in Mississippi, which has the highest rate of childhood poverty […]

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Social media and a tale of two New Jersey principals

Middle-school principal Anthony Orsini of Ridgewood, N.J., made national headlines last year when he urged parents to keep their young adolescents off Facebook — at least until high school. The slings and arrows of social-media stings by peers — also known as cyberbullying — were far more common than any from adult predators, Orsini said, […]


Questions, investigations of suspicious test scores

Are students at some schools in Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, Colorado, Florida and California suddenly making vast and unprecedented leaps in learning? Or at least in how they are performing on standardized tests? Perhaps, but it’s not statistically likely, according to a USA Today investigation, supported in part by The Hechinger Report. The lengthy story has […]

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In tough times, even more reason to spend on innovation, Obama says

President Barack Obama unveiled plans for a significant increase in federal spending for public schools on Monday at a Baltimore middle school known for the kind of innovation he wants to see a lot more of — even if it requires spending scarce resources. “We wanted to highlight the great work you’re doing in math […]

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