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.

What should a fifth-grade classroom of the future look like?

Why is it, Linda Perlstein wonders in Slate today, that most American classrooms still look so much like they did back in the days of “Little House on the Prairie”? “Very little about the American classroom has changed since Laura Ingalls sat in one more than a century ago,” Perlstein writes.  “In her school, children sat in […]

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In the South, new push is on for more college grads

President Barack Obama has led the push for more U.S. college graduates, even though in a tough economy with competing demands the money to support the push hasn’t materialized — at least, not as Obama had once hoped. From the South comes another new graduation initiative — this one calling for 60 percent of adults aged […]


Performance pay for superintendents, not just teachers and principals?

At a time when teachers are under pressure to improve test scores and show what kind of progress their students are making, the superintendent of schools in Minneapolis has also decided to spell out exactly how the public can hold her accountable.  No doubt the recession and the state’s financial woes have contributed to the superintendent’s decision.  […]


Defaults on student loans increasing, especially at for-profit colleges

At a time when jobs are scarce, it should come as no surprise that higher percentages of students are defaulting on their college loans. Default rates increased from 5.9 percent to 6.0 percent at public institutions, and from 3.7 to 4.0 percent at private colleges and universities, new U.S. Department of Education data show. The […]


Why teachers need more training in reading skills

As the U.S. pushes hard to reform its education system, it’s troubling to learn that three in 10 teachers failed a licensing exam in Connecticut on the science of teaching reading. The exam, according to a story in The Connecticut Mirror, emphasizes phonics, fluency and other skills needed to teach young readers. Teachers have been asked […]


Obama once again calls education the key to economic recovery

President Barack Obama has repeatedly called for more Americans to get college degrees, and on several occasions — including during a speech in Texas today — he’s pushed a more college-educated workforce as the key to economic recovery. His speech at the University of Texas in Austin touted education “as an economic issue,”  but the president […]


Once again, for-profit schools under fire

For-profit colleges are working hard to improve their offerings and image and position themselves as clear alternatives to overcrowded community colleges. A report released today did little to help. The report by the U.S.  Government Accountability Office alleged that several colleges engaged in what it called deceptive marketing practices and encouraged fraud. The report was released […]


Whom will for-profit schools serve going forward?

Since U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan proposed a slew of new rules he wants for-profit schools to follow, discussions have continued about what role the schools should play going forward. The questions were front-and-center during a discussion The Hechinger Report had on Monday with Robin Young on WBUR’s “Here and Now” in Boston. For-profits also […]

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Reversing lagging U.S. college completion rates: What will it take?

There was a time when the U.S. could boast it had the highest percentage of its adult population aged 25-34 with college degrees, but it’s been a long time since anyone could make that claim. Lately, there’s been a great deal of attention focused on the need to ramp up the number of college graduates, and […]


After painful debate, Mass. agrees to adopt Common Core Standards

As 27 other states agreed to adopt the “Common Core Standards,” the state of Massachusetts held out, arguing that its own standards were of higher quality — and better.  On Monday night, state Republicans urged education leaders to delay a vote on replacing the standards. The whole issue became entangled in state politics, the Boston Globe reported. […]

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