3 Decades Covering Education: A View From the Front Row
K-12 education in the United States has gone through a number of changes in the past three decades, and Virginia "Ginny" Edwards has had a front row seat. Edwards, who retired in July after 28 years as Editor-in-Chief of Education Week, said when she took over the K-12 publication, the education reform movement was just beginning.
At that time, Edwards said states felt they "would benefit from agreeing that there should be some standards about what kids should know and be able to do." With that emphasis on standards came an increased interest in testing and accountability for both students and teachers, culminating in the 2001 No Child Left Behind legislation, which put the federal government in a bigger oversight role for education.
As Edwards was hanging up her EdWeek hat, the pendulum was swinging back with other way, with the Every Child Succeeds Act passing the baton for much of that accountability oversight back to the states. Edwards believes that "recalibration right now makes a ton of sense" and that the "real work (in education) will be more at the state level again."
Edwards bemoans what she sees as the increasing politicization of education. "People try to make it out like they care more about kids, they care more about education, you know," she said. "I think that's just not healthy and that's not true. Everybody cares, everybody wants to do right by kids and their communities and the families."
The driving force for Education Week, according to Edwards, has never wavered. "We have done a really good job of covering the terrain in all its variations," said Edwards, so that policymakers and educators could make decisions that would lead to "better public schools and better outcomes for kids."