N.Y. Times' Education Life': A Welcome Visitor Every 3 Months

By Mark Walsh — February 10, 2014 2 min read

The New York Times published its latest “Education Life” section on Sunday. If the Times is the “Gray Lady” (or “Old Gray Lady”) of journalism, the quarterly education section is like a slightly eccentric aunt who visits you every three months.

She has been around the block and back. She is erudite and sparks some thoughtful conversation. She is a bit underappreciated. And she comes bearing gifts in large and small packages, no matter what the season.

Education Life is always smartly written and thought-provoking. It is certainly underappreciated in that it flies well below the radar of other education coverage, even in its own parent newspaper.

My recollection is that the section has been around for at least some 30 years. Other major papers have had similar sections, which from a business standpoint were a good vehicle for education ads, naturally. But not every paper has been committed to putting quality content into such vehicles. The Chicago Tribune, for one, had a periodic education section that was full of editorial drivel.

In 2005, the Times retooled Education Life from a more general focus on education issues at all levels to a “focus on higher education and practical advice to help parents and college-age students navigate through today’s higher education system,” as a New York Times Co. press release put it at the time.

Among the “gifts” the section has brought in recent issues are these feature articles:

• An adaptation from a book by a college student who lives out of a van to keep down his higher education debt.

• Pieces last August about revising the SAT and ACT, as well as a buzz-creating story about the efforts of Georgetown University, the Jesuit-run institution in the nation’s capital, to become the most gay-friendly Catholic college in the country.

— A package in the November issue on “The Disrupters,” such as a piece about online learning as an agent of change for colleges, and another about the graduates of the first free online university.

The latest Education Life section, from the Feb. 9 edition of the Times, brings a variety of features. For example, there are interesting small items in the “Blackboard” section. Also with each edition comes the quarterly “Pop Quiz.” Here’s a sample question:

Which institution of higher learning was the first in the United States to have the word “university” in its name?

a. Boston University

b. Columbia University

c. University of Pennsylvania

d. Harvard University

You’ll have to look in the section for the answer, but the institution in question opened as an academy in 1751, graduated its first class as a college in 1757, and was chartered by its state as a university in 1779.

This quarter’s feature articles include the cover story on “bystander intervention,” the idea that third parties can help block bad behavior such as sexual assaults on campus by getting involved. That piece is by Michael Winerip, the veteran Times reporter who has written widely on education and parenting and is a frequent contributor to Education Life.

Other features include a look at financial and other troubles facing historically black Howard University in Washington, by veteran journalist and higher education integration pioneer Charlayne Hunter-Gault; and a piece on the first Muslim college fraternity in the United States, by Kyle Spencer.

Once again, a lively mix. And in case you missed the Sunday Times, Education Life has a home on the paper’s Web site. So you don’t have to wait three months to check in on your loving auntie.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Education and the Media blog.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Project Manager
United States
K12 Inc.
High School Permanent Substitute Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
MS STEM Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
Speech Therapist - Long Term Sub
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read