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.


Early Childhood Live Online Discussion The Impact of the Coronavirus on Early-Childhood Learning
Join Peter DeWitt and his guests on A Seat at the Table as they discuss the implications of coronavirus on early-childhood learning.
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.
Recruitment & Retention Webinar
Recruiting and Retaining a More Diverse Teaching Workforce
We discuss the importance of workforce diversity and learn strategies to recruit and retain teachers from diverse backgrounds.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
Student Well-Being Webinar Boosting Teacher and Student Motivation During the Pandemic: What It Takes
Join Alyson Klein and her expert guests for practical tips and discussion on how to keep students and teachers motivated as the pandemic drags on.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Michigan Data Coach- (MGLVA)
Michigan, United States
K12 Inc.
Program Manager, State Solution Delivery
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
Director of Education
Lexington, Kentucky
Lexington Public Library
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: February 3, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 20, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
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