Steve Drummond

Steve Drummond heads up two teams of journalists at NPR. NPR Ed is a nine-member team that launched in March 2014, providing deeper coverage of learning and education and extending it to audiences across digital platforms. Code Switch is an eight-person team that covers race and identity across the network, and in an award-winning weekly podcast.

Drummond brings to these initiatives more than 20 years' experience covering education issues, and nearly two decades at NPR in a variety of roles. Prior to this assignment, he was the network's Senior National Editor. In that role, from 2007 through 2013, he oversaw domestic news coverage and a team of more than 60 reporters, producers and editors in Washington, DC, and 18 bureaus around the country. In 2012, he also served as acting Senior Editor for Investigations, managing a team of six reporters and producers on investigative projects.

In addition to his journalism credentials, Drummond has also spent some time in the classroom. In the early 1990s, he left journalism temporarily, for a graduate degree in education and a brief career as a middle and high school teacher. His journalism and education interests merged in 1993, when he joined Education Week, where he spent six years as a senior editor and writer.

Drummond joined NPR in 2000 as an editor on the national desk. In 2003, he became the senior editor of All Things Considered. He returned to the national desk in 2004 to edit coverage of poverty and welfare, education, religion, and crime and punishment.

At NPR his work has been honored with many of journalism's highest awards, including three Peabody Awards, two Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University awards, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, and the Edward R. Murrow Award.

Drummond's work with NPR Correspondent Laura Sullivan on an investigation into sexual assault of Native American women earned a 2009 duPont Award. In 2008, Drummond edited a series by Sullivan, "36 Years of Solitary: Murder, Death and Justice on Angola," which also earned a Peabody, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and an Investigative Reporters and Editors Award. A three-part series, "Bonding for Profit," exposed deep flaws in the bail bonds system in this country. The series, reported by Sullivan and edited by Drummond, earned a 2010 Peabody and a 2011 duPont award. A series examining South Dakota's system for handling Native American children in foster care won a 2011 Peabody Award.

Drummond has been a reporter with The Tampa Tribune and The St. Petersburg Times in Florida and at the Associated Press in Detroit. He has written for a variety of publications including The Detroit News, The Detroit Free Press, The New York Times, and Teachermagazine.

Drummond holds a bachelor's degree and two master's degrees, in journalism and education, from the University of Michigan. In the fall of 2013 he was a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University.

OK, teachers, you asked for it: It's time once again to turn your classrooms into studios and your lessons into podcasts. That's right, the NPR Student Podcast Challenge is back.

It's a chance for your students to compete with young people all over the country for our grand prize: your students' story appearing on NPR's Morning Edition or All Things Considered.

Last school year, we received nearly 6,000 entries from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, with more than 25,000 students participating.

What happened to a circus elephant in the small East Tennessee town of Erwin a century ago, and what are the people there today doing about it?

And what do a group of middle school girls from the Bronx have to say about the stigma that surrounds talking about periods?

We asked teachers and students to put on their headphones and turn their ideas into sound for our first-ever NPR Student Podcast Challenge — and boy, did they. We got nearly 5,700 entries, from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Podcasts that explored climate change. Podcasts about gun control and mental health. About great books and mythology. Hedgehogs and history.

Teachers and their students at 1,580 schools participated: all told, roughly 25,000 students nationwide.

OK, class, listen up!

Here's your assignment for next semester: Take a topic, a lesson or a unit you're learning about, and turn it into a podcast.

Yup, we're launching the first-ever NPR Student Podcast Challenge. It's a chance for teachers and students in grades five through 12 across the country to turn your classrooms into production studios, your assignments into scripts and your ideas into sound.

Have something to say? Now is your chance.

Crayons, of course. Scented markers. Colored pencils, presharpened. And coloring books by the jillions.

Why do people like coloring so much? For grown-ups, I can totally get the nostalgia — and the simple pleasure of creating something.

But here at NPR Ed, we're all about kids and learning. And so, as parents head to the store this summer with their back-to-school lists, we thought this question was worth a serious look:

Paper ... or glass?

Advances in laptops and technology are pushing screens into schools like never before. So what does this drive toward digital classrooms mean for that oldest and simplest of touch screens: a plain old sheet of paper?

It may seem a wasteful and obsolete technology, ready to follow the slate chalkboard and the ditto machine into the Smithsonian, or a flat, white invitation to creativity, just waiting for some learning magic to happen.

It's a perennial debate in American education: Do kids learn best when they're sitting in rows at their desks? Or moving around, exploring on their own?

Back in the 1960s and '70s, that debate led to a brand new school design: Small classrooms were out. Wide-open spaces were in. The Open Education movement was born.

Across the U.S., schools were designed and built along these new ideas, with a new approach to the learning that would take place inside them.

We've written a lot about the link between college and the workforce — and the kinds of skills graduates will need in the 21st century to succeed. One of the skills you need is knowing how to present yourself. To put your best foot forward in the workplace, and in life.

So what's up with the crayons? Everywhere you go lately — the bookstore, Starbucks — even here at NPR — I see grown men and women sitting around coloring.

Every time, this takes me back to rainy childhood days on the living room floor: A robot. A mosaic of geometric houses. A flowery design pattern.

Clearly, I've stumbled upon the national craze for adult coloring books.

When we're reporting on special education, we inevitably run up against questions of how we should refer to students with disabilities and to the disabilities themselves.

It's a minefield, comparable to the tensions and complexity of writing about race and ethnicity.

It's important to get it right. As journalists, of course, we want to be accurate. And clear. And we want to avoid perpetuating stereotypes or giving offense.