School reform is a hot topic across the country, including at the federal level, and a lot of policy analysis is being generated that can help anchor news stories with significant context. Reporters, of course, should make every effort to accurately describe any organization cited in or otherwise tapped for their coverage—such as any particular focus or political lean. A recent Michigan Radio piece on poorly-performing charter schools featured analysis by a The Education Trust—Midwest, which Michigan Radio described as “a statewide nonpartisan policy, research, and advocacy organization.”

Other resources that reporters might explore include the Center for Education Policy Analysis at Stanford University (“an independent research center”); the nonpartisan Education Policy Center at Michigan State University, and the independent Center for Education Policy, which advocates for public schools. Education reporters would also do well to turn to smart policy analysts like Dana Goldstein, a left-leaning writer and fellow with the nonpartisan and nonprofit New America Foundation, to connect the news in Michigan with trends that are unfolding across the country.

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Anna Clark is CJR's correspondent for Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. A 2011 Fulbright fellow, Clark has written for The Guardian, Grantland, and Salon; blogs at Isak; and can be found on Twitter @annaleighclark. She lives in Detroit.