Sept. 15, 2022


Are college rankings
all they’re cracked up to be?

This may not be the case

With college application season in full swing, what role do school reporting methodologies play in these rankings? A professor at Columbia University, who examined the school’s rapid ascension from number 18 in 1998 to second in 2021, alleged inaccuracies in some of the information Columbia reported.

(According to CNN, Columbia has since stated it will not submit data for the 2022 rankings and will restructure how it reports data.) 

What you can do —

College applications: How much stock do seniors take in the college rankings? How do these rankings influence their college or university choice?

For high schools: How do these reporting methodologies work for high schools who report on class sizes, discipline, etc.? How does your school report these? How has the data on your school fluctuated from pre-pandemic to now? This type of coverage could be presented in interactive infographics on the web and in print. What degrees do your teachers have? Have class sizes increased or decreased? What about rates of suspensions and expulsions?

Another idea: Compare what the average senior spends in college visits. With some colleges and universities offering online tours, do students plan to examine a college remotely or in person? How does this affect their decision and what is the role financial considerations play?

Privacy & laptops

When schools track online traffic,
what happens to the info?

The monitoring of student data is nothing new. While schools claim the goal is for student safety, a new report released by the Center for Democracy and Technology has found an increase in tracking software. the report says 89 percent of American public school teachers say their school uses software to keep track of students online.”

The report notes the monitoring is particularly problematic for those who are at more risk than their peers and teachers aren’t trained in how to respond to flagged content.

What you can do —

Examine the online tools your school uses. Research what types of reports are generated and ask how these reports are used by staff and administration. 

Additionally, the report cited out-of-school monitoring also being an issue. Does administration or staff monitor student social media use outside of school hours? If so, why and how? How is the information used? How have students been held accountable based on this monitoring?

Yes, the queen

While many become caught up in the pageantry,
some express criticism of British colonialism

While many publicly mourn the passing of Queen Elizabeth, her death is also highlighting Britain’s involvement in Colonialism for some. While Nigeria’s President paid homage to the Queen, others from the opposition party note her death serves as a reminder of a tragic time in the country’s history.

> See how NBC discusses this issue.

What you can do —

In addition to reactionary pieces of those celebrating her life and the pageantry, others may have a different perspective as noted in some coverage and on social media. This reactionary piece serves as a powerful reminder to remember how robust coverage can provide different narratives and of the need for journalists to gather perspectives from multiple angles, from multiple people and from multiple experiences.


New ordering options

No need for the paper — unless you really want to use it

We have launched our new online store. For those wanting to ditch the paper version, you just need to select the form based on how you would like to pay. We have one version for credit card and another version for purchase order/check. (We’ve added buttons for ease of finding these.) As usual, credit card payments are charged $4.49 per order for processing. 

> See the process here.

Student Advisory Board applications due Sept. 30

Do you want to serve your fellow student journalists and Quill and Scroll members? Join the Q&S Student Advisory Board for 2022-23. Applications close Sept. 30. 

SAB members will work on projects including establishing a regular communications channel for editors and other student journalists to discuss problems, successes, and coverage; and working on seminars that can aid Quill and Scroll chapters.

It’s always membership season

Don’t forget you can nominate members year round

Do you have a senior who just met the GPA requirement or a student who now wants to join Quill and Scroll? Want to avoid the spring rush? Nominate students for membership order pins, cords and other Quill and Scroll materials and memorabilia. 

> Start the process here.

Submit your YEC entries today

Entries accepted until Oct. 10.

The 2022 Yearbook Excellence Contest is open for entries. The cost for each entry in all 30 categories is $7, and schools will be divided by size — Class A for 1,000 or more students, and Class B for 999 or fewer students.

Entry deadline is Oct. 10, and here is a link to complete descriptions of those 30 categories.

Just a thought

While we celebrate Constitution Day, it is a great time to start a discussion with your students concerning the importance of the First Amendment. 

It’s a great time to discuss your state law status and ask the students what they might do if someone were to try to censor their work. 

A few years ago, I learned that after having this discussion with one of my editors-in-chief from the early 2000s, she not only crafted a plan afterward, but she also passed this plan off to the next editor-in-chief. The plan outlined what to do if an administrator were to try to censor material and what limitations I would have in helping them. They even had the number of another adviser and organization to call if they had an issue. (After all, it is the students’ fight, and they knew I had to let them fight it.) Last I knew, the editor-in-chief still passed this blueprint on to the next editor. 

Thankfully, my students never needed the step-by-step process. However, not all students are this lucky. For this Constitution Day celebration, it might be a good idea to let students know what might happen — and what their steps could be — if an attempt at censorship were made. If you need help with this, please reach out to these groups—

Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression
Student Press Law Center and
Journalism Education Association’s Scholastic Press Rights Committee

Thank you,
Lori Keekley