When Joe B. first began covering education, he was told "When you understand school financing it's time to move to another beat." The first reason for this is that school financing is so complex that it takes much study to fully understand the complex mechanics involved in selling bonds, tax rates and appealing to the community for more support. It's certainly more of an intricate topic for an "Education Writer" than 'Fun local teachers inspiring fun students' types of stories readers really prefer. But it shows that a good education writer must go beyond the basics to fully immerse himself or herself in all the components that make up current education -- not just classroom magic but so much vital behind-the-scenes activities, from curriculum review to nutritional planning in the cafeterias.
Joe B. spent more than five years covering schools in the Northwest. His 'beat' included everything from innovative pre-K programs to active programs to get senior citizens to keep boosting their brains long after they've left the classroom. He's covered creative teachers and bright students at the K-12 and higher education levels, efforts to accommodate too many students trying to access too few facilities, and how private efforts can go hand-in-hand with public support. These days, parents have so many more choices when trying to find the best educational outlets for their children, from public schools to private schools to homeschooling to charter schools to Common Core. Every good teacher and every good parent want the best for their child, but the methods certainly vary. As a writer, Joe B. enjoyed telling every aspect of the schools story. He's able to understand the detailed jargon of the industry and get readers to learn a little more about the challenges and opportunities facing today's youth and tomorrow's future community members.