Steve Drummond

Steve Drummond heads up NPR's new education reporting project. NPR Ed launched in March 2014, providing deeper coverage of this vital issue and extending it to audiences across digital platforms. It's a nine-member team within the network, working in partnership with member stations around the country.

Drummond brings to this initiative more than 20 years' experience covering education issues, and more than a decade 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 1990's, 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 and Producer Amy Walters on an investigation into sexual assault of Native American women earned a 2009 duPont Award. The next year, 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 Teacher magazine.

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.

It's been a theory of mine that the assistant principal has the toughest job in education.

I got that idea a long time ago, when I was a student teacher at a middle school.

It seemed the assistant principal's job goes something like this:

I started off wondering whether I might be able to spell a few of the words right. I ended up realizing that most of them I had never even heard of before.

Iridocyclitis. Cibarial. Pyrrhuloxia. And so on.

It was one of the many surprises of an evening spent watching the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday night near Washington.

Another big surprise was how much I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I had expected to see a bunch of highly trained kids who've spent months and years memorizing the dictionary, essentially regurgitating that information.

If you're a 12th-grader right now in the Los Angeles schools, that means you probably started kindergarten back in 2001. It also means that, as of this week, you've seen four superintendents come and go.

As we discussed today on Morning Edition, the ouster of John Deasy last week as the head of the nation's second-largest district has renewed a long-running debate about leadership of big-city schools, and particularly the challenges of raising achievement in such a politically charged environment.

It's a frequent complaint in education journalism: Reporters should spend less time at school board meetings and get into a classroom to find out what's really going on.

For reporters, though, that's a challenge and a risk, because lots of good journalists don't know what to look for in a busy classroom. How do you know if what you're seeing is "good" or not? After all, reporters aren't professional educators. And they're often under deadline.

For history nerds, it's fascinating to see the word "Crimea" back in the news. The last time this peninsula on the Black Sea dominated world headlines was nearly 160 years ago. (Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin met there at the town of Yalta in 1945, but that wasn't really about the region.)