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There are several different types of jobs that may be titled “education writer” positions. In any capacity, an education writer is a professional writer who chooses to focus his or her career around the educational field. An education writer may be a person who writes articles, textbooks, reading guides, and curriculum for students and teachers, or may be a journalist who covers educational topics.
Some education writers prepare material specifically for students. This takes a great deal of knowledge and skill, as the writer must be able to adapt complicated material into a form and simplicity that meshes with the skills of a specific age group. For instance, a person writing about the United States Civil War might choose to break down the topic quite differently for middle-school students as opposed to college history majors. Being able to write in a manner that is informative and at the correct comprehension level, and yet also keep the topic interesting and engaging, is a challenge for many education writers.
Another task an education writer may have is to prepare material for teachers. Although many teachers enjoy creating their own curriculum and lesson plans, some simply do not have the time to create study guides, research material, and summaries for every text or subject assigned. Education writers can provide a variety of study materials for any subject, including lectures, visual aids, historical information, and resource listings. In this capacity, an education writer needs to have comprehensive understanding of the subject, and must have a general idea of course aims and testing practices in order to prepare teaching material that will give the right amount of information for the subject.
Some education writers may work with school boards or even regional departments of education to create teaching guidelines and explanations of expected requirements for school districts and systems. Generally, state or regional school requirements are set through an ongoing collaboration between teachers, unions, and educational specialists. In order to ensure that rules and regulations are clearly explained and delineated, an education writer or writing team may be called in to create system-wide material for all schools and teachers.
Educational journalists and freelance education writers build their careers through studying educational systems and providing reports, results, and critiques. Educational journalists tend to report on issues in the education system that may be important for the general public to know. Ballot initiatives that change schooling practices, controversial civil rights issues such as random drug testing and dress codes, and even religious issues in public schooling may be subjects that interest an educational journalist. A freelance education columnist or writer may choose to write editorials and articles about possible solutions to problems within school systems, and may write for news organizations or scholarly journals.