Eric Westervelt

After nearly a decade as an award-winning Foreign Correspondent with NPR's international desk, Eric Westervelt returned in September 2013 to domestic news with a new national beat covering American education as an Education Correspondent.

In this role, he covers the news, issues, and trends in classrooms across the country, from pre-K to higher education. He has a strong interest in the multiple ways in which technology is disrupting traditional pedagogy.

Westervelt recently returned from a 2013 John S Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University. The fellowship focused on journalistic innovation, leadership, entrepreneurship and the future of news.

Previously, he was a foreign correspondent based in the Middle East and then Europe. From 2009 to 2012 Westervelt was Berlin Bureau Chief and Correspondent coverage a broad range of news across Europe from the debt crisis to political challenges in Eastern Europe. In 2011 and 2012 his work included coverage of the revolutions in North Africa from the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt to the civil war and NATO intervention in Libya.

As a foreign correspondent, Westervelt has covered numerous wars and their repercussions across the Middle East for NPR as Jerusalem Bureau Chief and as Pentagon Correspondent. Prior to his current assignment, he spent several years living in the Middle East reporting on the war in Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Afghanistan and elsewhere. As Jerusalem Bureau Chief he covered the turmoil in the Gaza Strip, and the 2006 Second Lebanon war between the Israeli military and Hezbollah. He also reported in-depth on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict across Israel and the occupied West Bank.

During the US-led invasion of Iraq, Westervelt traveled with the lead element of the U.S. Third Infantry Division, which was the first army unit to reach Baghdad. He later helped cover the Iraqi insurgency, sectarian violence and the on-going struggle to rebuild the country in the post-Saddam Hussein era. Westervelt was one of the few western reporters on the ground in Gaza during the Fatah-Hamas civil war and he reported on multiple Israeli offensives in the coastal territory. Additionally, he has reported from the Horn of Africa, Yemen and the Persian Gulf countries.

Prior to his Middle East assignments, Westervelt covered military affairs and the Pentagon reporting on a wide range of defense, national security as well as foreign policy issues.

Before joining NPR's Foreign Desk nearly a decade ago, Westervelt covered some of the biggest domestic stories as a reporter on NPR's National Desk. His assignments spanned from the explosion of TWA flight 800 to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He also covered the mass shooting at Columbine High School, the presidential vote recount following the 2000 Presidential Election, among other major stories. He also covered national trends in law enforcement and crime fighting, including police tactics, use of force, the drug war, racial profiling and the legal and political battles over firearms in America.

The breadth and depth of his work has been honored with the highest awards in broadcast journalism. He contributed to NPR's 2002 George Foster Peabody Award for coverage of the 9/11 attacks and the aftermath; the 2003 Alfred I. duPont - Columbia University award also for 9/11 coverage and the war in Afghanistan; and a 2004 and a 2007 duPont-Columbia University Award for NPR's coverage of the war in Iraq and its effect on Iraqi society.

Westervelt's 2009 multi-media series with NPR photojournalist David Gilkey won the Overseas Press Club of America's Lowell Thomas Award Citation for Excellence.

In lighter news, Westervelt occasionally does features for NPR's Arts Desk. His profile of roots rock pioneer Roy Orbison was part of NPR's 50 Great Voices series. His feature on the making of John Coltrane's classic "A Love Supreme," was part of the NPR series on the most influential American musical works of the 20th century, which was recognized with a Peabody Award.

Before joining NPR, Westervelt worked as a freelance reporter in Oregon, a news director and reporter in New Hampshire and reported for Monitor Radio, the broadcast edition of the Christian Science Monitor.

Westervelt is a graduate of the Putney School and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Reed College.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ERIC WESTERVELT, HOST: Ever thought of getting rid of the $100 bill? What about the 500-euro note? The European Central Bank right now is talking about getting rid of the big note, which is a controversial move for some countries tied to the euro, especially Germany. Critics of the 500-euro note saying it's the currency of choice for organized crime groups looking to use cash for drug trafficking, corruption, money...

A group of 10- and 11-year-olds giggle as professional cellist Frederic Rosselet flexes his wrist as if he's made of rubber. " Really flexible in your wrist," he tells the students. "It's your arm basically that does the work." The cello students at Downer Elementary School in San Pablo, Calif., drag their bows across their cello's strings, following Rosselet's wrist-shaking lead. Screeeech. It needs work. "Guys, wanna try that again? 'Forte' means?" "Loud!" the students reply. "OK, let's...

Recent government sanctions against predatory for-profit colleges that preyed on veterans by using inflated job promises have opened the window on the wider challenges of helping veterans transition from service to higher education. This week, the Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit against DeVry University claiming the for-profit deceived students with claims that its graduates make more money and that 90 percent of its graduates seeking work found jobs in their field within six months...

In his State of the Union address this week, President Obama talked about the progress he's made on big issues, including education . And he laid out a new goal: expanding computer science in America's schools. "In the coming years," the president said, "we should build on that progress, by providing pre-K for all, offering every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one." But what, exactly, would offering every student hands-on computer...

In 2015, Khan Academy, which pioneered free, online video tutorials and lectures that have reached millions of students around the world, sought new ways of reaching new people. It had already partnered with everyone from NASA to the Museum of Modern Art, and this past year Khan joined forces with the SAT's overlord, the College Board. The goal, in the parlance of our times, is to disrupt the billion-dollar test prep industry. As we've reported , students anywhere now can get free SAT test...

Jordan Shapiro drew a lot of attention this year with his four misconceptions about the future of education . As with much of his work, he tries to take a cattle prod to the conventional education narrative. In an era of highly polarized ed debates, Shapiro doesn't fit neatly into any of the ideological "pro-anti" boxes polemicists like to construct. He teaches a wide range of courses in the Intellectual Heritage program and other departments at Temple University. He's the author of FREEPLAY:...

Even some of those seeking the nation's highest office have weighed in on college debt with payment plans and relief proposals. Voters and the media ask for details on the campaign trail. And that highlights a remarkable shift: Policymakers and politicians are paying attention to this issue like never before. And it's not as simple or cynical as trying to woo the important student vote. The fact is, the student loan burden in America is second only to mortgages in consumer debt. The...

Eric Westervelt of the NPR Ed team is guest-hosting for the next few weeks on Here & Now , the midday news program from NPR and WBUR. More than half of the professors in the United States are adjuncts. As largely part-time educators, they're excluded from most of the benefits and security granted to full-time faculty. Even though their numbers have dramatically increased in recent decades, that doesn't necessarily translate into power. Many struggle to attain any recognition at all for their...

For our Tools of the Trade series, we're exploring the iconic, seminal tools that some of us remember using in our early schooling. Things like the slide rule and protractor, the Bunsen burner and the planetarium. Today we explore the simple, powerful tool that is still alive and well in some early learning classrooms: the wooden block. You might call it the anti-app. Measurement. Balance. Math. Negotiation. Collaboration. And fun. The smooth maple pieces need no recharging, no downloading. ...

This week's viral videos of a Columbia, S.C., deputy's push-the-chair-over-and-drag-the-student arrest of a 16-year-old high school girl in her classroom has refocused attention on the expanding role of police in schools, "zero tolerance" discipline policies and the disproportionate punishment of minorities. The student in the case was African-American and the deputy, Ben Fields, is white. The Richland County sheriff, Leon Lott, fired Fields on Wednesday . Witnesses say the student was...

For the first time in 25 years, America's fourth- and eighth-graders are doing worse in math, at least according to The National Assessment of Educational Progress . NAEP, also known as the Nation's Report Card, tests students in both grades every two years on math and reading ability. This year, math scores reversed a long, upward trend with both grades testing lower than they did in 2013. In 22 states, eighth-grade math scores declined. Overall, 67 percent of eighth-graders are not...

Leaders in business, education and politics love to talk up how important Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education is for America's future. Innovations! Jobs! Progress! are all at stake, they often argue. Just last week, President Obama hosted scores of mostly young people for an evening of stargazing and fun space talk at the second-ever White House Astronomy Night . "Some of you might be on your way to Mars," the president told the crowd of future astronauts and scientists...

Our Ideas series is exploring innovation in education. It's 20-year-old Randall Lofton's third shot at college. He's already wiped out twice. Too much partying and basketball, he says, and not enough studying. "I didn't apply myself." Lofton is now trying to balance a full-time job with three classes at community college. He's taking a mix of online and in-class work at Valencia College in Orlando, Fla. "So this is pretty much my last chance," he says. "This is something that I want to do, so...

Our Ideas series is exploring innovation in education. Some version of this criticism has likely echoed since the rise of compulsory schooling during the Progressive era: Teachers tend to teach to the middle, leaving struggling students feeling lost and more advanced students bored. Everyone too often gets the same books, material, homework. The same level of difficulty. And underpaid, time-stressed teachers don't necessarily have the time to personalize every lesson or drill deep into what...

Parents who are uneasy about their own math skills often worry about how best to teach the subject to their kids. Well ... there's an app for that. Tons of them, in fact. And a study published today in the journal Science suggests that at least one of them works pretty well for elementary school children and math-anxious parents. A team from the University of Chicago used a demographically diverse group of first-graders and their parents — nearly 600 in all — across a wide swath of Chicago....

It has been decades since an education secretary had as high a national political profile as the long-serving Arne Duncan, who famously accompanied President Obama from Chicago and even more famously likes to shoot hoops with the president. Supporters note that Duncan has advocated passionately for narrowing the opportunity and achievement gaps in America's public schools, ending the "school to prison pipeline" and boosting pay for teachers who serve in high-poverty schools. He has spoken...

TO: America's colleges and universities FR: America's high school students RE: Please make the college admissions process less daunting and more collaborative, creative, engaging and in tune with the Digital Age. Oh, and while you're at it, try to level the admissions playing field between rich and poor. Funny you should ask, dear students. Those are exactly the goals of the new Coalition for Access Affordability, and Success . The group just announced a new free joint application website and...

America, by far, has the highest incarceration rate among developed nations. The rate of imprisonment in the U.S. has more than quadrupled in the last 40 years, fueled by "three strikes" and mandatory-minimum sentencing laws. Studies show that prisoners who get access to education behind bars are far less likely to return to prison, are are more likely to land a job once they're released. But few of America's crowded prisons have higher education programs that reach inmates face-to-face. One...

Ah, back-to-school season in America: That means it's time for the annoyingly aggressive marketing of clothes, and for the annual warnings of a national teacher shortage. But this year the cyclical problem is more real and less of a media creation. There are serious shortages of teachers in California , Oklahoma , Kentucky and places in between. A big factor: Far fewer college students are enrolling in teacher training programs , as we reported this spring, exacerbating a long-standing...

Silicon Valley is great at disrupting business norms — except when it comes to its own racial and gender diversity problem . In an open letter last week, the Rev. Jesse Jackson sounded the alarm yet again. He urged tech giants and startups to speed up the hiring of more African-Americans and Latinos — "to change the face of technology so that its leadership, workforce and business partnerships mirror the world in which we live." One nonprofit group, Black Girls CODE , isn't waiting around for...

Will Grover's promotion to HBO be good for kids? Elmo, Snuffy, Grover and Big Bird could soon hit the HBO after-parties alongside Tyrion Lannister and the ethically challenged cops from True Detective . Promising a win-win for kids and quality children's programming, HBO, the nonprofit Sesame Workshop and PBS have announced that new Sesame Street episodes will move to HBO and its streaming service HBO GO this fall. The five-year deal will allow Sesame Workshop to produce more episodes (up...

Braden Swenson wanders into a semi-rickety wooden shed on his search for gold, treasure and riches.

"Is there any treasure in here?" he asks in the endearing dialect of a 4-year-old. "I've been looking everywhere for them. I can't find any." The proto-pirate toddler conducts a quick search, then wanders away to continue his quest elsewhere. Not far away, Ethan Lipsie, age 9, clutches a framing hammer and a nine-penny nail. He's ready to hang his freshly painted sign on a wooden ...

The Obama administration Friday is taking a small step toward expanding adult prisoners' access to federal Pell grants . The money would help pay for college-level classes behind bars. Federal and state prisoners have been ineligible for the grants since Congress banned the practice two decades ago. But the Education and Justice Departments today will announce a limited pilot program that gets around the ban — at least on a temporary, experimental basis. The goal is to test the effectiveness...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sy_z_xpGEBY It's controlled after-school anarchy at the Christian-Carter household. Seven-year-old Chloe has rolled herself up in an exercise mat in the living room of the family's Oakland, Calif., home. "Look I'm a burrito," Chloe shouts. Her 4-year-old sister, Jackie, swoops in for a bite — and a hard push. "Ow!" Chloe shouts. "Mom! Jackie pushed me!" Just two sisters playing, occasionally sparring, as dad, James Christian, and mom, Mary Carter, watch nearby....

First rule of Brinton Elementary School run club: Keep those legs moving. Second rule of run club: Have fun. For 13-year-old Kaprice Faraci and her sister, Kassidy, inspiration to keep moving struck one after school afternoon in the third grade. Video games and TV bored the twins. They were outside when they spotted a small pack of children chugging down their street. "We saw some girls running around the school in the neighborhood and we were like, 'Hey, we wanna do that!' " Kaprice says....

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