Meet Crosscut’s new education reporter, Venice Buhain

She joins our newsroom with an aim to bring an equity lens to the beat, unpacking the promises of a U.S. education.

Three images showing a vaccination, reporter Venice Buhain and a person walking in a graduation gown

“What would success look like for you?” This is my favorite question to ask whenever I talk with students, teachers, parents and anyone involved in our state’s education system.

When the opportunity to cover education at Crosscut came up, I jumped at the chance. This topic touches the lives of everyone, and its importance has been highlighted in the throes of a global pandemic, national calls for racial justice and the ongoing pursuit of equity and fairness in schools.

After several years of editing, I’m returning to a familiar place. I have been a journalist in Washington state for 22 years, and I covered schools for nearly half that time. More than just a place for individual students to learn things, schools are at the center of what our society hopes the future looks like, revealed in today’s priorities and debates.

That’s why Crosscut aims to cover education with an equity lens: unpacking the big promise of U.S. education, which is supposed to offer students and families the opportunities to reach whatever they define as success.

But for too many students and families in Washington, that promise evades them, dashed by systemic racism and bias, bureaucracy, politics, money and the pressures of everyday life. That means getting an education isn't just studying math, reading and social studies, but learning how to navigate these systems.

If we focus on just the debates over education standards and practices, this beat would be defined by the struggle between polar opposites: fair vs. equitable, merit vs. circumstance, privileged vs. struggling, success vs. failure.

But alongside this friction are also many wins, where innovation and great teachers can set the stage for a more equitable experience, spark a student’s love of learning and inspire people’s better natures. That’s also part of the story of education.

While the bureaucracy and the mechanics are part of covering schools, education happens at the individual level: students growing, learning and turning into the people who will run the world we live in. Those are the stories we want to share.

Most of all, I want to hear from you — the parents, students and families who are navigating these issues every day. If you think we're missing something, let me know by emailing me at With your help we can create the coverage you find most valuable. My first question: What would success look like for you?

This story was first published in Crosscut's Weekly newsletter. Want to hear more from reporters like Venice Buhain? Sign up for the newsletter, below.

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