The first thing that needs to be done with any beat is familiarizing yourself with both the hefty details and small nuances of the subject.
Because my mom is an educator, I have been exposed to many of the issues concerning education at both a local and national level. Common Core, for example, is something that I already have a decent understanding of. I have heard the opinions of my mom and her fellow educators on the issue (most of whom despise the program), but I would like to do more research to see if its results actually do substantiate the program, as well as hear the perspective of lawmakers.
My experience may be a little different from the other members of the education beat because I went to private school. This may have an influence on how I view major issues such as teacher pay or school districting. This perspective may also allow me view these issues as more of a third party (except the ones that my mom weighs in on frequently).
It is important for me to acquaint myself with both the politics of education as well as the real human effects of it. The former can be accomplished through extensive research, while the latter can be done only by going out and witnessing it firsthand.
Specifically, I would like to learn what efforts are being done by the Clarke County School Board to address the disparity in quality educations between the rich and the poor (of which there are too many) in Athens. I can likely discover these policies and plans by contacting members of the board or teachers at local schools. I would also like to learn what factors create a classroom that is conducive to a successful education (i.e. what works and what does not in the classroom setting). For this, the best people to reach out to would be teachers, parents, and even students.