Evaluation dominated national newspapers’ coverage of K-12 education in 2010, 2011, and 2014. But by 2016, national newspapers’ coverage of teaching, learning, and teacher training outpaced their coverage of evaluation. Portrayals of teachers in particular being evaluated also began declining around that time. National newspapers also began to mention and quote teachers somewhat more often in 2015. These shifts coincide with national events, including the winding down of the Race to the Top initiative and the signing of the Every Student Succeeds Act.
From 2009 to 2020, local newspapers fluctuated less than national newspapers in the topics they covered and how often they quoted and mentioned teachers. For example, local newspapers’ coverage of teaching, learning, and teacher training outpaced their coverage of evaluation in every year except 2014.
How did newspapers’ coverage of evaluation change?
Percent of news articles about K-12 education in the U.S. about the evaluation of students, teachers, or schools; teaching, learning, and teacher training; and teacher hiring, pay, and labor actions, 2009 to 2020. Topics are mutually exclusive.
How did teachers’ presence in articles about K-12 education change?
Percent of news articles about K-12 education in the U.S. that mention the word “teacher” or any current, former, or retired teacher by name in two or more paragraphs and percent directly quoting any current, former, or retired teacher, 2009 to 2020.
Teachers and Journalists Respond
Hear how other teachers and journalists respond to these findings.
Events in K-12 Education, 2009 to 2020
Barack Obama is inaugurated as president of the United States. He appoints Arne Duncan as U.S. Secretary of Education. Upon his appointment, Duncan says that he intends to reward schools and districts that demonstrate success at raising student achievement.
President Obama signs the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It includes the Race to the Top initiative, designed to award federal funds to states that improve student achievement, prompting states to develop plans to institute performance-based evaluations for teachers.
The National Governors’ Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers launch the Common Core State Standards Initiative to create standards in English language arts and mathematics.
The Los Angeles Times publishes the names and “value added” ratings of Los Angeles Unified School District teachers and schools, sparking controversy.
The documentary Waiting for Superman is both praised and criticized for its portrayals of charter schools, traditional public schools, and teachers’ unions.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker introduces a budget that includes substantial cuts to school funding, prompting teacher protests.
The Obama administration announces plans to give states flexibility in implementing the No Child Left Behind Act, provided that they implement teacher evaluations that incorporate student outcomes.
Chicago teachers strike for the first time in 25 years. Among the issues in dispute are standardized testing and teacher assessments.
Nine public school students sue the State of California in Vergara v. California, claiming that teacher tenure and other job protections are harmful to students.
Adam Lanza shoots and kills 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
The Chicago Board of Education votes to close 50 schools. Detroit, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and other cities also close large numbers of public schools. Opponents say the closures disproportionately affect low-income students and students of color.
A TIME Magazine cover refers to teachers as rotten apples who are difficult to fire. Several teachers’ unions demand an apology.
President Obama signs the Every Student Succeeds Act, which modifies federal standardized testing requirements and reduces punitive measures for states that perform poorly.
U.S. News & World Report reports that 1 in 5 students in New York state has opted out of standardized testing.
Donald Trump is inaugurated as president of the United States. He nominates Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education. She is confirmed in February 2017 after Vice President Mike Pence breaks a tie vote in the Senate.
President Trump signs a resolution designed to repeal accountability rules that were included in the Every Student Succeeds Act.
President Trump signs a tax bill that limits the deductions teachers can take for school supplies and that expands the use of 529 savings plans for private school tuition.
A TIME Magazine cover story highlights teachers’ financial struggles, including a teacher who sells blood to make ends meet.
Nicolas Cruz kills 14 students and three adults at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Teachers in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina and other locations participate in strikes and labor actions.
The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Janus v. AFSCME that public sector workers who choose not to join unions cannot be charged union membership dues.
Teachers in Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, Oakland, and other locations participate in strikes and labor actions, including teachers at several charter school networks.
Joe Biden is inaugurated as president of the United States. He appoints Miguel Cardona as U.S. Secretary of Education.
#Evaluation dominated national newspapers’ coverage of #K12 #education in 2010, 2011, and 2014 but began declining in 2015, according to @publicagenda research.