School Reform As Conflict or Complement (Media Coverage)

"Framing" Charter School Stories (Hechinger Institute via EWonk) raises important issues about how the media cover school reform efforts, and the issues aren't just relevant to charter schools.

In essence, the essay suggests that most coverage presents charter schools in a competitive or a complementary frame, depending on whether the story is a policy-driven story or a narrower local school story. The same could be said of many other aspects of education coverage.

However, journalists need to be aware of and present both elements of the charter school movement, according to the article, especially as positions on charter schools are evolving and the charter school movement is increasingly serving as a proxy for the voucher and privatization debate that it once bridged:

"Most journalists trying to accurately describe this movement have yet to recognize and describe these dual aspects of the charter schools movement. Using only a single frame, and describing charter schools in language only in terms of conflict and competition or, conversely, only about small public schools serving children with unique needs, fails to describe what is really going on."

Kudos to Hechinger and to Alex Medlar for a thought-provoking piece.


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