"Unlikely Triumph"? A Critical Discourse Analysis of Press Coverage of Teach for America
Ardinger, Eric K. Nicholas
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Teach For America (TFA) has been in most respects a uniquely successful education innovation over the past twenty years. This study looks at over 600 examples from print media reporting on TFA to see how its premises have found support, analysis, or criticism over a twenty-year period. The study uses a form of critical discourse content analysis to investigate how the rhetoric of education reporting about TFA maps realms of consensus, debate, and aberrance, thereby lending credence or criticism to TFA’s premises. The analysis shows how TFA gained implementation nationwide not on the empirical evidence of its effectiveness, but on the persuasiveness of its framing of the problem and proposed solution. Such a study is important because it provides insight into how one particular reform gained traction in the policy world as a result of its rhetoric; we can use such understanding to improve public communication about education policy and thereby create more effective policy.
critical discourse analysis
Teach for America