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Charter School Coverage In Last 10 Years Has Become More Negative

Media coverage of charter schools has become more negative in the past decade

by American Enterprise Institute
August 2, 2016

In a new study, AEI’s director of education policy studies Rick Hess, and researchers Jenn Hatfield, and Kelsey Hamilton find that press coverage of charter schools has dramatically changed from 2005 to 2015.

Despite the fact that public opinion of charter schools has become more positive in the last 10 years, media coverage has not followed suit and has become much more negative — with opinion pieces playing a big role.

Hess concludes that while the media plays an important role in relaying education news to families, media bias or balance must be taken into consideration regarding the coverage of charter schools. The report’s findings include:

In 2005, 73 percent of articles were neutral and 12 percent were negative, whereas by 2015, 53 percent were neutral, and 28 percent were negative.

Opinion pieces made up a much larger share of charter school coverage in 2015 than in 2005. In addition, the topic of race became much more prominent in charter school coverage over time, with the share of articles that mentioned race rising from 7 percent in 2005 to 16 percent in 2015.

Read the full report here: How Media Coverage of Charter Schools Changed in the Past Decade.


Related Resources:
Press Perception on Charter Schools: Is the Fourth Estate’s Coverage of Charter Schools Biased? (May 2016)



The Center for Education Reform is committed to educating the media and the public about what it takes to have excellence in education for all students. Thanks to these studies, charter school students, educators and advocates can clearly see that their role in advocating has never been more important.

Advocates must take responsibility to ensure the public’s understanding of all education opportunities, so that the policies created to foster educational excellence are not stifled by misinformation and bias. The need to improve media coverage calls for a New Opportunity Agenda in education — read this and get involved.