Imaging the Frame: Media Representations of Teachers, Their Unions, NCLB, and Education Reform

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This article examines the political discourse surrounding NCLB, educational reform, and how that discourse shaped perceptions of public education during the Bush Administration. Examining mass media campaigns in the New York Times and Time Magazine, the article demonstrates how the media has visually and textually framed and reinforced NCLB and market reforms as the only solution to address the failures of public education by attacking teachers' unions and individual teachers. Visual and textual data were collected, cataloged, and analyzed employing frame analysis in concert with critical discourse and visual analysis.Analysis revealed that media framing presented an overwhelmingly negative image of teachers' unions as opposed to NCLB and other school reform efforts. Even in the rare instances where unions were presented positively, the debate resonated with general public perception so that even when individuals or the general public are critical of NLCB and educational reform efforts, they support overall premises about "saving" public education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-576
Number of pages34
JournalEducational Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • No Child Left Behind Act
  • mass media
  • politics of education
  • school reform


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