K12: Teacher Quality and Teachers Unions

Public Perceptions Research

Understanding Teachers’ Collective Role in Reform: Mapping the Gaps Between the Expert and the Public Understandings of Teachers’ Unions as Part of Strategic Frame Analysis™(2010) This report examines how experts and the general public understand the topics of teachers, teachers’ unions, and unions more generally. FrameWorks compares these expert and public understandings in order to “map the gaps” that exist between these groups. These “gaps” represent specific areas where reframed communications can bridge expert and lay understandings to improve and encourage new ways of thinking about education reform efforts.

Getting on the Right Side of Change: How Peer Discourse Sessions See the Role of Teachers’ Unions in Education Reform (2010) This report details the research findings from a series of Peer Discourse Sessions conducted by the FrameWorks Institute with groups of civically engaged U.S. citizens on the role of teachers’ unions in education reform. This report offers an interesting contrast to the individual interviews, revealing how people in group situations discuss their views on the role of teachers’ unions.

Media Content Analyses

Painted in a Corner: How the Media Frame Teachers’ Unions and Education Reform (2011) This report examines the media presentation of teachers’ unions and education reform by identifying and documenting the way existing frames about teachers’ unions are embedded and presented to the public in the context of media stories about education reform. More than 500 print and broadcast stories are coded and analyzed for their impact on public thinking.

Reframing Research

Building Support for Teachers’ Unions: The Role of Values Framing (2011) This study uses an experimental survey design with a large, national panel of respondents to identify a value—Pragmatism—that effectively inoculates against negative messages concerning teachers’ unions and creates a space for a constructive conversation about education reform that promotes positive views toward teachers’ unions.

Teachers on the Rise: Increasing Support for Teachers' Unions Through a Simplifying Model (2011) This report describes research that is focused specifically on enhancing: (1) Americans’ shallow thinking about what teachers need in order to be effective and (2) Americans’ view of the role of teachers' unions as plausible supports for teachers and the overall education reform effort. FrameWorks designed and tested a simplifying model or metaphor called Scaffolding, which was found to be effective in creating, extending and expanding the public’s understanding of the supports needed for teachers. This metaphor was also successful in opening up opportunities for productive discussions on the positive role teachers' unions can play in education reform.

Get in Where You Fit in: The Role of Teachers' Unions in Public Conversations About Education Reform This new MessageMemo summarizes the findings from FrameWorks’ research and provides front-line communicators with a communications map for improving the public’s understanding of the linked topics of teachers and teachers’ unions in education reform, and for shifting support for education policy alternatives. Also included are embedded video recordings of FrameWorks’ Senior Fellow elaborating on the research findings. An interactive version of the MessageMemo is available. (requires Flash plug-in)

Video Presentations of Research

Trigger Video: Thinking About Teachers and Their Unions This short flash presentation provides a quick overview of the research methods and its findings, drawing from on-the-street interviews and interactive group discussion to demonstrate the challenges communicators face, and the power of the reframing tools.

Communications Toolkits

Talking About Teachers and Teachers Unions
A compendium of research – and examples of how to apply it to communications - when working to increase public support for policies and programs that support teacher quality initiatives.