Home Articles Reader Opinion Editorial Book Reviews Discussion Writers Guide About TCRecord
transparent 13

Policy Images of Teachers: How Influential Actors Construct Images of Teachers

by Katrina E. Bulkley & Jessica Gottlieb - 2017

Background/Context: Prior research demonstrates that the policy images of critical target populations, which reflect the ways in which they are socially constructed in the political sphere, have important implications for policy prescriptions and design (Cochran-Smith & Fries, 2001; Jansen, 2001; Schneider & Ingram, 1993). In examining the policy images of teachers that have emerged in the 10 years since the passage of No Child Left Behind, we build on Cochran-Smith and Lytle’s (2006) work on the policy images of teachers and teaching explicit or implicit in NCLB.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: Our goal in this paper is to use the idea of policy images to aid efforts to tease out the subtle distinctions in how people talk and write about specific constructions of teachers and the links between those distinctions and large-scale policy designs.

Population/Participants/Subjects: We conducted a survey of experts on national educational politics and policy with the intention of eliciting names of influential individuals and organizations. We then gathered qualitative data through interviews and documents for the 23 organizations and individuals identified by the survey as perceived as influential in educational policy discussions.

Research Design: Qualitative study.

Findings/Results: Our analysis showed that the various policy images presented by our respondents and organizations could be broadly classified into three archetypal policy images: “Profession of Teaching Struggling Against Difficult Circumstances” (Teachers as Professionals); “Individual Great Teachers can Overcome All Obstacles” (Great Teachers); and “Dysfunctional Structures of Teaching Trump Teacher Quality” (Systemic Dysfunction). Our analysis demonstrates the presence of three notable patterns around teacher policy images, but also the subtleties both within and across these archetypal images.

Conclusions/Recommendations: Taken together, the three archetypes identified in our analysis enable us to better understand the common ground and differences between the images presented by influential actors, as well as the accompanying policy prescriptions and problem definitions. Our work also provides a model for better understanding the role of policy images in the policy landscape and issues of policy design.

To view the full-text for this article you must be signed-in with the appropriate membership. Please review your options below:

Store a cookie on my computer that will allow me to skip this sign-in in the future.
Send me my password -- I can't remember it
Purchase this Article
Purchase Policy Images of Teachers: How Influential Actors Construct Images of Teachers
Individual-Resource passes allow you to purchase access to resources one resource at a time. There are no recurring fees.
Become a Member
Online Access
With this membership you receive online access to all of TCRecord's content. The introductory rate of $25 is available for a limited time.
Print and Online Access
With this membership you receive the print journal and free online access to all of TCRecord's content.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 119 Number 4, 2017, p. 1-34
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 21674, Date Accessed: 7/12/2020 12:21:07 AM

Purchase Reprint Rights for this article or review
Article Tools

Related Media

Related Articles

Related Discussion
Post a Comment | Read All

About the Author
  • Katrina Bulkley
    Montclair State University
    E-mail Author
    KATRINA BULKLEY is Professor of Educational Leadership at Montclair State University. Her research examines the intersection of policy and leadership in educational reform efforts to increase market-linked ideas in education and enhance accountability and data-driven change. She studies issues around the increasing use of new governance structures and nonpublic actors to improve public education (with a particular focus on urban education). She is the coeditor of Between Public and Private: Politics, Governance, and the New Portfolio Models for Urban School Reform (Harvard Education Press) and “Benchmarks for Success? Interim Assessments as a Strategy for Educational Improvement” (Peabody Journal of Education).
  • Jessica Gottlieb
    Notre Dame Center for STEM Education
    E-mail Author
    JESSICA GOTTLIEB is a postdoctoral scholar at the Center for STEM Education at the University of Notre Dame. Her research explores the intersection of policy and practice for equitable STEM educational opportunities. Her recent work in student STEM persistence seeks to identify the factors that predict student intentions to enter STEM occupations occupations that do not require a bachelor’s degree. Her recent research on teacher workforce policy focuses on exploring the role of longitudinal professional development in developing STEM teacher-leaders.
Member Center
In Print
This Month's Issue