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Social Media Utilization in Discourse Coalitions: The Opt-Out Movement in Ohio

by Michael P. Evans, Andrew Saultz & Sue Winton - 2021

Background: While journalists claim social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have been central to the growth of the opt-out movement, there is a lack of empirical research that examines its use by participants. We address this gap by highlighting findings related to the usage of social media by opt-out participants in Ohio.

Purpose: This study examines how the ideologically diverse participants in the Ohio opt-out movement utilized social media to support their activism.

Subjects: 183 Ohioans who opted their child(ren) out during the 2014–15 academic year completed a survey about their reasons for opting out. Fifteen of the survey respondents were also interviewed.

Research Design: This mixed methods study uses both survey data and qualitative interviews as sources of evidence.

Results: The findings show participants utilized social media for networking, knowledge acquisition, knowledge mobilization, and support. Social media was a valuable tool for coordinating the efforts of participants.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates how social media supported the development of a discourse coalition by enabling connections among actors with diverse political and philosophical beliefs and extending valuable networking opportunities across district and state lines.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 123 Number 5, 2021, p. 1-26
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 23678, Date Accessed: 7/28/2021 10:17:05 PM

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About the Author
  • Michael P. Evans
    Miami University (Ohio)
    E-mail Author
    MICHAEL P. EVANS, Ph.D., is an associate professor of family, school, and community connections at Miami University (Ohio). Dr. Evans’s research is focused on grassroots approaches to family and community engagement.
  • Andrew Saultz
    Pacific University
    E-mail Author
    ANDREW SAULTZ, Ph.D., is an associate professor of educational policy and director of the education and leadership PhD Program at Pacific University. Dr. Saultz studies the politics of education, the intersection of education, health, and economic policy, and school segregation.
  • Sue Winton
    York University
    E-mail Author
    SUE WINTON, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the faculty of education at York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Winton’s research examines policy influences and practices and their implications for critical democracy.
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