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Schoolteachers in the News: A Historical Analysis of Coverage in The West Austral ...

Chapter 1:  Introduction
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Schoolteachers in the News:

Chapter 1


Over the past three decades, numerous educational researchers1 in various parts of the English-speaking world have noted a decline in the status of teachers. This has, according to some, led to a ‘crisis in professional confidence and authority for teachers’.2 The news media, with its influential agenda-setting function,3 has contributed to this perceived crisis.4 In particular, media coverage has led to greater scrutiny and criticism of the teaching profession than heretofore, with educators increasingly having to explain and justify their work.

In Australia, teachers have reported perceiving news media coverage as being important in shaping public opinion and education policy, as well as in affecting their relationships with families, friends, and the community.5 They have also expressed frustration at what they have perceived as a negative focus in coverage.6 Recognising the influence of media coverage on education and teachers, the (Australian) Schools Council undertook an analysis of eighty-four articles about education which had been published in newspapers and concluded as follows:

The overall impression to be gained from the print media analysed for this project is that education in Australia is in a state of crisis…There