The 2018 Teachers’ Strikes and the Social Construction of Teachers

Jeanne M. Powers, Wooyeong Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 2018, thousands of teachers in West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Arizona walked off the job to protest low salaries and increase school funding. These strikes were significant because they were statewide and took place in “right to work” states. We analyze news media articles published in these states about the teachers’ strikes for insights into how local news media coverage might reflect and shape public opinion about teachers and teachers’ work. Using the social construction of target populations as a framework for the analysis, we analyze news media articles within and across the three states. We conclude that the news media coverage of the strikes in the three states diverged from national newspaper coverage in ways that may have increased the general public’s support for teachers and the teaching profession in these states during this period. Our analysis provides insights into possible counternarratives that can interrupt neoliberal narratives about teachers and teaching.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)522-540
Number of pages19
JournalEducational Studies - AESA
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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