As I said the other day, we tried to be much more inclusive this year in terms of the universe of Twitter “handles” included in our analysis, asking the edu-sphere to nominate people and organizations to examine. In the end we looked at almost 500 Twitter feeds. (The whole list is here.) But as we did with our list of top people, we wanted to limit our finalist organizations and media outlets to those that tweet primarily about K-12 education policy, and not education technology, higher education, parenting, or other related topics. More on that below.
So now, here are the top education policy organizations and media outlets on social media, as measured by Klout scores (which looks at Twitter, Facebook, and several other platforms):
Top K-12 education policy organizations and media outlets on social media, by Klout score, 2015
|2015 Rank||Organization/ Media Outlet||Handle||Klout Score||Twitter Followers||2014 Rank|
|1||Teach for America||@teachforamerica||87||129,000||1|
|4||U.S. Department of Education||@usedgov||74||568,000||4|
|6||Harvard Graduate School of Education||@HGSE||72||88,400||6|
|8||Huffington Post Education||@HuffPostEdu||70||267,000||5|
|9||U.S. News Education||@USNewsEducation||69||181,000|
|10||Badass Teachers Association||@BadassTeachersA||68||22,100||8|
|13||The Hechinger Report||@hechingerreport||67||25,100||19|
|16||National Alliance for Public Charter Schools||@charteralliance||65||16,700|
|18||NPR’s Education Team||@npr_ed||64||21,700|
|19||Foundation for Excellence in Education||@ExcelinEd||63||13,300|
|21||The Education Trust||@EdTrust||62||61,300||16|
|21||Thomas B. Fordham Institute||@educationgadfly||62||34,700||13|
What’s obvious about this list is that the organizations at the top are remarkably stable. But let’s give credit to several newcomers who place high in the rankings, especially U.S. News Education (debuting in ninth place) and Education Post (at number ten).
As with my list of top education policy people, I must mention a handful of “honorable mentions”—organizations or media outlets with high Klout scores who tweet about education—but not primarily about k-12 education policy. They include Edutopia (focused mainly on teaching, not policy); Inside Higher Ed (obviously aimed at postsecondary education); Getting Smart (dominated by education technology topics); and the Children’s Defense Fund and America’s Promise (both of which tweet about broader children’s issues, and not just education).
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Now let’s run the numbers based on the number of Twitter followers.
Top K-12 education policy organizations and media outlets by Twitter followers, 2015
|2015 Rank||Name||Twitter Handle||Klout Score||Followers|
|1||U.S. Department of Education||@usedgov||74||568,000|
|3||Huffington Post Education||@HuffPostEdu||70||267,000|
|4||U.S. News Education||@USNewsEducation||69||181,000|
|8||Teach for America||@teachforamerica||87||129,000|
|11||Harvard Graduate School of Education||@HGSE||72||88,400|
|12||The Education Trust||@EdTrust||62||61,300|
|14||EdPolicyCenter@AIR||@EdPolicyAIR||No Klout Score||53,300|
|15||Washington Post Education||@PostSchools||No Klout Score||37,200|
|17||Thomas B Fordham Institute||@educationgadfly||62||34,700|
|18||LA Times Education||@LATeducation||60||34,600|
|19||Center for Education Reform||@edreform||55||32,900|
|21||The Hechinger Report||@hechingerreport||67||25,100|
|25||EWA||@EdWriters||No Klout Score||23,200|
|26||NASSP||@NASSP||No Klout Score||22,800|
Looking at Twitter followers versus Klout scores doesn’t make a ton of difference for the top organizations and media entities. That makes sense, as organizational Twitter accounts struggle to do much “engaging,” and thus their Klout scores are largely driven by the size of their audiences.
But looking at followers does allow a few additional groups to make the list: Reform powerhouse StudentsFirst, the Washington Post’s and the Los Angeles Times’s education feeds*, and AIR’s education policy center, among others.
Let’s give credit to the “honorable mentions” here too: Edutopia again; the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which covers education but also broader children’s issues; and the Hewlett Foundation, which tweets about a wide range of topics, reflecting its grantmaking.
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So what do both sets of lists released this week say about the current education policy debate? Mostly it’s remarkably stable, with a handful of players continuing to dominate, but with room for determined upstarts to break into the discussion as well. It also looks to my eye as well balanced between the “pro-reform” and “anti-reform” camps. On the list of top organizations sorted by Klout, for instance, about half of the finalists are truly neutral parties (media outlets mostly); about a quarter are reform-oriented (including Teach For America, Gates Education, and The Education Trust); and about a quarter are reform opponents (such as the NEA, AFT, and the Badass Teachers Association).
What patterns do you notice? And do you have suggestions for improving our process for 2016? Let us know in the comments section below. Otherwise, see you on social media.
* I originally missed LA Times Education. Thanks to Alexander Russo for pointing out the oversight.