As I foreshadowed last week, it’s time for my annual list of top Twitter handles in education policy. (Last year’s is here.) Today we’ll look at the rankings for top people; later this week we’ll release the results for top organizations and media outlets.
We tried to be much more inclusive this year in terms of the universe of folks included in our analysis, asking the edu-sphere to nominate people and organizations to examine. You came through in a big way; in the end we looked at almost 500 Twitter handles. (The whole list is here.) However, a couple of the same caveats remain from previous years: We wanted to limit the finalists to those who tweet primarily about K-12 education policy, and not education technology, higher education, parenting, or other related topics. And sometimes that meant making tough judgement calls. (More on that below.)
So without further ado, here are the top education policy people on social media, as measured by Klout scores (which looks at Twitter, Facebook, and several other platforms):
Top K-12 education policy people on social media, by Klout score, 2015
|2015 Rank||Name||Handle||Klout Score||Twitter Followers||2014 Rank|
|5||Xian F’znger Barrett||@xianb8||71||4,329||5|
|9||Julian Vasquez Heilig||@ProfessorJVH||67||3,218|
|12||Deborah A. Gist||@deborahgist||66||12,600|
So what to make of this year’s list? First, the big names are the same as in previous years: Arne Duncan, Diane Ravitch, and Randi Weingarten. That comes as no surprise. But second, it is in fact more diverse than previous editions, with more newbies. Surely our new selection process helped. Rookies include (among others) rural education expert John White; Professor (and reform critic) Julian Vasquez Heilig; StudentsFirst staffer André-Tascha Lammé, and teacher-blogger Peter Greene.
Note as well the number of folks on the list with high Klout scores and paltry Twitter followers. Perhaps they are powerhouses on Facebook or other social media platforms, or are particularly effective at stirring “engagement” on Twitter (such as getting prominent folks to re-tweet their posts).
Also, let me preempt Alexander Russo and point out that only three of these twenty-five people are journalists (Joy Resmovits of the Los Angeles Times, Motoko Rich of the New York Times, and Libby Nelson of Vox). What’s up with that?
Finally, I must mention several “honorable mentions”—people with sky-high Klout scores who tweet about education—but who (in my judgment) don’t tweet primarily about k-12 education policy. They include several folks who tweet a lot about education technology: Ted Fujimoto (@tedfujimoto); Tom Vander Ark (@tvanderark); Tom Whitby (@tomwhitby); Scott McLeod (@mcleod); and Patrick Larkin (@patrickmlarkin); higher education experts, including Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill); Sara Goldrick Rab (@saragoldrickrab); Shaun Harper (@DrShaunHarper); and Susan Dynarsk (@dynarski); and those that tweet mostly about parenting or other non-education topics, including Senator Michael Bennett (@SenBennetCO); Whitney Neal (@WhitneyNeal); Jessica Lahey (@jesslahey); Carrie Schneider (@CarriSchneider); and Emily Badger (@emilymbadger).
For sure, some of these are tough calls; Sara Goldrick Rab is currently doing research on high schools, for instance; Shaun Harper has a brand-new study out on disproportionate discipline rates in public schools nationwide. Yet most of their activity on Twitter appears to focus on higher ed (at least to my eye). But by all means follow them! (See a list of all of our honorable mentions on Twitter here.)
* * *
Ever since I started publishing these lists, many have complained about my use of Klout scores as the metric. Why not just look at the number of followers someone has instead? Indeed, why not? Let’s now run the numbers that way, and see what we get.
Top K-12 education policy people on social media, by Twitter followers, 2015
|4||Michelle Rhee||@MichelleRhee||74,500||No Klout Score|
|5||Alfie Kohn||@alfiekohn||53,600||No Klout Score|
|7||Dorie Turner Nolt||@EDPressSec||35,200||No Klout Score|
|8||Valerie Strauss||@valeriestrauss||27,500||No Klout Score|
|9||Pasi Sahlberg||@pasi_sahlberg||27,000||No Klout Score|
|10||Michael Fullan||@MichaelFullan1||22,600||No Klout Score|
|11||Cameron Brenchley||@CameronAtED||21,800||No Klout Score|
|21||Campbell Brown||@campbell_brown||17,200||No Klout Score|
So what to make of this list?* The most obvious observation is that a lot of education policy people with mega-Twitter followers don’t have Klout scores. Get yourselves signed up, folks!
Several people do well, whether judged by Klout scores or Twitter followers. Certainly that includes the biggies, such as Duncan, Ravitch, and Weingarten. But also give props to Patrick Riccards (aka @Eduflack), Alexander Russo, Motoko Rich, and Joshua Starr, who made both lists.
Education policy scholars seem to do particularly well by way of Twitter followers. Six people on Rick Hess’s “RHSU scholar ratings” list appear here too, namely Ravitch, Pasi Sahlberg, Michael Fullan, Yong Zhao, Tony Wagner, and Andy Hargreaves.
Some additional journalists show up on this ranking: Valerie Strauss (more of an opinion blogger than a journalist at this point); Greg Toppo of USA Today; and Steve Sawchuk of Education Week. (Plus Motoko Rich of the New York Times, who, as mentioned above, places on both lists.)
Let’s give credit to the “honorable mentions” here too, including many repeaters: Marc Lamont Hill, Tom Whitby, Scott McLeod, Patrick Larkin, Ted Fujimoto, Tom Vander Ark, and Senator Michael Bennett, plus one additional ed tech tweeter, Audrey Watters (@audreywatters).
* * *
Congrats to everyone. And stay tuned for more results later this week.
* The original post was corrected to delete Greg Harris (@edpolicy) from the list, whose number of Twitter followers was incorrect. We regret the mistake.