Education Blogs Provide Platform for New Voices in National Education Debate

Tuesday, December 9, 2008
this is an image
this is an image

Contact: Michael J. Petrilli, Thomas B. Fordham Institute, (202) 223-5452

STANFORD -- The Internet is evening out the playing field for education commentators and analysts by making the traditional trappings of power and influence obsolete, writes Michael J. Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute in his new analysis of education web logs (blogs) published in Education Next.

Currently, there are as many as 30,000 education blogs on the Internet. Some focus on policy, others on practice; many link and comment on daily newspaper articles and other blog posts and provide a forum for other users to do the same. The bloggers come from a variety of backgrounds and the influence of their blogs does not seem tied to any particular set of credentials. For example, the nation’s top education policy blogger, Eduwonkette, was, until recently, anonymous: Jennifer Jennings, a graduate student in sociology at Columbia University, managed to overtake Eduwonk’s Andrew Rotherham in the top spot, even though her competitor is a former Clinton White House aide and cofounder of a major Washington education think tank.

In his analysis for Education Next, Petrilli ranked the top ten education blogs and the top ten education policy blogs by their technorati score as of August 2008, which provides an indicator of the “authority” given to a site by other bloggers by identifying the number of unique blogs that have linked to that blog within the past 180 days as measured by technorati.com.

In terms of political leaning, education policy blogs are balanced between Left and Right, Petrilli says. Eduwonk and the Quick and the Ed write from the center-left; Intercepts, Flypaper, and Jay P. Greene come from the center-right. None of the major education interest groups have broken into the upper ranks of the education blogosphere: The United Federation of Teachers, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National School Boards Association all have active blogs, but none makes the top 10 lists.

Top 10 Education Blogs

Author(s)

Technorati Score

1. Weblogg-ed

Will Richardson, author, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts…

850

2. Joanne Jacobs

Joanne Jacobs, former reporter & columnist

788

3. Cool Cat Teacher

Vicki Davis, teacher, Westwood Schools, Georgia

531

4. 2¢ Worth

David Warlick, The Landmark Project, former teacher

529

5. Speed of Creativity

Wesley Fryer, Oklahoma Heritage Association

462

6. Dangerously Irrelevant

Dr. Scott McLeod, Iowa State University

443

7. Edu.blogs

Ewan McIntosh, teacher, Edinburgh, Scotland

406

8. Fischbowl

Karl Fisch, teacher, Arapahoe High School, Colorado

323

9. Students 2.0

K–12 students from around the world

266

10. The Thinking Stick

Jeff Utecht, tech specialist, Shanghai American School

243

 

Top 10 Education Policy Blogs

Author(s)

Technorati Score

1. Eduwonkette

Jennifer Jennings, doctoral student, Columbia University

179

2. Eduwonk

Andrew Rotherham, Education Sector

165

3. The Education Wonks

Anonymous (EdWonk, TeacherWonk, and TeenWonk)

129

4. The Quick and the Ed

Kevin Carey and others, Education Sector

103

5. Intercepts

Mike Antonucci, Education Intelligence Agency

89

6. Matthew Tabor

Matthew Tabor, college admissions counselor

82

7. Schools Matter

Jim Horn, PhD (affiliation unknown)

82

8. This Week In Education

Alexander Russo, former Capitol Hill staffer

82

9. Flypaper

Education Gadfly team, Thomas B. Fordham Institute

79

10. Jay P. Greene

Jay P. Greene, University of Arkansas

76

For more about the wild world of education blogging, read “Linky Love, Snark Attacks, and Fierce Debates about Teacher Quality: A Peek Inside the Education Blogosphere” online or in PDF format.

Michael J. Petrilli is vice president for national programs and policy at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, and an executive editor of Education Next.

Education Next is a scholarly journal published by the Hoover Institution that is committed to looking at hard facts about school reform. Other sponsoring institutions are the Harvard Program on Education Policy and Governance and the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation.