In this article, Michele Moses and Lauren Saenz explore a growing trend in education policymaking — the ballot initiative. Specifically, the authors question whether information presented to voters is sufficiently substantive to permit educated decisionmaking about influential policies. Their study, a content analysis of print news media related to the 2006 Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, shows that coverage of this initiative was largely superficial, documenting procedural or topical matters rather than addressing the deeper moral, practical, and historical issues involved. These results, they argue, highlight the important role that mass media should play in a direct democracy, currently an overlooked responsibility. Moses and Saenz end with an appeal to education researchers to monitor the media coverage of education policy debates and, upon finding insubstantial coverage, to present an alternative that is meaningful and accessible to the general public.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.