Presented by Kathryn E. Boonstra and Beth Graue to the American Education Research Association Conference, Toronto, Canada (April, 2019)
Recognizing that the media both shapes and reflects public understanding and policy development, this paper explores how print media framed the topic of kindergarten from 1964 to the present. We analyzed over 220 articles from four major national newspapers, utilizing frame analysis to understand how narratives about kindergarten’s significance have been forged and disseminated over time. Across our period of analysis, the press advanced a story of kindergarten in crisis. Underneath this narrative, however, kindergarten’s purpose, objectives, and methods were framed differently for historically dominant and non-dominant race and class groups. Findings underscore the media’s role in reflecting and amplifying racialized and classed messages about kindergarten, as well as the need for nuance and a diversity of voices in both academia and the mainstream press.