Top Education Policy People and Organizations on Social Media 2017



By 08/31/2017

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After taking last year off, we’re back with our (mostly) annual look at who is dominating Twitter and other forms of social media in the education policy world. This exercise is inevitably unscientific and subjective, so please take it with a grain of salt. Still, the trends are always interesting and telling. And who doesn’t love a good list?

First, let’s cover the fine print: Keep in mind that these lists are limited to people who mostly comment on K-12 education policy (so not pre-school, and not higher ed). See our sidebar, “Other educators to follow,” for folks who mostly share ideas about teaching or ed tech, or mostly opine on politics. And see here for an explanation of Klout scores, which measure social media influence across a wide range of platforms. Klout scores and Twitter followers are as of August 20. Thanks to the Fordham Institute’s Anthony Nguyen for his heroic efforts in gathering all of the data. Any mistakes or omissions are my own.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the results.

Top Education Policy People on Social Media by Klout Score

2017 Rank Name Handle Klout Score 2015 Rank 2014 Rank Number of Twitter Followers
1 Diane Ravitch @DianeRavitch 82 2 2 143,866
1 Randi Weingarten @rweingarten 82 3 3 74,186
3 John White @RuralED 77 4 6,090
4 Xian Franzinger Barrett @xianb8 71 5 5 6,248
5 Patrick Riccards @Eduflack 70 9 13 82,219
5 Andy Smarick @smarick 70 7 8 18,376
7 Tom Vander Ark @tvanderark 69 48,837
8 Julian Vasquez Heilig @ProfessorJVH 68 9 6,368
9 Jose Vilson @TheJLV 67 6 7 23,542
10 Michael Petrilli @michaelpetrilli 66 12 16 28,098
10 Jonas Chartock @jonaschartock 66 12 24 16,284
10 Jason Bedrick @JasonBedrick 66 21 2,923
10 Politics K-12 @PoliticsK12 66 21 23 47,778
14 Lily Eskelsen García @Lily_NEA 65 18,137
15 Rusul Alrubail @RusulAlrubail 64 19 10,769
16 Joshua Starr @JoshuaPStarr 63 21 19,632
16 Anthony Cody @anthonycody 63 19 6 14,401
16 Arne Duncan @arneduncan 63 1 1 11,810
16 Chris Stewart @citizenstewart 63 7,435
16 John Bailey @John_Bailey 63 6,377
21 Alexander Russo @alexanderrusso 62 16 20 24,163
21 Dana Goldstein @DanaGoldstein 62 21,538
21 Libby Nelson @libbyanelson 62 21 23 14,426
24 Greg Toppo @gtoppo 61 25,501
24 Rick Hess @rickhess99 61 13,690
24 Caitlin Emma @caitlinzemma 61 10,969
24 Michael Horn @MichaelBHorn 61 9,671
24 Peter Cunningham @PCunningham57 61 8,844
24 Nate Bowling @nate_bowling 61 8,226
24 Peter Greene @palan57 61 16 5,018
24 Morgan Polikoff @mpolikoff 61 16 25 4,980

 

Top Education Policy People on Social Media by Twitter Followers

2017 Rank Name Handle Number of Twitter Followers Klout Score 2015 Rank 2014 Rank
1 Diane Ravitch @DianeRavitch 143,866 82 2 2
2 Patrick Riccards @Eduflack 82,219 70 9 13
3 Randi Weingarten @rweingarten 74,186 82 3 3
4 Alfie Kohn @alfiekohn 66,081 N/A
5 Betsy DeVos @BetsyDeVosED 57,105 N/A
6 Steve Perry @DrStevePerry 56,028 N/A
7 Tom Vander Ark @tvanderark 48,837 69
8 Politics K-12 @PoliticsK12 47,778 66 21 23
9 Nikole Hannah-Jones @nhannahjones 42,384 N/A
10 Valerie Strauss @valeriestrauss 39,273 N/A
11 Liz Hill @EdPressSec 37,430 N/A
12 Michael Petrilli @michaelpetrilli 28,098 66 12 16
13 Pedro Noguera @PedroANoguera 25,865 N/A
14 Greg Toppo @gtoppo 25,501 61
15 Alexander Russo @alexanderrusso 24,163 62 16 20
16 Jose Vilson @TheJLV 23,542 67 6 7
17 Dana Goldstein @DanaGoldstein 21,538 62
18 Andrew Rotherham @arotherham 21,431 60
19 Anya Kamenetz @anya1anya 20,851 N/A
20 Joshua Starr @JoshuaPStarr 19,632 63 21
21 Joy Resmovits @Joy_Resmovits 19,175 60 12 21
22 Andy Smarick @smarick 18,376 70 7 8
23 Michael Barber @MichaelBarber9 18,270 56
24 Lily Eskelsen García @Lily_NEA 18,137 65
 25 Jonas Chartock @jonaschartock 16,284 66 12 24

 

So what to make of this? The main theme is stability. Most of the folks on these lists have been there before, and the rankings don’t change much. And yet again, a 70-something-year-old grandmother is crushing all of us. Good show, Diane. Good show.

Still, there are some welcome newcomers—whose rising prominence reflect the growing diversity of the movement—including Steve Perry, Chris Stewart, Nate Bowling, and Nikole Hannah-Jones. And that’s not even counting education’s TFA/Black Lives Matters superstars, Deray Mckesson and Brittany Packnett, who opine mostly about politics these days and thus are on my “other educators to follow” list below.

Not surprisingly, Arne Duncan has dropped in the ratings now that he has returned to private life, but the fact that he’s still on here is a testament to his continued involvement in education reform. Secretary DeVos is racking up the Twitter followers but she or her staff will need to register her on Klout for us to know how much social media influence she is wielding.

And as in years past, advocates generally do better than journalists, and anti-reform folks do better than pro-reform folks. Randi is still dominant, and Lily is making gains. Where are the reformers who might challenge them, especially now that Michelle Rhee and Campbell Brown have moved on to other pursuits?

 

Sidebar: Other Educators to Follow

These are folks who mostly comment on teaching, or technology, or politics, though they all have a connection to education. By all means, follow them!

Name Handle Klout Score Number of Twitter Followers
Deray Mckesson @deray 81 913,435
Howard Rheingold @hrheingold 81 40,861
Brittany Packnett @MsPackyetti 78 87,307
Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher 75 147,236
Larry Ferlazzo @Larryferlazzo 73 61,063
Ted Fujimoto @tedfujimoto 72 95,606
Zellie Imani @zellieimani 71 96,584
Tom Murray @thomascmurray 70 33,650
Lucy Gray @elemenous 69 39,954
Matthew Lynch @Lynch39083 68 42,901
Deborah A. Gist @deborahgist 68 16,414
Steve Anderson @Web20classroom 67 157,369
Shelly Sanchez Terrell @shellterrell 67 79,707
Will Richardson @willrich45 67 71,084
Ewan McIntosh @ewanmcintosh 65 25,746
Jaime Casap @jcasap 66 25,215
Scott McLeod @mcleod 64 50,825
Tom Whitby @tomwhitby 63 78,748
Kyle B. Pace @kylepace 63 63,186
Kevin Honeycutt @kevinhoneycutt 63 58,011
Wesley Fryer @wfryer 63 39,835
Lisa Nielsen @InnovativeEdu 63 32,307
Bill Ferriter @plugusin 62 24,043
Sabrina Stevens @realsabijoy 62 10,972
Jerry Blumengarten @cybraryman1 61 77,245
Steve Dembo @teach42 60 27,358
Silvia Tolisano @langwitches 60 27,191
Kevin Jarrett @kjarrett 59 25,840
Lyn Hilt @lynhilt 52 21,738
Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach @snbeach 50 21,110
Rafranz Davis @RafranzDavis 42 26,882
Audrey Watters @audreywatters N/A 36,323
Doug Lemov @Doug_Lemov N/A 23,394
Dan Greenstein @dan_greenstein N/A 22,056
Anthony Muhammad @newfrontier21 N/A 18,399

 

Now let’s turn to ed policy organizations.

Top Education Policy Organizations on Social Media by Klout Score

2017 Rank Name Handle Klout Score 2015 Rank 2014 Rank Number of Twitter Followers
1 NEA @NEAToday 87 5 7 182,630
2 U.S. Department of Education @usedgov 86 4 4 1,260,852
2 Edutopia @edutopia 86 959,056
4 AFT @aftunion 85 10 10 41,496
5 Teach for America @teachforamerica 84 1 1 150,230
6 Ed Surge @EdSurge 83 101,755
7 ASCD @ASCD 81 7 9 201,784
8 Education Week @educationweek 80 2 2 688,542
8 Education Next @educationnext 80 3 3 132,415
10 EdChoice @edchoice 79 6,357
11 U.S. News Education @USNewsEducation 71 9 276,658
11 Harvard Graduate School of Education @HGSE 71 6 6 120,907
11 The 74 @The74 71 39,883
14 Education Post @edu_post 70 10 48,222
15 The Hechinger Report @hechingerreport 69 13 19 34,175
16 Getting Smart @Getting_Smart 68 55,566
17 NPR’s Education Team @npr_ed 68 18 45,145
17 Education Nation @educationnation 67 13 12 252,765
19 Office of Ed Tech @OfficeofEdTech 67 131,969
19 The Education Trust @EdTrust 67 21 16 79,491
19 National Alliance for Public Charter Schools @charteralliance 67 16 21,300
22 eSchool News @eschoolnews 66 76,495
23 Badass Teachers Association @BadassTeachersA 65 10 8 35,086
24 Thomas B. Fordham Institute @educationgadfly 64 21 13 47,934
25 NCTM @NCTM 63 55,585
25 AIR Education @Education_AIR 63 19 29,082
25 Digital Promise @DigitalPromise 63 17,261

 

Top Education Policy Organizations on Social Media by Twitter Followers

2017 Rank Name Handle Number of Twitter Followers Klout Score 2015 Rank 2014 Rank
1 U.S. Department of Education @usedgov 1,260,852 86 4 4
2 Edutopia @edutopia 959,056 86
3 Education Week @educationweek 688,542 80 2 2
4 Huffington Post Education @HuffPostEdu 398,552 62 8 5
5 U.S. News Education @USNewsEducation 276,658 71 9
6 Education Nation @educationnation 252,765 67 13 12
7 ASCD @ASCD 201,784 81 7 9
8 NEA @NEAToday 182,630 87 5 7
9 Gates Education @gatesed 159,923 62 16 15
10 Teach for America @teachforamerica 150,230 84 1 1
11 Education Next @educationnext 132,415 80 3 3
12 Office of Ed Tech @OfficeofEdTech 131,969 67
13 Harvard Graduate School of Education @HGSE 120,907 71 6 6
14 Ed Surge @EdSurge 101,755 83
15 The Education Trust @EdTrust 79,491 67 21 16
16 eSchool News @eschoolnews 76,495 66
17 NCTM @NCTM 55,585 63
18 Getting Smart @Getting_Smart 55,566 68
19 Education Post @edu_post 48,222 70 10
20 Thomas B. Fordham Institute @educationgadfly 47,934 64 21 13
21 Washington Post Education @PostSchools 45,404 N/A
22 NPR’s Education Team @npr_ed 45,145 68 18
23 AFT @aftunion 41,496 85 10 10
24 The 74 @The74 39,883 71
LA Times Education @LATeducation 39,802 56

 

Stability reigns on these lists as well. Journalistic outlets do better here, including newbie The 74. Ed Choice must be doing something right on Facebook and/or Instagram, because its Klout to Twitter followers ratio is off the charts. Sadly, Teach For America appears to be losing ground—just as it is in the real world. Finally, let me give some (self-interested) props to both the Education Trust (reformers on the left) and my very own Fordham Institute (reformers on the right). We’re holding our own despite being over the hill in social media years. (We both recently celebrated 20 year anniversaries.)

***

What else do you notice that’s interesting? Whom did I overlook? Let the opining begin!

— Mike Petrilli

Mike Petrilli is president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, and executive editor of Education Next.




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