Kennedey Bell

Disconnect: A Rhetorical Analysis of the Discourse Over Ohio’s EdChoice Program

April 3, 2021   /  

Name: Kennedey Bell
Major: Communication Studies
Minor: Elementary Education
Advisors: Dr. Rob Razzante, Dr. Matthew Broda

My I.S. project, “Disconnect: A Rhetorical Analysis of the Discourse over Ohio’s EdChoice Program,” looks at the Educational Choice Scholarship Program in Ohio. This program sponsors students—whoare either at a certain poverty level or attending a school that the Ohio Department has designated “failing”, according to six standards that they have set—to attend a private school in their area. In late 2019, the list of schools that were considered failing more than doubled, sending out a panic both among public schools and among legislators in the Ohio Congress. I looked at the communication around this event, using policy documents, news articles, and interviews as my sources.

I became interested in this topic because of my interest in education. Historically, and as my project will show, these types of programs do little to solve issues in the educational field. My project shows that instead of solving issues in public schools or helping students receive a quality education, EdChoice serves as a band-aid to avoid real reflection on the state of education in Ohio. I see several next steps for research on this project: first, research into racial and class divides enhanced by EdChoice; second, interviews with legislators, private schools, guardians, and students to provide more diverse perspectives on this issue, and lastly, the use of new methods such as focus groups or moderated conversation between the state and the schools. Overall, I enjoyed the chance to briefly study this topic, and I hope that future researchers explore more.

Kennedey will be online to field comments on April 16:
noon-2pm EDT (PST 9-11am, Africa/Europe: early evening)