Governors' rhetorical attention to education: text analysis, historical perspectives and building a gubernatorial addresses repository

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governors , rhetorical attention , education , text analysis , content analysis , LDA , LWIC , SOS data warehouse
Lushkov, Gili
In the conception of America as a republic, individual states were not forced to care for education; they chose to. Motivated by a belief in self-government, states own, control and manage education within their boundaries in different manners. Given this responsibility, it might be expected that education would be an important subject for governors to address. Over 3000 gubernatorial addresses (State of the State or equivalents) were collected, translated into text, and analyzed as part of this work. Applying computerized content and sentiment text analysis to these addresses revealed the level of rhetorical attention paid to education by governors, and trends over time. Moreover, the analysis raised questions about factors that may influence governors' rhetorical attention to education, such as specific eras in American history or governors' political affiliations. Also, utilizing theme modeling analysis, the governors' perceptions and the importance of education to them at the time of their addresses were examined. This work has resulted in two significant outcomes, one of which is the development of a previously non-existent database of readable gubernatorial State of the State speeches. Second, the analysis of these 3400 addresses suggests that governors not only pay limited or no rhetorical attention toward education, but even when they do, they primarily associate it with finance and issues concerning special education. No variation in the attentiveness to education was detected between states, political party affiliations, or over time.