Keith Akio Nitta
Examines relationships between the economy and our educational and training infrastructure: What are we doing and what should our educational policy be?
This course provides a survey of education policy issues and politics. We will cover the historical development of U.S. K-12 education policy, with particular focus on contemporary education policy issues and debates, such as standards, tests, accountability, and school choice. The course also addresses the process and politics through which education policy is made at the federal, state, and district levels.
Student learning goals
Understand the historical context in which K-12 education policy is made at the national, state, and local levels.
Understand why several current reforms on the education policy agenda (e.g. charter schools, class size reduction, teacher performance pay) are receiving attention, and how these reforms purport to solve educational, economic, social, organizational, and even political problems.
Critically evaluate assumptions, causal logic, and outcomes of education policy proposals.
Participate in education policy debates by advocating a policy position in the public press.
General method of instruction
Discussion, both in class and on Blackboard, based on course readings.
Students should have some background in policy studies, for example through completing BIS 338: Political Institutions or its equivalent. Alternatively, students should have expertise in the study of education, for example through an education minor.
Class assignments and grading
Five short posts to the Blackboard discussion board analyzing specific reform proposals. One 12-15 page theme paper that characterizes the policy conversation on that issue. One op-ed article that is ready for submission to a local newspaper on the topic of the theme paper.
Quality of research in written work. Quality of contribution to class discussions.