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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Dan Goldhaber
BPOLST 586
Bothell Campus

Issues in Education Policy

Examines issues in education policy in local and global contexts.

Class description

This course focuses on differences in K-12 educational outcomes by race and ethnicity and socioeconomic status, as well as the implications of these differences. Various educational reforms are explored to assess their potential impacts on educational efficiency and inequality in the U.S.

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an opportunity to evaluate different public policies for reducing the persistent gap in standardized achievement tests between non-Hispanic African-Americans and non-Hispanic whites in the United States. The course focuses on test score differences between blacks and whites because most of the available research on educational inequality across race and ethnic groups has concentrated on African-American student outcomes. However, many of the policy and analytical challenges that arise in thinking about the black-white test score gap are also relevant for improving the educational outcomes of children from other backgrounds, or more generally for thinking about how to reduce inequality in the U.S. with respect to educational and labor market outcomes.

Student learning goals

Understand the magnitude of k-12 educational achievement gaps.

Understand the extent to which empirical evidence suggests schools can ameliorate achievement gaps.

Assess current k-12 school reform initiatives.

General method of instruction

Class discussion and presentations.

Recommended preparation

An understanding of basic statistical methods (regression) and current debates about school reform (e.g. Race to the Top) is extremely helpful!

Class assignments and grading

Students will be expected to read an evaluate current research/policy literature. There will be class discussion and presentations based on this.

Class participation, presentations, and a final written exam.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Dan Goldhaber
Date: 08/24/2011