Core 5: Educational Policy
I. The Policy Process in Education
A. Overview of the Policy Process:
The complexity and importance of educational policy and politics
Layers of government and policy development: Federal, State, Local
Policy perception and impact at the school level
Financial interests, stakeholder commitments
Analyzing intersecting and interdependent issues
B. Systemic Educational Policy: Conceptual Frameworks
Political Science Perspectives
II. Designing Coherent Educational Policy in the United States
Official educational policy-making
Policy implementation, evaluation, and change
Relations among federal, state, and local policy-making processes
Role in implementation
Relationships between research and policy
Research and policy analysis
Education for Students with Special Needs
Education for Language-minority Students
III. Policy Analysis
Relationships between policy analysis and social science
Relationships among policy analysis and policy, politics, decision making and professional practice
Example: Policy analysis of the merits of the "Systemic Reform Movement".
The registers and genres of policy documents
Critical reading of policy documents
Legislative and legal documents
Examples from US Department of Education, NY State Department of Education
C. A Contemporary Policy Theme: Restructuring Schools
Teaching Concepts and Organizational Reform
Rethinking School Governance
Restructuring in Process: Districts on the Cutting Edge
Integration of Special Education
D. Key Issues Confronting Policymakers Today
Financing the Schools: Under-funding vs. Over-taxing
Post Industrialism and Institutional Change in Education
Privatization & Competition
The Academy in the Marketplace
IV. Exploring Policy Analysis through Case Studies [Sample listing]
Note that the Case Studies will be used throughout the course. Listed here are only some current and classic examples; others will be selected each term by the course instructor.
Literacy: California Reading Controversy and the New York City case
New York City School Decentralization and comparable cases elsewhere in the U.S.
Kentucky School Reform a political systemic reform "success"?
Special Education New York State's effort to include special education in all aspects of school reform
Evaluation of alternative policy paradigms for public education in the U.S. and other countries
V. Field work & Internships in Core 5:
As an integral part of Core 5, students will be involved in (a) field work (usually focused on a particular issue, e.g. one arising in faculty-initiated research), and (b) internships (where a variety of policy issues will be relevant).
Fieldwork Study Focal Issues:
1998 Teacher Education reform policies in New York State; responses by LEAs and institutions of higher education
1996 NYC school governance law and its implementation; Chancellor Crew's plan for School Leadership Teams and evaluation of principals
NYS and LEA efforts to include Special Education concerns in systemic reform policies
New High School Graduation Standards: interviews and surveys to identify perceptions, fears, hopes, assumptions, and political dynamics in enacting and implementing the new standards
Bilingual education Study of current efforts to roll back, defend, or reform: interviews, surveys, policy analysis.
Choice in Education - studying the movement for vouchers, charter schools, and choice policies, in New York and the U.S.
Internships will be in city, state, national, public and private agencies, institutes, boards, foundations, legislatures, etc. Interns will be placed in the offices and with the staffs of policymakers and policy leaders where possible.