LAS 355 • POLITICAL ECONOMY OF EDUCATION
8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Description: This course, created as the result of demands by students for an opportunity to study, in a serious and continuous manner, their own work situation, is designed for just that purpose. The syllabus, and the readings that accompany it are works-in-progress that will evolve as a result of both my own work and that of the students in the course. The title of the course - "The Political Economy of Education" - is intentionally broad as the literature and issues covered range across various spectrums: temporal, organizational, philosophical, economic and political. The term "political economy" is used here in its 19th Century sense, namely of designating, in a general way, all of those phenomena that are interrelated in the organization of capitalist society and deemed relevant for the understanding of its functioning. The issues covered are thus broader than - but would include - those that might be expected in a course entitled "The Economics of Education". The spirit of the course, therefore, is closer to that of Adam Smith's treatment of capitalism in his Wealth of Nations than that in a contemporary microeconomic textbook. Texts/Readings: Original texts by major analysts of education, down through the years. The reading list has fifteen sections, each with an array of original materials (see the course website). The readings chosen vary from semester to semester according to the interests of the student registered. Assignments: To preserve the initiative that gave birth to this course, it is organized as a seminar rather than as a lecture course. In other words, in the place of the usual professor-lectures/students-listen, active/passive structure, students are expected to read common material and to actively engage that material through both individual reflection and collective discussion. Students are expected not only to do, and to discuss, the assigned readings, but also to do further research on various topics covered, and to make the results of that research available to others in the course. Individuals will be graded on the basis of their contributions to the collective process of the course, i.e., preparation for and participation in class discussion, on-line discussion in "Blackboard" forums and of contributions to the gathering and making available of relevant materials.