Spring 2007 Course Description

Advanced Topics in Public Policy

Section Title: Education and Social Change
Instructor(s): Lodis Rhodes
Course: P A 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy
(previously Seminar in Topics in Public Policy)
Unique Number: 63465
Day & Time: Wednesdays, 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Room: SRH 3.101
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information

This course fulfills requirements for the following specialization(s):

Description: Publicly subsidized schooling is a major battleground of the culture wars. It is a battle of attrition, and suggests it is time to re-think the prevailing orthodoxy we use to justify publicly subsidized schools. This course looks at schooling in historical context with an eye on its purported role as a social leveler. It assesses the narrow theoretical base ? individual self-determinism coupled with the role liberal democratic institutions ? that accounts for our faith in the power of schooling. It discerns patterns and trends related to inequality ? the ever-widening gap in income and wealth at home and abroad.

The call to ?re-think? and ?re-design? rests on the claim that sound education forges opportunity, and that poverty is not the mere lack of money. Schools are impoverished not because students of modest means attend them. Rather, schools are impoverished because of the political, administrative, and cultural conditions under which they operate. Efforts to re-design schooling and schools must address the root cause of institutional failure. Changing impoverished schools requires a level of thought equal to the complexity of the problem.

The course is appropriate for advanced graduate students with active, well-defined research interests in education policy. It may suit beginning graduate students interested in school reform and the broader issues of social inequality, race, and class.

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