Politics 147: Education Politics and Policy
Pomona College, Spring 2013
Professor David Menefee-Libey
Class Schedule and Assignments
Note: The readings for each class period are listed after the date, and
readings posted on Sakai are marked with an *asterisk.
Note also: This first edition of the assignment schedule only goes to Spring
Break. We will reconsider and modify it by then.
- Wednesday, January 23: Overview of the course and requirements, reading and writing
- >> Readings: this syllabus
- >> *Bartholomae & Petrosky, "Reading With and Against the Grain"
Adapted from David Bartholomae and Anthony Petrosky, eds., Ways of
Reading, 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2008, pp. 10-12.
- Friday, January 25: A discussion of Teach for America to get us started
- >> Julian Vasquez Heilig & Su Jin Jez, "Teach
For America: A Review of the Evidence," National Education Policy Center, June 2010.
- Monday, January 28: What do Americans want schools to accomplish for children?
- >> *David Labaree, "From Citizens to Consumers," ch. 1 of Someone Has to Fail: The Zero-Sum Game of
Public Schooling (Cambridge, MA: 2010).
- >> (Optional, for a fuller explanation) *David Labaree, "Public Goods, Private Goods: The American
Struggle Over Educational Goals," American Educational Research Journal 34:1 (1997), especially pp. 39-59.
- >> (More from Labaree, if you're interested, on why so many missions for schools:) *David F. Labaree, "The
Winning Ways of a Losing Strategy: Educationalizing Social Problems in the United States," Educational Theory,
Vol. 58, no. 4 (2008), pp. 447-460.
- Wednesday, January 30: What is a "good" school? An organizational view
- >> *Penny Bender Sebring, et al, The Essential Supports for School
Improvement (Chicago, IL: Consortium on Chicago School Research, 2006), available
- >> [Optional: for earlier, similar but less thorough research findings] *Ronald
R. Edmonds, "Programs of School Improvement: An Overview." Educational
Leadership vol. 40, no. 3 (December 1982): pp. 4-11.
- Friday, February 1: Public Opinion on America's Schools
- >> *William J. Bushaw and Shane J. Lopez, "The 44th Annual Phi Delta
Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools" (September 2012), available online at
- >> (Optional) *Several prior reports are also archived on Sakai if you want to make comparisons.
- Monday, February 4: Policy Analysis as a tool for exploring and
analyzing elementary and secondary education
- >> Fowler preface and ch. 1, "Policy: What It Is and Where It Comes From"
- Wednesday, February 6: Your field case study
- >> Instruction sheet
- >> The Education Data Partnership
webpage with information on all California public schools
- Friday, February 8: A possible May 4 symposium on the Claremont Colleges and Teach for America
- >> *DML, Planning worksheet for 2013 TFA symposium
- Monday, February 11: Political science, normative and empirical
- >> Fowler ch. 2, "Power and Education Policy"
- >> (Optional. Both articles are in a single pdf.) *Jim Cummins, "Author's Introduction -- Framing the Universe of Discourse:
Are the Constructs of Power and Identity Relevant to School Failure?" and "Empowering
Minority Students: A Framework for Intervention" (1986), Harvard Educational Review, Vol. 71, no. 4
(Winter 2001), pp. 649-675.
- Wednesday, February 13: The policy making context in the U.S. today
- >> Fowler ch. 4, "The Political System and Political Culture," through
- >> [Optional] Fowler ch. 3, "The Economy and Demographics"
- >> EdSource, "California K-12 Education System: Schools, Districts, and the State"
(available online at
- >> If you want to read a good current book on this, try Jal Mehta, Robert B. Schwartz,
and Frederick M. Hess, eds., The Futures of School Reform (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education
- Friday, February 15: People, organizations and offices ("stakeholders") you should
- >> Fowler ch 6, " The Major Education Policy Actors"
- >> [For more, optional:] *Tom Loveless, "Uneasy Allies: The Evolving Relationship of
School and State," Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Vol. 20, No. 1
(Spring 1998), pp. 1-8.
- >> Hand out Paper 1 assignment sheet.
- Monday, February 18: Teacher unions
- >> *Nathan Burroughs, "Arguments and Evidence: The Debate over
Collective Bargaining's Role in Public Education," Education Policy
Briefs, vol. 6, no. 8 (Fall 2008), (Published by the Center for
Evaluation & Education Policy, Indiana University School of Education).
- >> Stephanie Simon and James B. Kelleher, "Analysis: Striking Chicago Teachers Take On National Education Reform" and
"Factbox: Chicago Teachers Dispute is Over School Reform, Money," Thomson Reuters, September 10, 2012.
- >> [Optional: long and technical, but excellent and authoritative:] *William Koski, "Teacher Collective Bargaining, Teacher Quality, and the
Teacher Quality Gap: Toward a Policy Analytic Framework," Harvard Law & Policy Review" Vol. 67 (2012).
- >> [Very optional:] Winkler, Amber M., Janie Scull, and Dara Zeehandelaar.
How Strong Are U.S. Teacher Unions? A State-By-State Comparison. (Dayton, OH: Thomas B.
Fordham Foundation, October 2012). Very thorough, with unexpected
findings. Executive Summary will tell you what you need to know.
A 60-page report with hundreds of pages of data at the end.
- >> [Very optional, for a good survey of comparing strength of unions
from the above report with various indicators:] Baker, Bruce D. “Teachers Unions: Scourge of the Nation?”
Finance 101 blog, November 10, 2012.
- Wednesday, February 20: What "problems" get the attention of education policy makers?
- >> Fowler, ch. 7, "Setting the Stage and Getting on It: Issue Definition and Agenda Setting"
- Friday, February 22: More about the symposium on the Claremont Colleges and Teach for America
- >> Paper 1 due by 4:00 pm today by 5:00 pm
- Monday, February 25: The Coleman Report and its legacy: how
Socio-Economic Status (SES) shapes student outcomes
- >> *Geoffrey D. Borman & Maritza Dowling, "Schools and Inequality: A
Multilevel Analysis of Coleman's Equality of Educational Opportunity Data,"
Teachers College Record, vol. 112, no. 5 (May 2010), pp. 1201-1236.
(Long and difficult. Focus on pages 1201-10 and 1236-42. I'd
urge you to try the rest, but you'll have to take good notes to make sense
- >> [Newspaper articles for some context:] *Debra Viadero, “Race Report’s Influence Felt 40 Years
Later.” Education Week, June 21, 2006 (Sorry: messy formatting
on the Sakai version); and *Debra Viadero, “Fresh Look at Coleman Data Yields Different Conclusions.” Education Week,
June 21, 2006 (Also messy formatting.)
- >> [Optional: an early, thorough summary and reanalysis of Coleman's data and findings:] *Frederick Mosteller
& Daniel P. Moynihan, "A Pathbreaking Report," in Mosteller & Moynihan, eds.,
On Educational Opportunity: Papers Deriving from the Harvard University Faculty Seminar on the
Coleman Report (NY: Vintage Books, 1972).
- >> [Optional: for an important reconsideration of socioeconomic status, emphasizing wealth as well as income:]
*Donald Easton-Brooks and Alan Davis, "Education Wealth, Traditional Socioeconomic Indicators, and the Achievement Debt,"
The Journal of Negro Education, Vol. 76, No. 4 (Fall, 2007), pp. 530-54.
- >> [Even more optional: for data-geeks, an effort to more carefully explore SES:] Sarah Theule Lubienski and Corinna Crawford Crane, "Beyond
Free Lunch: Which Family Background Measures Matter?" Education Policy Analysis Archives, vol. 18, no. 11 (May 2010).
- Wednesday, February 27: Creating a permanent "crisis" in American schools
- >> National Commission on Excellence in Education, "A Nation at Risk" (April 1983).
(Available online at http://www.ed.gov/pubs/NatAtRisk.)
- >> *Gene Glass, "Transforming Education: Ordo Ab Chao [Order Out of Chaos]",
ch. 2 of Fertilizers, Pills, and Magnetic Strips: The Fate of Public Education in
America (Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, 2008), pp. 19-55.
- Friday, March 1: No Child Left Behind and its politics
- >> *Paul Manna, "Leaving No Child Behind," ch. 7 of Christopher T. Cross, ed.,
Political Education: National Policy Comes of Age (New York, NY: Teachers
College Press, 2004), pp. 126-182.
- >> Motoko Rich, "Holding States and Schools Accountable," New York Times, Feb. 9, 2013.
- >> (Optional, but excellent for a much broader perspective on federal
elementary and secondary education legislation:) *Arnold Shober, "Including
Americans," ch. 3 of The Democratic Dilemma of American Education: Out of
Many, One? (Philadelphia, PA: Westview Press, 2012).
- Monday, March 4: Content Standards: the first link in the
chain of standards-based education
- >> EdSource, "Standards-Based Education" online at http://www.edsource.org/iss_sta.html
- >> EdSource, "Common Core Standards," online at http://www.edsource.org/iss_sta_commoncore.html
- >> The California State Academic Content Standards Commission webpage is at
Go wander around and see what you find.
- >> [Optional, if you want one point of view about the historical background:] *Diane Ravitch, "The Search
for Order and the Rejection of Conformity: Standards in American Education," in Diane Ravitch
and Maris A. Vinovskis, eds., Learning from the Past: What History Teaches Us About School
Reform (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995).
- Wednesday, March 6: What policy tools are available to run schools and potentially improve them?
- >> Fowler ch. 9, "Looking at Policies: Policy Instruments and Cost Effectiveness," through p. 259.
- >> [Optional: Fowler's chapter on the particulars of writing legislation and budgeting:] Fowler,
ch. 8, "Getting the Words and the Money: Policy Formulation and Policy Adoption"
- Friday, March 8: Curriculum: what should we teach children?
- >> EdSource, "Standards & Curriculum Overview," available online at
- >> Take a look at, for example, California's state curriculum standards for high school
civics, adopted in 1998 and available online at
http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/documents/hssstandards.doc , pages 46-49.
(The whole document covers California's history and social studies standards for kindergarten
through high school.)
- >> For more, see Robert Rothman, Something in Common: The Common Core Standards and
the Next Chapter in American Education (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press, 2011).
- >> Hand out and post Paper 2 prompt today.
- Monday, March 11: Reports on and discussion of school visits this week
- Wednesday, March 13: Reports on schools
- Friday, March 15: Reports on schools
- >> Paper 2 due by 4:00 pm today
- Monday, March 18 - Friday, March 22: Spring Break
- Monday, March 25: Reflections on, discussion of the school reports
- >> The handouts and data sheets from the presentation groups
- >> Your notes from the presentations
- Wednesday, March 27: Update on Symposium preparations
- >> No readings assigned
- Friday, March 29: No class -- Cesar Chavez Day recess
- >> Go read about
Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers.
- Monday, April 1: Language Issues
- >> EdSource, "English Learners in California: What the Numbers Say" (March 2008), available online at
- >> Kathryn Baron, "California
Leads Effort to Boost English Learner Success" (September 21, 2012).
- >> [If you want more:] *Angela Valenzuela, "Subtractive Schooling and Divisions Among Youth,"
ch 5 of Subtractive Schooling: U.S. - Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring
(Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1999], pp. 161-226.
- Wednesday, April 3: Teachers: who does, and who should teach children?
- >> EdSource, "Teachers in California" (available online at
- >> [skim:] *Jennifer Bland, Juliet Tiffany-Morales, Patrick Shields, Katrina Woodworth,
Ashley Campbell, David Sherer, and Sylvia Rodezno, California's Teaching Force 2010: Key Issues
and Trends (Santa Cruz, CA: Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning, 2010)
available online at
(Note: David Sherer, one of the authors of this report, took this class in 2008!)
- >> Annie Lowrey, "Big Study Links Good Teachers to Lasting Gain," New York Times, January 6, 2012.
- >> For fuller background, see Darrel Drury and Justin Baer, The American School Teacher: Past, Present, and Future (Cambridge, MA:
Harvard Education Press, 2012).
- Friday, April 5: The hard part: following through on policy decisions
- >> Fowler, ch. 10, "Policy Implementation: Getting People to Carry Out a Policy
- >> [For an important perspective:] *Paul Hill & Mary Beth Celio, Fixing Urban Schools
(Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1998), chapters 1-3.
- >> Hand out and post Paper 3 prompt today.
- Monday, April 8: Planning for the May 4 Symposium on Teach for America
- >> Please meet with your workgroups over the weekend and settle as many details as
you can about the symposium. Be ready to report to the full class today.
- Wednesday, April 10: School finance
- >> EdSource, "School Finance," available online at
http://www.edsource.org/school-finance.html. Follow the links into the details on
"School Finance Basics," "Revenues," "How the State Allocates Money for Education," "Expenditures,"
"Facilities Funding," and "Charter School Funding." There's also much, much more valuable material
on this site about school finance.
- >> [Optional, but very interesting:] Bruce Baker, "Does
Money Matter in Education?" (Washington, DC:
Albert Shanker Institute, 2012.)
- >> [If you want more, look for Margaret Weston's work at the Public Policy Institute of California.]
- Friday, April 12: Evaluating what's been done before, hopefully deciding what to do next
- >> Fowler ch. 11, "Policy Evaluation: Determining If the Policy Works"
- >> [For an excellent small illustration of policy evaluation:] *G. Alfred Hess, brief
passage on a typology of teacher questions in classroom
instruction, from "Accountability and Support in Chicago: Consequences for Students,"
in Diane M. Ravitch, ed., Brookings Papers on Educational Policy 2002 (Washington, DC:
Brookings Institution Press, 2002), pp. 362-366.
- Monday, April 15: Assessment and Testing
- >> EdSource, "Assessment in California," online at
Follow the linkes to related reports on EdSource.
- >> [If you want more, I highly recommend Daniel Koretz, Measuring Up: What
Educational Testing Really Tells Us (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008).]
- >> Paper 3 due to be handed in and posted on Sakai today by 4:00 pm
- Wednesday, April 17: Accountability
- >> EdSource, "Accountability Measures" and the subsidiary articles in that
section, available online at
- >> Nancy Kober and Wayne Riddley, Accountability Issues to Watch under NCLB Waivers
(Washington, DC: Center on Education Policy, October 2012).
- >> [If you want more from the same source:] "Compendium of Key Studies of the No Child
Left Behind Act," (Washington, DC: Center in Education Policy, 2009), especially the summary
of studies on accountability.
- Friday, April 19: Charter schools
- >> EdSource "Charter Schools" and subsidiary reports in that section (online at
(Mountain View, CA: EdSource, 2009).
- >> Betheny Gross, Melissa Brown, and Katherine Martin, "Assessing the
Charter School Landscape," chapter 1 of Robin Lake and Betheny Gross, eds., Hopes, Fears, and Reality: A Balanced Look at American Charter
Schools in 2011 (Seattle, WA: Center for Reinventing Public Education, January 2012).
- >> [For a good brief illustration of how hard it is to sort out charter
school policy:] Katie Ash, "KIPP Schools Boost Academic Performance, Study Finds," EdWeek Charters &
Choice blog, February 27, 2013. (Read carefully.)
- >> [If you want more:] Center for Research on Educational Outcomes (CREDO),
Multiple Choice: Charter School Performance in 16 States (Palo Alto, CA:
Stanford CREDO, June 2009), Executive Summary Introduction, and skim. Available
online at http://credo.stanford.edu
- >> [An excellent book on the political and policy challenges of charter school policy
analysis: Jeffrey R. Henig,
Spin Cycle: How Research Is Used in Policy Debates: The Case of Charter Schools (New York: Russell Sage
- Monday, April 22: Update on symposium preparations
- Wednesday, April 24: At-risk children
- >> *Susan B. Neuman, "The Critical Early Years for Changing the Odds," Ch. 1 of
Changing the Odds: Seven Essential Principles of Educational Progtrams That
Break the Cycle of Poverty (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2009), pp. 1-25, 199-201.
- >> *Paul Tough, "Unequal Childhoods," ch. 2 of Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's
Quest to Change Harlem and America (Boston, MA: Mariner Books, 2008).
- >> [If you want to read about Head Start, one respected study:] *Barnett, W. Steven, and
Jason T. Hustedt. "Head Start's Lasting Benefits." Infants & Young Children
18, no. 1 (2005): 16–24.
- >> [Another respected Head Start study:] *Deming, David. "Early Childhood Intervention and
Life-Cycle Skill Development: Evidence from Head Start." Applied Economics 1, no. 3
- >> [The most recent respected Head Start study:] *Puma, Michael, et al, Third Grade Follow-up
to the Head Start Impact Study: Final Report. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and
Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, October 2012.
- >> [For a broader, and troubling, view:] Sofia Bahena, North Cook, Rachel Currie-Rubin,
Paul Kuttner, and Monica Ng, eds., Disrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline (Cambridge, MA: Harvard
Education Press, 2012).
- Friday, April 26: Segregation in schools: race, ethnicity and class
- >> *Gary Orfield et al, "E Pluribus . . . Separation: Deepening
Double Segregation for More Students" (Los Angeles, CA: The Civil Rights
Project, UCLA, 2012). [Read the Executive Summary and the Foreward, skim the
rest. I think
you'll want to read a lot of it.]
- >> *Amy Stuart Wells et al, "How Society Failed School
Desegregation Policy: Looking Past the Schools to Understand Them," in
Robert E. Flooden, ed., Review of Research in Education (Washington
DC: American Educational Research Association, 2004), pp. 47-99.
- >> [If you want more:] Erica Frankenberg and Gary Orfield, eds., The Resegregation of Suburban
Schools: A Hidden Crisis in American Education (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press, 2012).
- >> Hand out and post Paper 4 prompt.
- Monday, April 29: Vocational Education, Career/Technical Education,
Linked Learning, or whatever we want to call it.
- >> *EdSource, "Multiple Pathways in California: An Emerging Option for
High School Reform." (November 2009).
- >> Susan Frey, "Linked
Learning Comes of Age in California with New Pilot Programs," (EdSource, January 29, 2013).
- Wednesday, May 1: Civic Education, Citizenship Education, or whatever we want to call it.
- >> [Long, but excellent] *Pamela Johnson Conover and Donald D. Searing, "A Political Socialization
Perspective," in Lorraine McDonnell, Michael Timpane, and Roger Benjamin, eds., Rediscovering the Democratic
Purposes of Education (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2000).
- >> [Optional, but fascinating]
Helping Your Child Become a Responsible Citizen,
with activities for elementary, middle, and high school-aged
children, rev. ed. (Washington, DC: US Department of Education, 2006).
- >> [If you want more:] David E. Campbell, Meira Levinson, and Frederick M. Hess,
Making Civics Count:
Citizenship Education for a New Generation (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press, 2012).
- Friday, May 3: Last minute preparation for the weekend symposium
- Saturday, May 4: Alumni Weekend Symposium -- The Claremont Colleges and Teach for America
- Monday, May 6: Reflections on the symposium
- >> Review the course syllabus and your semester notes, be prepared to raise
issues important to you.
- Wednesday, May 8: Lessons for next time
- >> Readings: this syllabus
- >> Paper 4 due for seniors today by 4:00 pm
- Paper 4 due by 4:00 pm next Monday, May 13.
© by David Menefee-Libey
Last modified: April 27, 2013