|Political Science 5613||
|Dr. Barry Price||
|Office Hours: MWF 2:00-4:30||
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This course is designed to provide students with an overview of the political character of American education. It begins by considering what some have referred to as "the crisis in American Education". It then proceeds to take a closer look at the fundamental political questions that are raised in the debate over this perceived crisis. What is Education? How will it be distributed in American society? How will society pay for this education? After examining answers to these questions offered by various academic and political protagonists, the course concludes with an analysis of the intricate relationship between democracy and education in American society.
Politics and Education will be taught as a distance learning course. Students will be provided a course syllabus with a set of discussion topics and corresponding assigned readings. Each week students will complete the assigned readings and respond in writing to a corresponding set of study questions that will be posted on the course Internet site. Student responses to these questions will vary in length according to the nature of the questions, and the depth with which the student feels able to respond. Upon completing written responses to the study questions, students will post their responses to the course Internet site. A "due date" will be noted on every set of study questions.
After reviewing the posted responses of fellow students to the study questions, seminar participants are expected to provide a written reply to two or more responses. These replies may take issue with any interpretation of the original reading assignment, challenge the views or opinions of the student writer, or comment on an additional insight or understanding of the source material generated by the student commentary. As a seminar participant, the instructor will also reply to student responses to the study questions, and be open to critique on any of his own commentary.
As was the case with the original answers to the assigned study questions, replies by students to the work of other seminar participants will be posted on the course Internet site. These replies must be posted within three days after the due date listed on the assigned study questions.
All work posted either by the instructor, or seminar participants will be posted on a course Web Board, that can be reached from the instructors web page found at www.tarleton.edu/~Price
For seminar participants not familiar with use of the web board protocol, the instructor will hold a workshop on campus the first week of the semester. Attendance at the workshop, of course, is completely voluntary.
In addition to the on-line seminar described above, students in the course will be expected to conduct an in-depth taped interview with a professional educator. In creating their interview questions, students are expected to draw heavily on assigned course readings and subsequent class discussion. The instructor must approve a student's choice of interview subject before the interview is set up.
Except under special circumstances, Tarleton faculty, as well as educators in a school where the student currently works, are inappropriate interview subjects.
Although much of this course is conducted on-line, the instructor encourages seminar participants to set up faculty-student conferences where additional discussion/study of the course material can be accomplished. These can be arranged either by calling (254-968-9630), or e-mailing (Price @ Tarleton.edu).
Course Grading Policies
The student's semester grade in this seminar will be determined largely (75%) by the quality of his or her weekly written work. This includes his/her answers to the study questions as well as his/her commentaries on the work done by fellow seminar participants. The remainder of the student's grade (25%) will be determined by the quality of his/her course interview.
Sowell. Inside American Education
Berliner and Biddle. The Manufactured Crisis
Fiske. Smart Schools, Smart Kids.
Henry. In Defense of Elitism
Powers. Education and Democracy.
Students will also be required to read some additional Xeroxed materials that will be provided by the instructor.
The "Crisis" in Public Education
Sowell. Chapters 1-4.
Challenging the Crisis Perspective
Berliner and Biddle. Chapters 1-3.
The Social, Economic and Racial Roots of American Education
Savage Inequalities. Kozol. Chapter 1.
Berliner and Biddle. P. 215-240, 274-279.
Jenks and Phillips. The Black-White Test Score Gap. Chapters 1-4.
Other Variables in the Debate
Berliner and Biddle. Pp. 240-274.
Solving the "Crisis" in Public Education I
Berliner and Biddle. Chapter 7. Fiske. Chapters 1-6.
A Closer Look at the "School Choice" Solution
Fiske. Chapter 7.
Berliner and Biddle. Chapter 5.
Rothstein, "Charter Conundrum", The American Prospect. July/August, 1998. Available
Solving the "Crisis" in Public Education II
Fiske. Chapters 8-10.
A Closer Look at the Accountability Solution
Palmaffy, "The Gold Star State", Policy Review, March/April,1998. Available at: www.policyreview.com/archives
Schrag, "Too Good to be True", The American Prospect, January, 2000. Available at:
McNeil &Valenzuela, "The Harmful Impact of the TAAS System of Testing in Texas", Civil Rights Project,
Harvard. Available at: www.law.harvard.edu/civilrights/conferences
Klein et. al. "What Do Test Scores in Texas Tell Us?" Available at: www.rand.org/publications/IP/IP202/
Equality, Democracy, and American Education
Henry. In Defense of Elitism. Chapters 1, 5, &6.
Powers. The Dilemma of Education in a Democracy. Chapters 5 - 8.