Education | Topical Explorations in Education Reading, Writing, and Thinking about American Schooling: History, Policy, and Issues
F500 | TBA | Chafel

The Department of Curriculum and Instruction has initiated this
course for graduate students whose first language is not English and
for native speakers of the English language who have been admitted
to various subject area specializations within the Department. The
course closely integrates process objectives with discipline-
specific content to pursue two main objectives: (1) to help students
acquire critical thinking and writing skills important for
successful graduate study; and (2) to acclimate international
students to the conventions and expectations of academic study in
the United States as well as to the US educational system.

To provide a context for students’ later study in the field of
curriculum and instruction, the content for the course focuses
on “American Schooling: History, Policy, and Issues.” In our survey
of the US educational system, we shall overview the establishment
and evolution of the common (public) school. We shall then examine
the expanding federal role in education, from the middle of the last
century to the present day, by reflecting on the formation of policy
that created Head Start, Title I, inclusion, and legislation that
mandated strict accountability for schools (No Child Left Behind).
Next, we shall consider contemporary issues at the forefront of
public discourse about public education (e.g., early intervention
for children in poverty, “high-stakes testing,” teacher
accountability, and more), and suggested ways of resolving them.
Through independent research, students will have an opportunity to
explore topics in their area of specialization. A field-based
emphasis will make it possible for students to observe course
content first hand— that is, to integrate theory with practice. We
shall accomplish this goal by visiting two or three different school
settings. Early in the semester, we shall discuss as a class how to
arrange these visits.

Judith A. Chafel, Professor
Department of Curriculum and Instruction