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Education is a key component of a society’s ability to govern, foster the well-being of its citizens, and participate productively in a global economy. As such, education reform is frequently controversial and highly politicized. This introductory course examines the major issues and reform movements in public P-12 education that are at the forefront of the national policy agenda today. Each educational reform issue will be viewed in light of its connection to four themes driving reform efforts: (1) equity, (2) adequacy, (3) autonomy, and (4) accountability.

Specific educational policies will be analyzed with respect to several key questions: What are the goals and intended consequences of the policy? What policy levers does it utilize? How are various stakeholders affected? What unintended consequences might occur? How efficient is the policy? For each reform, we will discuss the role of the political context, the economic climate, and the evidence used to support its adoption.

The course will rely predominantly on a case study approach combined with group work, short lectures, and guest speakers representing leaders in the field of education in the State of Indiana.

The course is aimed at students with little or no previous experience with education policy who are interested in the topic either because they are considering it as a future career or because they would like to gain a working knowledge of a topic that is of general public interest. This course serves as the introductory course for the Minor in Education Policy jointly designed by SPEA and the School of Education.