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Education Politics in America

Syllabus for Education Politics in America

Emily C's picture
Mon, 2011-01-10 06:50

  Education Politics Class
Class Objectives:
Students will learn about the current state and the current players in education politics through discussion and personal research.  Students will learn about current issues and examine them from multiple perspectives.  Students will consider their own education beliefs and relate them to modern American education politics.  The class will depend on the research of the students, but the facilitator and other classmates will provide extra information and guidance.  
Students will have a basic understanding of education politics in America and have the resources and knowledge to be able to productively follow education politics on their own.  Students will be able to classify and place important people and organizations in the education world.  Students will have developed their individual beliefs so as not to be swayed by biased reporting.
-A growing education politics map of America including hot spots for education and important players in education along with their values.
-A blogroll of online resources to be able to quickly find informative, up to date education news.

Homework Due:
Students should have set out to do current events education research on their own in whatever way they saw fit.  As they research, students should start a written blogroll, keeping a written list of education websites they found particularly informative and enjoyable.
We will first discuss what we believe to be the goals of schooling, and briefly talk about what steps American education needs to take to get there. We will then talk about how we began to find education information online, and discuss how we can use newspapers, organizations, governmental resources, and blogs to continue our research.
Homework Due: 
Students will continue their written blogroll.  They will be given the general topics of charter schools, teacher’s unions, high stakes testing, and alternative teacher certification routes to research.
We will first talk about the resources we used to do our research. We will then discuss the topics researched for homework, one by one, talking about the issue and the different sides/opinions people have on it. 
Homework Due:
Students will continue their written blogroll.  Students will start their educational politics map of America, by marking off at least 5 places they consider through their research to be education “hotspots,” which could include states/cities/districts/schools/etc.
We will talk about the education hotspots people chose for their homework, and why those locations were chosen.  We will then move on to looking at one city at a time and discussing how the systems differ by attitude, size, financial stability, leadership and location, and how that affects their education system. We will then tie up our understanding of the two main sides of the education reform debate, defining what opinions/people make up each side of the debate.
Homework Due: 
Students will continue their written blogroll.  Students will add education “hotspots” to their map as they see fit, and add in at least 10 influential people in education (teachers, government officials, union leaders, writers, bloggers, etc.) by location on the map.  National education people can be written in on the side of the map, and location-based players should be written in next to their city/state.
We will talk about the influential people in education the students chose, see what players were most commonly chosen, and discuss how students came across these people.  We will then concentrate on some of the most commonly cited people.
Homework Due:
Students will continue their written blogroll. Students will add education “hotspots” and “players” to their map as they see fit, and highlight the players on their maps in different colors, the different colors portraying the different sides of the education debate. Students should try commenting on some of the posts they believe to be most interesting that they found while researching.
We will talk about the different sides of the education argument and look at and place people and opinions on the political spectrum of education gaining a fuller understanding of how the education political world works.  We will spend a considerable amount of time discussing current events in education, and we will end with students defining for themselves their own beliefs in education and their own roles in the education debate as educated citizens.