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Critical Review Essay: In this assignment, we would like you to write an essay (approximately 5,000 words, not including references) that synthesizes the scholarship or research around a question of interest to you. The assignment includes three parts: a brief proposal, an annotated bibliography, and the final essay.
Education policy is often a site where we debate the purposes of American public education, raising questions such as: What are the aims and purposes of American public education? How have these purposes been debated and contested over time? What is a good education? Who deserves what kind of education, and who gets to decide? What is the relationship between education and justice; as well as other goals, such as democracy, equity, and inclusion? This doctoral seminar explores these questions through the study of major currents in U.S. education policy and research from the early 20th century up to the present. The course has a particular focus on equal educational opportunity and understanding the major philosophical and ideological perspectives that have informed educational research, policy, and practice. As we explore major policy shifts and moments in U.S public education, we will also emphasize how evidence is used in making policy decisions, especially in an era when evidence is increasingly distorted and discounted. We will reflect on the role of education research (and researchers) in shaping policy debates. Finally, this course is interdisciplinary in nature, blending elements of history, philosophy, law, political science and sociology.