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Spring 2012 - 61890 - PA388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy

Education and Social Change

Instructor(s): Rhodes, Lodis
Unique Number: 61890
Day & Time: W 2:00 - 5:00 pm
Room: SRH 3.360
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Course Overview

Topics for these policy seminars have included environmental and natural resources policy, health-service delivery policy, social welfare policy, transportation policy, science and technology policy, international affairs, national security, urban and regional growth policy, and political campaigns.


Section Description

Class counts, though we rarely admit it when talking about schools and poverty.  We believe the United States is rich; all are free; and, we have exclusive claim to the "right stuff" -- talent, discipline, and proper values -- that determines success in America.  We also believe a highly credentialed, professional class (the meritocracy) is best equipped to lead the ever-expanding school enterprise. Believing, however, does not make it so. How and why has schooling moved so far from our ideals?

This course looks at schooling in historical context, with an eye on its purported role as a social leveler. History here is not so much dates and events as tracking major ideas related to inequality, education, and social (dis)organization. The aim is to highlight the strong, consistent interplay between social class and poverty. It limits opportunity for significant segments of the populations. Key questions in the course revolve around the role of schooling as the primary driver of upward social mobility. Related questions derive from our claim that universal, public education is a collective good that advances democracy and self-governance. Fact is the middle-class is struggling and shrinking while the gap widens between top and bottom income classes.  High status schooling has become more a private commodity than a public good.  And, credentials are no substitute for common sense and common cause. 

The course is appropriate for advanced graduate students with active, well-defined research interests in education policy. It may suit beginning graduate students interested in state and federal policy initiatives to reform school management and practice.