Spring 2018 - 60809- PA 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy

Education Practicum: The Transition to College


The focus of the Practicum is the transition from high school to college and the political, economic and demographic factors shaping current state policy deliberations on college readiness, remediation reform, placement, and related matters. In recent years, Practicum students helped develop a model state policy framework for the Education Commission of the States (www.ecs.org) that provided guidance to legislators and other policymakers seeking to better align their K-12 and postsecondary systems. Students worked with state teams and national policy thought leaders to develop the key recommendations. This year’s practicum will build on that client relationship with the Education Commission of the States and will support ECS’ work with influential educational policy actors including education-focused philanthropies.

ECS is the lead intermediary in Strong Start to Finish (https://strongstart.org/), a new national campaign supported by a novel coalition of funders focused on bringing promising reforms to scale in state higher education systems. I anticipate that Strong Start will be one focus of the Practicum’s work. Topics and challenges will appeal to students interested in education policy relevant to both Higher Education and K-12 sectors. Students will not be expected to have advanced mathematics training, but will be provided opportunities to apply quantitative methods learned in other courses. They will also be informally introduced to new methods and ideas appearing with increased frequency at the frontiers of social science research, such as structural causal models, Nash equilibria, and uncertainty quantification.

In addition to the direct work with policy organizations and state leaders, students will be introduced topractical tools for sensemaking in the crucible of everyday policy work and will develop an understanding of the dynamics of today's policy debates. There will be much reading and writing, group work, and field-work. In addition, the practicum is set up to help support the career development of students with an interest in policy development, advocacy, and public service. The practicum typically draws second-year MPAff and MBA students, third-year law students, and doctoral students in mathematics, mathematics education, journalism, and educational policy and leadership.

Professor Treisman serves as Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Education Commission of the States and is chairman of the Strong Start to Finish Campaign. Feel free to contact Professor Treisman if you have an interest in this course.