Ed 300 syllabus for Spring 2012 (Archived)

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Course description: How do we explain the rise and decline of movements to reform education? How do we evaluate their underlying motivations, levels of success, and lessons for future generations? This survey course compares and contrasts past & present efforts to change elementary, secondary, and higher education in the United States, from the nineteenth-century Common School movement to contemporary debates over markets, governance, and technology. Students will interpret primary and secondary source materials to better understand different perspectives on reform movements over time, and will develop information literacy, expository writing, and web editing skills to better communicate their historical and policy research projects. Cross-listed with American Studies, Public Policy and Law. Prerequisite: Ed 200 or permission of instructor.

Time and location: Tuesdays, 6:30-9pm in Seabury S205, Trinity College, Hartford CT

About the instructor: Jack Dougherty, an associate professor of educational studies at Trinity College (CT), specializes in the history and policy of education in the metropolitan United States. He received his Ph.D. in educational policy studies, with a minor in U.S. history, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. See faculty profile page.

Required readings:
Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, Revised and Expanded. Basic Books, 2011. ISBN 0465025579

Paul Tough, Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America, Reprint. Mariner Books, 2009. ISBN 0547247966


James T. Patterson, Brown v. Board of Education: A Civil Rights Milestone and Its Troubled Legacy. Oxford University Press, USA, 2002. ISBN 0195156323

If your last name is A-L: David S. Cecelski, Along Freedom Road: Hyde County, North Carolina, and the Fate of Black Schools in the South. The University of North Carolina Press, 1994. ISBN 0807844373

OR if last name is M-Z: Constance Curry, Silver Rights: The story of the Carter family’s brave decision to send their children to an all-white school and claim their civil rights.Harvest Books, 1996. ISBN 0156004798

A small fee will be collected in class to cover the cost of additional photocopies.

Schedule (always check for instructor’s updates; assignment changes will appear in red)

Tues Jan 24 in class

Sun Jan 29 by 9pm

  • use the “reading questions” below to help organize your notes and to prepare for the online quiz and mid-term exam
  • read Ravitch, Death and Life of the Great American School System, chapters 1-5 (pp. 1-91). Reading question: How does Diane Ravitch explain how recent school reform movements went in the “wrong” direction, and what led her to change her thinking about these issues?
  • read Carl Kaestle, Pillars of the Republic : Common Schools and American Society, 1780-1860. 1st ed. New York: Hill and Wang, 1983, preface and chapters 6-7 (pp. ix-xiv, 104-181). Reading question: According to Carl Kaestle, what were the major accomplishments of common school advocates, which groups opposed their agenda, and why?
  • read Horace Mann, “Intellectual Education as a Means of Removing Property and Securing Abundance,” Fifth Annual Report to the Board of Education of Massachusetts, 1842, excerpt pp. 1-4. Reading question: How would you reconstruct the logic behind Horace Mann’s argument that citizens should financially support government-sponsored schooling? In his view, what social good does public education deliver?
  • read Catherine Beecher, “Remedy for Wrongs to Women,” Address on the Evils Suffered by American Women and Children (1846), and “‘Civilizing’ the West: Letters from the Frontier,” by Ellen Lee (1852) and Mary Adams (1853), from the Connecticut Historical Society, in Nancy Hoffman, Woman’s “True” Profession: Voices from the History of Teaching, revised & expanded edition, 2003. Reading question: During the nineteenth century, prevailing norms for white Protestant women dictated that they should remain in the domestic sphere as mothers and homemakers. But Catherine Beecher bent this rule to persuade women to move into the public sphere as teachers for common schools. How did she make this leap? Reconstruct her argument, and look for elements of it in letters written by teachers Ellen Lee and Mary Adams.
  • Moodle reading quiz on Ravitch/Kaestle — Guidelines: this online quiz poses three randomly-selected questions about key ideas in the readings, worth one point each. This is an open-book, no-time-limit quiz that each student may attempt only once. If you answer a question incorrectly, the computer will penalize you 0.5 points, then prompt you to re-read a section and answer again. Students are encouraged to discuss the readings with one another before taking the quiz, but once they have started the quiz, they may not communicate with anyone about its content until the instructor reviews the questions in the next class.

Mon Jan 30 by 9pm

  • source detective assignments (follow link to questions – topics changed, but teams remain the same; work solo or together): 1) McGuffey readers by AA, RoB; 2) Nast cartoon by LB, RiB; 3) Teachers’ letters by SC, FDH; 4) Ravitch’s reversal by DD, AD.

Tues Jan 31 in class

Mon Feb 6th by 9pm

  • read Diane Ravitch, Death and Life of the Great American School System, chapters 6-9 (pp. 93-194). Learn more about Ravitch here.
  • read Frederick M. Hess, The Same Thing Over and Over: How School Reformers Get Stuck in Yesterday’s Ideas. Harvard University Press, 2010, excerpts from preface and chapter 1 (pp. ix-xiv, 1-38). Learn more about Hess here.
  • reading questions for above: Do Ravitch and Hess agree — or disagree — on the current wave of school reform for greater choice and accountability? And how do both authors rely on historical evidence to support their arguments?
  • reading questions for below: A century ago, Dewey, Cubberley, Bobbitt, and Haley all identified with the “Progressive” reform movement, but moved in very different directions. How are their views similar or different from one another?
  • read John Dewey, The School and Society (1900), pp. 3-29.
  • read Elwood Cubberley, “The Organization of School Boards” from Public School Administration (Boston, 1916).
  • read John Franklin Bobbitt, “The Elimination of Waste in Education,” Elementary School Teacher (February 1912).
  • read Margaret Haley, “The Factory System,” The New Republic (November 1924).
  • Moodle reading quiz on Ravitch, chapters 6-9
  • source detective assignments: 5) NCLB legislation and history by BE & TG; 6) Hess on Ravitch, and vice versa by SC & CH ; 7) Bobbitt full-version by EH and DM.

Tues Feb 7th in class

Mon Feb 13th

  • read: Ravitch, Death and Life of the Great American School System, chapters 10, 11 and epilogue (pp. 195-288). Reading questions: Why does Diane Ravitch criticize the Gates Foundation and other private philanthropies that donate money to improving public schools? What does Ravitch mean by the “corporate school reform movement,” and what is their agenda?  If there is no “silver bullet” to magically reform schools, as Ravitch states, then what type of reform policy does she recommend?
  • view your assigned video documentary: Last name A-D: American Teacher (2011); Last name E-Moody: The Lottery (2010); Last name Moore-Z: Waiting for ‘Superman’ (2010).
  • post your video documentary analysis essay by 9pm

Tues Feb 14th in class

Tues Feb 21st in class

  • before class, read all of Paul Tough, Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America. Boston: Mariner Books, 2009. Reading questions:What is the theory of reform behind the Harlem Children’s Zone? According to Geoffrey Canada, what is the underlying cause of poverty? Does his strategy for reducing poverty lean more toward system-building or decentralization? And why do political leaders, from sharply divided parties, both see something to praise in Canada’s reform efforts?
  • presentation: Theories of Poverty & Reform around the Harlem Children’s Zone
  • in class: advice from Hartford Courant journalist Rick Green (7:15-7:30pm)
  • exam #1, open-book with interpretive questions (7:45-9pm); print out or submit online to instructor

participate in at least ONE of the following lectures/discussions:

Tues Feb 28th – Trinity Day (no class), but Ed policy journalism post due by March 1st

Sunday March 4th by 9pm

  • source detective assignments: 8) Locate US Supreme Court rulings by PM & AM; 9) Compare NYT vs. Hartford Courant coverage by BM & GP; 10) Find racial composition of magnet schools by PP & BR.

Monday March 5th by 9pm

Tues March 6th in class

before March 13th class

  • If your last name is A-L, read: David S. Cecelski, Along Freedom Road: Hyde County, North Carolina, and the Fate of Black Schools in the South. The University of North Carolina Press, 1994, OR
  • if last name is M-Z, read: Constance Curry, Silver Rights: The story of the Carter family’s brave decision to send their children to an all-white school and claim their civil rights. Harvest Books, 1996.
  • download: Curry/Cecelski reading guide
  • optional reading: Jack Dougherty, “Conclusion: Rethinking History and Policy in the Post-Brown Era” in More Than One Struggle: The Evolution of Black School Reform in Milwaukee. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

Tues March 13th in class

Tues March 20th – Spring Break (no class)

Mon March 26th by 9pm

  • read: David Adams, Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience, 1875-1928. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1995, chapter 4.
  • read: Leonard Covello. The Heart Is the Teacher. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1958, pp. 28-31.
  • read: Esmeralda Santiago, When I Was Puerto Rican. New York: Vintage Books, 1994, excerpt.
  • reading question: Compare how students featured in the readings above experienced schooling and social change. How are they similar and different?
  • source detective assignments: 11) Web source evaluation by KR & DR; 12) Locating a book review by JS & CW

Tues March 27th in class

Mon April 2nd by 9pm

  • read (with new link): Charles Haynes and Oliver Thomas, Finding Common Ground: A First Amendment Guide to Religion and Public Schools (Nashville, TN: First Amendment Center, 2007), chapters 4 (The Supreme Court, Religious Liberty, and Public Education) and 16 (Frequently Asked Questions about Religious Liberty in Public Schools). Reading question: How has the US Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Free Exercise and Non-Establishment clauses of the First Amendment regarding public schools changed from the 1960s to the present?
  • read: four sample research proposals by previous students, in Moodle
  • online quiz on First Amendment and religion in education (you will be asked to answer 6 questions, worth a total of 3 points) in Moodle

Tues April 3rd in class

by end of Wed April 4th

Mon April 9th by 9pm

  • read: Taylor Walsh, Unlocking the Gates: How and Why Leading Universities Are Opening Up Access to Their Courses (Princeton University Press, 2010), chapters 1, 4, 5.
  • read: Dan Berrett, “How ‘Flipping’ the Classroom Can Improve the Traditional Lecture,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 19, 2012,http://chronicle.com/article/How-Flipping-the-Classroom/130857/ (requires password).
  • read: Sarah D. Sparks, “Lectures Are Homework in Schools Following Khan Academy Lead,” Education Week, September 28, 2011,http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/09/28/05khan_ep.h31.html (requires password).
  • view: choose any video at Kahn Academy, http://www.khanacademy.org/
  • reading questions: What does “online courseware” mean, according to Walsh, and why has higher education increasingly adopted it over the past two decades?How does the implementation of this idea differ between Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative versus Open Yale Courses? What does a “flipped classroom” mean, and what are the challenges of implementing it in K-12 (see Education Week) and higher education (see Chronicle)?
  • online quiz in Moodle

Tues April 10th in class

Tues April 17th – no class

  • we will schedule individual paper conferences in place of this class, which will not meet this day due to my presentation at NITLE Symposium 2012

by the end of Friday April 20th

Tues April 24th by 6pm (before class)

Tues April 24th in class

Tues May 1st in class

  • student presentations: deliver a meaningful presentation that highlights your research question, thesis, and interpretation of at least one key source (under 2 minutes, with web essay or linked visual), as part of a thematic panel
  • NEW: please create a post under the new “presentation” category, and copy & paste or link to content for your presentation, to help us organize our presentations and also provide a way for classmates & the instructor to share feedback online
  • student assessments of outstanding presentations; instructor assessment of most improved panel
  • read before class: Stan Karp and Linda Christensen, “Why Is School Reform So Hard?,” Education Week, October 8, 2003,http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2003/10/08/06karp.h23.html.
  • presentation: Making Sense of Education Reform
  • preparing for open-book interpretive exam #2, which will be same number of questions and format as exam #1, but with a longer time period allowed (up to 3 hours), and students may do the exam anywhere with Internet access. The exam may address any topic on the syllabus, but is more likely to focus on those covered after the first exam.

by end of Thurs May 3rd

  • post final web essay

Friday May 4th, 12:30-1:15pm

  • optional drop-in exam prep session in instructor’s office

Tues May 8th (exam week) beginning at regular class time (6:30pm)

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