Topics in American Education

Introductory books are often described as “a mile wide, a foot deep.” It’s not really a criticism because the author’s objective is to provide a broad overview of the field. Books like American Education often leave students with lots of questions though — and the purpose of this assignment is to provide you with an opportunity to look into a significant issue that reflects the relationship between school and society in more depth.

You can select one of the wide variety of topics discussed in the text, perhaps one that was not covered in much depth or an issue that you have a different view of than Joel Spring does. You could choose something that was not included, maybe a topic that has emerged since the text was written. You could write about Preschool, Gender Equality, Teachers Unions, School Choice, Multicultural Education, Student Privacy, the Common Core, Violence Prevention, the School to Prison Pipeline, School Segregation in Contemporary Schools or whatever interests you the most. The only topic that is off the menu is the impact of theCoronavirus crisis since there is so much emphasis on the course about that and you will have a chance to write about aspects of that later.

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Prepare a 1000-1500 word report focusing on the issue and explaining why you think it is significant. Include 5-10 references including course texts, links and references identified in this module (except quotes from instructor written lectures), and any other source you need (books, professional journal articles, appropriate academic or professional websites). Visit the Empire State College’s Writing Resource Center to get help with documenting sources if you need to.

What you include in your paper will depend on your topic, but here are some general guidelines:

Describe this issue as you understand it from the reading, from your research, and from your own experience with schools if that is relevant. You may include your views and opinions but you need to support them with credible information from your reading and research.
If you are having trouble coming up with a topic, browsing through the long on line resources section in this module might be very helpful
Include new and updated information related to this topic. Do not assume that everything in American Education , Teacher Wars or any text is absolutely up to date, and pay attention to the dates of your web sources too. Remember to use published sources and cite them.
If you focus on a problem, include and discuss suggestions for addressing it. “What Works” Clearinghouse” or
Edutopia ” identified in the Online resources section for Module 4 might be helpful along with the very long on line resource section in this module.
If the issue has become a political one, you should probably discuss that. If there are legal issues involved, you should probably discuss them. Find Law might help you find out if a court decision has resolved them.
A discussion forum in this module will ask you to sum up and share what you learned with your classmates informally — just like if we went around the room in a traditional seminar and everyone talked about what topic they had selected, what they found out and any particularly good sources they found.

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