CI3010: Save Our Schools!
Education, Controversy, and Change
Schools are struggling, yet many proposals for improving them are marred in controversy: from school vouchers to bans on critical race theory, from increasing a STEM focus to decreasing standardized testing, and from charter schools to teacher merit pay. In this course, students will work with local schools and community groups to come up with justified and specific ways to improve our schools. Students will speak directly with legislators to propose policies and put forward plans for how to save our schools.
UC News article on UHP students in this honors seminar presenting to Ohio lawmakers - ideas to improve public education.
- Engage with state legislators – you will research challenges in education and engage with state legislators on the issue, present your findings and possible solutions
- Consistently one of the highest rated honors seminars offered
- Professor Sarah Stitzlein won the UHP Excellence in Teaching Award in 2018
- Students from across disciplines enroll, providing broad perspective on educational issues
Past Student Projects and Outcomes
- Working to bring universal preschool
- Working to repeal “no tolerance” discipline policies in Ohio (mostly used for drug and alcohol violations in schools, but disproportionately carried out against students of color who then lose educational access as a result)
- Being invited to present a policy proposal to a State of Ohio legislative committee in Columbus
Nearly everyone in America has attended school at some point in their lives. Nearly everyone cares about the success of our schools. Nearly everyone thinks they know how to make schools better. While our schools struggle with major challenges, policy makers, philanthropists, special interest groups, educators, parents, concerned citizens, and many other stakeholders are engaged in contentious debates over how to best improve our schools. Some put forward well-reasoned arguments for change within traditional democratic structures, some turn to alternative media outlets, some attack the issue on the political stage, while still others confine their suggestions to private conversations amongst friends. Frustrated at the seeming lack of improvement, many grow aggravated and some end up throwing in the towel on one of America’s most significant social problems.
In this class, students will become knowledgeable about educational issues central to improving schools, many of which are marred in controversy: from school vouchers to national standards and charter schools to merit pay for teachers. And, importantly, students will be empowered to become agents of change who work with teachers, community groups, non-profits, and elected policy makers to save our schools. To assume public leadership roles in the struggle for education reform, students need to develop an informed understanding of how they can operate effectively as decision-makers and agents of change within schools and the institutions related to them. Such understanding entails knowledge of the politics, history, organization, and function of schools from a variety of viewpoints--historical, sociological, political, and cross-cultural. It also involves understanding how educational struggles and change are impacted by other social issues, such as poverty and inequality, and must be viewed from multiple perspectives. Ultimately, students will use their knowledge of education controversies to engage in the process of educational reform, rendering them empowered and informed community members who take on leadership roles in this important area, where too many have grown frustrated and given up.
- Fall 2020
- Fall 2018