Saving Schools, Mini-Course 1: History and Politics of U.S. Education

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Saving Schools, Mini-Course 1: History and Politics of U.S. Education

Course Details

Cost

FREE

Upcoming Schedule

  • On demand

Course Provider

edX online courses
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Provider Subject Specialization
Sciences & Technology
Business & Management
22552 reviews

Course Description

This mini-course seeks to answer the following question: How did a school system, once the envy of the world, stumble so that the performance in math, science, and reading of U.S. students at age 15 fell below that of students in a majority of the world’s industrialized nations?

Exploring that question, we identify the personalities and historical forces—the progressives, racial desegregation, legalization and collective bargaining—that shaped and re-shaped U.S. school politics and policy. We visit the places where new ideas and practices were spawned, and we look at some of their unanticipated consequences.

In the three subsequent mini-courses, we seek answers to a second question: What are the best ways of lifting the performance of American schools to a higher level? To explore these questions, we look at ideas and proposals of those who want to save our schools—be it by reforming the teaching profession, holding schools acc...

This mini-course seeks to answer the following question: How did a school system, once the envy of the world, stumble so that the performance in math, science, and reading of U.S. students at age 15 fell below that of students in a majority of the world’s industrialized nations?

Exploring that question, we identify the personalities and historical forces—the progressives, racial desegregation, legalization and collective bargaining—that shaped and re-shaped U.S. school politics and policy. We visit the places where new ideas and practices were spawned, and we look at some of their unanticipated consequences.

In the three subsequent mini-courses, we seek answers to a second question: What are the best ways of lifting the performance of American schools to a higher level? To explore these questions, we look at ideas and proposals of those who want to save our schools—be it by reforming the teaching profession, holding schools accountable, or giving families more school choices. In interviews with reform proponents and independent experts, we capture the intensity of the current debate. In the end, we do not find any silver bullets that can magically lift schools to a new level of performance, but we do pinpoint the pluses and minuses of many new approaches. These three subsequent mini-courses will launch later in the fall and continue into 2016.

Each mini-course contains five to eight lectures, with each lecture containing approximately three videos. The mini-courses also include assigned readings, discussion forums, and assessment opportunities.

This is the first mini-course in a four-course sequence.


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Reviews 9/10 stars
5 Reviews for Saving Schools, Mini-Course 1: History and Politics of U.S. Education

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Scott West profile image
Scott West profile image

Scott West

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 7 months ago
Professor Peterson introduced interesting material over the four course series. All four are worth jumping into and taking if you are in any way interested in our past, present and potential future schooling system within the United States. Focusing on the challenges currently affecting the schooling system, the professor brought in experts from all levels to explain how to potentially resolve issues, or increase the learning opportunities to our students.
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John Veranth profile image
John Veranth profile image

John Veranth

6/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 10 months ago
This is a worthwhile course series to gain exposure to the current issues in the US school reform movement. However, be aware that this course represents a narrow perspective of moderate right-wing opinion. Nearly all the "outside" readings are from the Hoover Institution sponsored journal EducationNext where Dr. Peterson is a fellow and editor. The bottom line message of the course is that regulations and teacher unions are the problem and school choice (vouchers, charter schools) is the solution. The course material is honest in that research is presented showing that the proposed innovations in school organization have not proven to produce dramatic improvements. Many alternative opinions not really explored in the course. Beyond grade school reading, writing, and arithmetic is there really a "common core" of knowledge that should be mastered by everyone or is diversity in education tracks (traditional classics-based vs. ... This is a worthwhile course series to gain exposure to the current issues in the US school reform movement. However, be aware that this course represents a narrow perspective of moderate right-wing opinion. Nearly all the "outside" readings are from the Hoover Institution sponsored journal EducationNext where Dr. Peterson is a fellow and editor. The bottom line message of the course is that regulations and teacher unions are the problem and school choice (vouchers, charter schools) is the solution. The course material is honest in that research is presented showing that the proposed innovations in school organization have not proven to produce dramatic improvements. Many alternative opinions not really explored in the course. Beyond grade school reading, writing, and arithmetic is there really a "common core" of knowledge that should be mastered by everyone or is diversity in education tracks (traditional classics-based vs. religion based vs. creativity emphasis vs. practical career focused) a better approach because many different skills are needed in society. Do the current standardized tests used to assess schools really measure important life skills for the 21st century? Most importantly, is the low academic achievement of US students due to broad social factors including poverty, disrupted families, lack of respect for authority, and general anti-intellectualism in the adult population? These are examples of alternatives Dr. Petersen does not really explore.
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Paul Hundal profile image
Paul Hundal profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 138 reviews
  • 119 completed
4 years, 9 months ago
This has been a very informative MOOC on the US education system and how it evolved. I am taking Part 3 that is currently in session and caught up on the series at the same time that fortunately is available though closed.
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Tamsen Aichinger profile image
Tamsen Aichinger profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 3 reviews
  • 3 completed
4 years, 11 months ago
This course was fascinating and presented valuable information. I anticipated learning what the course description set forth and did. The discussions were well-paced for a variety of students, The question and answer format worked particularly well for me -- it served as a mental outline that kept information in place. The conversations with outside experts were informative and interesting and often presented different points of view. Only one thing I can think of -- Dr. Peterson began many of his responses in the question-answer format with "well". Silly but it began to grate. All in all, a really excellent course for anybody interested in education in the United States. I'd like to require the school board members and school administration in our district to take it but that isn't within my power.
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student profile image
student profile image

student

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 2 months ago
I would prefer the name of the course would be Saving Schools: From Horace Mann to Virtual Learning, like Professor Paul E. Peterson book or simply Saving Schools. With the title it has now, it seems that it is addressed only to U.S. students. I believe that of course we talk about the U.S. educational system but the implications from that case study are global. The mini-course name History and Politics of U.S. Education is ok!
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Rankings are based on a provider's overall CourseTalk score, which takes into account both average rating and number of ratings. Stars round to the nearest half.