How does the U.S. K12 education system reflect, reinforce, and reshape American society?
Each year, between September and June some 52 million students attend public schools in America. But why? Why do we have K-12 schools in America? What is their purpose? What we do expect schools to accomplish? Headlines decrying the failed state of our nation’s schools and clarion calls for the improved quality and reach of American schooling in the 21st century are commonplace. Against this backdrop, the course grapples with questions that have defined American K-12 education throughout history. What constitutes educational excellence? Is it realistic or naïve to strive for both equity and excellence for all students? Who are we educating and how important are student identities to schooling outcomes? Given that educators, families, politicians, and the courts often disagree vehemently about the answers to these questions, the course explores these debates and considers who and what will define the future of American K-12 education and its role in society.