This course will explore education equity in America through a solutions-oriented lens. Students will explore the complex factors that have contributed to opportunity and achievement gaps, the political, operational, and moral challenges that reform efforts confront, and the action steps needed to overcome them.
Students will have a unique opportunity to explore these issues through the framework of an ongoing education equity national pilot in seven cities, 30+ high-needs high schools, that begins and ends during the weeks of this course. Students will examine the life-cycle of a classroom-based intervention from launch to completion – and participate in real-time problem solving, observations, and evaluations. Students will also explore the elements needed for a scalable program design, including how to engage school districts, city leadership, and the multi-disciplinary partners needed to succeed. The pilot is a first-ever attempt by a major university (Harvard) to offer a college credit-bearing course in high-need high school classrooms across the nation, to be facilitated by classroom teachers.
The on line pilot course, Poetry In America, is taught and designed by Elisa New, the Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature at Harvard. Students will have an opportunity to explore with her the role of humanities and technology in school reform efforts, the challenges of creating meaningful content, and strategies for training classroom teachers. PiA is also a public television series and multi-platform digital initiative that brings poetry into classrooms and living rooms around the world. The co-instructor, Leslie Cornfeld, who will lead the public policy and practice portions of the course, has led high-profile school reform efforts at the local and national level for the past two decades, serving as advisor in the administrations of U.S. President Barack Obama, and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and currently leads the nonprofit National Education Equity Lab, a partner in the national pilot.
Also offered by the English Department as ENGLISH 282PH and by the Graduate School of Education as T108.