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Christopher Gabrieli


What does it take to achieve policy change in public education? In this module, we will study how and why education policy shifts (or doesn't) by looking at examples at the federal and state levels. We will explore and test a classic political science framework (John Kingdon's) for how policy agendas are set. Each week, we will focus on a specific policy change effort ranging from recent classic examples (Race to the Top under Obama/Duncan) to currently unfolding policy issues such as “free college” and whatever is emerging from this year’s elections. We will look at how individuals and institutions work to drive change and analyze their effectiveness. We will consider how to update Kingdon for today’s world with explicit deep dives on how social media changes policy agenda setting and how the recent surge in demands for action against structural racism change the landscape.  Finally we will look at what might come next on the education policy agenda. We will draw on the instructor's own experience in seeking policy change and hear from weekly guests who are current leading advocates, participants, and critics to study the process and practice of policy change in American education.