LAW 671

Comparative Education: Law and Policy

Public Interest Law

In the United States and abroad, policy makers and educators are increasingly driven by the idea that high school graduates must emerge ready to conquer college and the rapidly changing entrepreneurial economy of the twenty first century. At the same time, there is growing recognition that current secondary school systems are ineffective at realizing these ambitions, because they still bear the framework of the industrial economies they were designed to serve at the turn of the twentieth century.
After outlining the broad landscape of K-12 education in the United States and more particularly California, this course will examine how a number of different countries have started to reimagine their approach to secondary education. The spectrum of topics we will look at include the privatization movement and school choice, the place of teachers in education reform, curricular innovations and use of technological tools, and the role of standardizing testing, along with international benchmarking, in measuring the success of policies.

For each country we will endeavor to understand how educators define a pedagogical approach that is germane to the 21st century, as well as how these ideas become policy goals and are put into practice in educational programs? We will round out the course by looking at what constitutes high performance in education, whether those criteria are similar across different countries, and whether they are transferable to the United States.

Each week, students will be expected to post one meaningful quote from the weekly reading material, explain their choice in the post, and include a compelling question that arises from the quote. The reaction posts will be graded pass/fail. Each student is also expected to prepare 1-2 short presentations on one or more of the articles included in the reading. In addition, each student must write a paper about a contemporary issue at the intersection of education, law and policy. This paper may be structured to satisfy the SAW requirement.

There are no prerequisites for taking this course.


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