If curriculum and classroom teaching are the meat and potatoes of schooling, education policy is the supply line that determines whether the basic ingredients are available, affordable, fresh, and of high quality. The faculty and programs that have come together in TC’s new Department of Education Policy & Social Analysis (EPSA) focus on how governments, markets, and societal conditions shape schooling and the broader enterprise of creating a population that is informed about the challenges and opportunities it confronts, able to critically analyze its needs and interests, and prepared to work together to make a better world.
EPSA embraces the value of drawing on several disciplines. It houses separate and venerable programs in Economics and Education, Politics and Education, and Sociology and Education and a notable group of legal scholars. Both scholarly research and policy application, however, often call for communication and collaboration across the disciplines and to prepare students to operate in that environment, the department offers an interdisciplinary program (Leadership, Policy & Politics). The department’s core areas of expertise include early childhood education, charter schools and vouchers, home schooling, K-12 education reform, higher education policy, law and education, and the role of nonschool factors (such as demographic change, public health, and human services) in affecting education achievement and equity.
In addition to training students to conduct the highest quality research, we encourage students to study and reflect on the processes by which research becomes linked to policy and practice. Good research informs policy and practice, revealing when professional premises are ill-founded and putting causal inferences to a more rigorous test. Courses, workshops, and research projects housed within the department, and available to students in all of the programs, make translation of research to policy practice an explicit object of study and discussion, with the goal of training scholars, researchers, and policy leaders who can draw the links between theoretical models and important practical considerations that more abstract analyses sometimes miss.
The faculty and current students of the EPSA programs are excited about this opportunity and we hope you share that enthusiasm.
Jeffrey R. Henig
Professor of Political Science & Education
Chair, Department of Education Policy and Social Analysis