Politics and Education

Welcome to the Politics & Education program

The Politics and Education program prepares students for careers as education policy leaders at the local, state and national levels, or to pursue advanced work in doctoral programs in education policy, political science, or public policy. Graduates of this program secure positions as policy advisors and researchers for government agencies, foundations and various private agencies committed to looking at and developing policies for the field of education.

Schools represent a powerful instrument for shaping the development of future generations of citizens and workers as well as an important source of jobs and investment in many communities. Coursework focuses on how societies handle conflicting visions of what schools should and should not be doing, and what specific changes in political and governance processes might facilitate better decision-making and policy implementation.

Politics and Education Virtual Information Session

Premiered on November 9, 2023. If you would like to get the transcript of the POLC open house webinar 2023, please contact David Estrella at epsaadmission@tc.columbia.edu at Admissions.

Choose Your Degree

Prof. Erickson

M.A. in Politics & Education

The 33-credit M.A. program includes coursework in political science and general foundation courses in education in addition to study in qualitative and quantitative research methods. Students choose a concentration to focus on a set of political debates in education or a particular political arena in consultation with an assigned advisor.

TC classroom

Ed.M. in Politics & Education

The 60-credit Ed.M. program includes advanced coursework in political science and general foundation courses in education in addition to study in qualitative and quantitative research methods. Students choose a concentration to focus on a set of political debates in education or a particular political arena in consultation with an assigned advisor.

In class 4

Ph.D. in Politics & Education

The 75-credit Ph.D. program prepares students to conduct original and rigorous research relating to education policy and the political conditions that facilitate its adoption, implementation, and sustainability. Graduates of this program secure positions as professors within political science, public policy, and education departments at various types of four year institutions; as researchers in think tanks and private research organizations; and in government agencies with research and policy missions.

Congratulations Graduates 2023!

Student & Alumni Profiles

Ph.D. student

Chloe is a Politics and Education Ph.D. student, Columbia Law School Center for Public Research and Leadership Project Associate, and former Teacher’s College Arthur Zankel REACH Fellow with a passion for educational equity research, policy, and teaching.

Chloe received her Bachelor’s Degree in History from the University of Idaho in 2018 and Master’s Degree at Teachers College in 2022. Following her studies in Idaho, she accepted a position as the Education Fellow at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta Georgia. There, Chloe pursued research concerning the contemporary history of public policy and educational equity. While publishing content on notable historical figures and persistent inequity rooted in historic systems, Chloe engages with historical research and the interaction of contemporary American history and political identity.

Chloe’s professional aspiration is to connect public education with evidence-based research that defines historic systemic inequity in order to understand modern political systems, movements, and identity.

John Flora
M.A. 2019

John Flora has worked as p-12 Music Specialist and S.T.E.A.M. educator in the Jersey City Public Schools for fifteen years. Collaboration with organizations like Little Kids Rock, the GRAMMY Museum, and New Jersey Audubon Society are proof of the entrepreneurial spirit he applies to securing greater opportunities and resources for the disadvantaged youth he engages daily.

A lifelong educator in his city of origin, John has become more sensitive to the interplay between politics and education in recent years. His previous graduate-level research focused on the impact of economic development subsidies on local educational funding. His most recent scholarly interests in the Department of Education Policy and Social Analysis explored the centralization of educational opportunities in New Jersey’s county-vocational sector. 

John’s journey to the Politics and Education Program at Teachers College could be summarized as a desire to broaden his theoretical knowledge base in education policy and social analysis. As a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives(NJ-10) in 2020, he plans on combining his academic experiences with his years as a reflective urban practitioner to run a campaign that addresses issues like climate change, campaign finance reform, and universal pre-K.

John holds a M.A in Politics and Education from Teachers College, an M.P.S. in Political Management from the George Washington University, and a B.A. in Music Education from the New Jersey City University. 

Campaign website: www.floraforcongress.com

Ph.D. 2012

Politics and Education Program
Teachers College Columbia University, Ph.D. 2012 

Kenann McKenzie: Inaugural Director, Tufts University's Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, Generous Listening, and Dialogue (GLAD) Center, Medford, MA until 2023 and currently Associate Professor of Practice, Gordon College, where she is also Director for Academic Innovation. Dr. McKenzie also became an elected official in 2021 for her local school committee and was re-elected in 2023.

Dr. McKenzie immigrated to the United States at the age of 7 to New York City and has a multinational, multicultural framework that shapes her approach to education and research. Based on her own childhood experiences, she decided at 12 years old to devote her future life’s work to improving the lives of children and families through education and community wellness.  For the last 25 years, she has worked in the higher education sector as an academic counselor (Georgetown University), researcher, lecturer, policy analyst, administrator, and an elected official.

During the time of her studies at the Politics and Education Program at Teachers College, Kenann assisted with conducting research on school choice with the Georgetown Public Policy Institute/Arkansas University collaboration. Being a student at TC broadened her appreciation for studying issues affecting urban settings and deepened her commitment to issues of social justice. Through courses and experiences, she discovered her deep passion for civic capacity building and community restoration. After several years into the program, her classes and research began to coalesce around these issues. 

While serving as an adjunct during her time as a doctoral student at the Politics and Education program, she knew she needed to learn more about K-12 experiences. She taught research methodology courses as well as a Social Foundations course. She was fascinated by the work done by the teachers she taught in DC. This path led her to Frank W.  Ballou High School in Southeast, Washington DC, where many hard-working educators are galvanizing youth in one of the most economically depressed neighborhoods in the DC Metro area. After working at Ballou for several years, she was presented with an amazing opportunity: a position of Executive Director for the National Board for Education Science at the US Department of Education and was in that role for several years. She has continued in higher ed via Boston University, Tufts and now Gordon. Her professional development journal released in 2023 is entitled: Learning, Listening and Leading: Taking what you learned to the next level.

Kenann has a B.A. in Africana Studies from Cornell University, M.Ed. from the University of Virginia in Social Foundations of Education, and a Ph.D. in Politics and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

She is most proud of being the mother of amazing children who inspire her daily. Learn more on her work and podcast via her website: https://www.theaspiringspirit.com/


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