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Education Policy and Social Analysis
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Education Policy and Social Analysis

News from EPSA

Travis Bristol, Ph.D. 2014 in Education Policy featured in the Washington Post article

Black Male Teachers: There aren't enough of them by Valerie Strauss, was published in the Washington Post on April 28 in the Answer Sheet section. Published: 4/29/2015 4:54:00 PM

EPSA Announces the Winners of 2015-2016 Education Policy Dissertation Research Fellowships

EPSA department congratulates all the winners. Published: 4/27/2015 3:50:00 PM

Basil Smikle, Ph.D. in P&E, the new executive director of the NYS Democratic Party

On April 9, former New York State Governor David Paterson, the chairman of the NYS Democratic Party, announced that Basil Smikle Jr. would become the new executive director of the party. Published: 4/17/2015 1:24:00 PM

Aaron Pallas Quoted in Articles on the Future of Teacher Evaluations in NY State

Professor Aaron Pallas was quoted in articles in Chalkbeat and NYC Lens about the handling of teachers' evaluations in the just-passed NY State budget. Published: 4/8/2015 4:24:00 PM

Aaron Pallas on Chancellor Tisch's Empty Rhetoric on 'Opting Out'

In an article he wrote for The Hechinger Report, an independent news website based at TC, Professor Aaron Pallas challenged NYS Board of Regents Chancellor Meryl Tisch's assertion that opting out of testing is a "terrible mistake." Published: 4/8/2015 4:15:00 PM

EPSA Alumni Terrenda White and Travis Bristol Featured in Education Week

An Education Week article on "The Teachers of Color Disappearance Crisis" featured responses from 2014 alumni Travis Bristol (PhD, Education Policy) and Terrenda White (PhD, Sociology & Education). Published: 4/2/2015 4:12:00 PM

Luis Huerta on Houston Public Radio: "Vouchers Don't Always Increase Access"

Luis Huerta, Associate Professor of Education and Public Policy, is quoted in a Houston Public Media radio story about school voucher proposals in Texas. Huerta, who has researched vouchers and charter schools, says that vouchers, which would make state allocations for public school portable to private institutions, don't always lead to greater access to private schools."Private organizations, specifically private schools, have the ability to choose whomever they want to enter into those schools," he said.Huerta debunked another claim about vouchers -'" that students perform better in private schools. In fact, he said research indicates that after students transfer to a private school, they often perform about the same as their peers back in public school -'" or even worse. And it's impossible to hold private schools accountable for students' education, even if they receive public dollars.He's planning to testify at a Texas Senate senate hearing Thursday. Published: 3/27/2015 12:26:00 PM

Basil Smikle's "Solving Minority Underrepresentation in STEM Careers." The Hill, March 6, 2015

Basil Smikle, a Ph.D. candidate in the Politics & Education Program and a contributor to The Hill, a US political website, gives an overview of the recent history and also the current representation of women and minorities in STEM careers. Published: 3/6/2015 11:57:00 AM

Basil Smikle, P&E Ph.D. student, in the NYT, April 18

The Room for Debate section of the New York Times.

Too Concerned With Re-election to Compromise

Basil Smikle is a political strategist and an adjunct professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.

APRIL 18, 2013

President Obama’s rare public display of exasperation and animus after the defeat of bipartisan gun control in the Senate was unmistakable. He could only bemoan the handful of senators -- four of them Democrats -- derailing the hopes of 90 percent of America. Sadly, there are many reasons for the derailment of the gun bills, at the local level and by our legislative process.

The founding fathers were concerned about excessive and direct democracy and favored representative government, which proscribes simple majority influence on policy issues. Our Constitution and subsequent laws governing legislative processes have at times expanded or curtailed the influence of the legislative power. But even in a revered body like the Senate, the arcane rules -- like the filibuster -- undermine majority preferences instead of acquiescing to them.

Closer to home, the hard truth is that many legislators are concerned with re-election rather than building consensus around issues that preoccupy their constituents. Their election imperatives are fueled by the will of a few active voters and powerful interest groups.

Despite the trends that should indicate the opposite, research shows that political participation is declining in this country. Loopholes in campaign finance laws and the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United have encouraged organizations to infuse vulgar amounts of money and resources into campaigns. Unless we prevent senators from hiding behind parliamentary procedure and make them more responsive to the population, ordinary Americans will lose participatory power and suffer under the tyranny of the minority.
 

 

(4/18/2013)

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