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Education Policy
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Education Policy

In the Department of Education Policy and Social Analysis

Course Listing > Welcome

Course Listing

Department Courses:

Please check the Class Schedule or contact the department for specific course availability for each semester:

EDPA 4002 Data analysis for policy and decision making I
This is an introductory course in quantitative research methods that focus on non-experimental designs and the analysis of large-scale longitudinal datasets, especially those related to education policy. Students become familiar with the logic of inferential statistics and the application of basic analytic techniques. No prior knowledge of statistics or quantitative methods is required.

EDPA 4013 Education Policy and the Management of Instruction
This course explores current ideas about desirable goals for student learning and development in K-12 education and will use a backward-mapping approach to consider how curriculum and instruction; classroom and school environments; organizational strategies; leadership practices; and local, state, and federal education policies can facilitate progress towards those goals. The course is intended to help students develop and articulate ambitious theories of action for school improvement and the management of instruction that can be useful in their work as education policy makers or analysts, academic researchers, and practitioners.

EDPA 4017 Topics in Higher Education Law
This course, designed for policy students, higher-education students, and practicing administrators, draws on multi-disciplinary sources to explore legal and law-related issues that arise in public and private postsecondary institutions in the U.S. Broad topics include free speech and academic freedom; safety and order; and the role of law in promoting educational equity. Specific topics include legal attributes of public and private postsecondary institutions; faculty free speech, academic freedom, and tenure; student rights of free speech and association; the catalog as contract; safety and order: institutional authority to regulate on- and off-campus student and staff behavior, tort liability (for suicide, hazing, drug and alcohol abuse), harassment and cyber-bullying, search and seizure, and due process; promoting educational equality: discrimination past and present, access to higher education, HBCUs and single-sex education, using race/ethnicity and gender to promote diversity, serving English-language learners and immigrant students, the needs and rights of individuals with disabilities.

EDPA 4025 Higher education policy
This course is provides an introduction to major policy enactments in higher education both in the United States and abroad. The policies reviewed include provision of different types of colleges, private higher education, tuition and student financial aid, affirmative action, quality assurance and performance accountability, and curricular and degree standardization (Bologna process). The course examines the forms, political origins, implementation, and impacts of these policies. The aim is to help students develop a broad and deep understanding of the main directions of - but also limitations to - higher educational policymaking in the United States and abroad.

EDPA 4033 Comprehensive Educational Opportunity
The course will provide students an overview of the concept of comprehensive educational opportunity and will analyze the feasibility of its implementation. Topics will include the impact of poverty on children's opportunities to succeed in school, the role of early childhood learning, out of school time, health factors, and family and community support on school success; the history of past attempts to overcome socioeconomic disadvantages; and the economic, political, administrative, educational, and legal issues that must be considered to advance this concept on a large scale.

EDPA 4042 The role of the state in education governance, policy and practice
The impact of state authority on local schools and school districts, seen through case studies of contemporary educational issues. Roles, relationships, trends, and the political context of policy making at the state level.

EDPA 4046 School Finance: Policy and Practice
Examination of the judicial and legislative involvement in school finance reform, taxation, and the equity and efficiency of local, state, and federal finance policies and systems.

EDPA 4047 Politics and Public Policy
What are the relative roles of research and politics in determining public policy? One tradition considers public policy from the perspective of rational decision-making and considers research to be a source of objective enlightenment. A second tradition considers public policy as the outcome of battles among organized interests and portrays research as a weapon exploited by the powerful to further their own ends. This course addresses these and other issues as they relate to each of the stages in the policy process and as manifested in contemporary education policy debates such as that around school choice.

EDPA 4048 Education Policy Analysis and Implementation
Explores the issues of policy (or reform) implementation in schools and districts by focusing on the political reactions and organizational buffers to policy change and the ways that policies become adapted and changed to fit locally defined problems. Distinctions between implementation issues in bottom-up and top-down policy change are explored.

EDPA 4050 The logic and design of research in education policy and social analysis
An introduction to understanding, designing, and conducting empirical research for educational policy and the social sciences. Students explore philosophical foundations of research, the relationship between theory and evidence in research, and the mechanics of designing and conducting research, including strategies for sampling, data collection, and analysis. Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods approaches to research are addressed. This course is appropriate for students with little prior exposure to social science research.

EDPA 4086 Law and education: Regulation, religion, free speech, and safety
This survey course focuses on legal issues that arise in public and private schools. Topics include governmental regulation of public and private schools; church-state issues (prayer, vouchers, evolution); free-speech rights of students, teachers, and extracurricular groups; who controls the curriculum; the school's authority to make and enforce rules governing student and staff conduct on and off school grounds; the duty to protect the safety of students and others; child abuse; search and seizure; and due process. The course draws on the multidisciplinary perspectives of law, policy, research, and educational practice.

EDPA 4899 Federal Policy Institute
The Federal Policy Institute (FPI) is designed to give students a first-hand opportunity to meet with key policy leaders around the most crucial, contemporary policy issues. Key themes will include the enduring values of American education and how they shape current policy; current issues in national educational reform; and the role of the federal government in shaping educational policy.

EDPA 5002 Data Analysis for policy and decision making II
This is an intermediate-level course in non-experimental quantitative research methods, especially those related to education policy. The class examines such topics as factor analysis, modeling non-linear relationships and interactions using regression, analyses of change, logistic and multinomial logistic regression, missing data analyses, and fixed effects models. Prerequisite: students should have completed at least one graduate-level course in applied statistics or data analysis (e.g., ORLA 4002).

EDPA 5012 The social context of education reform: Public engagement and community development
Schools are embedded in a social context comprised of individuals and institutions, as educators interact with parents, community leaders, religious organizations, social service agencies, local businesses, and other governmental units. This course explores how schools can develop and strengthen relationships between schools and their publics, for the mutual benefit of students, schools, families, and communities.

EDPA 5016 Educational equality: Role of Law
Historically, many barriers to educational equality - and many important efforts to overcome such barriers - have involved the law. This course examines major efforts to use law to attack discrimination and to ensure high-quality education for all children. Topics include: addressing racial segregation and concentrated poverty; the standards movement and high-stakes testing; the right to an adequate education; sex and gender discrimination; harassment; services for English-language learners; special education; and affirmative action. The course draws on the multidisciplinary perspectives of law, policy, research, and educational practice.

EDPA 5023 Policymaking for effective high school to college transition
The course examines policymaking efforts by the federal and state governments to facilitate the movement of students from high school to college and their effective preparation to meet college requirements. The policies reviewed include student financial aid, the TRIO and GEAR UP programs, state common core curriculum standards, accelerated learning programs, and state longitudinal data systems. The course examines the content of these policies, their political origins and implementation, and their impacts. The aim is to help students develop a broad and deep understanding of the main directions of - but also limitations to - national and state policymaking with respect to high school to college transition.

EDPA 5086 The role of courts in education reform
Beginning with the school desegregation decrees issued by the federal courts in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education, the federal and state courts have been called upon to consider a range of asserted educational rights and to oversee far-reaching institutional reforms that bear little relationship to traditional judicial remedies. This course will examine the legal and political justifications for the courts' role in making educational policy and reforming public institutions, as well as the courts' capacity to undertake these functions. The course will give particular attention to school desegregation and special education cases in the federal courts and education adequacy litigations in the state courts, including the recent decisions of the New York State Court of Appeals in CFE v. State of New York.

EDPA 5515 Master's seminar in leadership, policy, and politics
This seminar is designed to give students the opportunity to demonstrate a theoretical and analytical understanding of the practical problems inherent in conducting policy research for education clients. Policy analysis requires its practitioners to evaluate available information, to weigh the possible impacts of alternative policies; to understand political, legal, and/or economic ramifications; and to produce plans for action that are organizationally feasible and publicly valuable.

EDPA 5541 Federal politics, federal policies, and administrators
The course will begin with a theoretical discussion of the meaning of "equal educational opportunity" from a variety of philosophical, economic, educational, and political perspectives. We will then review the egalitarian concepts reflected in Congressional statutes, administrative regulations, and court decrees in such areas as school desegregation, bilingual education, and special education and the extent to which these legal mandates have, in practice, advanced educational opportunity.

EDPA 5880 School Law Institute
Explore important, timely issues of education law, including issues of race and poverty in education; serving English-language learners; the legal rights of students with disabilities; the right to an adequate education; and issues of safety and order (harassment, child abuse, tort liability, search and seizure, and cyber-bullying). For more information, see page 200, visit schoollaw, and/or contact Professor Jay Heubert at

EDPA 6023 Early Child Development & Education: Integrating Research & Policy Perspectives
This is the first section of a two-semester course with students participating in both semesters. The first semester will focus on diverse perspectives framing the field and in so doing will present the most critical issues that require policy attention. Building on this background, the second semester will address steps that have been taken to ameliorate these issues, focusing heavily on research. By design, then, the first semester will present an array of issues and perspectives in order to provide the conceptual foundation for an exploration of salient strategies to address them in the second semester. By looking at early childhood development and learning from this stance, students will not only be exposed to diverse ideas about the content, but will also be armed to address pressing challenges the field faces with them all in mind.

EDPA 6027 International Perspectives on Early Childhood Policy
Looks at early childhood education policy through an international lens, addressing often neglected but highly salient policy questions, including the following: What have been the real effects of the Millennium Development Goals and the Education for All goals on education systems in general, and on early childhood education in particular? How have poverty, gender, and the needs of marginalized populations/cultures shaped early childhood policy in diverse countries? What are the unique policy properties that must be considered when developing policies for young children and their families? To what extent do the policy contexts of nations differ and how do these differences impact early childhood policies directly? To what extent can lessons learned in one context be faithfully transported across national boundaries?

EDPA 6030 Institutional Theory: Sociological Perspectives on Institutional Change in Education
An introduction to organizational theory as it applies to a variety of institutions with particular attention to the potential of educational activities as a force in formal organizations.

EDPA 6540 Topics in urban education policy
Leadership responsibility in the formulation, implementation, and assessment of urban education policy.

EDPA 6542 Education Policy Foundations Seminar
Over the past century, educators have experienced wave after wave of reforms intended to address the latest education "crisis." This perpetual cycle of school improvement stems in part from the competing and often contradictory demands placed upon public education. In response, school improvement efforts have alternated between a focus on equity and excellence, progressive and traditional pedagogical approaches, centralized and decentralized governance, and private rights versus public needs. Students in this course will explore the social and political roots of these pendulum swings and examine the historical forces that fuel America's desire for continual school reform. Issues of race, religion, class, and language - which are intimately tied to these tensions - are woven into the readings, discussions, and coursework. Permission of the instructor is required.