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TC to Launch Ed Policy and Social Analysis Department at Feb. 8 Symposium



To launch TC’s new Education Policy and Social Analysis Department, policy experts Christopher T. Cross, Jack F. Jennings and Wendy Puriefoy will be at Teachers College for a lively and important discussion about education reform in the United States

The past ten years have seen remarkable ferment in the area of educational reform, with repercussions for states, local public school districts, and private schools. But where are we heading next? On the one hand, things currently seem to be in a holding pattern, with Congress unable to see its way through either to the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act or uncertainties surrounding the next presidential election. At the same time, this holding pattern coexists with a sense of volatility. The loose bipartisan coalition that has steered national education policy along a fairly steady course through Republican and Democratic administrations alike may be unraveling. At this Teachers College symposium on education policy, panelists will look beyond the 2012 election and explore the prospects of national education reform under various scenarios.

WHAT: Education policy symposium to launch Teachers College’s Educational Policy and Social Analysis Department

WHEN: Wednesday, February 8, 6:00 p.m.

WHERE: Milbank Chapel, Teachers College, Columbia University, Corner of West 120th Street and Broadway, New York City

SPEAKERS: Christopher T. Cross is chairman of Cross & Joftus, LLC, an education-policy consulting firm. He is a Senior Fellow with the Hunt Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy; a board member of The New Teacher Project and the National Center on Time and Learning; and a trustee of Whittier College. His book on the evolution of federal education policy, Political Education: National Policy Comes of Age, was published in 2004 by Teachers College Press. An updated edition was released in August 2010.

Jack (John F.) Jennings founded the Center on Education Policy in January 1995. As a former subcommittee staff director and general counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Education and Labor, he was involved in nearly every major national education debate, including the reauthorizations of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Vocational Education Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Higher Education Act, and the National School Lunch Act. Jennings wrote book on the politics of national education standards, edited four volumes on federal education policy, and writes a blog.

Wendy D. Puriefoy has been the President of the Public Education Network, a national association of local funds and individuals working to advance reform of public education in low-income communities across the country, since its founding in 1991. She has been deeply involved in school reform since the 1970’s, when she served as a special monitor of the court-ordered desegregation plan for Boston’s public schools. She is a former executive vice president and chief operating officer of The Boston Foundation and board member of numerous high-profile, national organizations.

Susan H. Fuhrman, President of Teachers College, will welcome the group. Jeffrey P. Henig, Professor of Political Science and Education at Teachers College, will moderate.



This symposium inaugurates the recently created Education Policy and Social Analysis (EPSA) Department at Teachers College, Columbia University. The new department is composed of academics who combine knowledge and research expertise in education policy, sociology, economics and politics, to study and teach about education. The EPSA faculty and courses focus on how governments, markets, and societal conditions shape schooling.


The department houses separate programs in Economics and Education, Politics and Education, and Sociology and Education, as well as a notable group of legal scholars. It also offers graduate degrees through 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.

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