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.
This course uses a backward-mapping approach to examine how federal, state, and local education policies affect the learning environments of schools and classrooms, teacher quality and pedagogy, and ultimately student learning in schools. We review important milestones in instructional policy in the United States and consider their impact on educational equity. 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 in schools and districts.
This multidisciplinary survey course explores significant recent developments in public and private higher-education law, policy, and practice. Designed for practicing and aspiring higher-education administrators, policy analysts, advocates, and researchers, it covers many issues that are now the subject of spirited, polarized national debates in the U.S., including access to higher education; student and faculty free speech and academic freedom; DACA, immigration and English learners; using race, ethnicity and gender to promote diversity; HBCUs and single-sex education; and harassment, cyber-bullying, and discrimination based on race, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability. Other topics include aspects of safety and order: institutional authority to regulate on- and off-campus student and staff misconduct; tort liability (for suicide, hazing, drug and alcohol abuse); search and seizure; and due process. Current administrators at Columbia and other universities are welcome.
This course 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 including community colleges and private higher education, tuition and student financial aid, affirmative action, higher education finance, and quality assurance and performance accountability. 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.
The course will provide students an overview of the concept of comprehensive educational opportunity, which seeks to provide meaningful educational opportunities for children from poverty backgrounds 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; the current attempts of large-scale "collective impact" initiatives to deal with these issues, and the economic, political, administrative, educational, and legal issues that must be considered to advance this concept on a large scale.
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.
What are the various stages of the policy process, from the recognition of certain problems as public issues to the adoption of policies to address those problems and the implementation and evaluation of those policies? This course touches on all these stages but focuses on policy origins: problem recognition and agenda setting, consideration of possible policy solutions, and policy adoption. The course examines policy origins through the lenses of various theoretical perspectives drawn from political science, sociology, economics, and law, including policy entrepreneurship theory, the advocacy coalition framework, punctuated equilibrium theory, diffusion theory, institutional theory, and the theory of the state. These perspectives are grounded by looking at the origins of particular policies concerning early childhood, K-12, and higher education.
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.
This course is an introduction to understanding, designing, and writing about empirical research in education. We will explore the philosophical foundations of the positivist, interpretive, and critical knowledge paradigms for research and the relationship between theory and evidence in research. Students will learn about different genres of research and will explore strategies for sampling, data collection, and analysis in quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research. The final project will be a literature review of research on a topic of interest to the student. The course will help students make choices for the kind of research they want to pursue; it will also help students be able to synthesize and write about published bodies of research.
This multidisciplinary survey course explores significant recent developments in K-12 public and private education law, policy, and practice. It covers many issues that are now the focus of polarized national debates. The class will include students from Teachers College, Columbia Law School, and other Columbia University graduate schools. public- and private-school practitioners, current and aspiring, are welcome, as are policy analysts, researchers, and policy makers. Topics include limits on public regulation and funding of private schools; charter schools and voucher programs; religious conflicts in public schools over public funding, prayer, and curriculum; and free-speech rights of students and teachers. The course will also focus on school safety: bullying and cyberbullying; child abuse; the schools’ authority to make and enforce rules governing on- and off-campus student and staff misconduct, including drug/alcohol abuse, hazing, and sexual misconduct; tort liability; and educational malpractice; search & seizure/drug testing; racially disproportionate school discipline; the school-to-prison pipeline; and due process rights of students and staff. The course will be multidisciplinary, drawing on sources in law, social science, policy, and education practice. We will consider how to avoid unnecessary litigation and, equally important, how to use the law to advance important educational values and objectives.
Although historically, America’s public school system was established primarily to prepare young people to become citizens capable of maintaining a democratic society, in recent decades, most schools have done a poor job of preparing students for effective civic participation. This course will consider the reasons for the decline in the schools’ traditional civic preparation role, and how schools can prepare students to be effective civic participants in the 21st century. Based on the instructor’s belief that civic preparation will not actually become a priority of American schools unless the courts declare that students have a constitutional right to an adequate education for capable citizenship, the course will also will examine the legal and policy justifications for the courts' role in reforming public education institutions, briefly consider the history of judicial intervention in other areas of educational policy like desegregation, bilingual education and fiscal equity reform and then closely analyze Cook v. Raimondo, a pending federal case that seeks to establish such a federal right, and in which the instructor is lead counsel for the plaintiffs.
The purpose of the Federal Policy Institute is to examine three themes: the enduring values of American education, contemporary issues in national school reform efforts, and the role of the federal government. During a week-long program in Washington, students will have the opportunity to identify a policy issue of personal interest and to explore that issue with the nation's senior policymakers. Introductory and concluding sessions meet at the College.
For master's students wishing to pursue independent study and/or research on topics not covered in regular courses. Requires faculty member's approval of a study plan, reading list, and final paper or other products or projects. Permission required from individual faculty.
This is an intermediate‑level course in non‑experimental quantitative research methods, especially those related to education policy. The class examines such topics as residual analysis, modeling non‑linear relationships and interactions using regression, logistic regression, missing data analyses, multilevel models, and principal components analysis. Prerequisite: Students should have completed at least one graduate‑level course in applied statistics or data analysis (e.g., EDPA 4002) and have experience with Stata software.
This course will explore the role of the courts in dealing with issues of equity and education beginning with Brown v. Board of Education. Topics will include school desegregation, gender equity, fiscal equity and educational adequacy, rights of English Learners and of students with disabilities, testing, and school discipline. The course will consider the role of the courts in educational policy-making and the impact of judicial intervention on school culture and educational practices. We will also analyze the meaning of “equal educational opportunity,” and "equity" in the contemporary context and confront such questions as: how deeply rooted are racism and inequity in school systems, to what extent can racism and inequities be eliminated or ameliorated in school systems if they persist in society at large, and to what extent can anti-racist curricula make a difference within systems that are structurally inequitable??
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, student outreach programs such as GEAR UP, state Common Core curriculum standards, and guided student pathways through college. 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.
The purpose of this course is to help students learn more about the techniques of policy analysis --identifying a public problem, researching solutions to the problem, weighing costs and benefits of various alternatives, and developing a policy recommendation aimed at addressing the problem. The emphasis is on how policy analysts think and do, rather than the study of the policy process in general. The course is organized to help students understand and become more informed about the nature of education policy in the United States.
This advanced master's course addresses a key issue in evaluating education programs and policies: determining whether a policy causes an impact on student trajectories that would not have occurred in absence of the policy. The course will cover experimental and quasi-experimental techniques used to attribute causal relationships between educational programs and student outcomes. Students will become sophisticated consumers of quantitative educational research and will practice statistical techniques in problems sets. There will be an exam and a final project. Prerequisites: Successful completion of 4002 and 5002 or equivalent and familiarity with the Stata statistical software package. No prior exposure to causal inference methods is expected.
This course looks at early childhood education policy through an international lens, addressing often neglected—but highly salient—policy questions, including: 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? Based on readings and discussions of these issues, students will demonstrate their understanding of the role of policy in shaping early childhood education in a given country though the final paper, a situation analysis. Building on sequenced assignments, this paper will provide the platform for students to use policy tools and make recommendations for concrete early childhood policy improvements.
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.
(Required for all Education Policy program students and restricted to Education Policy students) This course is the introductory seminar for all students enrolled in degree programs in Education Policy. It provides an overview of the education policy system and history of landmark education policies in the United States, an introduction to the tools and approaches of policy research and analysis, an introduction to the intellectual disciplines that contribute foundational perspectives for policy research (especially sociology, economics, history, politics, and legal studies), and exploration of selected current topics in education policy, especially those pertaining to opportunity and equity.
For doctoral students wishing to pursue independent study or original research as they prepare for their doctoral certification examination and/or dissertation proposal. Permission required from individual faculty.
Individual advisement on the doctoral dissertation, via ongoing consultation between the student and dissertation sponsor. Ph.D. students who have passed the certification exam and are not enrolled in other courses must register for dissertation advisement each term until they finish their dissertation. The fee equals three points at the current tuition rate for each term. Permission required from individual faculty.