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CCVLC Teachers/ Paolo Freire Posters
Digging Deeper: Chapter 4
Policy and Law: Rules that Schools Live By

Further Reading

  • Clive Belfield and Henry Levin’s book, Privatizing Educational Choice: Consequences for Parents, Schools, and Public Policy (Boulder, CO: Paradigm Press, 2005), reviews what research shows about the effects—for communities and children—of policies such as vouchers, tax credits, charter schools, and private contracting. Belfield is associate director of the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, where Professor Henry Levin is director.
  • Pauline Lipman is professor of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has published articles, books, and book chapters on the social context of urban school reform, culturally relevant teaching, and the politics of race and education. Her most recent book is The New Political Economy of Urban Education: Neoliberalism, Race, and the Right to the City (New York: Routledge, 2011).
  • Richard Kahlenberg is a Senior Fellow at The Century Foundation, where he writes about education, equal opportunity, and civil rights. He has edited books that include Can Separate Be Equal? The Overlooked Flaw at the Center of No Child Left Behind (2005); Public School Choice vs. Private School Vouchers (2003); and A Notion at Risk: Preserving Public Education as an Engine for Social Mobility (2000).
  • In the past few years, dozens of books have been published examining No Child Left Behind from a variety of perspectives. Teachers may find the following particularly interesting and relevant to how schools and classrooms have been affected by the new law: Deborah Meier and George Wood’s Many Children Left Behind: How the No Child Left Behind Act Is Damaging Our Children and Our Schools (Boston: Beacon Press, 2004) details the progressive critique. No Child Left Behind?: The Politics and Practice of School Accountability, edited by Paul E. Peterson and Martin R. West (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2003) provides the conservative arguments supporting the law.
  • Diane Ravitch (also mentioned in Digging Deeper Chapter 2) is an educational historian and research professor at New York University. She has written many books, including Left Back: A Century of Battles Over School Reform (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001). Her most recent book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education (New York: Basic Books, 2010) chronicles a significant shift in her thinking about effective education policy. You can also read Ravitch’s thoughts on current educational issues on her blog.
  • Patricia Gándara, professor and co-director of the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA, has written extensively about educational equity for racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse students. Two of her recent books are Forbidden Language: English Learners and Restrictive Language Policies (New York: Teachers College Press, 2010), edited with Megan Hopkins and The Latino Education Crisis: The Consequences of Failed Social Policy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009), written with Frances Contreras.
  • Helen Ladd’s 2002 book, Market Based Reforms in Urban Education, may be especially interesting for teachers wanting to understand the arguments and evidence both for and against a plethora of educational “choice” policies.

Organizations and/or Websites to Follow

  • Again, the Kappan, a monthly journal published by Phi Delta Kappa, an educational association, provides short readable articles on current education issues.
  • Also, again, Education Week, American education’s newspaper of record, and Teacher Magazine cover local, state, and national news and issues from preschool through the twelfth grade. And in addition to the weekly paper, Education Week also publishes annual Quality Counts reports on the status of education policy in the 50 states.
  • The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) conducts research and publishes books on the connections between education policy and economics. EPI’s education reports on such topics as teacher policies, class size, early childhood education policy, charter schools, the connections among schooling and social policies in employment, housing, and health can be found online.
  • The U.S. Department of Education’s official website provides information about federal education policies. Every state and individual school districts also have websites with information about state and local education policies.
  • Findlaw, a website for legal professionals, has a page with a list of websites of groups and resources related to education law.
  • UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education and Access (IDEA) hosts a website that provides up-to-date information and resources about policies as they relate to educational inequality in California. The website also offers information about grassroots and advocacy groups working to make schools more equitable. Interested readers can subscribe to Daily News Roundup, which compiles the major education policy news stories each day and sends them to subscribers by e-mail.
  • The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado, Boulder, produces and reviews educational research. Written by experts in the field, NEPC's policy, legislative, and research briefs summarize and synthesize research findings in non-technical language. Recent publications that may be of particular interest to teachers include Getting Teacher Assessment Right: What Policymakers Can Learn From Research (2010), Discipline Policies, Successful Schools, and Racial Justice (2011), and Missing the Target? The Parent Trigger as a Strategy for Parental Engagement and School Reform (2012).

Resources for Teaching

  • PBS’s Frontline provides various online resources for educators teaching students about government and public policy. The lessons and activities do not focus on education policy specfically but cover a range of topics related to government and public policy in general.
  • Rethinking Schools publishes a newspaper regularly, books occasionally, and other materials for teachers; many of these offer critical analyses of current educational policies and policy-pertinent issues, as well as ideas and materials for engaging youth in critical conversations about contemporary issues affecting their education. Begun by a group of Milwaukee-area teachers who wanted to help shape education policy and reform, Rethinking Schools has become a resource for readers nation-wide—a resource that reflects its commitment to equity and its vision of public education as central to a humane, caring, multiracial democracy.


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