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Deconstructing the Wall: A Critical Examination of Current Issues in Education

Semester and Year FA 2016
Course Number IDSEM-UG1888
Section 001
Instructor Benjamin Brooks
Days MW
Time 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   SOC



This course will explore foundational philosophies of education and theories of learning to develop a vocabulary by which we can examine current controversies and debates about education in both K-12 and higher education. We will begin with core texts addressing the purpose of education in a democratic society, then analyze education sociologically, through questions like: Does education reproduce class divisions or enable social mobility? And more broadly, does education simply reproduce dominant social norms or does it enable social change? We will then engage modern texts drawing heavily from critical pedagogists, to examine contemporary issues in education, including the corporatization of schooling, the charter school movement, the relationship between poverty and educational access, the recently passed  Every Student Succeeds Act  and the use of high stakes testing, freedom of expression and diversity on college campuses, the impact of technology on learning, and the concept of school safety in its many forms. In turn, students will be able reflect on and critically engage their own educations and academic choices, while seeing the politics involved in determining the goals of education, what students are required to learn, and how the resources for learning are defined and distributed. Readings for this course may include Dewey,  Experience and Education ; Freire,  Pedagogy of the Oppressed ; hooks,  Teaching to Transgress ; Kozol,  The Shame of the Nation;  and Spring,  The American School ; as well as work by Apple, Bok, Darling-Hammonds, Durkheim, Giroux, Noddings, Tatum, and Weber.


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)