This seminar is designed to make students educated consumers of a variety of education policy debates. This seminar focuses on the socio-political contexts in which public policy is developed. This course will focus examine whether and how legislative policies and judicial decisions contribute to school improvement and student performance. In addition, this seminar examines who makes policy for education, how contending policy agendas are negotiated and what broader forces are in play in policy processes. These questions will be explored by analyzing selected contemporary policy issues confronting education in the United States. The course also emphasizes educational politics and policymaking in the U.S. at the federal, state, and local levels. The purpose of the course is to provide students with an understanding of the forces that shape educational policy. The course covers issues related to education policy in early childhood, elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education. To accomplish this agenda, students will examine issues central to education policy: What is policy? Who makes it? What tools do they use? How is policy important to education? How do issues arise? How do citizens gain access to the policy process? What factors facilitate or constrain policy choices? What happens after a policy is adopted? How do we know whether policy has an effect, intended or otherwise? Students will read about these issues in general and explore them in particular cases.