Course Requirements

Download a print copy of the syllabus

Participation – Attendance in seminars, thoughtful, well-prepared, participation in discussions and listening thoughtfully to your classmates are all expected. You are always welcome to bring in outside reading on the topic area to share with the class. To help prepare your thoughts for class, you will need to turn in 5 Class Memos throughout the semester. These are brief 1 page write-ups including questions, ideas or responses on the day’s reading. Please bring 2 copies of your class memo to class.

A critical part of effectively advocating for an educational policy is fully understanding the opposing perspective. We will hold a number of debates in class, and generally I will assign you a debate position. Be prepared to argue a position that you don’t hold personally, and to give your classmates the benefit of the doubt as they personify less popular positions.

I will take attendance promptly at the beginning of each class. Anyone who arrives after attendance is taken will be considered later. If you are late to class, it is your responsibility to ensure your attendance was recorded. If you are absent from class, it is your responsibility to contact a classmate for notes, instructions, etc. If a serious issue is affecting your punctuality or attendance, you should discuss it with me. Otherwise, please leave me out of the loop.

You can be absent twice with no penalty to your grade. If you miss more than 6 classes, you will likely not pass the course.

Your participation and class memos will account for 20% of your overall grade.

Laptop Policy – To facilitate face-to-face discussion, please do not use a laptop or mobile device in class, unless I specifically asked you to bring one for an in-class writing session, or if you have formally arranged to use one as an accommodation through disability services.

Students with Disabilities – If you require accommodations, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible to make appropriate arrangements. The procedure for registering with Disabilities Services can be found at:

Wesleyan Writing Workshop – I encourage you to make appointments with the Wesleyan Writing Workshop to discuss your research paper; consultants are available for drop-in hours as well. More information is available at

Plagiarism  is a serious offence, and instances of plagiarism will be reported to the dean and will result in a failing grade for the course. We will also be talking in class about how people might plagiarize by accident, and making sure we know how to avoid it!

Additionally, the Wesleyan Handbook prohibits “the submission of the same work for academic credit more than once without permission.” Please talk to me if you think this project might overlap with work in another class.

To learn more about plagiarism and Wesleyan’s honor code, please consult the student handbook:

Required Texts are available on Moodle or via the weblinks below.

Field Trips

There will also be one field trip for this course on Saturday 2.7 for which you should return the Transportation Waiver form to me. Please let me know if you have an unavoidable conflict on 2.7 and I can arrange for you to attend a different school choice event.


Students will be graded using the system described by the Wesleyan University catalog. Final course grades are based on the weighted averages of all assignments. If you have questions or concerns about your grade, please see me.

Class Participation, Final Presentation and 5 Class Memos (20%)

Writing Assignments

Sociology of your education (10%)

Blog post on parent’s experience of school choice (10%)

Research paper prospectus (10%)

Research Paper Introduction (15%)

Research Paper Literature Review (15%)

Research Paper Rough Draft & Final Draft (20%)


Your final grade will be on the following scale

99-100 A+ 80-82 B- 67-69 D+
93-98 A 77-79 C+ 63-66 D
90-92 A- 73-76 C 60-62 D-
87-89 B+ 70-72 C- Below 60 F
83-86 B