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Week 1 Introduction

Th 1.22 Introduction & writing the Sociology of your education

Week 2 Teachers and Racial Diversity

Tu 1.27   Teach for America

Kopp, Wendy. 2001. One day, all children: The unlikely triumph of Teach for America and what I learned along the way: PublicAffairs Store, Ch 1-2, p. 3-34.

Blanchard, Olivia “Why I Quit Teach for America” The Atlantic,

Katie Osgood “An Open Letter to Teach for America Recruits At the Chalk Face Blog, 

** Assignment 1 Due in class, Personal Statement: Sociology of your education

Week 3 School Choice

Tu 2.3 School Segregation/Word Press Tutorial

Hannah-Jones, Nikole “School Segregation: The Continuing Tragedy of Ferguson” Propublica

Wells, Amy Stuart, J.J. Holme, Anita Tijerina Revilla, and Awo Korantemaa Atanda. 2009. “Ch 6: Why it was worth it” Both sides now : the story of school desegregation’s graduates. Berkeley: University of California Press. P. 199-235

Class memo #1: List SEVEN Debate talking points: “The school lines that advantage some and deprive others must be toppled.”

Th 2.5  School Choice Theory BRING LAPTOPS TO CLASS

Hoxby, Caroline Minter. 2003. “School Choice and School Productivity. Could School Choice be a tide that lifts all boats?” Pp. 287-342 in The Economics of School Choice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Orfield, Gary 2012 “Introduction: Choice and Civil Rights” in Orfield and Frankenberg eds. Educational Delusions?: Why Choice Can Deepen Inequality and How to Make Schools Fair. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. p. 3-36

Diane Ravitch. 2010. “Choice The Story of an Idea” The Death and Life of the American School System Ch7, 113-147. New York: Basic Books.

Class Memo #2: List SEVEN Debate talking points: School Choice makes schools better and gives parents better options

In class:  Use the following school choice resources depending on your group’s parent profile

Sat 2.7    FIELD TRIP: Attend RSCO School Choice fair, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. (Snow Date: Feb. 14, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.) Conard High School, 110 Beechwood Road, West Hartford

Week 4 School Choice in Hartford

Tu 2.10   School Choice in Hartford & New Haven

Dougherty, Jack. 2015. “Investigating Spatial Inequality with the Cities, Suburbs and Schools Project”

*Recommended reading if you want to learn more about the Sheff case

Eaton, Susan. 2008. The children in Room E4: American education on trial. New York: Algonquin Books

Class Memo #3

Th 2.12  Limitations of Hartford’s choice system

Debs, Mira “Marketing Schools in Hartford”

In class speaker: Robert Cotto, Hartford Board of Education and Trinity College Researcher

Assignment 1: Blog Post due posted on class website Thursday 9 pm

Week 5 Selecting a research paper topic

Tu 2.17 Student Examples

Rioual, Brigit. 2014. “The Study of Choice: Looking at Parent Surveys and Putting Them into Perspective” Trintity College Educational Studies

One additional student paper YOUR CHOICE! from Trinity’s Education 300 course focusing on Historical Change in Education Policy

Class Memo #4: Two positive comments and two criticisms about each student paper & Practicing Plagiarism Exercise

Th 2.19  Research Prospectus Class Brainstorming

1. Find 2 sources that interest you about your research topic, work on narrowing your topic down to 1 workable question.

2. Read through Formulating a sociological research question –

Week 6 

Tu 2.24  Preparing a prospectus

Read Yale Sociology student example  Benjamin M. Robbins 2013 “People Like Us Don’t Go There”: Local Culture and College Aspirations in Rural Nebraska” Yale Journal of Sociology.  New Haven, CT: Yale University: 98-129.

Write down two positive comments and two criticisms about each student paper

** Assignment 3: 1 pg Research Prospectus due Weds 2.25, 5 pm

Th 2.26  Individual Research Meetings #1, No class

Week 7

Tu 3.3    Individual Research Meetings #1, No class

Assignment 4: Introduction due Weds 5 pm

Th 3.5    Peer Critique Workshop on Introduction/Workshop: Finding Evidence for your research paper: ELSI, CT ED Data, etc.

Read and comment on 2 classmates’ Introductions


Week 8 ‘No Excuses Charter Schools’

Tu 3.24  The promise of Charter Schools

Finn Jr, Chester E, Bruno V Manno and Gregg Vanourek. 2001. “Epilogue” from Charter Schools in Action: Renewing Public Education. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. p. 248-264. Wesleyan E-book (access via library)

Raymond, Margaret E. 2014. “To No Avail: A Critical Look at the Charter School Debate.” Phi Delta Kappan 95(5):8-12.

Kahlenberg, Richard and Halley Potter. 2014. A Smarter Charter: Finding what works for charters in public education. New York: Teachers College Press: Introduction p. 1-5, Ch 3.

Bring written comments on classmates’ introductions.

Th 3.26  Charter Schools, Segregation and Disciplinary Culture/ Discussing the Literature Review

Golann, Joanne W. 2015. “The Paradox of Success at a No-Excuses School.” Sociology of Education 20(10):1-17.

Hadi-Tabassum, 2015.  “Why do some schools feel like prisons?” Education Week.

Kahlenberg, Richard and Halley Potter. 2014. A Smarter Charter: Finding what works for charters in public education. New York: Teachers College Press: Ch 4.

Class Memo #5: List SEVEN Debate talking points for: Charter Schools are saving public education.

Week 9

Tu 3.31 Reading TBD based on student research topics/Methodology Paragraph

Th 4.2  Gentrification and Schools

Edelberg, Jacqueline and Susan Kurland. 2009 How to walk to school: Blueprint for a neighborhood school Renaissance. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. p. 151-170

Cucchiara, M. 2008. “Re-Branding Urban Schools: Urban Revitalization, Social Status, and Marketing Public Schools to the Upper Middle Class.” Journal of Education Policy 23(2):165-79.

** Literature review due Thursday 9 pm

Week 10

Tu 4.7    Peer Critique Workshops on Literature Review

Read and comment on 2 classmates’ lit reviews

Th 4.9   High Stakes Testing/Writing about Data

Common Core State Standards Frequently Asked Questions. 2010.  Washington DC: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010. Retrieved April 6, 2015 (

Brown, Emma.  2015.  “Civil rights groups back standardized testing in No Child Left Behind rewrite” Washington Post, January 12.  Retrieved April 6, 2015 (

Harris, Elizabeth, 2015 “As Common Core Testing is Ushered In, Parents and Students Opt Out.” New York Times, March 1.  Retrieved April 6, 2015 (

Strauss, Valerie.  2015 “Test-weary second-grader asks school board: ‘Is that all that matters to grown-ups?’” Washington Post, January 17.  Retrieved April 6, 2015 (

Strauss, Valerie.  2015 ” Live with Kelly and Michael’ Top Teacher is quitting: I can’t ‘drill ‘em and kill ‘em’” Washington Post, February 23. Retrieved April 6, 2015 (

Sample for talking about Data:

Debs, Mira. 2015. “Pre-Kindergarten Availability and Access in Hartford Region Magnet and Open Choice Schools.” Sheff Movement. Retrieved April 7, 2015 (

Week 11

Tu 4.14  Data Visualizations Workshop

Th 4.16  Individual Research Meetings #2, No class

Week 12

Tu 4.21  Individual Research Meetings #2, No class

Th. 4.23 Sample presentation, check in

** First draft of research paper due Thursday 4/23 by 9 pm

Week 13

Tu 4.28  Student Presentations (10 mins + 5 mins Q&A)

Th 4.30  Student presentations (10 mins + 5 mins Q&A)

Week 14

Tu 5.5    Student Presentations (10 mins + 5 mins Q&A)

** Final 25 page paper due Wednesday 5/6 by 9 pm (Papers can be turned in until Weds. 5/13 by 9 pm without late penalty)