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Undergraduate Courses

13181 Contemporary Educational Issues

The major goal of this course is to develop an understanding of the interaction among society, schools, and teachers--with a particular focus on educational opportunity. The content of the course is grounded in current controversies in the field of education as presented through research and media. Throughout the semester, students will examine cases that address challenges of equity in education. Students' experiences in the course will link academic scholarship with field practice.There will be several debates during the semester in which students participate and then write a position paper. Each of the debates will begin with a formal presentation of a case supported by class readings, video, debate, and lecture. Students will be required to prepare reflective writings, engage in class discussions, and thoughtfully defend their opinions.

Other desired goals of this course include fostering students' (1) awareness of the complexity of learning and schooling; (2) recognition of the broad array of opportunities to participate in the field of education; and (3) understanding the interconnections among society, schools, families, teachers, students, curriculum, instruction, and educational policies.

20228 Social Inequality & American Education

Many have claimed that the American educational system is the “great equalizer among men.” In other words, the educational system gives everyone a chance to prosper in American society regardless of their social origins. In this course, we will explore the validity of this claim. Do schools help make American society more equal by reducing the importance of class, race, and gender as sources of inequality, or do schools simply reinforce existing inequalities and reproduce pre-existing social relations? Topics covered in the course include: unequal resources among schools, sorting practices of students within schools, parents’ role in determining student outcomes, the role of schooling in determining labor market outcomes for individuals, and the use of educational programs as a remedy for poverty.

33201 Race, Ethnicity & Inequality in Public Education

This course explores the link between racial and ethnic relations in the U.S. and the American education system. We will discuss sociological understandings of racial and ethnic inequality in education over the past several decades. Moving beyond black-white inequality, this course will examine the political, cultural, and historical perspectives of racial and ethnic inequality among and between racialized groups in the U.S. Students will be introduced to central sociological debates within the fields of race/ethnicity and education. We will also pay some attention to the changing nature of racial and ethnic inequality in education over the latter part of the twentieth century and the future of racial and ethnic inequality in education during the 21st century.

43839 Unequal America

Although America is world’s richest nation, it has the most unequal distribution of wealth and income in the industrialized world. In this course, we will examine why this is so. In particular, we will examine the following questions: What social forces create inequality in society? Is inequality inevitable? How much social mobility is there in American society, and what explains who gets ahead? What explains why is there so much wage inequality in the workplace? Is there such a thing as “social class” and does it matter for life outcomes? Why are race/ethnicity and gender still related to social status, wealth, and income? Who are “the poor” and what explains their poverty? Are there social policies that can create more equality in American society – and is that what Americans really want?

Join CREO's efforts to create and maintain equal educational opportunities in America.