Introduction to Education Policy – PLCY 840

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/27/2021

Course Description

This course requires students to research the basic contours of their policy concentration. Students will work with their faculty member to understand the scope, history, controversial issues, and key policy outcomes associated with this concentration area. This research will serve as a stepping stone to conducting a comprehensive literature review for their dissertation, and provide the needed context to ensure that the students’ chosen dissertation topics are focused and appropriate.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


Education policy covers a complex range of federal and intergovernmental issues and affects some of the most important citizens in America—children. This course is intended to give students a deeper contextual understanding of the scope, history, controversial issues (such as school choice, voucher programs, national curriculum development, funding, etc.), and key policy outcomes in the field of education policy. Through this course, students seeking a Ph.D in Public Policy will gain a wide familiarity with the most current and relevant research in the field of education policy, develop an ability to analyze and critique both partisan sides of education issues and policies, build a useful annotated bibliography, and prepare to write a literature review for their dissertation.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Apply a Christian worldview of human nature, the biblical value of education and knowledge, and the family to examine the merits of competing solutions to current American education policy problems.
  2. Synthesize research of competing policy viewpoints into a critical analysis of the history, purposes, contemporary issues, and debates in the field of American education policy.
  3. Identify the stakeholders, federal and state programs, funding streams, effectiveness, and policy issues in the Early Childhood Education, K-12, and Higher Education systems.
  4. Construct a working bibliography consisting of 60 annotations of recent education policy scholarship.
  5. Evaluate contemporary debates over test-based accountability, teacher professionalization, teacher shortages, and school choice.
  6. Explain the value and distinctions between education research and policymaking.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations


Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Course Overview.

Discussions (7)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each discussion. Each thread must contain a 500 – 750 word discussion of a key topic related to the week’s issues in relation to a chosen policy topic and (3) of the weekly annotated bibliographic entries. Each thread must contain a minimum of 7 scholarly sources and include at least 1 Scripture reference.  In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be 200 – 250 words and include at least 1 reference to Learn materials/research and 1 Scripture reference (where applicable). Each reply post must be unique; posting the same reply in two places is not sufficient and may be treated as a form of academic misconduct.

Annotated Bibliography Assignment(7)

Each week, the student will create an annotated bibliography on books, journal articles, or policy memos related to the topic for the week. Each week’s bibliography will include 7 – 8 entries, headed by a complete bibliographic citation for the work in current Turabian format, followed by a one-paragraph annotation (50 – 100 words). Each annotated bibliography must contain at least 1 book and 3 scholarly articles.

Research Paper Assignment

The student will craft a 15 – 20 page (4000 – 5000 word) research paper in current Turabian format that focuses on an American education policy topic of their choice. The paper must include at least 25 references and at least 1 Scripture reference.

Final Annotated Bibliography Assignment

The student will combine all of their annotated bibliographic entries from Module: Weeks 1 – 7 into a single, alphabetically organized Annotated Bibliography. The bibliography must contain 60 annotations in current Turabian format; 7 – 8 of the entries must be related to the topics presented in Module 8: Week 8.