Contemporary Issues in Educational Policy – EDUC 643

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 11/09/2020

Course Description

This course examines current issues and trends in education. Emphasis will be placed on how policy at the federal, state, and district levels affect the school-level decision-making process.

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


This course will be directed toward non-licensure graduate students seeking a Masters or Specialist degree in Education. This course will help the candidate analyze and understand policy that affects the K–12 school setting. Understanding the process, implementation, and evaluation of district, state, and federal policy will help current and future educators and educational leaders influence school-level decision making.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Review and summarize the effects of federal mandates on local school decisions regarding curriculum, school funding, student services, testing, and school programs.
  2. Evaluate specific state and district guidelines, policy, and procedures for purpose and effectiveness.
  3. Recognize and gain an understanding of the presence of societal and cultural influence on school policy.
  4. Critique and discuss school funding issues related to equity, corporate influence, and school choice.
  5. Analyze and develop ideas to lead technology initiatives in an environment of limited resources.
  6. Develop personal perspectives on the leadership responsibilities of various groups including government leaders, district and building level leaders, and community and family members.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

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

Discussions (5)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the candidate is required to create a 300–400-word thread in response to the provided prompt for each discussion. Additionally, the candidate will post a 100–150-word reply to at least 2 other classmates’ threads. Each thread must have at least 1 citation in current APA format. Acceptable sources include the textbook, the Bible, and scholarly journals/articles. (MLO: A, B, C, D)

News Article Reviews (2)

The candidate will submit 2 essays discussing current news articles related to policy issues in education. News articles used for this assignment must come from a newspaper, a news program, or another reputable news source, and the article must be written within the past 5 years. Reputable sources include such resources as an education journal or major news networks, but do not include sites such as Wikipedia. Each essay must be formatted in current APA style and must be at least 300–400 words. A title page and reference page for each article must be provided. (MLO: A, B)

Policy vs. Worldview Paper

The candidate will submit a 3–5-page paper that critically discusses a contemporary educational policy issue in which the case for or against the policy is, or potentially could be, in conflict with biblical principles. The paper must incorporate at least 3 sources and must be formatted in current APA style with a title page included. The candidate must also provide a personal response to the issue and a discussion of the implications for K–12 educators and students. Each source must be written within the past 5 years. (MLO: C, F)

Federal Policy Review

The candidate will visit the United States Department of Education website and view the most recent speech or video presentation from the current U.S. President or U.S. Secretary of Education. After reviewing the video, the candidate will write a 600–800-word critique of the message, including a summary of the speech and the potential implications for schools. The review must be formatted in current APA style and include a title and reference page. (MLO: A, C, F)

Clashing Views on Educational Issues Research Paper

In this assignment, each student will research a current topic of interest relevant to the K-12 environment. A literature review on the topic is needed to gain a comprehensive understanding of the topic area. This paper must provide background and historical information, as well as current and future impact. This research paper should include a cross-examination of the main points of both sides of the topic. This style allows the researcher to cross-examine both sides of this topic in an attempt to highlight the most controversial parts of the issue. Your analysis will consist of a driving force, a resisting force, and a plan for improvement showing appropriate actions and tools. The supporting research should provide the necessary information to compel any reader of your paper to appreciate your position based on the information presented. This paper will be 4 to 6 pages and must use at least four sources outside of the course textbook. (MLO: A, D, F)

School Board PowerPoint Presentation

The candidate will select and analyze 1 district or school-level policy issue. The candidate must use resources such as student handbooks, school and district websites, school board policy, or interviews with school/district personnel to describe the policy issue and its implications on the school setting. The candidate must then develop a PowerPoint presentation to present at a school board meeting. The candidate must address why the new policy or policy change is needed, what effect the policy has had or could have on the school(s), how other schools or districts are addressing this issue, and future potential effects of the policy being/not being implemented or changed. This presentation must contain 10–15 slides and 5 references in current APA format, with all references listed on the last slide. (MLO: A, B, C, E, F)

Policy Evaluation Benchmark

As the benchmark assignment for this course, the candidate is required to write an 8–10-page paper applying the course principles to evaluate educational policy at the federal, state, and local level. The purpose of the paper is to synthesize the various elements covered in the course and textbook readings in order to promote an understanding of the effects of educational policy on the K–12 classroom. The paper must demonstrate proper use of current APA format by including a title page, an abstract, and a reference page with at least 5 references no older than 5 years, and proper internal citations. The paper must be written from a biblical worldview with Scripture references included. The candidate will submit the assignment through SafeAssign (MLO: A, B, C, D, E)

Quizzes (2)

Each quiz will cover the Learn material for the assigned modules. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, include 20–25 multiple-choice questions, and have a 2-hour time limit. (MLO: A, C)