Course date

20 July - 31 July, 1998
Application deadline
15 February, 1998
Course Director(s): 

Thomas Timar

Graduate School of Education, University of California, Riverside, United States of America
Course Faculty: 

Lisa Carlos

Far West Laboratory for Educational Development, San Francisco, USA

Stephen Heyneman

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA

David Kirp

Public Policy and Law, University of California, Berkeley

Antal Orkeny

Department of Sociology, Eotvos Lorand University (ELTE) / Visiting professor, Nationalism Studies Program, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

Carol Weiss

Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA

Pavel Zgaga

Faculty of Education, Educational Studies, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
This course on educational policy focuses on current problems in elementary and secondary education. The course has a dual focus:
  1. to present current public policy research methodology through discussion and actual research of a current issues in public pre-collegiate education and 
  2. to build a body of knowledge among academics and policy makers in the region regarding research and policy formulation. It is the intention of this course to bring together policy research and practice.
The resource personnel for the course, who will participate in the seminars, enjoy exceptional scholarly reputations and have considerable experience working with policy makers.
Carol Weiss, Professor, in the Harvard Graduate School of Education is regarded as an international expert on policy, particularly on information utilization—how policy makers use policy research in decision making. 
David Kirp is Professor of Public Policy and Law at the University of California, Berkeley. He has written extensively on educational policy. His work on the use of law and law-like mechanisms as instruments for social policy has defined that area of scholarship. 
Lisa Carlos is Director of Policy at WestEd (Far West Laboratory for Educational Development) in San Francisco, California. She has considerable experience in working with state-level policy makers, particularly in connecting the research and policy making communities. 
Gabor Halasz is head of the Research Department at the National Institute for Public Education in Hungary. He has an extensive background in educational policy research, particularly in comparative education research. Much of his research is in collaboration with policy researchers in other countries, so he has an excellent understanding of cross-national issues. 
Pavel Zgaga served as Deputy Minister of Education and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia. In January 1993, he was appointed to be State Secretary. Since February 1994 he is also a member of the Council for higher education. His professional and research interests are in the area of social philoso-phy and philosophy of education. He has authored and co-edited several monographs on educational reform. 
Thomas Timar is Associate Professor of Educational Policy and Leadership at the University of California, Riverside. He has written extensively on educational reform issues, and most recently he has completed a large study for the US National Science Foundation on the mathematics and science reform. His research interests focus on how change can be institutionalized and what kinds of institutional processes are necessary to effect them.
The course is organized around a study of the changes that have occurred in pre-collegiate public education in Central and Eastern Europe over the past seven years, the effects of those changes on various groups. Major areas of research and analysis include the following: - finance of public education—how has it changed, have funding priorities shifted - participation rates by types of schools: technical and trade school, gymnasium - curriculum: what is taught and where are decisions about such things made - administration: what is the background of administrators, how are they trained and selected - teachers: training, compensation, professionalization, authority and control; - governance: where is control over education vested, decentralization vs. centralization, concentration vs. dispersion.
Program participants will develop a paper prior to the course that assesses changes in public education in their respective countries on these dimensions. These papers will serve as the basis for class discussions along with a set of assigned readings. The readings will include theoretical works drawn mainly from the literature on educational policy. They will also include some case studies of reform efforts in various countries. Readings will be made available to students prior to the start of class. 
The first week of the course comprises discussions of students’ case studies and the implications for further research. Class discussion will focus first on collection of data, problems and constraints in obtaining it, what further data is needed to better understand the dynamics of change. In the first week, discussion will also focus on analysis of the problems, how to frame issues within the discourse of public policy. We also explore the potential social, political, economic, and cultural impacts of changes in educational systems.
The second week will focus more heavily on policy strategies: how policy problems can be defined and how problem definition relates to policy solution. We also discuss how various policy dimensions interact with one another. For instance, if policy makers opt for decentralized governance systems, what are the implications of that on equity, finance, curriculum, and teaching?
The overall objective of the course is to help students develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between educational issues and problems, policy development, and the institutional structures needed to support those policies. It is also intended to strengthen students’ skills in analyzing policy arguments (pulling apart assumptions, assessing evidence) in order to construct a persuasive policy analysis. The course consists of 10 seminar-workshop meetings.
Students will meet for four hours daily for the two-week period. For the first week, it is expected that students will discuss their case studies. Given the number of expected participants, that ought to take much of the first week. Students will have been expected to complete readings from the above list of books and articles. In addition, there will be some directed reading, however, the seminars are intended to focus on the case studies and the development of policy analytic frameworks to explain them. The second week is intended to move students from discussion of the case studies to the development of conceptual models for policy analysis and development. In 20 hours of seminar-workshop meetings, students will be guided to develop different policy models from their case studies.

Class meetings are intended to be interactive with the purpose of maximizing interaction between instructors and students.