Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2023

Course Description

This course examines education through historical, philosophical, socio/cultural, and political/economic lenses. We explore the power of education to transform lives, and the ways in which it can work to reproduce social inequality and oppression--within the U.S. and globally. The course introduces students to the core framework of the education studies program that entails an expansive view of education as a social and political process embedded throughout our lived experiences. (Education Studies E-Course Description) Though education as a field of study is much broader than formal schooling, the purpose of this course is to provide a general overview or educational lenses through which one can focus, primarily, on schooling in the U.S. It is foundational in that you will explore and question concepts related to education from four major knowledge bases: historical, philosophical, sociological, and political economy. Often times, these knowledge bases will overlap one another, and intersect with other realms of knowing and understanding of educational spaces, such as that of culture, individual perception, and pedagogy. The topics and questions generated from these knowledge bases will be complex in nature, lending themselves to few “easy answers.” We will investigate, probe, question and reflect upon issues presented in readings, media, field experiences, and class discussions. Furthermore, we will analyze and question in light of our own experiences as well as those of students in a variety of educational settings. Through our sharing of differing viewpoints, readings, observations, and class experiences, we will attempt to better understand the educational process from the viewpoint of the student in all its complexities. “Education is a lifelong process of which schooling is only a small but necessary part.” - Adler, Mortimer J. (1982 ed.) The Paideia Proposal

Student Outcomes

At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to: 1. Love learning and exude a commitment to continued learning throughout their lives. (from DePauw Univ. objectives) 2. Ask deep questions about education and schooling. (all ED170 courses) 3. Think critically and creatively about historic and current issues in education. (all ED170 courses) 4. Identify ways to become involved in educational projects and change. (all ED170 courses) 5. Distinguish among key historical components in U.S. public and private educational system(s). 6. Compare & contrast at least four philosophically different models of education. 7. Elaborate upon socio-cultural elements of the American educational system. 8. Discuss multiple political-economic issues relevant to the American education system both historically and in more modern times. 9. Explore and discuss a sub-topic of personal educational interest under one of the major four lenses for viewing educational systems. 10. Evaluate traditional and non-traditional educational settings via the field component of the course.