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Peabody Journal of Education, Volume 90, Issue 5, 2015

Politics of Education Association Yearbook

The Politics of Inequality, Social Policy and Educational Change

Introduction

The Politics of Inequality, Social Policy and Educational Change
Lance D. Fusarelli
and Lisa Bass, North Carolina State University

This purpose of this yearbook issue of the Peabody Journal of Education focuses on exploring from varying viewpoints key issues of poverty and student well-being. Reforms have come in recent decades, but it seems as if very little impact has been made on school performance and educational attainment.  In addition, the US lags behind other nations on international assessments of well-being, child health and safety, educational well-being and family and peer relationships (UNICEF, 2007).  The articles in this issue seek to draw attention to the inequality in the United States education systems, bring to light the trends in child welfare, social policy and educational attainment in the United States and elsewhere, as well as discuss the politics of inequality, social policy and educational change.

CONTENT OF THIS ISSUE
The first article by Jason A. Grissom, Demetra Kalogrides and Susanna Loeb takes a look at the assignment of teachers and students to classrooms and how this policy makes it difficult for students to access high-quality teachers equitably.  The article explores how more experienced teachers have may have more say in which students end up in their classrooms.  In addition, the article addresses how more experienced teachers, on average, have fewer disadvantaged students, despite the commitments that seem to be made to pair at-risk students with the teachers who are most qualified to support them. 

The next two articles look at student access to higher education.  In Audrey J. Jaeger, Stephany Brett Dunstan and Karrie Gibson Dixon’s article titled “College Student Access: How Articulation Agreements Support Rural Students,” the authors describe rural students’ struggles with getting to college.  Community colleges provide a doorway for students to access higher education, and articulation agreements between community colleges and larger systems like the University of North Carolina make access to bachelor’s degrees more attainable.  In “Can ‘Some College’ Help Reduce Future Earnings Inequality?” Daniel P. Gitterman, Jeremy G. Moulton, Dillon Bono-Lunn and Laura Chrisco find that education beyond high school is associated with higher median earnings, and that some who have obtained “some college” actually outearn those with four-year college degrees.  The authors also add to the discussion of whether “college for all” or “college for some” is better as they trace relationships between education and earnings.

The fourth and fifth articles tie together the issues of education, welfare and social policy in the United States.  Bruce S. Cooper and Janet D. Mulvey’s article “Connecting Education, Welfare, and Health for American Families” studies the link between social mobility, health and socioeconomic stability.  They argue that larger issues like the physical and mental health of the poor need to be addressed to help reduce the poverty rate, close achievement gaps between groups of students and help increase the economic contribution of all members of society.

In “Child Welfare, Education, Inequality and Social Policy in Comparative Perspective” Lance Fusarelli examines reports of child well-being in the United States and other OECD countries, and connects nations’ policies with the reports’ findings on child well-being.  His article attempts to address why advanced, industrialized nations have such differing policies. 

Next, Cynthia Gerstl-Pepin’s article analyzes commentaries made in the HBO show The Wire and the film Waiting for “Superman.”  She asserts that the media is often one way in which the public “informs” themselves about education reform—the information shared in the stories in the show and film help shape how people perceive inequity in education.  She argues that the messages the show and film send their viewers do not do justice to the amount of inequality in the education system and its causes, and therefore, are not helpful in shaping and encouraging educational reform.

Finally, Lisa Bass in “A Sociopolitical Eclipse: The Surrendering of Two Super Systems to Promote Equity in U.S. Education” evaluates the nation’s current attempts at correcting educational inequality.  She argues for a major shift in education policy to promote equitable schools.

REFERENCES
1. Berliner, D. C. (2005, May). Our impoverished view of educational reform. Presidential Invited Speech to the American Educational Research Association meeting, Montreal, Canada.
2. Berliner, D. C. (2009). Poverty and potential: Out-of-school factors and school success. Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research United. Retrieved November 19, 2010, from http: //epicpolicy.org/publication/poverty- and- potential
3. Cross, C. T. (2004). Political education: National policy comes of age. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. DeBray, E. H. (2006). Politics, ideology, & education: Federal policy during the Clinton and Bush administrations. New
York, NY: Teachers College Press.
4. Fusarelli, B. C., & Cooper, B. S. (Eds.). (2009). The rising state: How state power is transforming our nation’s schools.
Albany: State University of New York Press.
5. Fusarelli, L. D. (2011). School reform in a vacuum: Demographic change, social policy, and the future of children.
Peabody Journal of Education, 86, 215–235.
6. Fusarelli, L. D., & Fusarelli, B. C. (2015). Federal education policy from Reagan to Obama: Convergence, divergence,
and “control.” In B. S. Cooper, J. G. Cibulka, & L. D. Fusarelli (Eds.), Handbook of education politics and policy
(2nd ed., pp. 189–210). New York, NY: Routledge.
Ladd, H. F. (2011). Education and poverty: Confronting the evidence. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 31(2),
203–227.
7. OECD. (2011). Education at a Glance: 2011 OECD Indicators. Paris, France: OECD Publishing.
8. Sahlberg, P. (2011). Finnish lessons: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland? New York, NY:
Teachers College Press.
9. UNICEF. (2007). Child poverty in perspective: An overview of child well-bring in rich countries (Innocenti Report Card
7). Florence, Italy: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.

 

 

CONTENTS

Journal abstracts are linked to titles.

The Micropolitics of Educational Inequality: The Case of Teacher-Student Assignments
Jason A. Grissom, Demetra Kalogrides & Susanna Loeb
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 90, No. 5: pages 601-614.

College Student Access: How Articulation Agreements Support Rural Students
Audrey J. Jaeger, Stephany Brett Dunstan, and Karrie Gibson Dixon
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 90, No. 5: pages 615-635.

Can “Some College” Help Reduce Future Earnings Inequality?
Daniel P. Gitterman, Jeremy G. Moulton, Dillan Bono-Lunn, and Laura Chrisco
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 90, No. 5: pages 636-658.

Connecting Education, Welfare, and Health for American Families
Bruce S. Cooper and Janet D. Mulvey
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 90, No. 5: pages 659-676.

Child Welfare, Education, Inequality, and Social Policy in Comparative Perspective
Lance D. Fusarelli
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 90, No. 5: pages 677-690.

Popular Media Portrayals of Inequity and School Reform in The Wire and Waiting for “Superman”
Cynthia Gerstl-Pepin
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 90, No. 5: pages 691-710.

A Sociopolitical Eclipse: The Surrendering of Two Super Systems to Promote Equity in US Education
Lisa Bass
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 90, No. 5: pages 711-728.


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