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EDU 860 Policy and Politics in Education Midterm Examination Fall 2013 Instructions: 1.

Answer one (1) question from below. Clearly identify which question you are answering. a. You will have up to 5 hours to work on this response. (I’m using the honor system here. You may break up the time however you choose.) b. You will not need to do any additional research (unless you want to). The expectation for this midterm is that you will draw on our course readings todate. c. Grading is based on the quality of the analysis and reflection of student’s knowledge toward meeting course objectives. 2. You may create your response in one of the following formats: a. Write a 4 – 6 page paper b. Film a 10 – 15 minute video (may be just a video or a Knovio-type video) c. Create a blog-like response (may include gifs, pictures, and/or hyperlinks) d. Construct a graphic novel-type response 3. Upload your answer to Blackboard by 8:30 pm (EDT) on November 7. Late submissions will not be accepted. a. Include this statement in the comment box on the submission form: The above is entirely my own work. I received no assistance in answering the examination question. Electronic Signature Grading:
A Response demonstrates high level of understanding and progress toward course objectives. Response reflects a deep level of synthesis that makes new connections and raises new questions and ideas. Response indicates a masterful use and understanding of course texts. B Response demonstrates acceptable level of understanding and progress toward course objectives. Response reflects analysis that makes connections that may have already been expressed. Response indicates an acceptable use and understanding of course texts. C Response indicates limited but unsatisfactory progress toward meeting course objectives. Response reflects general comprehension of course ideas, but it does not go beyond that. Response indicates a superficial use and understanding of course texts. F Response indicates complete lack of progress toward course objectives. Response reflects significant misunderstanding of course ideas. Response does not utilize course texts or indicates a lack of understanding of texts.

Questions 1. The Elevator Question. Alex Molnar, Henry Giroux, and Davis Guggenheim (Waiting for Superman) attended the Reforming Education: Raising Achievement with Limited Resources conference. As they were leaving, they found themselves trapped together because the elevator they were riding in became stuck between floors. Using the insights and understandings drawn from your careful analysis of their respective work, what do you suppose they would have said to each other while awaiting the elevator’s repair?* (Course SLO 2, 3, 4) * This question is modified from the work of Dr. Steven Selden of the University of Maryland.

2. You are a parent in the school system, and you want a policy that the school will provide laptops for every child. (Course SLO 2, 3, 6) a. How would you get this to be part of the political agenda? b. What policy actors do you need to engage in making that happen? How would you get their support for this agenda item? c. What major policy actors might oppose this policy? i. What alternatives might they propose?

3. Politics of winning and losing. Politicians and the media often refer to winners and losers when discussing conflicts. Choose one of the topics below and discuss who are the winners and losers. Considering political cultures, competing values, and alternatives that reflect different ideologies. (Course SLO 2, 3, 4) a. Race to the Top b. Common Core State Standards c. Tenure d. Unions e. Charter schools

4. A tale of two kiddies. Building on your work from class on October 10, tell me a story of two kids. Both are 8 years old and in the third grade. One kid attends the Wheatley Center in DC, and the other attends Burning Tree Elementary in Bethesda, MD. (Course SLO 2, 4, 5)

5. A tale of two teachers. In one state, trace a path to licensure via a traditional teacher preparation program. Then trace a path to licensure via an alternative teacher preparation program, such as Teach for America. Then answer these questions. (Course SLO 2, 3, 4) a. How long is each path? b. At what point along the path are teacher-candidates designated as “Highly Qualified” according to NCLB? c. How does the political culture in that state influence the pathways?

6. Using concepts presented in the Fowler text, analyze one major tenet of the No Child Left Behind Act. Be sure to consult other texts to present a full picture. (Course SLO 1, 2, 3) a. Why was the policy environment conducive to the development of interest in your issue? b. To what extent was the national policy environment important? c. What competing political values lie behind your issue? d. How was the policy issue defined and by whom? e. Based on your own values and philosophy or ideology, how would you critique the definition(s) of the issue which seems to have prevailed? 7. Don’t like any of these questions? Write your own then answer it! Be sure to align it to course SLOs.