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The Forum on the Future of Public Education

The Forum on the Future of Public Education strives to bring the best empirical evidence to policymakers and the public.

The Forum draws on a network of premier scholars to create, interpret, and disseminate credible information on key questions facing P-20 education. The Forum pursues original research and facilitates collaboration between researchers and policymakers to examine the pressing issues shaping the future of public education. Key constituencies of the Forum include scholars who influence research, policy and practice; policy makers and policy making bodies at all levels; members of the media who influence public opinion; foundations, organizations, business groups and others who support, criticize and advocate for reform; and citizens who make choices about education for themselves and their children.

America is witnessing a drastic redefinition of the policies and practices associated with “public education.” Too often, discussions around the future of public education are strong on passion but short on actual evidence. The Forum for the Future of Public Education is filing that gap by building a resource of objective, research-based insights on key educational issues. We are establishing an open venue- a true public forum to debate controversial and consequential policy issues that will shape American’s future.

Spring 2017 EPS 421/SOC 421 'Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Families' course

Dec 7, 2016, 09:00 by (Professor Bernice Barnett)
Dr. Bernice Barnett of the College of Education at Illinois will teach the "Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Families" course during the Spring 2017 semester.

Spring 2017 EPS 421: Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Families Course

Tuesday, 1-2:50pm; Room 323, Education Bldg

Professor: Dr. Bernice Barnett (

4 Hours Credit Graduate section A:

EPS 421: #47206     SOC 421: #47210    HDFS 424: #47209   AFRO 421: #47208

3 Hours Undergraduate section B:

EPS #33093    SOC 421 #33098    HDFS 424 #33097    AFRO 421 #33095

Course Description:

This combined Graduate and Advanced Undergraduate (Juniors, Seniors only) 400-level social foundations course is a sociological examination of diversity in racial-ethnic families, which are the foundations of education. Understanding how race, gender, class, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, language, immigrant status, and other stratifying relations in society influence diversity in families is important, especially for teacher preparation and educational policies because families generally are the first agents of education, learning, and socialization of children before they enter schools because family background is related to school achievement. In addition, relationships among students/parents/families in homes and teachers/administrators/staff in classrooms/schools/colleges/universities can impact educational achievement. Moreover, local state, regional, and global population demographic are changing racially/ethnically; therefore,  families, educators, the public, and policymakers in schools, colleges, and major societal institutions need to be prepared for the racial-ethnic demographic shifts in the US. The primary objectives of this social foundational course are: (1) to introduce, survey, and evaluate major sociological theories, approaches, concepts, research, questions, debates, issues, and data on diversity in  racial ethnic families; (2) to develop/strengthen research and analytical skills, especially by critically examining the reality vs. the images, ideals and myths about “typical” racial-ethnic minority and majority families and the social constructions of families as  “deviate” vs ”normal;” (3) to foster an awareness and understanding of dimensions/patterns of diversity both across and within  racial ethnic families in the U.S. and the basis of racial ethnic diversity globally; (4) to consider how families are interconnected to education, economy, politics, religion, and other social institutions; (5) to examine how families are agents of education and how children from diverse family backgrounds with varying home cultures, resources, compositions, and environments come of age, grow up, develop identities, experience schooling, achieve in education, react to racial-ethnic differences/similarities, and live/learn/work cooperatively and democratically in a multiracial U.S. and global society.

This course analyzes family diversity both across and within  these U.S. racial ethnic groups: Black African American, Latino/a American, Asian & Pacific American, Native American as well as White European American and Socio-Religious Ethnic Groups (such as Catholic, Baptist, Mormon, Amish, Jewish, Muslim). To a lesser extent, we explore the nature and basis of racial ethnic diversity, inequality, and relations in families globally in periphery, semi-periphery, and core regions of the world-economy (such as China, Mexico, Nigeria, Japan, Ghana, Russia, Israel, Kenya, Australia, India, Pakistan, S. Africa, Germany, Iraq, Britain, Cuba, France, Haiti, Jamaica, Ireland). We also examine what sociologist Gerhard Lenski termed "the religious factor," which creates diversity in families in the U.S. and around the world.

In learning about, analyzing, and discussing diversity in racial ethnic families, class participants will consider the strengths, resiliency, and contributions of diverse families and their societal, historical, contemporary, and future opportunities and challenges.  We also examine what sociologist Gerhard Lenski termed "the religious factor," which creates diversity in families in the U.S. and around the world.