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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 420/SOC 420 Sociology of Education —Seats are Available!

Jan 3, 2017, 12:00 by Professor Bernice McNair Barnet
Seats are still available in two Sociology of Education courses during the Spring 2017 semester at the College of Education at Illinois.

Spring 2017     EPS/SOC Social Foundations Course—Seats are Available!

EPS 420-SOC 420   Sociology of Education, Tue 10-11:50am, Rm 323 Educ, 3 or 4 Hours

Professor: Bernice McNair Barnett, Ph.D. (Sociology)    Email:

EPS 420-Section A (4 Hours): crn# 33100  & Section B (3 Hours): crn#64898

SOC 420-Section A (4 Hours): crn# 33102  & Section B (3 Hours): crn#64900

Course Description:

This 400-level social foundations course is a combined Graduate and Advanced Undergraduate level (Juniors and Seniors) sociological examination of education and schooling in society. Topics include: (1) major sociological theories, concepts, questions, issues, research methods and studies related to education/schooling; (2) significant eras of changes/reforms in U.S. education/schooling within changing social, historical, political, national, and international contexts; (3) the expansion of education in U.S. and the world, especially to diverse  groups based upon race, ethnicity, gender,  socio-economic class, residence, language, disability, special needs, religion, citizenship, nationality,  immigrant statuses; (4) schools as social organizations  in which teachers and students have roles/expectations/interactions and education as an institution interconnected to other societal institutions (esp., family, economy, politics, religion, etc); (5) family background/cultures/resources, school climates/cultures/resources,  and cultural vs. structural approaches to understanding educational stratification and attainment; (6) the impact of race, gender, class + (RGC+), ethnicity, language, residence,  disability, special needs, sexual orientation, citizenship,  nationality, immigrant status,  and other stratifying relations in society and in teaching/ learning experiences  from pre-K to higher education; (7) teacher training, professionaliz-ation,  expectations and  student tracking, ability grouping, expectations; (8) contest vs sponsored mobility in comparisons of education in the U.S. and other countries of the world; (9)  on-going/current debates about NCLB, Race to the Top, Common Core, Every Student Succeeds Act, Dream Act, charter schools, faith based schools, for profit schools, etc; and (10) teacher and student activism in society and education,  especially our “Spotlight on The 1960s!”  section in which we examine the education impact and legacies of diverse 1960s movements led by teachers (such as literacy pioneer Septima Poinsette Clark),  students (such as Mario Savio at Berkeley),   Hippies, Vietnam anti-war activists, women, people with disabilities and special needs, White European Americans, Black African Americans, Latinos/as, Asian Americans, Native/American Indians, LGBTQ, welfare recipients, language minorities, migrants, immigrants, and others who protested in/outside of classrooms, schools, and colleges/universities.

About the Professor

Professor Barnett earned her Ph.D. in Sociology. She is an historical sociologist and Associate Professor in the Departments of Educational Policy, Organization, & Leadership (EPOL), Sociology, and Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has presented research on the 1960s and social movements at international forums in the U. S., Canada, and Germany and has received various awards, including the Faculty Award for Excellence i n Teaching, Advising, and Research by the Council of Graduate Student in Education and Incomplete List of Teachers Ranked Excellent by Students at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. For questions, contact Professor Barnett (