This course focuses on the ways in which educators, politicians, and the public view the state of American schools. Broad philosophies of education guide an analysis of schools, which include historical lenses as well as the current literature on classroom reforms. This course contrasts central issues of schooling as seen from the "outside" political domain and the "inside" experience of students. In particular, the course addresses how issues of race and social as well as economic inequality surround current debates over the best way to improve schools in the 21st century. This course is intended both for prospective teachers and for students interested in examining critically the policies that shape one of the key institutions in American society. Required for the Education Studies minor and for admission to the MAT program.