EDLD6475 Education & Sociocultural Change

Course Description

The purpose of this course is the study of social issues and their relationship to instruction and policy formation. The course will examine how superintendent/CEO’s can better understand the sociocultural context impacting district and campus policies and cultures.

Major Topics in Education and Sociocultural Change 

  • Church and State Conflicts – Freedom of Religion or Freedom From Religion? Consider scenarios and develop an awareness and understanding of the legal framework including relevant case law, student and educator rights of expression and association, the Equal Access Act, and contemporary issues regarding religion in schools. 
  • Safety and Safeguarding a Constitutional Right - The Second Amendment and Protecting Students from Gun Violence. Review relevant national studies that provide comprehensive analysis and profiling of attackers and schools as well as their recommendations to consider best practices in building safety; threat assessment protocols; appointment of school marshals; designation of school employees authorized to carry firearms; considerations prior to expanding employee access to firearms; process for local policy adoption; liability and risk management concerns related to firearms; confidentiality before, during, and after safety policy changes; and parental rights.
  • Free Speech in Schools - The Right to Expression vs the Right to an Education: The Line Between Discord and Disruption – Consider conflicts between student freedom of expression and systemic requirements for order to protect the rights of all to an education including relevant case law and the overall legal framework. 
  • Parents and the School - The Rights of Parents to Information and Influence Concerning Reading Materials and Curriculum – Consider potential issues arising from recent changes to policies concerning library and instructional materials. Review state guidelines for selecting library materials, Texas Education Code Chapter 26 Parental Rights and Responsibilities, and National Coalition Against Censorship guidelines for administrators in consideration of best practices protocols for school districts. 
  • The Disability Debate - Competing Rights to an Education: When a Conflict Arises Between Inclusion and the General Safety of Students and Staff – Become familiar with issues concerning SPED, particularly balancing requirements to provide a free and appropriate education to all and the safety of all students and staff through a review of case law where serious injuries resulted and consideration of potential “what if” scenarios in order to understand the threshold where safety supersedes all other concerns and what legal options remain for providing an individual with a free and appropriate education.
  • The Child, the Parent and the School - The Battle Between Guidance Counselors and Parental Guidance – Consider issues that will lead to potential conflicts between school counselors and parents based on the disclosure or non-disclosure of student information. Understand best practices to mitigate such issues through knowledge of Texas Education Code Chapter 26, the Texas Attorney General Opinion Regarding Right of Parents to Their Child’s School Counselling Records, and other relevant material.
  • Unsocial Media and the Conflict Culture - Embracing Narcissism, The Preference for Mutual Contempt and Intolerance – Consider research that identifies the negative effects of social media on young people with respect to its addictiveness and corporate practices to maximize this feature. Consider how society at large and human interaction are changed through social media. Consider research which shows a link between narcissism and social media use. Reflect on the implications research concerning the negative aspects of social media has for school culture and climate in general and specifically the implications for best practices in cell phone/personal device policies.
  • E Pluribus Unum vs Identity Politics - Conflicts Based on Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation – Consider contemporary conflicts that confront schools and what relevant case law and legislation exists upon which to check school district policies for compliance. Develop guiding principles and best practices. Gain an awareness of political action groups that may choose a school issue as a “litmus test” for their causes and develop strategies for communicating with such individuals in a school setting including circumstances where they may have been elected as a board member. 

Course Credits: 4