McDermott to Explore Politics of Educational Diversity in CPPA Colloquium

October 29, 2013

Kathryn McDermott, associate professor of education and public policy and acting director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, will discuss her recent work in a talk titled “The New Politics of Educational Diversity” on Monday, Nov. 4 at noon in 620 Thompson Hall as part of the CPPA Faculty Colloquium series.

In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District #1 greatly limited local school districts’ ability to consider individual students’ race in assigning them to schools. This ruling completed the evolution of the Supreme Court’s role from forcing race-conscious integration policy to constraining local efforts to achieve racially and ethnically diverse school enrollments. Two years later, the U.S. Department of Education awarded Technical Assistance for Student Assignment Plans (TASAP) grants to 11 local school districts so that they could pay for technical assistance in maintaining diversity despite the 2007 court ruling. TASAP’s local political and policy effects provide insight into the range of ways that local leaders and community activists understand educational diversity’s meaning and importance.

McDermott conducts research on the formation and implementation of state-level education policy and the effects of policy on educational equity. She is the author of “Controlling Public Education: Localism Versus Equity,” which critiques the current American system of local control of public schools. Her recent book, “High Stakes Reform: The Politics of Educational Accountability,” places growing demands for educational accountability within the general context of performance measurement policy and examines the policy interventions of states in local school districts.

The CPPA Faculty Colloquium series consists of informal talks, often about works-in-progress, with presenters providing a significant amount of time for audience discussion and feedback. All talks are open to the public and brown bag lunches are welcome.