Department of Public Policy Leadership

University of Mississippi

PPL 387 featured course photo

Featured Course: PPL 387 | Education Policy

Education Policy is taught by Dr. Melissa Bass, who earned her M.A. in Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota and her Ph.D. in Politics from Brandeis University. Her areas of specialization include U.S. politics and the policy process, social policy, and civic engagement.

This course explores the problems and debates facing pre-K-12 education in the U.S., their causes, and possible solution. It focuses on the interaction between policy and practice, especially regarding a wide range of reform ideas. Students analyze a number of reforms, including:

  • their justification and intended outcomes,
  • how they have been developed and implemented,
  • how well they work and how they could work better, and
  • alternatives to these reforms.

The course offers a service-learning option whereby students can serve with organizations such as Leap Frog, the Boys’ and Girls’ Club, or directly in schools for at least 15 hours over the semester. They write an analysis of an education issue while drawing on their service experience as a main source.

As an example of an upper-level PPL course, Education Policy helps students prepare for their future education and career by strengthening their skills in empirical, ethical, and political analysis; critical thinking and problem-solving; and research and writing.

“Education Policy examines the past and present problems in K-12 education in the United States and their respective solutions. We examined topics such as special education and segregation along socioeconomic lines. Dr. Bass is both knowledgeable and passionate about the material and gives everyone in the class an opportunity to participate in discussion and talk about their own educational experiences.” – Jacob Fennell