Overall industrialized countries spend about 3 percent of the GDP to provide elementary through post-secondary education. Education courses offered by the Public Policy department focus heavily on teaching students to evaluate the quality of empirical evidence underlying public policies about public education. Students have access to other education courses in the Graduate School of Education and Information Science. UCLA is the only major research university that combines departments of education and information studies.
Over the past few decades, education has become an increasingly important determinant of economic success. For example, in 1979 the average male college graduate earned 49% more than the average high school graduate. By 1993, that difference had nearly doubled—to 89 percent. Because education is now more strongly linked to economic success than it was in the past, policy makers have become concerned about improving the overall effectiveness of schools in order to maintain U.S. competitiveness in the global economy. Policy makers have also come to understand the importance of reducing socioeconomic and ethnic disparities in children’s educational skills and attainment in order to reduce economic inequality among adults.
The Education Policy Concentration focuses on a wide range of education topics-- from the effects of public policies on educational access and quality to the impact of educational experiences on individuals and groups. Students who select this concentration will study issues that include the appropriate design of school accountability systems, the effects of school choice on student achievement, the best ways to reduce ethnic disparities in academic skills, the impact of affirmative action on students’ grades and graduate rates, and the effects of financial aid policies on increasing college access for economically disadvantaged students.
The education courses offered by the public policy department focus heavily on teaching students how to evaluate the quality of empirical evidence for or against particular policies. We also encourage students to take education policy courses elsewhere at UCLA, such as in the Graduate School of Education and Information Sciences.
Education Policy Courses:
PUB PLC C225. Controversies in Education Policy
PUB PLC 294. Education Markets and Education Policy