Education, Equity & Society

Historical figures

Through the two courses, Endeavor Pre-Orientation and advising, the students will understand the importance of K-12 education and be able to connect their experiences with the education system with future goals. The courses and advising will help them to understand why education is so crucial in their lives and how it can shape their future opportunities. Overall, students will examine the need for an equitable and strong K-12 education system in the U.S. Further, the courses will assist students in examining and understanding the strengths of our K-12 education system in the U.S, but also the inequities. As a result of this examination, the students will begin to form opinions and thoughts about the educational system and how it impacts other facets of a student’s life. The first course, FYS 100 Education & Society, will stimulate inquiry in students to discover how education has always been a cornerstone of our democratic values in the U.S. However, there are persistent educational gaps in education related to a child’s neighborhood, background and community that impacts their life opportunities. The FYS course will explore these achievement and opportunity gaps and discuss what might be the repercussions of these on a child’s education and future development. In the second course, EDSO 210 Education and Public Policy, the student will gain a greater understanding of the public policies, judicial decisions and governmental actions that are foundational to the U.S. education system. This course will examine the reasons that local, state, and federal governments have been involved in K-12 education. The classes and conversations in the Endeavor – Education, Equity & Society will hopefully spur deeper thinking in the students about their own educational background and how they can become active and effective agents in the educational system in the future. By seeing and understanding the history and current state the students will have agency to advocate for deeper changes in their communities at the local, state and national levels.

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  • Coursework Overview

    The coursework for this Endeavor community involves taking a one-unit course in the fall and spring semester, both taught by Dr. Shields.

    Fall 2024 Semester Spring 2025 Semester
    FYS 100: Education and Society EDSO 210: Education and Public Policy

    FYS 100 Education and Society satisfies a general education requirement; students are required to take one first-year seminar (FYS) at Richmond. This FYS also counts as EDSO 220 Education in America in the Education and Society minor.

    EDSO 210 Education and Public Policy is a course in the Education and Society minor.

  • Specific Course Information

    FYS 100: Education and Society 

    The student will learn about the history of K-12 schooling and education in America staring in the early days of our democracy and ending with current trends. Specifically, the student should have an enhanced understanding of the role of segregation and isolation in America society and schools. The student will be able to analyze the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusivity in America and its K-12 education system. Overall, the student will become familiar with the kinds of questions asked by education scholars, policy makers and practitioners in the education field.

    Units 1 – course counts for EDSO 220 Education in America and toward the Education & Society minor

    EDSO 210: Education and Public Policy

    Survey of contemporary issues and examination of legislation affecting educational policy at both the state and local level. In-depth examination of current and emerging policy issues, strategies for influencing policy, and techniques for adapting new policy into current school culture and processes.

    Units 1 – course counts toward the Education and Society minor

  • Faculty Information

    Dr. Tom Shields
    is an Associate Professor of Education and Leadership Studies.  He is also the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs and the Program Chair for Graduate Education.
  • Endeavor Short Course Information

    As part of the Endeavor program, you will participate in the popular Endeavor Pre-Orientation program, where you will take a short course led by Dr. Shields.

    Short Course Description: A Fine Line: School Boundaries and Housing

    Using technology and online platforms, this short course examines the role of attendance zones in K-12 public schools in the U.S. and the impact of housing. The following questions will be asked:

    • What is the impact of traditional zoned or “neighborhood” schools?
    • Should we offer school choice opportunities for parents and caregivers, such as charters and vouchers, or should we provide more funding and support for the traditional zoned or “neighborhood” schools?
    • Does where you live matter? How do attendance zones and housing create separateness in education in the U.S.