Peabody Reflector

Federal policymakers teach course at Peabody

by Melanie Moran | Around the Mall, Spring 2009 | No Comment | |

Two federal policymakers—Kerri Briggs, assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education for the U.S. Department of Education, and Catherine Freeman, BS’93, senior program officer for the National Research Center of the National Academies of Science—co-taught a new special topics course in education policy at Peabody College this spring. 

“We are very excited to be able to tap the expertise of two individuals who have played important roles in the formulation of recent federal education policy,” Dean Camilla Benbow said. “The course exposed our students to firsthand knowledge of policymaking at a very high level.”

From left, Chad Colby, former deputy assistant secretary, U.S. Department of Education; Catherine Freeman, senior program officer, National Research Center of the National Academies of Science; Claire Sullivan, former associate director, Domestic Policy Council; and Kerri Briggs, assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, U.S. Department of Education. Colby and Sullivan joined Briggs and Freeman to teach one section of the course.

From left, Chad Colby, former deputy assistant secretary, U.S. Department of Education; Catherine Freeman, senior program officer, National Research Center of the National Academies of Science; Claire Sullivan, former associate director, Domestic Policy Council; and Kerri Briggs, assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, U.S. Department of Education. Colby and Sullivan joined Briggs and Freeman to teach one section of the course.

The course, The Development and Implementation of Federal Education Policy, examined the intersection between politics and policy and the institutions and variables—political, legal, financial or public relations—that affect the way issues are resolved. It was designed to assist students in developing skills in research, analysis, writing and policy strategy, including learning how to absorb large amounts of material in a short time, analyze that material and prepare decision memoranda.

As assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, Briggs played a pivotal role in policy and management issues affecting schools under the No Child Left Behind Act by directing, coordinating and recommending policy for programs designed to assist state and local education agencies with improving academic achievement, helping ensure equal access to services, and providing financial assistance to local education agencies whose revenues are affected by federal activities.

Freeman manages projects that examine the use of research data in the social sciences, the role of language acquisition in closing the achievement gap, and whether the development of common metrics is beneficial to the social sciences. She previously served as deputy assistant secretary for policy in the U.S. Department of Education, where she formulated and executed No Child Left Behind policies nationwide.

photo credits: John Russell

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