Federal education policymakers to teach course at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College

Two federal policymakers, Kerri Briggs, assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education for the U.S. Department of Education, and Catherine Freeman, senior program officer for the National Research Center of the National Academies of Science, will co-lead a new special topics course in education policy at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of education and human development this spring. Both Briggs and Freeman are Peabody alumni.

"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," Camilla P. Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development, said. "The course will expose our students to firsthand knowledge of policymaking at a very high level."

The course, The Development and Implementation of Federal Education Policy, will examine 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 is designed to assist students in developing skills in research, analysis, writing and policy strategy. This includes 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 NCLB policies nationwide.

For more information about Peabody College, ranked the No. 2 education school in the nation in 2008 by U.S. News & World Report, visit http://peabody.vanderbilt.edu.

J. Luke Webb contributed to this report.

Media Contact: Melanie Moran, (615) 322-NEWS

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