This course will examine American public education as an institution in the context of a multicultural society. Students in the class will analyze the complex and conflicting social, political and economic conditions from which educational policies and practices emerge. The organization of the readings, discussions and class projects will explore how discourses of race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality enliven contradictory framings of public education as both a site hope as well as a site of conflict, tension and oppression. This course will serve as a starting point for analyzing educational practices, policies, and theoretical concepts in a critical sociological manner. By addressing debates around educational funding, multicultural education, school (de)segregation, language and culture, community-school relationships, the meaning of democratic education, the regulation of bodies in school spaces, significant and on-going attention will be given to how education discourses have been, and continue to be, constructed through the working of power in relationship to knowledge. Students enrolling in the course will be required to participate in a community based learning project in addition to class meetings.