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SOE PhD Students Make Headlines on Education Policy

Students opinion pieces published in the Philadelphia Inquirer

Kimberly Sterin and Tajma Cameron Drexel University School of Education

March 30, 2021

If you read the Philadelphia Inquirer, chances are you may have noticed a pair of articles written by School of Education students. PhD students Kimberly Sterin and Tajma Cameron recently authored opinion pieces on education policy issues for the Philadelphia newspaper. Sterin, a second-year student in the PhD program’s cohort 6, shared how a proposal in Arizona could help underfunded schools in Pennsylvania. In the November election, Arizona voters passed proposition 208, also known as a the Invest in Education Act, to raise the state income tax from 4.5% to 8% for individuals earning above $250,000 or $500,000 for those who file their taxes jointly. Arizona estimates the proposal will raise $827 million for the state’s education system. A similar approach could help Pennsylvania, which currently ranks 46th in the country for percentage of state public school tax contributions. Sterin wrote, “Increased public school funding is associated with increased student achievement and economic mobility. Improvements in public education funding should be central to our state’s plan to recover from the pandemic.”

Tajma Cameron, a first-year student in the PhD programs Cohort 7, examined the re-opening of Philadelphia schools during the COVID-19 pandemic in her piece and the need for the School District of Philadelphia to create long-term plans to address education inequities. Until recently, all Philadelphia schools were closed due to the pandemic. Some schools are now open for K-2 classes 2 days a week, and the district plans to expand openings to grades 3-5 in the coming weeks. Most students will continue to learn remotely from home, which creates challenges to students who do not have access to computers and reliable internet connections. Cameron wrote, “A lack of access to computers and broadband wireless most strongly impacts communities of color, rural communities, and those in lower socioeconomic groups. And students with experience using smartphones — which can help get some people online who otherwise don’t have access — are experiencing issues with the technological platforms used in virtual instruction that is typically designed for computers. These barriers expose the digital divide as a crisis for student learning.”

Education Policy is one of the concentrations in the PhD program. Students work closely with their supervising professor to develop their dissertation research.

Learn more about Drexel’s PhD in Education program.