Education Policy 101 (Ed Policy 101) is an innovative online course that introduces participants to the key education policies that affect American K–12 students. It provides a comprehensive, non-ideological, research-based foundation for navigating current education-policy issues such as school choice, teacher quality, education finance, early childhood education and standards and accountability. This year’s course instructors include Martin West (Harvard Graduate School of Education), Tom Loveless (Brookings Institution), Patrick Wolf (University of Arkansas), Dan Goldhaber (Center for Education Data & Research), and Chester E. Finn, Jr. (Thomas B. Fordham Institute), among others. Six of our expert instructors were featured in Rick Hess’ list of most influential Edu-Scholars of 2015.

The course is a joint project of 50CAN: The 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

During the course, participants will learn the ins-and-outs of education policy at the federal and state levels, as well as brainstorm how best to tackle these issues in the future with expert professors in the field, experienced facilitators at 50CAN and Fordham and their peer cohort.

The course is delivered through a flipped-classroom model and will rely heavily on the top-notch professors and peer practitioners to prepare participants to speak and act on education policy change in their local communities.

Each week, participants will:

  • Review selected readings (about 50 pages);
  • View an introductory video lecture (15-20 minutes);
  • Attend a one-hour interactive virtual class led by a prominent education researcher or reformer; and
  • Work with a small peer learning community to complete a short group project showcased at the end of the course

The live webinars will run from late March to late May on Fridays from 12–1pm ET.

By the time this course adjourns in May, our participants will be able to think smartly and objectively through the big policy issues facing education leaders today and use the background information and extended networks they garner through 50CAN, Fordham, and the members of their cohort to begin forging their own action-oriented path for change. 

The application window for the Spring 2015 course is closed.

Have more specific questions about course design, course participation, course requirements, or anything else? Please view the Frequently Asked Questions for more information. Still have questions that are unanswered? Contact David Griffith at

Ed Policy 101 Graduates