Student Comments
Eco 350k, Political Economy of Education
Spring 2005

These are all the written comments made by students in their course evaluations: the good, the bad and the ugly.

"I am so fortunate. If I go astray, others are certain to notice it." - Confucius

Cleaver's knowledge is amazing. Motivation to come to class, for myself at least, comes from my desire to listen to his lectures. Rather hard to take notes and complete the readings, but ah... his lectures made up for it. It's a pleasure to listen to his thoughts & ideas. I will surely be taking another of his classes. By the way, taking Cleaver & Norman @ the same time is quite a treat.

The policy for evaluation was not clearly set out at the beginning of the semester and that was bad.

Professor Cleaver was unlike any professor that teaches at UT. His teaching methods are unconventional but very efficient. He truly cares about his students. He does not put an emphasis on grades, but wants his students to actually learn the material. If I had the chance to take another course he teaches I would. All Cleaver wants his students to do is to participate intelligently.

Please have a more defined course work idea. It's fine to discuss course structure w/the class, but please tell us up front what you want in terms of course work.

I really enjoyed this class and I think the overall format of the class was efficient. The only thing I think I would change is the breaking up into small groups. I think I would have benefited more from always having discussions as an entire class.

This course has been a good opportunity to reevaluate my pedagogical views. I do think that how the course is structured needs to be rethought. I think many students need the way that they are evaluated to be outlined more specifically.

I really enjoyed this class. It is the only class I have ever taken where I learned from the material for myself and not for some test. This class opened my eyes to reading critically and comparatively. Most classes at UT have been straightforward, often mindless, lectures w/little to no additional thought. I am thankful that this was not and that I got to experience it.

Cleaver has a different way of managing a class than any other teacher I have ever studied under. He was able to keep my interest high in class material, but was also able to allow the class to be flexible for the semester.

The material that was covered in this course was not really what I expected. I appreciated reading the various philosophers as they did help with the future readings, but really didn't expect to be reading them all semester. I expected to cover more current issues (like what we did in the last two weeks of school). So I felt that I left this class with a good understanding of the current state of the schools and their policies.

In enjoyed Cleaver very much, but I disagree with the way in which the class is organized. I would have enjoyed a little more structure. There should be more emphasis on participation in class and less on the web. All in all, a good class, but it needs some restructuring.

Too much group work, too little lecture. The time used in actually organizing into groups, breaking barriers of small talk and inhibition before actually engaging in useful debate seemed to be a waste. It also outweighed useful information in that the majority of the class was spent on debating on tangents spawned from the self-interest of students. This inevitably led to the class just being one big discussion.

This course was very interesting. I like how Cleaver gave us a say on how we are graded. The amount of reading was a little ridiculous though.

There were too many authors we had to read.

Hard to continually work as there is only one big grade check at the end of the year. Some of the readings are incredibly hard to understand. Overall a valuable course with very diverse points of view.

I like the fact that this class is different from other classes.

Anyhoo... this may sound very sad but in today's "post-literate" educational environment, sitting down and reading thick texts from obtruse writers was more than most of us could handle. I understand thorough reading is invaluable, but..

My only problem is the large volume of reading required to do well on the exams. With a full course load, it is hard to find the time to read it all.