Pizza and Politics


On Thursday, September 12, 40 plus Political Science majors, interested prospective majors and faculty members of the Political Science department, got together for Pizza and Politics. This was the first of several events planned for the year by the Political Science department to bring students interested in politics together. These events will give students an opportunity to hear about what’s going on in the Political Science department, hear about what fellow students have been up to, talk politics and, yes, eat pizza.


Bekah Barr ’16, a Fellow of the 2013 Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies (RIRS), presented her research on education in the Memphis area titled, “Measuring Accountability in Alternative Education Charter Schools.” Faced with the question “how do we evaluate the success of alternative education programs?” Bekah’s research took a look at how the Achievement School District of Memphis measures the success of their alternative education schools and what improvements would be needed to meet the state of Tennessee’s requirements for success and effectiveness.


Bekah’s final project was a proposal of eight standards to measure success in future alternative education schools in the Achievement School District. Bekah developed her standards by researching models of similar school districts around the country, looking at the measures of success for the Achievement School District’s normal schools, and through interviews. The District has plans to use a modified version of Bekah’s proposal – modified to include numerical goals per year and removal of two of her proposed measures – with a new alternative education school planned for the very near future.


When asked if there are plans to continue working with the District, Bekah said “I don′t have any set plans to continue working with the district, but I won′t turn down any opportunities to work with them further. The District supported my work and I learned a lot from them. I look forward to reconnecting with those I worked with.”


Students enjoy a variety pf pizzas, veggies, soft drinks and desserts while talking with Political Science faculty members and each other.

Pizza and Politics 2 coming in October. E-mails and flyers with details coming out soon.