23 SES 06 B, Globalization, Privatizations and Neo-Liberal Reforms in Education (Part 1)
Paper Session: to be continued in 23 SES 07 B
This paper provides a critical policy analysis of Pearson’s new business strategy in education. The paper is thus a case of a broader phenomenon of the enhanced involvement of edu-businesses in education policy processes, globally, nationally and locally. This phenomenon works in relation to new policy communities in education at various scales and the delivery of policy services in education. Specifically, we focus on Pearson’s new Efficacy Framework, including The Learning Curve (TLC), a fifty page report and associated website and data bank. The objective of the paper is to provide a critical policy analysis of the Efficacy Framework, recognizing the need for new approaches to policy analysis given these developments (Lingard and Sellar, 2013). We argue that the Efficacy Framework represents a new policy genre linked to globalization, privatizations and neo-liberal reforms in the work of the state and specifically in relation to policy production in schooling. Pearson’s work here can be seen as part of the phenomenon of ‘philanthrocapitalism’ (Bishop and Green, 2008) and an attempt to construct both policy problems and possible solutions in order to build both the symbolic capital of Pearson as an education services provider and their potential business through branding.
We set the Efficacy Framework against Pearson’s new business strategy. Our theoretical framework for understanding the restructured and networked state within nations draws on a number of intellectual resources. These include the rescaling of politics (Brenner, 2004), the topological turn within culture (Lury et al., 2012), new spatialisations associated with globalization (Appadurai, 1996; Amin, 2002) and emergent heterarchical and networked forms of governance (Ball and Junemann, 2012). Our argument and analysis proceed from the assumption that policy analysis today has to consider the global as well as the national, the private as well as the public domain, and global edu-businesses like Pearson, as well as international organisations such as the OECD and World Bank (Ball, 2012; Lingard and Sellar, 2013). We address this question through a case study analysis of the education policy work of Pearson: ‘How are edu-businesses shaping and contributing to educational policy processes and ‘products’ across global, supranational and national scales?’
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