23 SES 04 C, Education Policies and Development
Despite its many successes Finnish school system has recently seen the effects of regional segregation. This is especially relevant in Helsinki metropolitan area which is the most densely populated in Finland. Finland has been used as an example of equal opportunities in schooling but in recent years these images have been challenged especially in Helsinki metropolitan area where income differences have grown rapidly. Issues of urban segregation have wide reaching significance on European level. Many of the phenomena seen now in Finnish education, such as increasing school choice, have been observed earlier in other countries (Ball 2003; Reay 2006; van Zanten 2003). General trends are widely connected with a larger European perspective but at the same time Finland has some distinct and singular features.
The debate about parent’s right to choose their children’s schools is ongoing. While school choice has officially not been possible in Finnish policy (Varjo et al 2014), research has recently shown that parents use classes with emphasized teaching as a way of choosing schools. Since some methods of actual school choice do therefore exist, there have been noticeable shifts in popularity of different schools along with the emergence of certain schools that seem to be avoided by parents.
Most of primary school students (80%) attend their local school and therefore regional and school development are connected in a way which leads to schools in certain areas becoming unpopular.
Recent studies have shown that these developments are mirrored in learning results of local schools. Differences in leaning results between schools in different areas are considerable (Bernelius 2013). The success of a given school in national learning tests correlates to some extent with the socio-economic background of the school area. However on the level of individual schools and students these connections remain hard to draw.
However, recent research (Bernelius 2013) has shown that there are local schools that attain learning results that are better than statistically expected in areas of low socio-economic positions and low levels of education. In other words these schools seem to be reversing some trends of segregation and attaining good results in difficult areas. This research aims to identify factors behind these schools’ success. The question is approached on the level of everyday school life through three focal points: 1) interviews with parents 2) interviews with teachers and 3) study of student-teacher interactions inside the classroom.
Theoretically the research relies on CADEP (Comparative Analytics of Dynamics of Education Politics) framework developed during last 10 years in prof. Simola’s research group KUPOLI in the University of Helsinki (Varjo et al 2013; Kauko 2013). CADEP framework seeks to understand dynamics and development s on different levels of education and in this instance our focus is on the dynamics of school culture and classroom interaction. The research seeks to identify good practices and trace the process of their formation.
Ball, S. J. 2003. Class strategies and the education market: the middle classes and social advantage. London: Routledge Falmer. Bernelius, V. & Kauppinen, T. M. (2011). School Outcomes and Neighbourhood Effects: A New Approach Using Data from Finland. In Maarten van Ham, David Manley, Nick Bailey, Ludi Simpson & Duncan MacIennan (eds.): Neighbourhood Effects Research: New Perspectives. London: Springer, 225–247. Bernelius V. 2013 Eriytyvät kaupunkikoulut. [Differentiating City Schools]. Helsinki: University of Helsinki. Hamnett, C. (1998). Social polarization, economic restricting and welfare state regimes. Teoksessa Musterd, S. & Ostendorf W. (toim.) Urban segregation and welfare state. s. 15-27. Routledge, New York. Kauko, J. 2013 ”Dynamics in Higher Education Politics. A Theoretical Model”. Higher Education. 65, 2, s. 193-206. Musterd, S. & W. Ostendorf (1998). Urban segregation and welfare state. 275s. Routledge, New York. Reay, D. 2006 The Zombie Stalking English Schools: Social class and educational inequality. British Journal of Educational Studies 54 (3), 288-307. Reay, D. & Ball S. J. 1997. ´Spoilt for choice´: the working classes and educational markets. Oxford Review of Education 23 (1), 89-111. Siirilä, S., Vaattovaara, M. & Viljanen, V. (2002), "Well-being in Finland: a comparison of municipalities and residential differentiation in two cities", Fennia 180:1-2, s. 141-149. Varjo, J., Kalalahti, M. & Silvennoinen, H. (2014). Families, school choice and democratic iterations on the right to education and freedom of education in Finnish municipalities. Journal of School Choice 8(1), in print. Varjo, J., Simola, H. & Rinne, R. 2013 “Finland’s PISA Results. An Analysis of Dynamics in Education Politics.” PISA, Power, and Policy: The Emergence of Global Education Governance. Meyer, H-D. & Benavot, A. (toim.). Oxford: Symposium Books, s. 51-76 26 Sivumäärä (Oxford Studies in Comparative Education) van Zanten, A. 2003. Middle-class parents and social mix in French urban schools: reproduction and transformation of class relations in education. International Studies in Sociology of Education 13 (2), 107-123. Young, Michael 2008 Bringing Knowledge Back In. London: Routledge
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