23 SES 06 D, Inclusive Education and Parental School Choice
Paper Session continues from 23 SES 05 D
The aim of this presentation is to analyse the dynamics in family school choice strategies – in other words, to examine the relationship between structure, agency and coincidence in Finnish school choice policies and family strategies.
Theoretically, our analysis is based on conception of dynamics. Kauko et al. (2012; see also Kauko 2011; Palonen 2006) have distinguished three dimensions of dynamics in politics: the political situation, the political possibilities and Spielraum. According to Kauko (2011; see also Palonen 2006; Kauko et al. 2012) politics as a situation bears the idea of a distinguished moment when politics can be changed. It illustrates the moment of Kairos where a historical rupture is visible. By understanding the particular socio-historical situation, the aim is to comprehend how the local and the national are constituted by their interconnections with the trans-national. (E.g. Strange 1997; Werner & Zimmermann 2006.) Political possibilities owe a lot to what is up to seize in a certain frame of a political situation. Actors evaluate their chances and develop an understanding of their possibilities to manoeuvre. There are always possibilities for acting otherwise, but the most vital question is finding these options. (Kauko 2011; Palonen 2006.) Finally, framed by the political situation and possibilities, an essential element for the dynamics in politics is the Spielraum for ‘politicking’. This refers to the potential of actors to capitalise on existing situations and possibilities, compared with opponents less ready to tolerate or make use of the presence of contingency. It relates to the question of agency, as Spielraum refers to individual clearance and leeway of actors in politics; how they ‘play with contingency’. (Kauko et al. 2012; Kauko 2011; Palonen 2006.)
As a manifestation of changing political situation, the highly uniform, standardized, state-governed Finnish comprehensive school has altered significantly since the 1990s. The reforms based on principles of decentralisation and deregulation, have reduced direct state control. As a result, local education authorities have developed distinctive policies concerning local models of selection and admission with diverse possibilities to exercise parental choice. (Varjo, Kalalahti & Silvennoinen 2014; Kalalahti, Silvennoinen, Varjo & Rinne 2015.)
Evidently, new possibilities have opened up both for local education authorities and families. The 1999 Basic Education Act only obliges municipalities to assign each child of elementary school age “a neighbourhood school or some other appropriate place where education is given”; there is no longer reference to “school districts.” Education providers (which are mainly municipalities in Finland) and their comprehensive schools are still required to maintain a national core curriculum. However, within a given framework they are allowed to specialize in certain areas, music, physical education, for instance. Simultaneously, parents were enabled to choose between schools on the grounds of their particular character and curriculum. (Kalalahti, Silvennoinen, Varjo & Rinne 2015; Varjo, Kalalahti & Silvennoinen 2014.)
Apparently, the capabilities to utilise changing school choice policies are not evenly distributed. In the novel situation, the families with substantial resources (that is, social and cultural capital) are the most active and determined in the consumption of the more open school choice. Besides family resources, school choice is related to values, attitudes and preferences of parents. (Kalalahti, Silvennoinen, Varjo & Rinne 2015; Silvennoinen, Kalalahti & Varjo 2015.)
Kalalahti, M., Silvennoinen, H., Varjo, J. & Rinne, R. 2015. Education for all? Parental Attitudes Towards the Universalism and Selectivism of Comprehensive School System. In Seppänen, P., Carrasco, A., Kalalahti, M., Rinne, R. & Simola, H. (Eds.) Contrasting Dynamics in Education Politics of Extremes: school choice in Chile and Finland. London: Sense. (In pint) Kauko, J. 2011. Korkeakoulupolitiikan dynamiikat Suomessa [Dynamics in Finnish Higher Education Politics]. Helsinki: University of Helsinki, Department of Behavioural Sciences. Kauko, J., Simola, H., Varjo, J. & Kalalahti, M. 2012. What could a dynamics perspective contribute to comparative research? In J. Kivirauma, A. Jauhianen, P. Seppänen & T. Kaunisto (Eds.) Koulutuksen yhteiskunnallinen ymmärrys. Social Perspectives on Education. Research in Educational Sciences 59, 219–233. Turku: Finnish Educational Research Association. Levin, B. 1998. An epidemic of education policy: (what) can we learn from each other? Comparative Education 34 (2), 131–141. Palonen, K. 2006. The Struggle with Time. A Conceptual History of ’Politics’ as an Activity. Hamburg: Verlag Münster. Silvennoinen, H., Kalalahti, M. & Varjo, J. 2015. Why Fix something that is not Broken? The Implementation of School Choice Policy and Parental Attitudes towards Equality and Uniformity of Comprehensive School System in Finland. Athens Journal of Education. Epub Ahead of Print. Strange, S. 1997. The Future of Global Capitalism – Or, Will Divergence Persist Forever? In C. Crouch, & W. Streeck (Eds) Political economy of modern capitalism mapping convergence and diversity. London: Sage, 182–192. 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), 20–48. Werner, M., & Zimmermann, B. 2006. Beyond Comparison: "Histoire Croisée" and the Challenge of Reflexivity. History and Theory, 45 (1), 30–50.
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.