ERG SES C 02, Education Policies
In Portugal, the policy measures which followed the April 1974 democratic revolution credited education the "mission" of guaranteeing the right to fair and effective equality of opportunity in school admission and success (Portuguese Educational System Law, 1986). Thus, it is pertinent to understand the influence of policy measures that have been implemented to accomplish these objectives and to promote educational improvement.
As examples of these measures, the TEIP program (in English ETPI - Educational Territories of Priority Intervention) was created in the 90’s involving schools linked to social inequality 'problems,' dropout and school failure (Leite, Fernandes & Silva, 2013). These schools joined this program with the main aim of dealing with these situations by being integrated within intervention projects. This policy measure, which may be considered as "compensatory education", has emerged associated to other international movements such as the "Head Start" and "Follow-Through" projects (United States); the Zones d'Education Prioritaire (France); and "Educational Priority Areas" and "Education Action Zones" (England). Another policy measure which started more recently, precisely in 2006, is the school external evaluation (SEE) process. Also influenced by international policies (Dale, 2007) and associating the evaluation of educational institutions to accountability (Afonso, 2009), this measure is related to the decentralization processes and the intention of improving education quality (Pacheco, 2000; OECD, 2012). Socio-economic, political-administrative, scientific-pedagogical and legal reasons have made the schools evaluation process a demand in many countries so as to justify the education system costs (Fialho et al, 2010). In addition, the SEE process in Portugal is justified in order to 'promote the progress of learning and student outcome'.
The SEE process takes place at all public schools, including those that have been integrated into the TEIP program. This means that each school handles their own self-assessment processes/monitoring of goals established by each one, i.e., TEIP schools subsist with the SEE process in addition to the process of establishing educational targets which are inherent to this program. It is with these two ideas, used as a reference, that this study has been developed to understand how the objectives of these two policy measures are being implemented, above all regarding the conditions that contribute to the adhering to the needs and characteristics of the different social groups present in different school contexts. In this way, we wish to understand how schools develop educational improvement processes based on curricular and social justice (Connell, 1995, 2012; Santomé, 2013).
This research project has the general objective of understanding the impact/effect of policy measures implementation to the promotion of school success and educational improvement, particularly concerning schools’ external evaluation and TEIP program. Therefore, our intention is to answer the following questions: What actions are taken by schools to achieve social justice principle, taking into account these two policy measures? What influence does the SEE process and TEIP program have in the different dimensions of daily school life and in what way they contribute to the promotion of participatory and inclusive education? It is in this context that this PhD research project will be developed.
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