23 SES 08 A, Policy Reforms and Implementation Processes
With the emergence of the knowledge society, education systems around the globe are experiencing a period of profound change. International comparative large scale assessments such as the OECD`s PISA Study have increased pressure on national education systems to enhance educational performance and focus on education as a future investment. A central component of education policy reforms is the effort to reconfigurate educational governance structures. As part of the welfare state (see Busemeyer und Nikolai 2010; West/Nikolai 2013), education systems have historically been regulated by the state. In recent decades though, the state’s monopoly over education systems has softened and new forms of educational governance emerged. Generally these reforms entail the decentralization of decision-making authority to individual schools, municipalities, and regions and the enhancement of school autonomy (see Christ and Dobbins 2015; Jakobi and Teltemann 2009).
From a political science perspective we examine whether and why different national models of school governance have emerged. Drawing on Altrichter (2011) and Altrichter/Rürup (2010), we differentiate four ideal-types of school governance, which are by no means mutually exclusive and can emerge in hybrid forms: the democratic-participation model, the competition model, the model of professional self-administration and the model of hierarchic self-administration.
While the democratic-participation model primarily aims to externally “democratize” educational governance by incorporating a wide array of local stakeholders, the competition model is most concerned with unleashing the innovative potential of individual schools through competitive incentives. The model of professional self-administration aims to significantly strengthen the autonomy of the teaching profession in internal school governance affairs (e.g. financial, personnel and organizational matters). The model of hierarchical self-administration, by contrast, significantly strengthens the authority of school managers, often to the detriment of the teaching profession.
Against this background, this paper focusses on the impact of two central actors in school governance reforms: political parties and teacher unions (Moe 2009). While there is a growing body of literature on partisan preferences in education (Ansell 2010, Busemeyer 2009, 2015), differences in educational governance remain underresearched. Our theoretical assumption is that center-right parties will prefer the competition model and model ofhierarchical self-administration, which place a stronger focus on institutional accountability, performance and educational markets, while center-left parties will tend to support the democratic-participation model and the model of professional self-administration (particularly when dependent on the political support of teachers unions).
As hinted, we also look at the role of teacher unions in shaping educational governance policies. Drawing on corporatist theory (Siaroff 1999), we examine the interactions between teacher unions and political parties. We test the assumption that teacher unions reject the model of hierarchical self-administration and competition, as these models would weaken their influence on policy-making and subject the teaching corps to greater competition and accountability measures. Instead, we assume that teacher unions will push for professional self-administration and democratic-participative structures, to the extent that they assume a leading role within the latter.
However, partisan actors and interest groups do not interact in an empty space, rather within historically embedded institutions. Therefore, we complement the actor-centered perspective with an institutionalist perspective (Hall und Taylor 1996, Steinmo 2008), which incorporates the national policy-making context (e.g. veto players, interest intermediation structures). Specifically, we analyze the “fate” of individual education policy-making institutions (e.g. education ministries, quality assurance bodies, school management and intermediate bodies) from the prism of four modes of gradual institutional change - displacement, layering, drift, and conversion (Streeck/Thelen 2005, Mahoney/Thelen 2010, Hacker et al. 2015). Examining the institutional context enables us to explain why similar actors (e.g. conservative parties, well-organized teachers unions) chose different strategies and achieved different degrees of success in exerting their preferences.
Altrichter, Herbert/Rürup, Mathias. 2010. Schulautonomie und die Folgen. In Handbuch Neue Steuerung im Schulsystem, Hrsg. H. Altrichter, K. Maag Merki. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften: 111-144. Altrichter, Herbert. 2010. Lehrerfortbildung im Kontext von Veränderungen im Schulwesen. In Lehrerinnen und Lehrer lernen. Konzepte und Befunde zur Lehrerfortbildung, Hrsg. F. Müller, A. Eichenberger, M. Lüders, J. Mayr. Münster: Waxmann: 17-34. Ansell, Christopher/Gingrich, Jane. 2003. Trends in Decentralization. In Democracy Transformed? Expanding Political Opportunities in Advanced Industrial Democracies, Hrsg. B. Cain, R.J. Dalton, S.E. Scarrow. Ox-ford: Oxford University Press: 140-163. Ansell, Ben. 2010. From the ballot to the blackboard: The redistributive political economy of education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Busemeyer, Marius. 2009. Social democrats and the new partisan politics of public investment in education. Journal of European Public Policy 16 (1): 107-126. Busemeyer, M. R./Nikolai, R. 2010. Education. In: Castles, G. F./Lewis, J./Obinger, H./Pierson, C./Leibfried, S. The Oxford Handbook on Welfare State Policy. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press: 494-508. George, Alexander L./Bennett, Andrew. 2005. Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences. Cambridge: MIT Press. Hall, Peter A. 2010. Historical Institutionalism in Rationalist and Sociological Perspective. In Explaining Institu-tional Change. Ambiguity, Agency, and Power, Hrsg. J. Mahoney, K. Thelen. Cambridge: Cambridge Uni-versity Press: 204-224. Hacker, Jacob S./Pierson, Paul/Thelen, Kathleen. 2015. Drift and conversion: hidden faces of institutional change. In Advances in Comparative-Historical Analysis, Hrsg. J. Mahoney, K. Theelen, Cambridge: Cam-bridge University Press: 180-208. Hall, Peter A./Rosemary C. R. Taylor. 1996. Political Science and the Three New Institutionalisms. Political Studies 44 (5): 936-957. Moe, Terry M. 2009. Collective Bargaining and the Performance of Public Schools. in American Journal of Political Science 53(1): 156-174. Siaroff, Alan (1999): Corporatism in 24 Industrial Democracies. In: European Journal of Political Research 36, 175–205. Steinmo, Sven. 2008. Historical Institutionalism. In Approaches and Methodologies in the Social Sciences, ed. Donatella Della Porta and Michael Keating, 118-138. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Streeck, Wolfgang/Thelen, Kathleen. 2005. Institutional Change in Advanced Political Economies. In Beyond Continuity: Institutional Change in Advanced Political Economies, Hrsg. W. Streek, K. Thelen. Oxford: Oxford University Press: 1-56. West, Anne/Nikolai, Rita. 2013. Welfare regimes and education regimes: equality of opportunity and expendi-ture in the EU (and US). Journal of Social Policy 42(3): 469-493.
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