23 SES 12 A, Policy Reforms and Teacher Professionalism
This communication focuses on how neoliberal school policies are being enacted in Catalonia and the effect they have on head teachers’ practices, subjectivity and identity. I try to analyse the complex, often incoherent and uncertain connexion between Neoliberalism with a capital "N" (Ong 2007), as a global process related to market freedom, competition, depoliticisation, assessment or accountability, and neoliberalism with a small "n". That is, how global processes are being enacted as a particular technology of governing "free" head teachers and how this technology is reshaping and producing new truths, practices, relationships and professional identities. It begins by considering the impact of global neoliberal policies on educational practices and techniques of governing, in particular the techniques through which head teachers are valued and understood ‘by numbers’ (Ozga and Grek 2008; Grek 2009; Ball 2015), at a distance (Rose and Miller 2010) and through New Public Management technologies like market, competition, bureaucracy and so forth. (Salhberg 2011; Verger and Curran 2014). Rather than adopting the traditional perspective on neoliberal policies as being the result of a ‘retreat of the state’, it highlights the ‘positive and productive’, in a Foucauldian sense, effects on education and, specifically, on head teachers. So governance, assessment, school-based management, flexibility, performance-related pay and auditing, among other elements, are "positive" techniques of government, in the technical, not ethical sense of the word. Because enacting reforms is also about the de-construction of one professional identity and the re-construction of a new one. Through the "regime of numbers" (Ozga and Lingard, 2007; Ozga, 2013; Ball, 2015) and their techniques of assessment, monitoring, classification and competition, the whole school conduct is conducted. Thus through school assessment, a model of (head) teachers, pupils or family is produced, made calculable and subject to the power of numbers, while at the same it produces resistance.
Coming from a Catalan school culture quite susceptible to any kind of assessment, during the 2000s, and especially driven by the new hegemony of PISA, assessment has changed its own "status" and now the Catalan government is today speaking about the "assessment school culture"(Bonal and Tarabini 2013; Bonal and Verger 2014). It is precisely this current wave of "global school assessment", related to an increasing degree of school autonomy, new forms of school organisation and greater accountability, that places head teachers as the cornerstone of new school governance. They are becoming the main and almost sole people responsible for school assessment results and for the school innovations designed to improve these assessment outcomes. This is not done explicitly but rather through assessment undertaken in a context of freedom, in relation with transparency and especially an increasing of "total responsibility" on the side of the head teachers and, as Ball puts it (2003, 215) "the novelty of this epidemic of reforms is that it does not simply change what people, as educators, scholars and researchers do, it changes who they are". From this perspective, the goal of the communication is to analyse how a concrete model of school assessment becomes the key policy technology when promoting changes in school governance and which are the main changes related to head teachers’ views, practices and identity.
Ball, S.J. 2003. "The teacher’s soul and the terrors of performativity." Journal of Education Policy 18 (2): 215–228. Ball, S.J. 2015. "Education, governance and the tyranny of numbers." Journal of Education Policy 30 (3): 299-301. Ball, S.J., and A. Olmedo. 2013. "Care of the self, resistance and subjectivity under neoliberal governmentalities." Critical Studies in Education 54 (1): 85-96. Bonal, X., and A. Tarabini. 2013. "The role of PISA in shaping hegemonic educational discourses, policies and practices: the case of Spain." Research in Comparative and International Education 8 (3): 335-341. Bonal, X., and A. Verger. 2014. L'agenda de la política educativa a Catalunya. Una anàlisi de les opcions de govern (2011-2013). Barcelona: Fundació Jaume Bofill. [The education policy agenda. An analysis of the government options] Burchell, G. 1996. "Liberal government and the techniques of the self." In Foucault and political reason. Edited by A. Barry, T. Osborne, and N.S. Rose, 19–36. London: UCL Press. Collet, J., and A. Tort. (coords.). 2016. "La gobernanza escolar democrática". Madrid: Morata. [The democratic school governance] Grek, S. 2009. "Governing by numbers: the PISA 'effect' in Europe.", Journal of Education Policy 24 (1): 23-37 Hunter, I. 1996. "Assembling the school." In Foucault and political reason, edited by A. Barry., T. Osborne, and N.S. Rose, 143–166. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Ong, A. 2007. "Neoliberalism as a mobile technology." Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 32, 3–8. Luke, A. 1999. Critical Discourse Analysis. In J. P. Keeves & G. Lakomski (Eds.) Issues in Educational Research. Oxford: Pergamon Press. Ozga, J. 2012. "Governing knowledge: data, inspection and education policy in Europe." Globalisation, Societies and Education 10 (4): 439-455. Ozga, J. 2013. "Accountability as a policy technology: accounting for education performance in Europe." International Review of Administrative Sciences, 79 (2): 292-309. Ozga, J., and B. Lingard. 2007. "Globalisation, education policy and politics." In The Routledge-Falmer reader in education policy and politics, edited by B. Lingard, and J. Ozga, 65–82. London: Routledge. Ozga, J., and S. Grek. 2008. Governing by Numbers? Shaping Education through data. CES Briefing No 44. Edinburgh: Centre for Educational Sociology. Serpieri, R., and E. Grimaldi. 2015. "Leader as Policy Device: The Hybridization of Head Teachers in Italy." ECPS Journal 11/2015 Verger, A., and M. Curran. 2014. "New public management as a global education policy: its adoption and re-contextualization in a Southern European setting." Critical Studies in Education 55 (3): 253-271.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
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