23 SES 01 A, Politics and Policy Making in Education (Part 1)
Paper Session to be continued in 23 SES 02 A
Across the world governments are engaged in a drive to ensure that education systems are not only ensuring quality education, but that they are seen to be ensuring this. To this end, many employ measures of educational attainment in the drive to ensure ‘rigour’ and ‘efficiency’. Such endeavours employ mechanisms that set out to ensure that the collection of quantitative data enables the objectification of education through seen to be dispassionate means; PISA is but one example of the way in such endeavours are publically lauded and applauded. What this entails are drives to both corporatise education and specify not only the ends to which data should be put but the mechanisms of collection as well. Notably, in some jurisdictions such moves have gone hand in hand with directives which seek to give more power to schools and school leaders and fewer powers to central organising elements such as local authorities.
In Scotland, UK, such moves are in the process of being enacted. Two missives from government seek to both deploy data as a means to observe and drive improvement, and release head teachers and the like from the ‘shackles’ of collective control. Whilst the former has already occurred the latter is currently being consulted upon. This governance review seeks to shift responsibility for key areas of education away from the collective responsibility of local authorities to the individual responsibilities of schools and school leaders. This governance shift seeks to release such individuals from the political machinations that exist in local government so that they might better enact policies to drive up improvements in test scores and so reduce the gap between rich and poor. In one sense, then, they are an attempt at the depoliticisation of education: they attempt to obviate the need for democratic control from the locality and shift this to the site of the individual school. However, concurrent with this it is evident that such moves are reminiscent of changes in educational governance seen in England which, despite the rhetoric of ‘freeing up’ school leaders, have actually in many ways ensured that other groups have control of the agenda alongside missives from central government. In this respect they are attempts to politicise education; the alterations seek to shift control to the centre under the illusion of increased agency for school staff.
This paper discusses the ways in which Scottish education policy is currently both depoliticising and politicising education. It will explore the ways in which government edict and consultation is shifting the locus of control away from democratically accountable local institutions (a depoliticisation) towards command and control from the centre (politicisation).
The paper uses positioning theory to examine the ways in which language and action are deployed to sell such moves; the paper examines the Discourses (Gee, 2012) that abound in the drive to improve education through the alteration of roles at the local and national level. It outlines the changes that have come into force as well as the consultations currently being undertaken. It notes the positions held by those currently in national government and the ways that they have outlined and justified their proposals. In summary it signals the ways in which the depoliticisation of education is being enacted whilst at the same time it demonstrates the ways and means by which Scottish education is being politicised.
Adams, Paul(2011) 'From 'ritual' to 'mindfulness': policy and pedagogic positioning', Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 32: 1, 57 — 69 Bamberg, M. 2004. “Form and Functions of ‘Slut Bashing’ in Male Identity Constructions in 15-Year-Olds.” Human Development 47 (6): 331–353. Drewery, W. 2005. Why we should watch what we say. Position calls, everyday speech and the production of relational subjectivity. Theory and Psychology 15, no. 3: 305–24. Gee, J. P. 2012. Social Linguistics and Literacies, Ideology in Discourses. London: Routledge.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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