23 SES 10 D, Marketisation Policies and Their Effects on Staff and Students
The purpose of this paper is to examine, from a critical perspective, education policy related to organizational change and restructuring to determine trends, directions and implications over time. Within this context the study investigated the impact that accompanied radical structural change that is often the result of current education policies driven by economic rationalism, efficiency and accountability (Apple, 2000; Blackmore, 2000). A case study involving one Canadian province was used to trace the developments in policy direction and the influences that have shaped this policy direction. This province experienced twenty years of downsizing and restructuring fueled by social and economic shifts as well as a desire to cut costs in administrative governance and improve accountability in all levels of the organization. This study arose out of my interest to understand the ideological underpinnings informing education policy and to determine patterns, trends and relationships which may inform and shape policy direction in the future
This province, a seemingly insignificant player in the larger picture is inextricably linked to broader global trends that are affecting educational policies in many western countries. While Newfoundland’s policy is responding to local needs, there are significant parallels to global trends that seem driven by ”a perceived immediacy and necessity to respond to a new world order”(Burbules N. & Torres 2000).According to Ball (2008) similar trends in England saw education policy increasingly shaped “within the context of the ‘pressures’ and requirements of globalization” (p.1.) followed by unprecedented activity in the depth, breath and pace of change at all levels. Educational leadership in this paradigm is located in the neo-liberal version of the performing school with the main emphasis on management and accountability (Blackmore 2000).
The rhetoric of globalization has been used to promote a neoliberal agenda that promotes economic rationality as the preferred ideology and education is seen as a market choice rather than an individual right in a democratic society. A shift has occurred from the production of commodities as a valuable business asset to the production of knowledge and education as the innovative intellectual products needed to be competitive in the new economy (Ball, 2008). Education is being reshaped to be an extension of broader economic policy with restructuring and devolution key strategies as policies tighten control over curriculum guidelines, financial management; and as educators are increasingly subjected to typical market conditions that include greater control through accountability, surveillance and loss of professional autonomy (Blackmore, 2000).
As the movement to greater political involvement increased emphasis on economic efficiency and restructuring also increased while the role of educators diminished. It has changed from integral to advisory, from shaping educational policy to carrying out directives (Blackmore, 2000). Out of that grew an unprecedented standards-driven approach to education, heavily influenced by centralized political policy intervention; and characterized by stringent, top-down accountability measures and significant changes in the pace of policy direction.
Situating the Researcher
Researchers from a social science tradition argue that neutrality is impossible. The underlying argument is that reflexivity is a basic feature of social research. It is held to be important in that the researchers influence is identified as significant and should be used as an advantage. The researcher’s identity is also important to data collection and analysis, especially when much of the policy under review paralleled the lived educational experiences of the researcher where she was a teacher and administrator throughout the period of restructuring and subsequent reorganization of the educational landscape that came about because of policy shifts.
Apple, M. (2000). Between neoliberalism and neoconservativatism: Education and conservatism in a global context. Globalization and Education, Critical Perspectives. Burbules, N. and Torres C. New York, Rutledge Ball, S. J. (2008). The Education Debate: Policy and Politics in the Twenty-First Century. Bristol, UK: Policy Press Blackmore, J. (2000). Globalization: A Useful Concept for Feminist Rethinking Theory and Strategies in Education. Globalization and Education, Critical Perspectives. T. C. Burbules, N. New York, Routledge: 133-156. Fairclough, N. (2001). The Discourse of New Labour: Critical Discourse Analysis. Discourse as Data: A Guide to Analysis. M. Wetherell, S. Taylor and S. Yates. London, Sage Publications Ltd.: 229-266. Jager, S. (2001). Discourse and Knowledge: Theoretical and methodological aspects of a critical discourse and dispositive analysis. Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. R. Wodak and M. Meyer. London, Sage Publications: 33-62. Rizvi, F. and Lingard, B. (2010). Globalizing Education Policy. New York: Rutledge. Taylor, S., Rizvi, F., Lingard, B., and Henry, M. (1997). Educational Policy and the Politics of Change, London: Rutledge. Wodak, R. and M. Meyer, Eds. (2001). Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. Introducing Qualitative Methods. Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications.
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