23 SES 04 A, Innovations in Education
This research compares the evolution, from 1998 to the present, of four cases of proposals for educational innovation by parents and the response of the institution to them: (1) the demand for access to distance education for young people, (2) the development of home education, (3) the process of founding alternative schools, and (4) the demand for an Aboriginal school within provincial territory in Quebec (Canada).
Quebec is currently examining its school democracy: "to modify the organization and governance of school boards to give schools a greater say in decision-making and ensure parents’ presence within each school board’s decision-making body" (National Assembly of Quebec, 2015). This bill fits in an historical intent to encourage parents' participation in schooling.
However, these new decision-making structures still will not provide a place for democratic participation for those parents seeking more direct participation in schooling than the current normative framework allows for, or a different pedagogical model, such as (1) distance education and (2) home education (homeschooling); or demanding the founding of establishments of exception under the Education Act, such as (3) alternative schools and (4) Aboriginal schools on provincial territory. These requests reach way outside and beyond school boards’ local governance mandate and structure, but are nonetheless submitted to their decision-making processes. Indeed, in a context of decentralized educational governance, it is difficult to find the relevant and competent decision-making body to receive such proposals, reflect upon them, evaluate them and, if necessary, support and supervise them.
Indeed, while decentralization can increase the responsiveness of power to local communities (Zajda and Gamage, 2009), it is not necessarily the same for marginal or minority populations of a region. They gain legitimacy and power only by uniting at a larger scale, reaching sufficient population weight and pooling resources. Otherwise, respect for the right of these citizens to be heard and to participate in the political decisions that concern them (Nussbaum, 2007; Sen, 1979) depends on particular attention from central government, beyond community or local means.
These bottom-up change proposals are of interest from a reflexive governance perspective (Lenoble and Maesschalck, 2010), because of their quasi exit from the educational system. They might thus reveal the institution's shortcomings towards certain populations, or the presence of obstacles to parental participation. The potential for reflexivity thus created could lead to institutional renewal, provided that a dual democratic learning process takes place: that of individuals and that of the institution.
According to reflexive governance theory (Democracy, Law and Governance, 2010), institutions must include participatory mechanisms to fulfill their mission democratically and meet the needs of the new generations. Thus, reflexivity, similar to that described by Argyris and Schön within organizations (Organizational learning II: Theory, method and practice, 1996) can also take place at the systemic level in public institutions and generate institutional learning.
The aim of this research is to contribute to a reflexive governance of the educational system in Québec by mapping the pathways followed by structural change proposals originating from parents within or at the border of the educational system and better understanding the decision-making processes and institutional response, within these specific limit cases.
Three specific questions are asked:
Q1- What steps have these groups of parents taken to advance their proposals? With what results?
Q2- What role have the current participatory and decision-making structures of our education system played in relation to these proposals?
Q3- What other factors or actors contributed to or hindered the progress of these proposals?
Argyris, C., & Schön, D. A. (1996). Organizational learning II. Theory, method, and practice. Boston, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley. Lenoble, J., & Maesschalck, M. (2013). Democracy, law and governance. Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate Publishing. National Assembly of Quebec. (2015). Bill n°86 : An Act to modify the organization and governance of school boards to give schools a greater say in decision-making and ensure parents’ presence within each school board’s decision-making body. Retrieved at http://www.assnat.qc.ca/fr/travaux-parlementaires/projets-loi/projet-loi-86-41-1.html Nussbaum, M. (2007). Human Rights and Human Capabilities. Harvard Human Rights Journal, 20, 21-24. Retrieved at http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/hrj/archive.html Sen, A. (1979, mai). Equality of What? Conference presented at «The Tanner Lecture on Human Values», Stanford University, Stanford, California, 195-220. Retrieved at www.dse.unifi.it/sviluppo/doc/Subramanian1.pdf Yin, R. K. (1994). Case study research. Thousands Oaks, California: Sage. Zajda, J. I., & Gamage, D. T. (2009). Decentralisation, school-based management, and quality (vol. 8). London: Springer.
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
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Network 10. Teacher Education Research
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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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