28 SES 04 A, The Global Restructuring of Education Professions: Identities, careers, and new forms of regulation
Over the last 20 years there is an ongoing redefinition on public policies regarding school management in Portugal. Three trends may be depicted from the variety of policy interventions in relation to the conditions, processes and practices of head teachers’ work: an intensification of the professionalization of school heads; an increasing of “govern by contract” practices, which is visible by the existence of school autonomy contracting policies, justified by central administration by the need of more educational agreements and co-responsibility; an increasing public scrutiny of school government and management, namely through monitoring, evaluation and improvement activities carried out by central administration bodies. These trends take part of a worldwide and profound movement in school management associable to a common denominator: public administration reforms carried out through New Public Management (NPM). The presentation focuses on the ways by which the NPM assumptions, with direct or indirect influence on head teachers’ work, are being received and interpreted by these actors. Our interest stems from the assumption that NPM orientations coexist with national policies, local contexts and historically constituted referential about head teachers role. Thus, the head teachers’ receptions are taken as analyzers of the continuities, changes and tensions in regulation processes regarding school leadership and management. The empirical study is based on interviews with head teachers aimed to better understand the changes in their work. The results of the study allow us to put forward the growing complexity of regulations processes, which results from the coexistence of traditional regulation modalities with the emergency of regulation modes driven from NPM, and the consequences they produce on head teachers’ perceptions, meanings and orientations for action.
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