28 SES 08 B, New Regimes of Accountability and the Making of Subjectivities
Juridification and governance of school, including enhanced frequency of inspections, are global phenomena, not the least in Sweden and Scandinavia where high trust otherwise has been significant in public administration. At least since 2003 there has been a general increase in legal and regulative processes in the Swedish school system (Lindgren, Hult, Segerholm & Rönnberg, 2012; Runesdotter, 2016). The institutionalization of a juridified school system is both a matter of the 2010 Act of Education and of the Swedish School Inspection (SSI) (Novak, 2018), installed in 2008. This referred transformation of the school system has had a major impact on the practice of local schools and actors like students, teachers and school leaders. Even actors at local school boards and authorities are concerned by the changes.
SSI has focused on detecting failures and deficiencies in relation to the educational legislation with enhanced foci on goal attainment and legal certainty, and require measures to be taken from the local school authorities. In 2015 SSI gets an obligation in an amendment to the Education Act, to use injunctions with a penalty (fine) when a school´s “…deficiencies seriously limit the students preconditions to reach the educational goals” (Education Act, 26 chapter 27 §).
There is knowledge about school inspection and its consequences. But the further implications of the juridified mode of education governance is not clearly elaborated (Novak, 2018). This is the starting point of my research. To capture the phenomena of juridification, the SSI is of particular interest, as well as other regulatory agencies in the school system as the Swedish School Appeal Board (Skolväsendets överklagandenämnd), the Child and School Student representative (Barn- och Elevombudet) and the Teachers’ Disciplinary Board (Lärarnas ansvarsnämnd).
The aim of the study is to analyze processes of juridification and enactment on local school and authority level, when schools are under heavy pressure from SSI and other regulatory agencies. The research questions are:
How do sanctions and injuctions with fines effect the local actors and institutions?
How does it effect local actors and their practice when appeals against decisions made by teachers and school leaders, for instance about students with special needs, are challenged in judicial instances?
The research is drawing on theories about judicalization and governance of school (Novak, 2018) and performativity (Ball, Maguire, Braun, Hoskins & Perryman, 2012). Also the framework of institutional logics (Friedland & Alford, 1991; Thornton, Ocasio & Lounsbury, 2012) is used in the analysis.
The research is a case study. Two inspection cases have been selected from a number of Swedish schools, which were inspected during 2016. The cases were tuned for being sanctioned with a fine for their deficiencies. In addition, a case is selected from the Swedish School Appeal Board, where the school´s decision about a student’s special need is challenged. The empirical data consist of interviews with principals and local heads of school authorities and politicians in charge. The method used is unstructured interviews. Policy texts and case documents are analyzed.
The local school authority needs to handle a rather fragile situation after a fine. The judicial logic challenge the professional logic and there are consequences for the education and for the relations between schools and students as well as their homes. Preliminary results show situations when the local actors do policy in a way that feed the judicial demands but erode the education and the professional logic. Further result is about strategies on school level showing that discretion of the principal sometime is greatly extended because of the fine, and sometime is limited. Difficulties in the division of responsibilities between national and local levels, as well as problems in the hierarchical structure of the school system are elaborated.
Ball, S. J., Maguire, M., Braun, A., Hoskins, K., & Perryman, J. (2012). How schools do policy: Policy enactments in secondary schools. London: Routledge. Friedland, R., & Alford, R. R. (1991). Bringing society back in: Symbols, practices and institutional contradictions. Lindgren, J., Hult, A., Segerholm, C., & Rönnberg, L. (2012). Mediating school inspection: Key dimensions and keywords in agency text production 2003-2010 (Vol. 3, ss. 569-590). Umeå: Education Inquiry Umeå Universitet. Novak, J. (2018). Juridification of Educational Spheres: The Case of Swedish School Inspection. (PhD Sammanläggning), Uppsala universiet, Uppsala. Runesdotter, C. (2016). Avregleringens pris? Om juridifieringen av svensk skola ur skolaktörers perspektiv. Utbildning & Demokrati: Tidskrift för Didaktik och Utbildningspolitik, 25(1), 95-112. Thornton, P. H., Ocasio, W., & Lounsbury, M. (2012). The institutional logics perspective : a new approach to culture, structure and process. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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