23 SES 14 D, Priority Education Policies in Europe: Can education compensate for society?
Policies associated with the promotion of school success and educational improvement were, in Portugal, implemented and justified based on issues related to equal opportunities and social justice principles. One of these measures, the TEIP program (Educational Territories of Priority Intervention, similar to the French ZEP), is the focus of this paper that aims to analyse how this policy measure has been implemented, in particular which processes towards educational improvement have been developed by schools fostering social justice (Young, 1990; Connell, 1999; Rawls, 2003). The implementation of the TEIP program in 1996 in Portugal was influenced by policies from other countries, such as France, England and the US. The policy underlying implies the promotion of innovation through the identification of local problems and developing solutions, namely, for schools in territories characterized by poverty and social exclusion and where violence, indiscipline, dropout and school failure are more evident (Law 147-B/ME/96). Portugal has 137 schools integrated in the TEIP program and, in addition, 8 of them are located in border regions that already suffer from structural inequalities as well as unequal access to local services and educational and jobs opportunities (Stoer & Araújo, 2000; Silva, 2013, 2014), having higher levels of school underachievement and high rates of illiteracy. Given this, at what extent is TEIP program promoting educational improvement in these territories by locally ground approaches and practices? What effects have TEIP program in these schools? Are these remediation measures towards inequality? Following a set of steps influenced by qualitative and quantitative directions (Vilelas, 2009; Braun & Clarke, 2013; Amado, 2013) – interviews, documental analysis, case studies and questionnaires – we conclude that the place of social justice in this policy is directly related to the form and structure of the processes of schools’ self-evaluation and monitoring – framed in accountability discourses. A specific attention given to TEIP schools located in Portuguese border regions shows that the territorialization of policies are failing in their purpose for promoting equity taking advantage of local idiosyncrasies that could ground a more effective social justice, based on distribution, but also concerned with recognition and representation (Young, 1990; Fraser, 2005).
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