23 SES 08 B, Education as a Site of Struggle
Our communication deals with steering and evaluation policy in the French-speaking part of Belgium, since the nineties. Changes in this policy field generate new forms of knowledge-based regulation tools for the education system, such as external testing, pedagogic advice etc. Our goal is to analyze the making of these policies with a cognitive approach. Therefore, we will use concepts as “paradigm” (Hall 1993, Muller 2005) but also “policy narrative” (Radaelli 2000).
These policies are embedded in an ongoing paradigm shift of the education system, its goals, organization and provision, etc. The new policy paradigm, based on economics and theory of organizations, considers education as a “production system” that needs to be steered and “managed” in such ways as to improve their efficacy and efficiency. The education system must be understood as a whole, in relation to its results, to the way it functions and to the “quality” of the “competences it produces” and of the knowledge it provides to students. It tends to overshadow a previous paradigm where education functioned as a key institution for the constitution of society and citizens. However, in the Belgian “pillarized” society and political system, education institution has never been unique and homogenous and actually several “school networks” developed specific institutional programs for different “communities” within the society (Mangez 2009). Indeed, though new forms of regulation and steering policies are developing all over Europe (Maroy 2006), the Belgian case shows how a specific socio-historical context can generate hybrid forms of policies in this new paradigm (Maroy 2009).
Our communication shows that the new paradigm changed some key issues of the political debate in education, notably with a focus on evaluation policy. However, traditional lines of division between networks and communities partially continue to structure the new controversies about evaluation and steering: stakeholders and policy-makers are ganged up around two main “political narratives” which are competing versions and “theories of action” of the “education as a production system” paradigm – that is, two visions of how steering and evaluation in education should be carried out.
The dominant narrative tends to simultaneously preserve network pluralism and recognize their institutional existence while promoting greater “coherence” between schools via curricular and evaluation policies. The result has been to reinforce the legal control and references of public authorities. Conversely, a minority policy narrative emphasizes the need for protecting and even increasing “autonomy” of local establishments while promoting the possibility of developing a “regulator network” to complement or compete with a regulative and evaluative State. It seeks to improve the quality and equality of the system by developing evaluations of its functions and performances – that is, by regulating by results. The conclusion of our analysis is that the “regulation by results” argument is clearly a minority position. The consensus among actors favors greater “harmonization of standards” for all which yet avoids undermining the implicit norms in place concerning the coexistence among networks (in particular the imperative of inter-segmentary “discretion” and “open” non-competitive agreement between schools and networks) (Mangez 2009).
Campbell John L. (2004), Institutional change and globalization, Princeton: Princeton University Press. Hall Peter A., Taylor Rosemary CR. (1993), Policy, Paradigms, Social Learning and the State: The Case of Economic Policy-Making in Britain, Comparative Politics, 25 (3), avril, 275-296. Mangez, C. ; Maroy C. ; Cattonar, B. ; Delvaux B. & Mangez, E. (2009), Les politiques de pilotage et d’évaluation de l’enseignement en Belgique francophone : une approche cognitive. Rapport de recherche, know&pol, Louvain-la-Neuve, http://www.knowandpol.eu. Mangez, E. (2009). De la nécessité de discrétion à l’Etat évaluateur. La Revue Nouvelle, juillet-août, 37-42. Maroy Christian (2006), Ecole, régulation et marché. Une analyse de six espaces scolaires locaux en Europe. Paris : Presses Universitaires de France, coll. Education et sociétés. Maroy Christian (2009), Réforme de l’inspection et montée de la régulation par les résultats en Communauté française de Belgique. Incidences des institutions, des intérêts et des idées, in Pelletier, Régulation et encadrement des politiques éducatives, Bruxelles : De Boeck Université. Muller Pierre (2005), Esquisse d’une théorie du changement dans l’action publique. Structures, acteurs et cadres cognitifs, Revue française de science politique, vol. 55, n°1, 155-187. Radaelli Claudio M (2000), Logiques de pouvoirs et récits dans les politiques publiques de l’union européenne. Revue française de science politique, vol. 50, n° 2, 255-276. Schmidt Vivien A. & Radaelli Claudio M. (2007), Policy Change and Discourse in Europe: Conceptual and Methodological Issues. West European Politics, 27:2, 183-210.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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