23 SES 04 D, Local Education Policy
Parallel Paper Session
The Finnish education policy is defined by global, especially European trends and steering mechanisms. Politicians follow the directions of OECD according which they, actors, define national lines of education policy according to the interest of different institutions. (see Grek et al. 2009.) Families and schools are governed with different conventions and techniques. The modern convention of government is based on the idea that individuals assume they think as free autonomous choosers. According to the liberal mode of government parents have legal and moral competence to choose the school and education. (Baez & Talburt 2008.) Education and the segmented supply of it is one prospect to govern citizens whom are needed for divergent assignments in the society (see Popkewitz 2007).
Current choice society teases individuals to choose in order to be free citizens. Choices narrate of values and goals of individuals. (Rose 1999.) From the parents` views the school choice is one tool reproduce habitus or try to achieve better places in the societal playfield. (Bourdieu 1984). The playing space is socially defined and part of social practices. The space also defines different mindsets and generates social practices. We use here also the concepts of spatial capital and sociospatial space, which are constructed in different levels. Firstly, societal space, a state of mind which enables or/and prevents certain action on the schooling society. It puts borderlines to action through legislations and other guidelines. Secondly, physical space which refers to residential areas, location of residence and schools as well as transportation opportunities. These two spaces are intertwined to psychic landscape, psychic space, which enables but also installs borders for choices. Depending on the local urban spaces families have dissimilar options to participate on school markets. Parents` education strategies are related to sociospatial schooling practices. (Barthon & Monfroy 2010.)
In Finland the local school authorities determine choice policy that is carried out in municipality. The con-sequence is that choice policy differs between the cities. In this research we compare and contrast how the 6th graders` parents act in the assumed school markets of two case cities, which use different choice policies. The focus is on parents` subject positions, discourses and educational values (see e.g. Irwin & Elley 2011; Raveaud & van Zanten 2007) which are intertwined to school choice strategies. The aim is to develop a model, which describes parents choosing strategies. Here will be answered to following research questions in the contrasting way:
a. what kind of choosers subject positions the parents use
b. what kind of educational values and discourses are used
c. are there differences between the choosing strategies of the parents
d. what is the meaning of different spaces to parents` school choices.
This research is part of research project “Parents and School Choice. Family Strategies, Segregation and School Policies in Chilean and Finnish Basic Schooling” (PASC).
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