23 SES 03 A, Learning to Reform
Parallel Paper Session
Numerous educational reforms have been initiated inSerbiasince the political changes in 2000. Their success has been debated, with stakeholders generally harboring negative feelings and opinions on the ways these reforms were undertaken (Vujačić et al., 2011), indicating that there may be more systematic problems with education policymaking, rather than with the content of reforms themselves. The aim of this study is to thoroughly examine the process of education policymaking inSerbiain order to provide policymakers and stakeholders in education with recommendations on how to minimize pitfalls and increase chances for success in future educational endeavors.
We framed the study in several ways. First, we wanted to utilize the education policy cycle heuristic (Anderson, 2003; Haddad, 1994; Porter, 1995; Smith and Larimer, 2009) to analyze formation, implementation and evaluation of three major education policies inSerbia: professional development of teachers, induction of school development plans, and inclusive education. Examining three reforms simultaneously would provide us with the possibility of identifying major characteristics, patterns and trends in Serbian policymaking itself, somewhat controlling for the specificities of any particular reform. Second, we wanted to pay attention to the educational change literature (Evans, 1996; Fullan, 2007; Hargreaves, 2004), which complement the technical education policy cycle heuristic. This would allow us to interpret our findings through the complex and nuanced contexts in which educational reforms play out. Third, having in mind the impact of the “street-level bureaucrats” on education policies (Lipsky, 1971), as well as the notion that a large part of education policymaking is a co-constructed process between reformers and local implementers (Datnow et al., 1998), we wanted to examine education policymaking in Serbia from the eyes of teachers, counselors and principals. Their judgment of the positive and negative aspects of education policymaking would offer invaluable feedback to the education system on what processes need to be changed to ultimately improve the effectiveness and sustainability of education reforms.
Our specific research questions are the following:
(1) What specific aspects of education policymaking, i.e., of education policy formation, implementation, and evaluation, as well as of the context in which reforms play out, are perceived as problematic or beneficial by teachers, principals and counselors in each of the three major educational reforms inSerbia?
(2) What are, if any, main features, patterns and trends in Serbian education policymaking that emerge across all three reforms, regardless of reform content?
(3) Do perceptions of these features differ across different stakeholders and different educational contexts (teacher vs. principal vs. counselor, rural vs. urban, size of school, working experience, etc)?
(4) What are the most prominent suggestions for improvement of the process of education policymaking in Serbia?
Anderson, J. (2003). Public policymaking: An introduction. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company. Datnow, A., Hubbard, L., & Mehan, H. (1998). Educational reform implementation: A co-constructed process. Center for Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence. Evans, R. (1996). The human side of school change: reform, resistance, and the real-life problems of innovation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Fullan, M. (2007). The new meaning of educational change, 4th ed. New York: Teachers College Press. Haddad, W. (1994). The dynamics of education policymaking: Case studies of Burkina Faso, Jordan, Peru and Thailand. Washington DC: World Bank. Hargreaves, A. (2004). Inclusive and exclusive educational change: emotional response of teachers and implications for leadership. School Leadership & Management, 24 (2), 287-309. Lipsky, M. (1971). Street level bureaucracy and the analysis of urban reform. Urban Affairs Quarterly 6, 391–409. Porter, R. (1995). Knowledge utilization and the process of policy formation: Toward a framework for Africa. Washington DC: USAID. Pressman, J. & Wildavsky, A. (1973). Implementation: How great expectations in Washington are dashed in Oakland. Berkeley: University of California Press. Schon, D. (2002). From technical rationality to reflection-in-action; in R. Harrison, F. Reeve, A. Hanson & J. Clarke (eds.): Supporting lifelong learning: Volume one, perspectives on learning. Routledge: LondonFullan. Smith, K.B. & Larimer, C.W. (2009). The public policy theory primer. Westview press. Stanković, D. (2005). Local/School level inputs to national policy formation: an example from Serbia; in S. Kiefer et al. (eds.): Analysis of educational policies in a comparative educational perspective (159-172). State College of Teacher Education, Linz, Austria. Teodorović, J. (2008). Why education policies fail: Multiple streams model of policymaking. Zbornik Instituta za pedagoska istrazivanja, 40(1), 22-36. Vujačić, M., Pavlović, J., Stanković, D., Džinović, V., & Djerić, I. (2011). Predstave o obrazovnim promenama u Srbiji – Refleksije o prošlosti vizije budućnosti. Beograd: Institut za pedagoška istraživanja.
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