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Article

Sweden and Education as a Market  

Lisbeth Lundahl

Since the late 1970s, the relationship between the state, the public sector, and the economy has undergone a profound transformation globally toward privatization, commercialization, and market organization. Pronounced marketization of education has occurred even in the Nordic countries, traditionally characterized as having social democratic/universalistic and egalitarian welfare systems, but with considerable national variations. Sweden has caught international attention by introducing unusually far-reaching, state-supported privatization of educational provision and strong incentives for school choice and competition. Central issues addressed include the factors associated with the exceptionally swift and far-reaching market reforms in Sweden, as well as the persistence of the resulting system and its consequences according to current research. A hasty reform decision, paucity of envisioned alternatives, and the appeal of school choice for an expanding middle-class contributed to the neoliberal turn in Swedish education politics. Generous rules of establishment and possibilities of profit-making attracted big businesses, particularly after the decision in the mid-1990s to fully tax-fund independent “free” schools. Within a 10-year period, substantial proportions of the schools were owned and run by large, profit-making companies and chains. Research has shown that the school choice and privatization reforms, besides providing parents and young people in the urban areas with a vast smorgasbord of schools, have fueled growing educational inequity and segregation since the 1990s. Despite increasing criticism of the design of school choice and profit-making in education from many sides, recently even from conservative–liberal media and politicians, the Swedish “market school system” persists and flourishes.

Article

Professional Standards for Educational Leadership  

Michelle D. Young

Standards are used in a variety of professional fields to identify core elements of practice within the field as well as to describe a desired level of performance. The first set of standards for the field of educational leadership in the United States was introduced in 1996 by the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC). Since then, they have become the de facto national standards for educational leaders. The ISLLC standards have been updated three times and were recently renamed Professional Standards for School Leaders (PSEL) under the authority of the National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA). Over this same period of time, multiple sets of sister standards (e.g., standards for leadership preparation) have emerged as have evaluation tools and practice resources. Soon after their release, a variety of concerns were raised about the standards and their potential impact on the practice of education leadership, particularly school level leadership. Some argued that the standards were too broad, while others argued that they were too specific. Similarly, concerns were raised about the focus of the standards and what was left out or only weakly included. These and other concerns continued to plague newer versions of the standards. Concerns notwithstanding, today, educational leadership standards are fully embedded in the lifeworld of the educational leadership profession. They have been adopted and adapted by states, districts, professional organizations, and accrediting bodies and used in a variety of ways, including: setting expectations for educational leadership preparation and practice, state certification, leadership recruitment, professional development and support, and evaluating leadership practice.

Article

Critical Qualitative Research and Educational Policy  

Madeline Good and Sarah Diem

Critical qualitative research is full of possibilities and explorations that can assist in transforming systems for social change and the public good. It is an approach to research that at its core is concerned with the role of power; how it manifests in systems, structures, policies, and practice; and how contexts can contribute to and reify power and its deleterious effects. The use of critical qualitative methods and methodologies within the field of education has grown significantly since the 1990s. This is a large area of work that encompasses studies throughout the spectrum of educational topics, from early childhood learning to higher education and beyond. In the area of educational policy, while scholars use a multitude of critical qualitative methodologies and methods, critical policy analysis (CPA) has continued to grow in popularity. CPA provides opportunities for researchers to question policy in general––how it is formed, implemented, and evaluated, as well as its assumed impact. It is appealing because it gives space for scholars to not only critique educational policy issues but also offer new perspectives, approaches, and alternatives to the policy process. Critical inquiry, however, does not occur within a vacuum, so the dynamics of conducting critical qualitative research within a hyperpolarized sociopolitical context must also be considered. Contentious times make it increasingly important for critical qualitative scholars to (re)commit to the work of transforming education with the goal of creating a more just society. There are a multitude of hopes and opportunities for this burgeoning area of critical research, challenging us all to not only look toward creative approaches when studying issues of educational policy but also to persistently interrogate how our own positionalities and relations impact the work we do.

Article

Adult Education, Community, and Learning for Democracy in Scotland  

Jim Crowther, Aileen Ackland, Margaret Petrie, and David Wallace

Historically, the relationship between adult education and democracy has been one of mutual synergy with education providing the context for thoughtful reflection and democratic action. The social purpose of adult education was precisely in its contribution to making the world a more socially just and more democratic place. However, this relationship has been eroded over the years as adult education and democratic life have become increasingly distanced from each other. Can this be repaired? This is the central theme of this entry, which is explored through trends relating to adult education, community, and democracy, and articulated through the particular experiences of the Scottish context we are familiar with. This article argues that adult education can enrich democratic culture and practice and that in turn democratic issues and debates can energize and stimulate adult education. While the Scottish lens is distinctive, our argument has a broader reference point, as the neoliberal economic forces and subjectivities shaping adult education are global and pervasive, busily percolating in, down and across all sectors and levels of education. Our claim is that adult education can still play a critical role in nurturing democratic life. Rather than abandon democracy, the task of education is to deepen it at all levels and ensure politics is educative. From this view, adult education for democracy can reinvigorate the culture and institutions of democracy and, in the process, help to reclaim the lodestone—or soul—of adult education. For some readers, this may seem a nebulous idea; however, for others it will mean that which animates what is worthwhile in adult education. A profession without a soul is a dead one. This article is a collaborative effort that draws from different university institutions involved in the training and formation of community educators. Together these institutions represent a spectrum of the Scottish university sector involved in this work and bring to this analysis considerable experience. Although different interests and distinctive emphases are represented in the perspectives here, this entry focuses on common ideas and values. We start therefore by situating ourselves in terms of professional, political, ideological, and theoretical orientations.

Article

Politics, Policy, and Practice of Teacher Education Reform in India  

Poonam Batra

Educational reform measures adopted in India since early liberalization led to systemic changes in the provisioning and practice of school and teacher education. Despite judicial intervention, the state withdrew from the responsibility of developing institutional capacity to prepare teachers, leading to a de facto public policy that undermines the potential role of teachers and their education in achieving equitable, quality education. The policy narrative constructed around quality and knowledge created the logic of marginalizing the teacher, undermining the teacher’s agency and the need for epistemic engagement. Commitment to the Constitution-led policy frame was gradually subverted by a polity committed to privatizing education and a bureaucracy committed to incrementalism and suboptimal solutions to the several challenges of universalizing quality education. A discourse constructed around teachers, their education, and practice led to narrowing curriculum to a disconnected set of learning outcomes and putting the onus of learning on the child. In the absence of robust institutional monitoring of the Right to Education effort and poor fiscal and teacher provisioning, this act too became a target of neoliberal reform, leading to dilution. The wedge between the constitutional aims of education and market-based reforms has become sharper as the practice of education prioritizes narrow economic self-interest over crucial public and social concerns. This has gradually hollowed out the Constitution-centered national policy perspective on education as critical to the needs of India’s disadvantaged and plural society. A major fallout of this has been the decoupling of concerns for social justice from those for quality education.

Article

Anthropology and Education in Argentina  

Maria Rosa Neufeld

In Argentina, the field of anthropology and education encompasses numerous researchers primarily based in national universities. Ties to the research team that founded the field, directed by Elsie Rockwell in Mexico, remain strong. Research based principally in the national universities of Rosario, Buenos Aires, and Córdoba is responsible for an important part of the work in this field, although not all of it, and these locations integrate the network of researchers in this field. These researchers share an interest in the issues raised by approaching education as a right and they define themselves through what some call a “socio-anthropological” approach and others call “historical ethnography.” This theoretical and methodological focus aims to produce knowledge about the social world by putting fieldwork in conversation with theoretical reflection. This includes an understanding of the conflictive nature of social relationships, the historicity caught in the fabric of everyday events, denaturalization, and reflections on the engagement of researchers on doing fieldwork. At the same time, researchers adopt a perspective called “relational,” which aims to link different dimensions of the problem in question and approach them as articulated.

Article

School Markets and Educational Inequality in the Republic of Ireland  

Kevin Cahill

Educational inequality is a persistent feature on the landscape of Irish educational history, and it remains a significant issue in the early part of the 21st century. There have been significant efforts at school reform in recent decades to intervene in a system that continues to provide significantly different outcomes based on socioeconomic position and background. These differentiated outcomes continue to be exacerbated by structural inequalities in the lives of people as well as by an increasing focus on neoliberal market principles in education. Interschool competition, particularly at the postprimary level, has fueled an ever-increasing marketplace where schools vie for desirable middle-class students through media-published school league tables. Indeed, this competitive landscape is partly constructed by an intense and high stakes race for third level places in Ireland. Nevertheless, significant policy measures have also been aimed at leveling the playing field and providing opportunities for people in communities that are more marginalized in terms of economic status and educational outcomes. Some of these policy interventions have had some impact in terms of retention in postprimary school, including the Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools program; curricular interventions into education such as the Junior Certificate Schools Programme; the Leaving Certificate Applied Programme; and the allocation of additional teaching resources to schools experiencing marginalization. Schemes such as the Higher Education Access Route and the Disability Access Route to Education have also done important work in terms of ameliorating opportunities for students from marginalized economic groups and students with disabilities, respectively. However, there are overarching sociopolitical ideologies that work to maintain educational inequality in Ireland, such as the significant impact of neoliberal choice policies on schools in communities experiencing poverty and educational marginalization. These neoliberal ideas are characterized by increasing focus on outcomes, testing and assessment, school and teacher accountabilities, within-school and between-school competition in terms of admissions policies, and “syphoningoff” high-achieving students (academically, musically, sports, etc.), and they often manifest in blunt instruments such as school league tables. These policies often benefit citizens with wealth and cultural capital who use their position to distance themselves educationally from the complexity and diversity of everyday society in favor of academic and cultural silos that work to reproduce advantage for the elite sectors of society.

Article

Inclusive and Special Education Policies in South America  

Andrés Payà

In the last decade, inclusive education policies have been one of the priorities within the pedagogical and social agendas of different South American countries. However, the great complexity and enormous diversity of both concepts (inclusive education and South America) demand a detailed analysis of what it means to strive for educational progress throughout such an extensive territory. On the one hand, inclusive education encompasses both traditional special education as well as other key issues that are closely linked: equity, quality, diversity, universality, access, participation, intersectionality, rights, individualization, and so on. On the other hand, South America is a real, complex, multifaceted territory in which different countries with very different political, economic, and social situations coexist (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela). As such, it is necessary to begin with comparative education and educational policy in order to understand the different educational priorities of each region as well as the organizations and stakeholders that have an impact. The development of inclusive education has not been uniform. Indeed, because there is no consensus regarding what inclusion means and represents, though there have been correlations, its evolution has been unequal throughout different countries. A study of both national and transnational inclusive educational policies will allow us to better understand and approximate this complex reality, as well as to anticipate forthcoming educational challenges.

Article

Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Inclusive Education  

Phil Foreman

Inclusive education is a widely accepted pedagogical and policy principle, but its genesis has been long and, at times, difficult. For example, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights included statements about rights and freedoms that have, over the decades, been used to promote inclusive educational practices. Article 26 of the Declaration stated that parents “have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.” This declaration later helped some parent groups and educators to advocate for equal access to schooling in regular settings, and for parental choice about where their child would be educated. Following the widespread influence of the human rights-based principle of normalization, the concept of inclusive education received major impetus from the Education of All Handicapped Children Act in the United States in 1975, the United Nations (UN) International Year of Disabled Persons in 1981, and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006. A major focus of the UN initiatives has been the right of people with a disability to participate fully in society. This focus has obvious consequences for the way education is provided to students with a disability or other additional educational needs. For many years, up to the last quarter of the 20th century, the major focus for such students was on the provision of separate specialized services, with limited attention to the concept of full participation in society. Toward the end of the 20th century and into the 21st century, there has been increasing acceptance, through parental action, systemic policy, and government legislation, of inclusivity as a basic philosophical principle. Both the type of instruction that should be provided to students with a disability and the location of that instruction in regular or specialized settings have been topics for advocacy and research, sometimes with mixed and/or controversial conclusions.

Article

Educational Policy and Curriculum Studies  

Pamela J. Konkol, Peter C. Renn, and Sophia Rodriguez

Since 1978, the Committee on Academic Standards and Accreditation (CASA, a standing committee of the American Educational Studies Association) has maintained the Standards for Academic and Professional Instruction in Foundations of Education, Educational Studies, and Educational Policy Studies. The Standards are a policy document intended as a powerful curriculum policy tool for faculty and higher education administrators across North America to use to develop foundations and educator preparation programming with disciplinary integrity and to maintain said programs with fidelity. As pressures to provide accountability and improvement measures or attach outcomes to disciplines in education increase, especially teacher education, foundations faculty and programs are challenged in their efforts to both build strong foundations programming and resist the push to dilute or otherwise embed the intellectual and practical work of the discipline into other, mostly unrelated, courses. The Standards provide language and support for foundations scholars housed in teacher education departments to hone their craft, generate good programming, and develop good scholars and P–12 practitioners.

Article

Education in the Anthropocene  

Annette Gough

The term “Anthropocene” was coined in 2000 by Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer to denote the present time interval as a new epoch of geological time dominated by human impact on the Earth. The starting date for the epoch is contentious—around the beginning of the Industrial Revolution (ca. 1800 ce), at the start of the nuclear age, or some other time, both earlier and later than these dates. The term itself is also contentious because of its humanist and human supremacy focus, and the way it hides troublesome differences between humans (including gender and cultural differences) and the intimate relationships among technology, humans, and other animals. Endeavors such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals aim to achieve gender equality by empowering women to participate in society. However, within this goal is the assumption that women and “other marginalized Others” can be assimilated within the dominant social paradigm rather than questioning the assumptions that maintain the subordination of these social groups. The goals also overlook the divergent impacts on women around the globe. Education in an Anthropocene context necessitates a different pedagogy that provides opportunities for learning to live in and engage with the world and acknowledges that we live in a more-than-human world. It also requires learners to critique the Anthropocene as a concept and its associated themes to counter the humanist perspective, which fails to consider how the nonhuman and material worlds coshape our mutual worlds. In particular, education in the Anthropocene will need to be interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, or cross-disciplinary; intersectional; ecofeminist or posthumanist; indigenous; and participatory.

Article

Postwar School Reforms in Norway  

Harald Thuen and Nina Volckmar

Comprehensive schooling has been a cornerstone in the development of the Norwegian welfare state since World War II. Over the years it has been extended, initially from 7 to 9 years and later to 10-year compulsory schooling, since the late 1990s including virtually all Norwegian children between the ages of 6 and 16. In education policy, the interests of the community versus the individual have played a key role, reflected in a line of conflict between the political left and right. During the first three to four decades after the war, through the Labor Party, the left wing was in power and developed education policy according to a social-democratic model. The ideal of equality and community in schools had precedence. The vision was to create a school for all that had a socially and culturally unifying effect on the nation and its people. Social background, gender, and geographical location should no longer create barriers between pupils. Ideally, school was to be understood as a “miniature democracy,” where pupils would be trained in solidarity and cooperation. Compulsory schooling was thus regarded as an instrument for social integration and for evening out social inequalities. But one challenge remained: How could a common school for all best take care of the individual needs of each pupil? The principle of individualized teaching within the framework of a common school was incorporated in the education policy of social democracy and was subjected to experimentation and research from an early stage. But with the political shift to the right toward the 2000s, a sharper polarization can be observed between the interests of the community versus the interests of the individual. The political right profiles education policy in opposition to the left-wing emphasis on the social purpose of the school system. In the early 21st century, the interests of knowledge, the classroom as a learning arena, and the performance of each pupil take precedence. Based on the model of New Public Management, a new organizational culture is taking shape in the school system. Where the political left formed its policy from the perspective of “equality” during the first postwar decades, the right is now forming it from the perspective of “freedom.” And this is taking place without significant opposition from the left. The terms “equality” and “equity” provide the framework for the analysis of the changing polarity between collective and individual considerations and between pupils’ freedom and social solidarity in postwar education.