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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2007): Education - overseas

Against civic education in public schools

J.B. Murphy

International Journal of Public Administration, vol. 30, 2007, p. 651-670

Many American liberals and conservatives, although they disagree strongly over which civic virtues such as multicultural toleration or patriotism to teach, share the assumption that such education is the responsibility of state schools. This article argues that they are wrong because such education is at best ineffective and at worst amounts to brainwashing. Schools should confine themselves to teaching pupils objective facts about how public institutions work. The moral purpose of state schools is to teach pupils to be conscientious in the pursuit of truth, not to indoctrinate them with either liberal or conservative civic virtues.

Beyond quality in early childhood education and care (2nd edition)

G. Dahlberg, P. Moss and A. Pence

London: Routledge, 2007

Working with a range of critical perspectives and theories, and using examples from Canada, Sweden and Reggio Emilia, this book challenges many of the basic assumptions and assertions of mainstream early childhood policy and practice. In particular the book challenges a strong tendency in the early childhood field, indeed throughout public services, to reduce philosophical issues of value and meaning to purely technical and managerial issues: the process whereby judgements of value become statements of fact. This second edition contains new material that the authors feel indicates an urgent need to get beyond quality and reconceptualise not only early childhood education and care, but also evaluation.

The context and profile of teachers in developing countries in the last decade

I. Oplatka

International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 21, 2007, p.476-490

Despite the central role of teachers in the social and economic development of their societies, our knowledge base of the career of teachers in developing societies is limited. The aim of this paper is to examine the teacher's career in developing countries based on a systematic review of 13 English-language papers that have been published in peer-reviewed journals in educational administration, teaching education, and comparative education. The review shows that teaching seems to be a kind of default or supplementary form of income, from which male members seek constantly to escape, and many teachers are described as holding low qualifications with limited opportunities to participate in in-service training. Teaching is characterised as knowledge transmission, adherence to prescribed curriculum and textbooks, summative assessment of student achievement and conservativeness. The paper is an initial attempt to accumulate our knowledge about the life and work of schoolteachers in developing countries and to explore their professional needs.

Demystifying inclusion: implications for sustainable inclusive practice

S. Pather

International Journal of Inclusive Education, Vol. 11, 2007, p.627-643

This paper argues that in the pursuit of influencing inclusive education development, definitions of inclusion have been promulgated that remain a distant concept in the minds of the most significant partners in this process, i.e. teachers and schools. This is despite best efforts to share ideas for sustainable change based on such definitions. Based on the author's experience of being a researcher in an inclusive education project in South Africa and subsequent attempts to influence sustainable development at a secondary school in the project, it is argued that a demystification of the term 'inclusion' and related terms such as 'inclusive education' is necessary to the process of engagement with schools to bring about more sustainable change.

Education and training in Europe

G. Brunello, P. Garibaldi and E. Wasmer (editors)

Oxford: OUP, 2007

While Europe is one of the richest and most educated areas of the world, some of the challenges faced by the old continent are staggering: low economic growth, structural difficulties in the labour market, and increasing international competition. Politicians and policymakers may advocate different means of overcoming the potential economic decline of Europe, but most agree that Europe needs to strengthen human capital, its ultimate competitive advantage in the world economy. This book looks at the accumulation of human capital from two perspectives, first through formal education and then professional training. It provides a summary of the key characteristics of education and training in Europe and also asks key questions about the fundamental problems with the current educational and training systems. Finally, the book discusses which policies are necessary to make existing education and training systems more efficient, while also making higher skills available to a wider range of people.

Educational mobility across three generations: the changing impact of parental social class, cultural and social capital

M.M. Jaeger

European Societies, vol. 9, 2007, p. 527-550

One of the major controversies in the literature on intergenerational educational opportunity concerns whether the influence of social class on educational attainment has decreased or remained stable over time. This article addresses the question through an analysis of a longitudinal Danish survey that, in addition to social class, has information on parents' economic, cultural and social capital for three generations of the same family. These data enabled the author to carry out an empirical analysis of educational mobility across three generations that, firstly, includes many of the family background characteristics (parental economic, cultural and social capital) that social class might proxy; secondly, allows the research to assess the changing impact of economic, cultural and social capital across generations; and thirdly, accommodates unobserved as well as observed family characteristics affecting educational attainment. Results show that in Denmark class-based inequality in educational opportunity has declined significantly in recent decades. Economic capital has largely ceased to predict educational attainment; cultural capital has decreased considerably in importance; and social capital contributes to educational inequality through conversion into cultural or informational capital.

Effective school improvement in the Netherlands

H. Sun and R. de Jong

International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 21, 2007, p.504-516

Sun's model with ten factors and 48 indicators can be used to identify or evaluate the positive or negative factors at the contextual level of any effective school improvement programme (ESI). The purpose of this study is to evaluate three large Dutch ESI programmes. The findings show that the factors fostering ESI at the Dutch contextual level were external evaluation and external agents; national goal-setting in terms of student outcomes; adequate time, financial and human resource support; strong centrally steering and empowering ESI; accountability; and school autonomy. The factors hindering ESI were market mechanisms; allowing too much school/teacher autonomy in test taking; and instability of school staff and school counsellors. The findings of this study may have significant implications for ESI, practice and policymaking.

The effects of risk on education in Indonesia

E. Fitzsimons

Economic Development and Cultural Change, vol. 56, 2007, p. 1-25

This article assesses whether investment in education is affected by virtue of living in an environment in a less developed country that is inherently risky. Future (ex-ante) risk is divided into components that are specific to the household and those that are pervasive within the village in order to investigate whether they have different effects. Findings point to a negative effect of aggregate village risk on the education of children. This suggests that children may fulfil an insurance role to protect household consumption against aggregate village risk, with detrimental effects on human capital accumulation. No evidence of individual household risks affecting education was found.

From patronage politics to community deliberation: the recent experience of democratic school management in Brazil

A. Borges

Public Administration and Development, vol. 27, 2007, p. 273-282

This article focuses on the impact of reform initiatives implemented by Brazilian sub-national governments in the 1980s and 1990s to allow for the election of head teachers by parents, teachers and pupils. Until the implementation of this reform, state and local authorities had used the school system to extend patronage and head teachers were nominated on political grounds. The new system of democratic school management was intended to undermine this patronage-based system and foster community participation in decisions about schools. This article uses secondary evidence to assess the impact of school elections on the participation of parents, pupils and teachers in school affairs and the relationship between schools, party politicians and education administrators.

The grassroots community in the vanguard of inclusion: the post-genocide Rwandan prospects

E. Karangwa, P. Ghesquière and P. Devlieger

International Journal of Inclusive Education, Vol. 11, 2007, p.607-626

More than a decade has passed since Rwanda was plunged into the most atrocious genocide of our time. Hundreds of thousands of lives were lost and many more were left in desperate conditions. The economic and social reconstruction of the country has since dominated the national agenda for recovery. It is within this reform agenda that this paper looks at the situation of the post-genocide young people with disabilities and the possible pathways for their inclusion. It points out that it is not all gloomy news. In the face of the challenging socio-economic situations, the search for appropriate inclusion models for Rwanda should be guided by two important factors: the lessons learnt from the past mistakes, and by exploration of alternative prospects that may involve rediscovering the untapped potentials within the grassroots communities.

Ideological challenges to the social inclusion agenda in the Republic of Ireland

S. O'Brien and M. O'Fathaigh

International Journal of Inclusive Education, Vol. 11, 2007, p.593-606

This paper is set against the background of Ireland's endorsement of a 'unique' social partnership model wherein educational policy measures are being shaped by emergent change factors in a so-called new era of lifelong learning. Despite a number of policy responses focusing on the need for greater social inclusion, the paper highlights how the Irish education system continues to mirror and produce notions of 'advantage' and disadvantage'. It is argued that while educational strategies appear to be extensive in addressing this social stratification, serious questions remain concerning their far-reaching impact. In particular, the paper points to a critical concern for how notions of 'disadvantage' and 'social inclusion' are conceived and used within an Irish policy context. It is contended that the inadequate treatise of this concern impedes real progress towards meeting the needs of disadvantaged groups in society. A case for reassessing the ideological treatment of social exclusion is therefore made in the interest of promoting effective educational measures for social (and cultural) inclusion.

International perspectives on educational diversity and inclusion

G. K. Verma, C. R. Bagley and M. Mohan Jha (editors)

London: Routledge, 2007

The inclusion of minority groups within mainstream education in a way that serves principles of social justice and equity is a familiar challenge for educators worldwide. This book is innovative in its exploration of how globalisation impacts on these challenges, presenting accounts of attempts in a number of countries to include diverse ethnic and social groups, and children with special needs within inclusive educational systems. Different countries, all at different stages of development and with contrasted minority populations, face these issues of policy and practice with varying degrees of success and readers will learn how the educational inclusion of diverse ethnic and social groups has received setbacks in the USA, has rarely been achieved in Britain and some European countries, and is still struggling in India. The book provides stimulating insights into modern concepts of globalisation and its impact on educational policy for students of sociology, comparative education and psychology.

Malawi's approach to democracy: implications for the teaching of democratic citizenship

J. J. Divala

Citizenship Teaching and Learning, Vol. 3,2007, p.32-44

The conceptualisations of democracy, human rights, freedom and development that are presented in the documents that are used for the teaching of democracy in Malawi rely heavily on representative and constitutional forms. The author argues that in light of Malawi's current circumstances and political history, these conceptualisations do not provide enough conditions for the cultivation of active democratic citizenship. The dominant approach that one finds in some of the materials undermines the very democratic dispensation that the materials are meant to develop. This article provides some of the historical background of Malawi and the context into which the materials for democracy are deployed. Through an examination of the dominant themes present in these materials and a provisional theoretical positioning of the democratic discourse, this paper proposes that a deliberate conceptualisation of democracy is necessary to improve the way democracy is presented and lived, thereby creating active democratic citizenship.

No Child Left Behind: special symposium

Z. Leonardo (editor)

Race, Ethnicity and Education, Vol. 10, 2007

No Child Left Behind (NCLB), George W. Bush's education legacy, will continue until at least 2014, long after Bush has exited the Oval Office. Its goal of full national proficiency in reading and maths in a matter of 12 years signifies a new era for education in terms of tackling the school achievement gap. This special issue delves into the deeper racial and cultural origins as well as wider ramifications. Overtly, NCLB implicates improvements for students of colour in its four targeted subgroups. Implicitly, NCLB is part of a racial project since it is enacted within a racialised nation-state. As part of the racialised state apparatus, schools bear the markings and carry the anxieties of US race relations. Therefore, the essays in this issue critically examine NCLB's racial project, as well as how the public's responses negotiate its meaning.

Principals as 'knowledge managers' in partner schools

C. Gutierrez and others

School Leadership and Management, Vol. 27, 2007, p. 333-346

Today's school leaders are searching for a way to give value to and effectively manage a school's intangible assets to create a more holistic picture of student success. Schools establish partnerships with community organisations towards this end and, ultimately to enhance student learning. Utilising the framework of principals as 'knowledge managers', this paper describes how school principals involved in a university partnership developed a tool to manage and intentionally utilise the intangible assets of the school-university partnership to increase student learning. Included are examples of how the tool was applied and suggestions for adapting the tool to any school partnership.

Private higher education in post-Communist Europe: in search of legitimacy

S. Slantcheva and D. Levy (editors)

Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007

Since 1990 there has been an unprecedented growth of private higher education in most former communist countries. Although private sector growth has been common worldwide, its development across Central and Eastern Europe is more striking in that it comes against the backdrop of at least four decades of communist public monopoly and historically limited higher education enrollment. The book addresses the growth and role of the private sectors of higher education in Central and Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics through the organizing theme of legitimacy.

School-based management and paradigm shift in education: an empirical study

Y. Cheong Cheng and M. Mo Ching Mok

International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 21, 2007, p.517-542

Even though school-based management (SBM) and paradigm shift (PS) in education are strongly emphasised in ongoing educational reforms in different parts of the world, there is lack of empirical study to show how they are related to teachers' training and students' learning in practice. This paper aims to report empirical research investigating how SBM and PS in education are related to student-centred teaching and students' active learning in a sample of Hong Kong secondary schools. The research is based on a cross-sectional survey involving 31 Hong Kong secondary schools, 1,119 teachers and 7,063 students with seven sets of questionnaires: three for students, three for teachers and one for principals. The results indicate that both the measures of SBM and PS in education are closely related to student-centred teaching (in terms of facilitating student learning, facilitating student thinking and facilitating student self-reflection and assessment) and students' active learning (in terms of positive learning attitudes, application of various learning methods, learning effectiveness, multiple thinking in learning and satisfaction in learning).

Undervalued and underserved: the gifted disadvantaged

C. van der Westhuizen

Gifted Education International, Vol. 23, 2007, p. 138-148

The decline in provision of gifted education in South Africa can be ascribed to the dismantling of the infrastructure created by the previous government, viz. the closing of out-of-school centres which were established for the gifted during the 1980s, the withdrawal from schools of specialist gifted teachers and the lack of interest among education authorities (Kokot, 1998:58). This article reports on an investigation into the provision of gifted education, with special reference to the gifted disadvantaged, and attempts to answer the question as to whether current provision for the disadvantaged gifted is adequate. The driving questions are: does an inclusive system provide adequately for gifted learners; what are the causes of the inequity in the representation of different cultural groups in programmes for the gifted; and how do teachers influence the provision of education for gifted learners.

Unveiling a role for the EU? The 'headscarf controversy' in European schools

R.K.M. Smith

Education and the Law, vol.19, 2007, p. 111-130

Belgium, France, Germany and the United Kingdom have introduced laws and policies which limit or outlaw the wearing of religious clothing in state schools. The European Court of Human Rights has supported state neutrality/secularity as a defence for policies limiting such clothing, thereby obviating infringements of freedom of religion under the European Convention on Human Rights. This paper argues that European Community Law may present a more successful alternative for challenges to such secular policies, particularly on the part of affected teachers. In terms of EC law, there are various mechanisms which could be used to achieve a positive result for teachers prohibited from wearing religious clothing in schools: sex discrimination is the most obvious as more women than men are affected by such measures.

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