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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2008): Education - overseas

Aligning mental models of district and school leadership teams for reform coherence

J.H. Chrispeels and others

Education and Urban Society, vol.40, 2008, p. 730-750

US school and district effectiveness studies show that high levels of student achievement are possible when schools and the district act as coordinated units of change. There is also growing recognition that head teachers cannot lead alone and that school leadership teams are essential to the improvement process. However, often leadership teams are established with little discussion of their purpose or support to fulfil their tasks. This study explores the initial and evolving mental models of teacher team members, head teachers and district office administrators regarding the tasks of leadership teams as the teams were provided with professional development. By exploring mental models, this study casts light on how leadership teams might be developed to serve as a vital link between schools and central offices and enhance school-district coherence in the process of reform.

Centralisation and decentralisation of schools' physical facilities management in Nigeria

P.O. Ikoya

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 46, 2008, p. 630-649

This research examines the difference in the availability, adequacy and functionality of physical facilities in centralised and decentralised school districts, with a view to making appropriate recommendations to stakeholders on the reform programmes in the Nigerian education sector. Principals, teachers, members of the board of education including parents and community leaders were surveyed from centralised and decentralised school districts on availability, adequacy and functionality of schools' physical facilities. Emerging data revealed that decentralisation enhances the availability, adequacy and functionality of schools' physical facilities. The implication of the findings is that decentralisation is a more efficient method of managing schools' infrastructure because it promotes accountability and reduces official corruption in school administration.

Changing education governance and management in Asia

K.H. Mok and P.T. Ng (guest editors)

International Journal of Education Management, vol. 22, 2008, p. 459-602

This special issue builds on a symposium held in Hong Kong in November 2006 around the issue of change in educational governance. It offers a comparative perspective by analysing recent changes in education governance and management in selected Asian societies, including Hong Kong, mainland China and Taiwan, Singapore and India. With particular reference to how the selected countries have responded to the global trends of decentralisation, privatisation and commodification, the contributors to this issue critically reflect on how management/governance reforms introduced have transformed school and university governance by examining the gap between the policy rhetoric and the policy reality.

Developing school leaders: an international perspective

M. Brundrett and M. Crawford (editors)

London: Routledge, 2008

Focusing on educational leadership development in ten diverse cultural contexts, this book brings together commentators in the field to provide a global perspective on leadership development programmes and practices. As the chapters in this text reveal, some countries, such as the USA, have chosen to locate leadership training in university departments and have built clear links with academic programmes, while others, in the UK for example, have chosen to develop new forms of programmes and qualifications based in specially created institutions. Some, such as New Zealand, have chosen a middle route that uses established and prestigious university departments in conjunction and collaboration with private organisations.

Entrepreneurship education in Hong Kong's secondary curriculum: possibilities and limitations

C.K. Cheung

Education + Training, vol. 50, 2008, p. 500-515

The research reported in this paper and focuses on the entrepreneurship education programmes currently provided in Hong Kong secondary schools, teachers' evaluations of the effectiveness of such programmes. It identifies the factors that hinder the development of entrepreneurship education. Information was collected via questionnaires and in-depth phone interviews. Half of the respondents reported the presence of entrepreneurship education in one form or another at their schools and around 70 per cent of the schools running such programmes had more than three years' experience in the field of entrepreneurship education. The survey revealed that schools tended to take a comprehensive approach in delivering this type of education and showed that entrepreneurship programmes in Hong Kong are similar to those in the West in terms of provision, content and teaching strategies.

Equity and accountability: the impact of state accountability systems on school finance

R. Rubenstein and others

Public Budgeting and Finance, vol.28, Fall 2008, p. 1-22

This paper provides an analysis of a possible relationship between two important US school reform programmes: school finance equity/adequacy and school accountability systems. Results showed that vertical equity and adequacy in school finance systems generally improved during the 1990s, but trends were not uniform across the country. No relationships were found between school finance equity and the implementation of accountability policies. Although accountability appeared to be largely unrelated to equity, evidence was found that successful litigation challenging state education funding systems is related to a more equitable distribution of funding.

Putting the pieces together: leadership for change in low-performing urban schools

M.T. Orr and others

Education and Urban Society, vol. 40, 2008, p. 670-693

This article presents a collaborative inquiry into the improvement experiences of four persistently low-performing US schools. It draws on the experiences of three members of the Laboratory for the Design and Redesign of Schools consortium who helped during their planning for restructuring or restructuring phases and one regional official who oversaw their grant support and school improvement interventions. The authors explore the relationship between organisational change and improved teaching and learning in the schools. The schools' mixed leadership and organisational capacity limited the benefits of state, district and regional supports and resources, which school leaders were ill-equipped to coordinate. Combining organisational and leadership development with curricular and instructional reform would be more promising.

Successful principalship of high-performance schools in high-poverty communities

B. Mulford and others

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 46, 2008, p. 461-480

This article reports on the results of a survey of successful school principalships in Tasmania. Surveys distributed to 195 schools sought responses in areas such as demographic characteristics (including a measure of school poverty), leadership characteristics, values and beliefs, tensions and dilemmas, learning and development, school capacity building, decision making, evaluation and accountability, and perceptions of school success. In addition, details of actual student performance on literacy and numeracy tests were supplied by the Department of Education. A literature review indicated that world-wide poverty is a major issue and that there is a nexus between poverty and education. While questions may be raised about the effectiveness of schools as institutions in serving those in high-poverty communities, as well as problems in labelling a school as high-poverty, evidence emerged of high-performing schools in high-poverty communities. The authors conclude that a common characteristic of these schools is successful, high-performing leadership.

Wisdom in the university

R. Barnett and N. Maxwell (editors)

London: Routledge, 2008

This book questions how people think about what universities should seek to do and how they should respond to contemporary global problems. It addresses issues such as whether or not universities should seek, promote and teach wisdom and, if so, what this would involve; the implications the pursuit of wisdom would have for science, for social enquiry and the humanities, and for education; if there is a religious dimension to wisdom; what non-academics can do to encourage universities to take wisdom seriously; and whether or not the pursuit of wisdom would be possible given that universities are increasingly subjected to commercial pressure.

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