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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2009): Education - overseas

Boys and schooling: beyond structural reform

B. Lingard, W. Martino and M. Mills

Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009

This book is concerned with the ways in which the debate on boys' education has led to various structural reforms in English-speaking countries. Although the reforms in these countries have not been identical, there are specificities connected to the histories and cultures of national and local systems and schools, policies and practices. One goal of this publication is to address the significance of knowledge about gender in relation to its impact on educational policy, and pedagogy and practices within schools. It also raises questions about the purposes of schooling and its role in transforming society and the gender order in socially just ways. The book concludes with suggestions for a way forward through the boys' debate that recognises that some boys do experience particular form of oppression, as particular kinds of marginalised boys, as well as recognising the importance of challenging dominant constructions of masculinities for girls and female teachers.

'But how can those students make it here?': examining the institutional discourse about what it means to be 'LD' at an Ivy League university

C. Luna

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol. 13, 2009, p. 157-178

This paper examines and critiques the construction of 'learning disabilities' at an Ivy League university in the USA. It draws on a study of the experiences of Ivy undergraduates labelled as learning disabled and focuses on the language practices, assumptions, and power relationships that characterise the University discourse within and against which these diverse learners shape their educational lives and identities. Using discourse analysis techniques, the author analyses University policies and practices to illuminate what it means to be 'LD' at the University and, as a result, offers some possibilities for constructing an alternative discourse about learning diversity.

Conflict and collaboration: providers and planners implementing the Workforce Investment Act (WIA)

J.L. Hopkins, C.H. Monaghan and C.A. Hansman

Adult Education Quarterly, vol. 59, 2009, p. 208-226

The Workforce Investment Act is US federal legislation that supports workforce training and development. The primary focus is to provide training for the unemployed, but it also covers adults in paid work who need additional skills to remain competitive. This research explored the impact of WIA funding on planners and providers of training for incumbent workers, focusing on conflict and collaboration. Conflicts over participants' roles, the interpretation of the legislation, and ambiguity about the process of implementation emerged.

The development and reform of school administration in Greece: a primary school perspective

A. Saiti

Educational Management Administration & Leadership, vol. 37, p. 378-403

The purpose of this article is to present and investigate the current situation in Greece regarding the management of primary schools and to underline the need for reforms in the field of school administration. The coordination of the relationship between the state and schools is a vital issue for both; for schools as they require a degree of independence to do their work on behalf of society and for the state which wishes to assure itself that the schools are adequately serving the needs of society and providing an efficient and comprehensive system of education. The article assesses the Greek primary school system in terms of avoidable bureaucratic processes and recommends strategies for improving the efficiency of school administration.

Disability, capability, and special education: towards a capability-based theory

S.M. Reindal

European Journal of Special Needs Education, vol. 24, 2009, p. 155-168

The main objective of this article is to investigate the claim that the capability approach fares better with an understanding of disability as presented by the WHO's classification than by the social model, which has been promoted within disability studies. As well as exploring this claim, the author analyses which understanding of disability is most appropriate to a capability-based theory as a framework for special education. As a result, a refined version of the social model is proposed, that is the social-relational model, as a better framework for an understanding of disability and it is argued that this is more in line with the insights and contributions of the capability approach.

Earning a living for former students with special educational needs. Does class placement matter?

J.O. Mykelbust and F.O Båtevik

European Journal of Special Needs Education, vol. 24, 2009, p. 203-212

This article discussed the extent to which former special needs students - now in their late 20s - had achieved economic independence and whether being educated in special or regular classes in upper secondary school had contributed to favourable occupational outcomes. The empirical evidence was based on interviews of 373 young Norwegians who were surveyed regularly for more than 10 years. The analysis reveals that nearly half of the young adults found jobs that made them economically independent. Further, students schooled in regular classes attained vocational or academic competence and obtained a driving licence to a much greater degree than did students educated in special classes which, in turn, increased the chances of earning a living.

The impact of welfare state regimes on barriers to participation in adult education: a bounded agency model

K. Rubenson and R. Desjardins

Adult Education Quarterly, vol. 59, 2009, p. 187-207

This article reviews evidence on barriers to participation in adult education, and the defining parameters that explain the observations. An international comparison perspective is used by contrasting the results from the International Adult Literacy Survey and Eurobarometer data derived from Nordic and non-Nordic countries. Emphasis is placed on identifying elements of the welfare regimes that constrain and enable participation and explaining why certain groups participate more than others. A theoretical perspective based on Bounded Agency is used to take account of the interaction between structurally and individually based barriers to participation. The Bounded Agency Model is premised on the assumption that the nature of welfare state regimes can affect a person's ability to participate. In particular, the state can foster broad structural conditions favourable to participation, and construct targeted policy measures that are aimed at overcoming both structurally and individually based barriers.

The structure and agency of women's education

M.A. Maslak (editor)

Albany: State University of New York Press, 2008

Education, via formal, non-formal, and informal ways, plays a critical role in development as it provides an opportunity for individuals to widen and deepen their knowledge and skills which are essential for advancement. This book is an attempt to shed light on the close relationship between education and development and does so by focusing of one segment of the population, namely adolescent girls and young women. It consists of four parts: Part I outlines fundamental principles of public policy and their applications in education for females; Part II demonstrates the various ways in which structure and agency intersect in the context of globalisation as a result of the presence of international organisations, both large and small, on the local scene; Part III examines three different cases and provide three different perspectives from which to view the intervening power of socio-cultural values; Part IV again examines the interaction of agency and structure but as they relate to innovative methodologies and techniques in research that investigates the question of the education of adolescent girls and young women.

Teachers' professional lives and continuing professional development in changing times

S.Y.F. Tang and P.L. Choi

Educational Review, vol. 61, 2009, p. 1-18

This paper presents a qualitative study about how teachers entering the profession at different times over the last five decades made sense of their professional lives and continuing professional development (CPD) experiences against the backdrop of the CPD policy infrastructure and wider educational context in Hong Kong. The life history method was used and the findings of the study showed that teachers' self-directed professional development was driven by a commitment to the moral purposes of teaching, characterised by their active agency in professional knowledge construction, and supported by facilitating organisational conditions at schools. The study also revealed evidence of the de-humanising effects of an increasingly managerialist and market-oriented approach to school education evidenced by fierce competition among individuals and schools, higher workloads, increased stress, and uncertainty and alienation on the part of teachers.

Time and exclusion

J. Nespor, D. Hicks and A.-M. Fall

Disability and Society, vol. 24, 2009, p. 373-385

Educational exclusion is never just a question of whether children are taught together, but also of how the rhythms of their activities are temporally interlinked and of how their lives are mapped onto units such as the 'school day' and the 'school year'. This paper aims to show how such temporal units, the practices organised around them, and artefacts like clocks, calendars and timetables can work to separate children with complex physical and cognitive disabilities from other children and exclude their parents from critical relations with schools.

What policymakers can do to make education inclusive

S.J. Pijl and P.H.A. Frissen

Educational Management Administration & Leadership, vol. 37, p. 366-377

Inclusive education challenges all schools to cater for a wider range of students and this implies that schools and teachers have to change. This literature study analyses how, if at all, policymakers can bring about changes in schools. It is argued that the interventions of policymakers seem to view schools as 'machine' bureaucracies, while in fact they are professional ones, and this forces schools to create the illusion they have adapted to include students with special needs. For this reason, the authors maintain, schools and teachers themselves must be the driving forces of change.

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