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

Building a nation: religion and values in the public schools of the USA, Australia and South Africa

R.D. Mawdsley, J.J. Cumming and E. De Waal

Education and the Law, vol.20, 2008, p. 83-106

State schools have been identified as 'the primary vehicle the value on which society rests'. This article compares and contrasts the place and role of religion and religious values in state schools in Australia, the USA and South Africa. The challenge in these countries has been whether, when or how to permit the infusion of religious values into state education. In both the USA and Australia, the debate has revolved around a separationist versus an accomodationist interpretation of the establishment clauses in respective countries' constitutions. Australia, with a more accomodationist interpretation has permitted religious incursions into state schools that would not be allowed in the US. South Africa is evolving its own legislative, judicial and administrative approach to addressing religion and schools from a neutrality and impartiality perspective.

Contributions and constraints to the implementation of inclusive education in Lesotho

C.J. Johnstone and D.W. Chapman

International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, vol. 56, 2009, p.131-148

This article reports on a study that investigated the extent to which central ministry policy initiatives result in large-scale educational change in developing countries. Specifically, a case study that employed a multi-method approach to yield a large data-set, examined Lesotho's policy of inclusive special education. Results indicate that policy implementation was limited in both depth (the approaches to inclusive education in some schools) and breadth (the number of schools that have received training in inclusive education). Where implementation was present, perceived teacher knowledge and skill was a strong predictor of success and teachers had positive attitudes towards children with disabilities.

Dynamics of parent involvement at a multicultural school

C. Levine-Rasky

British Journal of Sociology and Education, vol. 30, 2009, p.331-344

This paper describes a research project that uses Pierre Bourdieu's concepts of habitus and cultural and social capital to penetrate how middle class parents exercise influence and form positive relationships at the local school that serves various ethno-cultural groups of students. One group of white, economically privileged students has populated the school since its founding; the others are new, immigrant, and diverse in ethnicity, race and immigrant status. The parents of the former group of children enjoy active involvement in the school and trusting relationships with teachers that involves their differentiation from, and exclusion of, the new immigrant group. While this paper affirms the importance of social class differences in parent involvement, it integrates additional dimensions of immigration status and ethnicity.

Educating for (whose) success? Schooling in an age of neo-liberalism

G. McGregor

British Journal of Sociology and Education, vol. 30, 2009, p.345-358

In western nations the social and economic changes of the past 30 years have facilitated a reorientation of the focus of educational institutions. Global capitalism has placed education at the forefront of national competitiveness, and governments have responded with education policies primarily designed to serve the needs of the market. Such neo-liberal economic imperatives have been supported by a variety of neo-conservative social forces calling for schools to become sites of cultural and moral restoration. This paper draws on current theoretical debates about the consequences of such changes and employs ethnographic data from a small qualitative study of Australian youth to argue the case for a more democratic and student-centred approach to educational reform. The author contends that in the interest of all young people, it is time for schools to resist systemic impulses to make them producers of human capital and claim their role as transformative institutions of human possibility.

The efficacy of strategy in the competition for research funding in higher education

J.M. Litwin

Tertiary Education and Management, vol. 15, 2009, p.63-77

A prestigious reputation is the primary success factor in higher education because it attracts resources necessary to sustain growth. Among research-intensive universities (RIUs) research performance is a key driver of institutional reputation. Achieving an accelerating rate of growth of research performance is the desired objective of all RIUs which, in turn, contributes to intensification in the competition for research funds. In competitive environments strategy is widely used to enhance competitive effectiveness. The question arises as to whether some expressions of strategy are more closely associated with increased research performance than others? This paper provides insight into this question by presenting a model demonstrating that the strategic emphases of individual RIUs in the USA are highly correlated to changes in the shares of federally financed research funding actually realised by the institutions.

Equity, access and institutional competition

A. Magalh„es, A. Amaral and O. Tavares

Tertiary Education and Management, vol. 15, 2009, p.35-48

In 1974, when a successful revolution had overthrown a dictatorial regime, Portugal had an elite higher education system with low participation rates. In the decades following the revolution the state developed policies aimed at increasing student participation to European levels. However, higher education policies have been through frequent changes and adaptations as they were confronted by successive management paradoxes and institutional attitude and reactions. This paper presents an analysis of the political drivers that justified and legitimised the changing policies of access to higher education.

Policies and practices of diversity: reimagining possibilities for new discourses

M.D. Infante and C. Matus

Disability and Society, vol. 24, 2009, p. 437-445

During the 1990s the Ministry of Education instituted a major curricular reform of the Chilean education system. The reforms included changing regulations concerning special education as a way of including disabled people and efforts to consider special educational needs within the mainstream system. This analysis explores how, through these policy initiatives intended to include disabled people in the regular education system, there is a discursive construction of difference that reproduces exclusionary practices. The policies are rooted in the medical model of disability and stress the dichotomy between the normal and abnormal body. They lead to the construction of disabled people as marginalised others trapped in their material bodies.

School choice international: exploring public-private partnerships

R. Chakrabarti and P.E. Peterson (editors)

London: MIT Press, 2009

Public-private partnerships in education play an important role in providing school choice throughout the world. Much of the research in this area has been done with a focus on the United States whereas research on partnerships in other parts of the world has been limited. In an attempt to partly redress this imbalance, this book brings together a collection of essays that provide an overview and analysis of international initiatives of this kind. Some of the essays seek to evaluate these while others provide descriptions of the partnerships and discuss their theoretical underpinnings. The countries focused on in this volume include the United States, India, Columbia, Chile and England.

Student disability claims in the UK and USA: does the jurisprudence converge?

M. Davies and B.A. Lee

Education and the Law, vol. 20, 2008, p. 107-150

Laws in the UK and the USA require institutions of higher education to provide access to their programmes to qualified students with disabilities. This article examines the requirements of both nations' laws with respect to the kinds of inquiries that may be made of students with disabilities, how the institutions must go about determining what accommodations are needed, whether the needed accommodations are reasonable and consistent with academic standards, and whether the institution is required to attempt to accommodate undisclosed disabilities. It also discusses how the laws in each nation are enforced, addresses the remedies that are available to students in both nations, and focuses on the interpretation of these laws in respect of admission, academic accommodations, housing, student discipline, etc.

Tertiary education reform and legitimation in New Zealand: the case of adult and community education as a 'local state of emergency'

R. Strathdee

British Journal of Sociology and Education, vol. 30, 2009, p.303-316

This paper explores recent changes in tertiary education policy in New Zealand, which are designed to address legitimation deficits. By offering an analysis of the making, and subsequent unmaking, of quasi-markets in tertiary education, this paper attempts to describe how the state dealt with legitimation deficits resulting from providers' of tertiary education's use of the adult and community education funding category to increase their revenues. This description helps to provide a way of understanding how the state in New Zealand has responded to legitimation deficits by introducing a new regime of governance and the author concludes by arguing that, in terms of its treatment of category 5.1 funding, this regime is supportive of neo-conservative goals.

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