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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2010): Education - overseas

Community-level responses to disability and education in Rwanda

E. Karangwa, S. Miles and I. Lewis

International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, vol. 57, 2010, p.267-278

This article explores the meaning of community and perceptions of disability in urban and rural Rwanda. The study took place in an educational policy context driven by international rhetoric about human rights, inclusion, and arguably unachievable Education for All targets. It is argued that the emphasis on inclusion of marginalised groups in Rwanda's current education policy is a reality on paper but not in practice.

Female education inequality in Turkey: factors affecting girls' schooling decisions

A. Duman

International Journal of Education Economics and Development, Vol. 1. 2010, p.243-258

Education remains an important determinant of economic and social opportunities for individuals. However, within group inequalities in access to education are not studied broadly. This paper seeks to explore the reasons for higher within group inequality among females in access to schooling in Turkey. Results suggest that occupation of the household head, size and the composition of the family, and education of the parents have a significant impact on schooling decisions for girls. The paper contributes to the literature in a twofold manner. First, it provides empirical evidence of schooling distribution in Turkey. Second, it investigates the factors that disproportionately affect schooling decisions for girls.

Higher education and the market

R. Brown (editor)

London: Routledge, 2010

The introduction of market forces into higher education is the most crucial issue facing universities and colleges today. As the role of universities in the knowledge society becomes ever more apparent, and as public funding reaches its limit, marketisation has become an issue of critical importance. Discussions about the ever-increasing cost of tuition, affordability, access, university rankings, information, and the commercialization of academic research take place not just in North America, Western Europe and Australasia, but also in Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America. The book provides a comprehensive account of this phenomenon, and looks at its likely impact on key dimensions of university activity: system structure, funding and resources, the curriculum, participation and achievement, research and scholarship and interactions with third parties. Contributors propose how market forces, government intervention and academic self-regulation can be combined to harness the benefits of increased competition and efficiency without losing the public good.

Global isomorphism and governance reform in Chinese higher education

Y. Cai

Tertiary Education and Management, Vol. 16, 2010, p. 229-241

In the past three decades, higher education reforms have taken place almost everywhere in the world, and governance or the way that higher education is or should be coordinated has become a global topic. The governance reform in Chinese higher education emerged against such a background. The current studies on Chinese higher education reforms mainly tackle the reform processes and treat the Chinese government as the driver of the reforms, whereas how the Chinese government is susceptible to international pressures has remained under-researched. This article examines the mechanisms that facilitate the spread of global governance reform ideologies in Chinese higher education through the Chinese government, drawing on the concept of institutional isomorphism. Based on analysing recent literature and documents, it concludes that the Chinese government is influenced by the global reform ideas and practices that have been legitimatised through international organisations' rhetoric and other countries' successful experiences.

Global pedagogies: schooling for the future

J. Zajda (editor)

London: Springer, 2010

This volume analyses the role schools might play in the communities of the future. The contributors argue that, globally, education and pedagogy in particular, as that sphere of human activity most concerned with the deliberate way in which consciousness and conscience are formed, and identity inculcated, have the capacity to contribute significantly to a world in which social justice, tolerance and care for the environment become the dominant social paradigm. As with the others in this series, the aim of this volume is to provide an accessible and practical, yet scholarly source of information about international concerns in the field of globalisation, global pedagogies, and educational transformation. The chapters indicate directions in education and policy research, which will be relevant to transformational educational reforms in the 21st century. The book's two sections focus first on main trends and issues around the world, before moving on to explore the interplay between education and the concepts of equality, access and democracy. Researchers and educationalists will find much to ponder, from an examination of the politics of new history textbooks in Russia, to the difference in attitudes to tertiary education displayed by young people from urban and rural backgrounds.

How does leadership affect student achievement? Results from a national US survey

K. S. Louis; B. Dretzke and K. Wahlstrom

School Effectiveness and School Improvement, Vol. 21, Sept. 2010, p. 315-336

Using survey responses from a national sample of US teachers, this paper provides insight into 2 questions:

  1. do 3 specific attributes of leadership behaviour - the sharing of leadership with teachers, the development of trust relationships among professionals, and the provision of support for instructional improvement - affect teachers' work with each other and their classroom practices?
  2. do the behaviours of school leaders contribute to student achievement?

The authors tie this investigation of school leader behaviours to 2 additional factors that have also received increasing attention in research because they have been shown to be related to student achievement: professional community and the quality of classroom instruction. The analysis provides an empirical test of the notion that leadership variables are positively related to student learning. It also suggests that both shared and instructionally focused leadership are complementary approaches for improving schools.

Interventions in general education for students with disabilities

E. Reichrath, L. P.de Witte and I. Winkens

International Journal of Inclusive Education, Vol. 14, 2010, p. 563-580

Implementing effective interventions in general education increases the chances of success for students with disabilities. Often the effectiveness of interventions is not known. The aim of this review was to investigate what interventions are used in general education and what is known about their effectiveness so that educational institutions can exchange best practices and students with disabilities have better opportunities for successful participation in general education. A systematic literature search was conducted in four databases. Three investigators assessed the relevance of the studies identified. In only half of the studies is information on the effectiveness of interventions reported. Due to enormous variety in the types of interventions, effect measures, disability groups, and focus on different types of education, the authors chose to focus on reading interventions for improving the reading skills of students with reading and/or learning disabilities. Other interventions are briefly mentioned. All of the eight reading interventions found seem to have positive influences on reading skills. However, the methodological quality of some studies was low. Still, recommendations for actual interventions in general education are made. Measuring the effectiveness of interventions systematically and publishing the information helps others to implement effective interventions without having to reinvent them.

Marginalisation processes in inclusive education in Norway: a longitudinal study of classroom participation

C. Wendelborg and J. Tossebro

Disability and Society, vol.25, 2010, p. 701-714

This article examines how children with disabilities participate in regular primary schools in Norway and how and why this participation changes as children grow older. Data were gathered through interviews with and questionnaire surveys of parents of children with disabilities born 1993-1995. Results show that even if disabled children attend regular primary schools, many of them do not participate fully in routine classroom activities and that levels of participation decrease as the children grow older. Despite the fact that public policies in Norway are based on a social model of disability, schools in reality take an individual case by case approach to children with disabilities reflecting a medical model.

Post-national citizenship and higher education in the European Union

C. Gifford; S. Goncalves and others

European Political Science, Vol. 9, Sept. 2010, p. 341-355

This paper is concerned with the role of higher education institutions (HEIs) in constituting European post national citizenships. The central argument is that the Europeanisation of rights, and the administrative regulation of higher education that follows from this, are limited as instruments for developing post-national citizenship as they reinforce and conceal social and cultural divisions. An individualist and organisational conception of citizenship is contrasted with the possibilities for post-national citizenship enacted within HEIs considered as significant political actors within a broadly conceived European public sphere.

The rationality crisis in US higher education

C. W. Barrow

New Political Science, vol. 32, 2010, p. 317-344

Over the course of the last century, many of the stresses and contradictions of advanced capitalism have been displaced onto colleges and universities, which are now directly attached to the state - whether legally, politically, or financially - as an important component of the ideological and economic state apparatuses. As a component of the ideological and economic state apparatuses, the university is implicated in the state's ongoing fiscal crisis as both a cause of the crisis and a solution to the crisis. The author argues that the possibilities for crisis management within the existing corporate model of higher education have been exhausted in a rationality crisis that threatens to implode the administrative apparatus in higher education. The author calls for a radical reconstruction of power relationships within the university and in its relationships to capital and the state.

Realising the potential of school-based networks

C. Chapman and M. Hadfield

Educational Research, Vol. 52, 2010, p. 309-323

Formalised networks have become integral features of many education systems. Some networks have emerged organically as practitioners have sought to share and improve practice while others have been systematically planned and supported by policy makers in an attempt to raise the overall effectiveness of entire systems. However, despite their rising popularity the literature pertaining to their purposes, design and function remains limited. Furthermore, their impact on schools, teachers and students is even less clear. This article draws on the literature and the authors' research on school-based networks to explore their nature and contribution to school improvement. It argues that three specific areas warrant further investigation: first, the constitution or mix and balance of those involved in the network, second, the relationships or the interactions between those involved in the network, and third, the purpose and identity or the aims and objectives of the network and the identity those involved create for the network. A deeper understanding of these areas will go some way to realising the potential of school-based networks.

Support for children with disabilities in regular education classrooms: an account of different perspectives in Flanders

K. Mortier, G. Van Hove and E. De Schauwer

International Journal of Inclusive Education, Vol. 14, 2010, p. 543-561

This paper presents the experiences and interpretations of children, parents, teachers and support staff concerning the implementation of support for disabled children in regular class room environments in Flanders, Belgium. The data were gathered through observation, interviews and focus group meetings. Those multiple perspectives provide insights into the complexity of implementing support in a regular education context. The conclusions offer some possibilities for debate and alternative ways of thinking about support that facilitate inclusive school communities by tapping into resources such as the children, the environment, creativity and courage to leave the beaten path.

Understanding reason in policy reform: engaging 'problematic' families

K. Macfarlane

International Journal of Inclusive Education, Vol. 14, 2010, p. 609-629

This paper seeks to examine current policy reforms that situate education as a means of addressing social inclusion. Borrowing from the work of Popkewitz and Lindblad, the paper takes the form of a cross-disciplinary literature review that informs understanding of the relationship between educational governance and social inclusion/exclusion in policy research in Australia. To do so, the author examines the assumptions, omissions and contradictions in policy direction via two problematics - the engagement problematic and the early intervention and prevention problematic - to emphasise how policy discourse produces ways of thinking about inclusion/exclusion. The author argues that discourses of engagement and intervention and prevention reinscribe each other, acting as a palimpsest which produces notions of the 'proper' family and 'proper' participation. These notions of propriety ironically exclude particular types of individuals and families by situating them outside of possibilities for 'success' in social and systemic participation. Therefore, the author seeks to examine the 'systems of reason' that enable these discursively produced notions of propriety to become normalised.

What aspects of schooling are important? School effects on tertiary entrance performance

G. N. Marks

School Effectiveness and School Improvement, Vol. 21, 2010, p. 267-287

The purpose of this paper is to identify school effects on student performance for tertiary entrance in Australia, taking into account student-level predictors using longitudinal data from the 2003 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study. It finds that aspects of schooling, such as positive attitudes to school and disciplinary climate, affect student performance at the student level but not generally at the school level. The socioeconomic context of schools has no effect on student performance when taking into account schools' academic context. Apart from academic context, teacher shortage, academic press, and teacher efficacy were the only school factors that had positive significant effects on student performance. The policy implications are that school-based policies are unlikely to improve performance or promote equity, but, instead, policies should focus more on students falling behind, who are found across the school system, not limited to a small proportion of schools with particular characteristics.

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