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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2006): Education - overseas

Children’s disability policy in a global world: a question of convergence

D.L. Baker

Journal of Public Administration, vol.29, 2006, p.397-413

This article traces the convergence of policies on the education of children with disabilities in the USA, Canada and Mexico in the last years of the 20th century in the context of the North America Free Trade Agreement.

The Comprehensive public high school: historical perspectives

C. Campbell and G. Sherington

Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006

The book is a study of comprehensive schooling in Australia’s largest state, New South Wales. It considers the origins, development, and impending decline of comprehensive high schools in this region from the early twentieth century until the present day. In Australia changes since the 1970s have strengthened the appeal of private and selective high schools and weakened the comprehensive public high schools. The influence of neo-liberalism on government policy has led to a tendency among middle-class families to exercise their right to choice by removing their children from state schools in favour of private options. As a consequence, comprehensive high schools are under threat of becoming the educational destination of those denied access to selective academic high schools or unable to afford private alternatives.

Educational leadership development in England and the Czech Republic: comparing perspectives

M. Brundrett and others

School Leadership and Management, vol. 26, 2006, p.93-106

This paper charts the development of school leadership programmes in England and the Czech Republic. Key commonalities, differences and emergent themes are covered. Each nation is found to be responding to global forces in ways that reflect its own history and culture. In this sense the development of educational leadership provision in England and the Czech Republic falls within the paradigm of “glocalisation” whereby global trends are influenced by local history and culture. However, it is notable that both nations have chosen to invest in the development of education leaders as a means of driving up school standards.

Educational policy and reform for homeless students: an overview

L. Mawhinney-Rhoads and G. Stahler

Education and Urban Society, vol.38, 2006, p.288-306

This paper begins by reviewing some of the barriers that confront homeless children in relation to access to mainstream schools in the USA. It then examines four different attempts to assist homeless students in the shape of mainstreamed schools, out-of-hours support services, transitional schools (separate schools) and modified comprehensive schools. These are structured like mainstream schools in order to ease transition, but offer a range of extra services such as on-site medical care, free transportation services, free lunch and breakfast, access to psychological therapies (counselling or group therapy) and out-of-hours activities.

Envisioning the future of doctoral education: preparing stewards of the discipline: Carnegie essays on the doctorate

C. M. Golde, G. E. Walker, and associates

San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006

This book of essays is the first product of the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate, a five-year project focused on the purpose and practices of doctoral education in six disciplines. These disciplines are: chemistry, education, English, history, mathematics, and neuroscience. The essays in the volume provide opportunities to compare and contrast doctoral education among the disciplines. Written by leading scholars within the field (stewards of their disciplines), the essays focus on ideas and provide valuable models to readers from other fields.

The equity consequences of school-based management

A.E. Neir and M. Miran

International Journal of Educational Management, vol.20, 2006, p.116-126

Study assessed the impact of school-based management (SBM) in Israel on inequity amongst schools in terms of income. Based on the Gini Coefficient for the 31 schools that were studied over a period of four years, it is evident that inequity decreased slightly. However, this decrease is hardly influenced by schools’ financial initiatives since, regardless of their socio-economic background, they have failed to create new self-generated financial resources over the years to an extent that could significantly increase their annual budget. Nor is the change attributable to parental payments since, in spite of the free education law, parental contributions are a major source of income and are central in creating inequity among schools. Rather, the decrease in inequity in school incomes seems to be a result of a change in local education authorities’ resource allocation policies, in that they are giving more financial support and larger budgets to schools in deprived areas.

From fragmentation to convergence: shaping an Australian agenda for quality school leadership

S. Clarke

School Leadership and Management, vol.26, 2006, p.169-182

This article examines recent progress in Australia in the advancement of a national agenda for improving the quality of school leadership. It first provides some background to the unprecedented attention devoted to the quality of school leadership in Australia. It then examines the complex sharing of responsibilities for education that exists between the Commonwealth government and the states to illuminate the challenge of developing a national approach. Finally it reports some promising initiatives in shaping a national agenda as the fragmented arrangements move towards convergence.

Higher education in a global society: achieving diversity, equity and excellence

W. R. Allen, M. Bonous-Hammarth and R. T. Teranishi (editors)

London: Elsevier, 2006

Extensive technological, economic, political and social changes, along with immigration, combine to produce a diverse global community. Universities around the world can play critical roles in economic development and sociocultural exchange. The book presents research into the consequences of difference and diversity for higher education. It uses theoretical and empirical perspectives to better understand how diverse populations and expectations intersect to influence higher education and societies globally.

“In transition”: choice and the children of New Zealand’s economic reforms

J. Higgins and K. Nairn

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol.27, 2006, p.207-220

Young New Zealanders now leaving school are the first generation to have grown up entirely within the period of radical economic, social and political reform begun in 1984. This research looks at ways in which these young people craft their identities as learners and workers within the context of economic globalisation and welfare reform. The article outlines the transition infrastructure that has developed in New Zealand in recent years and argues that expectations of relatively straightforward linear transitions from school to higher education and thence to employment, supported along the way by financial contributions from parents, are embedded in it. Study participants for the most part accepted this model, but were uncertain as to which qualifications to choose. They were aware of the financial risks of making wrong choices.

Markets, schools and the convertability of economic capital: the complex dynamics of class choice

K. Lynch and M. Moran

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol.27, 2006, p.221-235

Ireland does not have a market-driven, choice -based education system, having outlawed league tables, and discouraged competition between schools by prohibiting selection of students on the basis of academic attainment. However middle-class parents are able to secure advantages for their children by choosing fee-paying private schooling or using business-run private tuition centres to prepare their children for public examinations. Even within the state sector, schools can use indirect means of discouraging working class students from applying, such as requiring expensive uniforms or higher voluntary financial contributions from parents.

Mechanisms for enhancing employer investment in training: a comparative perspective

A. Smith and S. Billett

Research in Post-Compulsory Education, vol.11, 2006, p.1-18

Encouraging employer demand for and investment in staff training has been has proved to be a perennial problem for governments of all political complexions in the developed world. Approaches to securing company investment in training by governments form a continuum from low-level intervention to compulsion and regulation, and range from approaches which attempt to secure voluntary commitment from employers through to controlling expenditure on training through legislation. Voluntary commitment is hard to achieve, so governments have often resorted to compelling firms to invest in training through, for example, the imposition of training levies. This paper discusses the range of approaches used by governments across the developed world to encourage employers to invest in staff training and development.

Preparing leaders, preparing learners: the Hong Kong experience

A. Walker and C. Dimmock

School Leadership and Management, vol.26, 2006, p.124-147

This article addresses the preparation and ongoing learning of school leaders in Hong Kong. While acknowledging the effectiveness of recent policy in framing a more holistic and coherent approach to school leadership development, it suggests that attention can now be focused on fine tuning programme content, delivery and the principals’ learning experience. It displays findings from the evaluation of the Hong Kong Newly Appointed Principals’ programme and juxtaposes these with research evidence from the international literature. In the process, it identifies processes and mechanisms that appear most effective for leadership learning. It finally introduces Blue Skies, a new programme for newly appointed principals that was built on these findings.

Reflective practice to improve schools: an action guide for educators. 2nd edition

J. York-Barr and others

London: Sage, 2006

The book proposes that time and effort invested in reflection yield a harvest of greater student learning, higher teacher morale, enhanced feelings of efficacy, and a more collaborative professional community. It offers a framework and strategies for thinking and acting as reflective educators. As individuals, groups, and organizations reflect on their learning, they gain important information about how they perceive the efficacy of their planning, experimenting, data gathering, assessment, and self-modification. These experiences provide opportunities to practice the habit of continuous growth through reflection.

Theoretical underpinnings of separate educational programs: the social justice challenge continues

E.M. Frattura and C. Topinka

Education and Urban Society, vol.38, 2006, p.327-344

Educators in school systems across the USA have defined a normed group of pupils who are labelled as “general education students”. This definition automatically creates another group of pupils who do not meet the criteria of academic, physical, social, emotional or behavioural success in the dominant group. Pupils who deviate from the norm are marginalised and sent to a range of segregated special education programmes, including at-risk programmes, English as a second language programmes, teenage parent programmes, remedial English and maths programmes, etc. It is argued that such programmes stigmatise pupils and take away more socially and emotionally than they provide academically. The authors conclude by proposing an alternative approach in which support is offered in mainstream classrooms, pupil success is measured using individual data, teachers and support staff operate in multi-disciplinary teams to provide services to pupils as needed, curriculum is made relevant to the individual student and assessment is used to improve learning not as a measure of success or failure.

Widening access, widening participation, widening success: an Indian case study

M. Thornton

Research in Post-Compulsory Education, vol.11, 2006, p.19-30

The UK government is keen to increase the participation non-traditional students and under-represented groups in higher education. However, such students are in danger of experiencing alienation, leaving early, failing, or obtaining a lower degree classification than traditional middle class entrants. This article looks at the experience of a non-governmental organisation in widening access to education in a poor rural area of West Bengal. Amid extensive and entrenched discrimination, this NGO has developed a holistic and integrated approach to supporting some of the most disadvantaged groups to access education. This article explores possible explanations for such success and looks at lessons that can be learned by educators seeking to widen participation in England.

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